Sunday, March 7, 2010

Salmon Fishing Scotland River Tay Report and Prospects first week of March 2010.

Salmon Fishing Scotland River Tay Report and Prospects first week of March 2010.

Tay Report for week ending 6th March 2010.

After last weeks disappointing week with only 4 spring salmon being reported this week was much better with 32 being reported. A few others were caught as well and not registered making it a good start for March with hopefully better to come.

The river was running below 1 foot at the start of the week with night temperatures down to below -5C on the lower Tay every night until the end of the week. The river gradually dropped away as the week went on with good conditions for spring fishing but the river at summer levels, it remained cold. The river temperature was steady at 34F or 1C. On Friday the colder temperatures abated enabling snow to melt on the hill and the river started to rise very slowly on Saturday. The river temperature rose on Saturday as well to 38F or 3C. This could be good news for next week.

There was a combination of a slight rise in the river at the end of the previous week and over 4 metre tide, which brought in a small run of spring salmon for the week. The catches were again dominated by the lower river, which is expected at this time of year with very cold water but these fish carried on into the middle river as well.

The lower river produced 20 out of the 32 spring salmon caught. Monday produced 5 with the heaviest Springer coming from Taymount at 18 pounds. Benchil and Pitlochrie caught 2 spring salmon on Monday with Bridge of Allan Angler Allan McCaig landing a lovely 13 pounds fish on a Harled Tube fly.

Peter Callaghan was lucky in the afternoon landing a sea liced 14 pounds Springer from the boat on a Kynoch. The beats just above the tide caught as well with Waulkmill, lower Redgorton and Almondmouth all catching.

Best spring salmon from those beats was a lovely 16 pounds salmon caught fly fishing by Alex Mitchell in Broxy on the Almondmouth beat. Stobhall featured along with Ballathie and Islamouth.

On Stobhall Bob Johnson had a 15 pound salmon on a Tomic and Dean Ross had an 11 pound Springer on a Toby. Burnmouth had 3 last week as well with an 18 pounder amongst them.

On Friday and Saturday Islamouth had some lovely fish with the McQuades from Oban catching a couple of cracking springers. Allan had a lovely 11 pounder on a Kynoch and Tommy caught a 15 pounder on a cast fly from the boat. Ronnie Neil was lucky on his second visit to the Tay with a fresh 13 pound salmon on the Friday falling to a Kynoch. That is 2 springers in 2 visits to the Tay.

The middle Tay produced 11 salmon for the week. The milder conditions at the end of the week should encourage fish to run up to the middle river for next week as well. Kercock caught 2 salmon with also the heaviest fish of the week weighing in at 22 pounds. Coupar Grange continued to produce with 4. Newtyle caught also at the end of the week with milder weather helping. Murthly and Glendelvine also had salmon on Saturday.

The Upper River and Loch only reported 1 salmon for the week. There have been other salmon caught on the Loch and not reported however it has been a poor start because of the low water and cold weather. To date 20 salmon have been caught at the west end of the loch with the largest being an 18 pound beauty caught by D MacDougall of Auchmore. The milder weather over the last few days may change that and allow salmon to run more freely.

Many thanks for all the pictures everyone sent me of opening week spring salmon and thanks to all who have sent me their individual fishing experiences over the last season on the river. I would be most grateful if you to do the same this season by emailing to be included in this report.

Prospects for week commencing 8th March 2010.

As of Monday the river is settled and running at a better level after last weeks milder spell at the end of the week.

The weather is to remain cold this coming week with a chance of milder conditions at the end of the week. The frosts at night are not to be as severe and the day temperatures are to be higher than last week.

The water temperature is 38 degrees Fahrenheit or 3 degrees Celsius meaning you have certainly to spin or fish a fly slow and deep.

With very cold water recently it is likely that most springers will have been bottled up in the lower river. There is a bit more water after milder conditions, which may enable some salmon to run further upstream. Hopefully there might be a chance of a fresh fish anywhere in the lower and middle river.

The river is running low and cold, meaning the salmon will be running slowly and should favour the lower Tay beats.

There is good availability throughout the river so why not have a go.

As to methods, once the river settles fishing by any method will have to be slow and deep with large lures to catch the elusive Tay Springer. Harling is also a favoured method at this time of year but be warned wrap up well or it will not be a pleasant experience.

Finally you are reminded that the Tay's policy for January - May 2010 is that all spring salmon should be released, i.e. the Tay has adopted a policy of 100% catch and release for spring salmon. Spring salmon are a scarce and precious resource. Please help preserve both them and the long term future of your sport by following the recommendations.

To help you follow our guidelines I have included these helpful pointers.

How to SAFELY Release a Salmon
“The best method of releasing a salmon is to leave it in the water
and touch nothing but the hook with fingers or pliers.
“Whatever the method, care combined with speed, will give the fish the best chance of survival.”
Lee Wulff, Atlantic Salmon Journal Winter 1964/65

• Use barbless or pinched hooks
• Retrieve your fish quickly; release it immediately
• Keep the fish in the water
• Use rubber or knotless cotton net, if one must be used
• Cut the leader if necessary
• Remove the hook carefully
• Hold the fish gently in natural swimming position, facing upstream until it revives
• Don’t pump the fish. That is, don’t move the fish back and forth in the water.

How should hooks be removed?
Very Carefully
In quiet water, bring the wild salmon quickly within reach. Leaving the salmon in water and without squeezing it, remove the hook carefully with pliers or thumb and forefinger. If a net must be used, it should be rubber or knotless cotton. If necessary, cut the leader near the fly and spare the fish.

The Science of Live Release
“Peer-reviewed science supports live release as a proven and effective conservation tool.”
Dr. Fred Whoriskey,
ASF Vice-President, Research & Environment

Studies in North America and Europe have shown live release works, and in some instances Atlantic salmon have been angled 2 and 3 times.
Science has shown that virtually all Atlantic salmon will survive when released, as long as the angler uses the proper techniques, refrains from angling in overly warm water, and does not overplay the Atlantic salmon.
Like athletes sprinting on a track, Atlantic salmon build up lactic acid in their muscle tissues when they are being played.
The Key is Oxygen – The fish need oxygen in order to recover and continue their journey.
To recover, Atlantic salmon need:
• careful handling by the angler to reduce stress
• to remain in the water where they can breathe and reduce the oxygen deficit in their tissues
• to be held in an upstream position for water to flow more easily across their gills

Photographing Your Spectacular Live Release Salmon.

Use a photo partner:

* Digital camera: make settings on the camera before you begin fishing or use a point and shoot film camera. Give it to your partner before the angling session.

* Whether a digital camera or a film camera, tell your partner to fill the frame, and take several images.

* If it is a film camera, be sure there is film in the camera. This may seem to be a simple matter, but mistakes do happen...

Let your Partner get into Position:

* Tell him/her what you are going to do. Alert your partner before you take the fish out of the water.

Support the Atlantic salmon:

* Carefully take the barbless hook out of the fish’s mouth. With rod tucked under your arm, move one hand to the base of the tail. With your other hand, support the fish under the forward part of its body. Keep it in the water, with the fish pointed upstream to help its recovery.

* If a third person is present, give him or her the rod to hold, so you can concentrate on the wild salmon.

Take the Picture Quickly:

* With your photo partner warned, raise the wild Atlantic salmon partially out of the water for less than five seconds - or consider leaving it semi-submerged for the photo instead!

Return the Fish to Continue its Spawning Run:

* Support the salmon underwater in a natural position facing the current, handling it as little as possible. Give it time to recover. The goal is for the wild salmon to swim away on its own.

* Digital cameras offer the opportunity to adjust the film speed to suit conditions. In low light, such as evening, morning, heavy cloud, or deep shadow, consider setting the speed to 400, to take care of both movement and the low light. Experiment beforehand on speeds above 400, as many digital images become heavily pixilated at greater sensitivity.

* Remember to adjust the white balance for deep shadow, to warm the image.

* Today’s print films even at 400 speeds are superb. Use 400-speed film at dawn, dusk or in shadow.

* Don’t forget to smile! Your photo is a valuable memory.

If you have any news or pictures of catches or experiences on the Tay and you would like to share them please email me on to be included in this report.

Tight lines.

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Anonymous said...

You might as well kill all of the photographed fish, by keeping them out of the water for an extended period must cause the fish unnecessary stress. I thought it was catch and release! Not handle stress and return.

Anonymous said...

'Unnecessary stress' doesn't mean 'long-term damage' so what would be achieved by killing photographed fish? Just how long do you think it takes for a fish to die of oxygen starvation?

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