Sunday, March 28, 2010

Salmon Fishing Scotland River Tay report for the last week in March and Prospects for next week 2010.

Salmon Fishing Scotland River Tay report for the last week in March and Prospects for next week 2010.

River Tay Report for week ending 27th March 2010.

After last weeks 31 spring salmon being reported this week was much better with 44 being reported but conditions were far from ideal with the river rising and falling every other day. A few others were caught as well and not registered making it a reasonable March with hopefully better to come.

The river rose and fell every other day with mild conditions and heavy rain especially in the west of the catchment. These conditions did not make life easy on the lower river but encouraged salmon to run up into the middle and upper areas.
The river temperature remained constant at around 40F or 5C for the entire week enabling salmon to run. This could be good news for next week as well.
This week the catches were shared between the lower river and the middle river, which is expected at this time of year with a rise in water temperature. This is the first week the middle river has had more salmon reported which must be down to the higher river levels and increase in water temperatures.
We have not had a strong run as yet which hopefully will improve. It is absolutely imperative we continue to adhere to our catch and release policy to return all spring salmon to preserve what we have for the future. Thank you all for making this possible so far.

The lower river produced 17 out of the 44 spring salmon caught. There were salmon caught on most of the lower Tay beats during the week. The largest spring salmon caught on the lower Tay was caught at Taymount and weighed 18 pounds. This was one of 4 caught on the beat for the week by the Lindsay party.

Ballathie also featured with Alistair McLean catching his first ever Tay Springer and Ian Fair landing a lovely 10 pounder.

The middle Tay produced 19 salmon for the week. The milder conditions higher river levels should encourage fish to run up to the middle river for next week as well. Kercock had another good week with 5 salmon landed. Newtyle and Dunkeld House also featured.

There was a real Tay beauty landed on Dunkeld House water on Wednesday weighing 17 pounds. It was also good to see Dalguise landing 4. Coupar Grange continued to enjoy some good sport with a lovely 21 pound salmon caught last Monday by a Japanese party. Hopefully some pictures will appear soon of this magnificent salmon.

The Upper River and Loch only reported 8 salmon for the week. The milder conditions have encouraged spring salmon to run further upstream.

Steven Watt caught an 18 pound springer on the Pitlochry Angling Club at Portnacraig last Monday on a Rapala. I have not had any updates from the Loch but 6 were reported this week with 17 and 18 pound salmon caught.

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 29th March 2010.

As of Monday the river is settled and running at a better level after last weeks unsettled conditions.

The river at Benchil on Saturday with a dropping water.

The weather is to be colder this coming week with a chance of snow on Tuesday and Wednesday. Hopefully it will be a more settled week, which should bring better catches.

The water temperature is 40 degrees Fahrenheit or 5 degrees Celsius and probably set to remain at that level which will not discourage salmon to run further upstream. The middle and Upper River should certainly benefit from this. Assuming the river runs at a more consistent level unlike last week the lower river will get a better catch.

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

As to methods, spinning and fly fishing from the bank with larger lures due to the colder water should enable you 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, ie 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.

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 it 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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