Monday, March 26, 2018

Salmon Fishing Scotland Prospects for Tay, Perthshire w/c 26th March 2018.

Salmon Fishing Scotland Prospects for Tay, Perthshire w/c 26th March 2018.

The Salmon fishing season is now in late March on the mighty Tay in Perthshire, Scotland.  We have been encountering some varied conditions with cold wintery weather over the last week or so and prior to the Opening. This has again unsettled the river from the middle of last week with melting snow and heavy rain but it has settled nicely now back to lower levels and excellent conditions as of Monday. The coming week is slightly milder to start with then turning colder again. This may give us some more water from melting snow but hopefully not colour the water especially on the lower river again. Currently the colder weather will continue to give us more settled water and a chance of good fishing. On the opening months several anglers braved the elements in pursuit of that magical spring salmon. The cold weather hopefully will give a greater chance of producing some sport and some early "Bars of Silver" if you are prepared to brave the elements as any fish progress slowly through the system.

Currently the river is running settled and falling at Caputh in perfect condition (just over 2’) and similarly on the lower river (just under 4’) on the Ballathie gauge but may rise further with rain forecast on Tuesday.

The weather is to remain reasonably unsettled over the next week with the pressure dropping and a chance of some rain which may fall as snow on the hills. There will be odd frosts at night early in the week. Colder conditions certainly benefit the river at this time of year slowing the spring salmon run down and giving everyone a chance to catch as they run up the river slowly. A milder weather forecast at times will give us more water and would have encouraged salmon to run the river. Colder weather will settle the river back to a good level and make ideal spring fishing conditions. The water temperature is cold at around 40 degrees Fahrenheit or 4.5 degrees Celsius. These are typical temperatures for this time of year. Hopefully there might be a chance of a fresh fish anywhere in the river. There will no doubt be quite a few kelts about on many beats and possibly some later run fish, which have yet to spawn. Should you require guidance on salmon identification in early season please see this link for some help. 

As to methods, in settled conditions fishing by any method should be slow and deep with large lures to catch the elusive Tay Springer. Harling is also a favoured method in early season but be warned wrap up well or it will not be a pleasant experience.

Tackle recommendations for fishing the Tay throughout the season.   

Fly Rods.
The Tay is a large river especially when running at a normal level and even in lower levels you are fishing another river within the mighty one so therefore a 15 foot fly rod for a 10 weight line is certainly minimum requirement for much of the season. Do not come under gunned.  In some parts of the river where it is especially wide even longer rods are used. It should be noted however that it is better to cast a shorter controlled line than try to cast out with your capabilities and have the lines end up in a mess and decrease your chances.

Fly Lines.
In early season when the water is cold you need to cast larger flies and get them deeper in the water to fish them slowly. There is a tremendous choice on the market nowadays which can be quite confusing to many anglers. Any type of Skagit line that can easily cast a 15 foot sinking leader of various depths is a good choice especially to the less experienced. Iflights and a tip of choice attached are another good bet as these lines enable you to cast a longer line than normal with ease. For more experienced anglers, there are a vast array of shooting heads of different sinking abilities available as well. These tactics can be used in late season as well when the water starts to cool down.
Once the water temperature starts to climb by April then tactics change to mainly floating lines and sink tips with much smaller conventional flies. Again, the choice of lines is incredible from longer belly Spey lines to shooting heads. If you go to shooting heads, then it is important to choose a good shooting backing as line management can be a big issue casting longer lines on a river such as the Tay.

Spinning Rods.
You should have a minimum of a 10 foot rod for casting baits of 20gm to 60gms.
A main line of 20 pounds in nylon or 30 pounds in braid. You should use a lesser poundage far a cast such as 15 pounds so if you get caught up on the bottom you do not lose a large part of your main line.
Tobies from 18gm upwards. Toby Salmos are very popular in 30gms. Conventional weighted Devon's are good especially in the Spring. Rapalas and Vision 110's are very effective and of course Kynochs are popular for harling.

What flies should I take?
In early season bigger flies such as Tube Flies, Temple Dogs and Monkey type flies up to 2 inches in body length and larger conventional patterns in 4's and 6's in lower water are required. A point of note is that a lighter Tube such as an aluminium or plastic body is far easier to cast than brass. Current line technology enables you to get these lighter flies to the correct depths. Ask your ghillie for tip advice on the day.
As river temperatures rise to a more conventional approach then a size range in your box should be from 6 in higher water to 12 in lower water and even smaller on exceptionally low conditions. Cascade type patterns seem to be the most popular and recently feeler flies have come to the fore. It is always worth a go with a Sun Ray type fly with a long wing whether casting normally in colder conditions to stripping it fast in warmer water.

Finally, you are reminded that the Tay's policy for January - 1st April 2018 is that all spring salmon must be released, i.e. the Tay has a policy of 100% mandatory release of all salmon caught under the new Scottish Government Statutory Conservation Regulation. Spring salmon are a scarce and precious resource. Please preserve both them and the long term future of your sport by following the release of salmon as it is a now legal requirement during this period even if a fish has died. The Board's bailiff team will be enforcing this new legislation.

When releasing salmon please try to keep the fish in the water as much as possible to give them every chance to recover prior to release. Releasing fish from boats in the river is not recommended. Further information on the policy and good release practice.

The Tay Ghillies Association are continuing their popular FISH OF THE MONTH AWARD to encourage good catch and release practice on the Tay. Each month the winner will receive 2 personalised crystal Whisky glasses engraved with details of the catch and they will automatically be entered into the fish of the year competition for a Stylish Crystal Engraved Decanter. Full details of this initiative.

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 the reports.
Salmon Fishing Scotland - By Robert White

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Salmon Fishing Scotland Tay, Perthshire Salmon fishing report w/e 24th March 2018.

Salmon Fishing Scotland Tay, Perthshire Salmon fishing report w/e 24th March 2018.

The Tay, Perthshire has now in the last week of March for salmon fishing with higher expectation and we have had a cold weather pattern generally although slightly milder last week however winter is still biting with a return to colder conditions towards the end of the coming week but certainly not as extreme witnessed from three weeks ago. Expectation has gone up on the river for 2018 after a string of successful springs over the last 5 years, fish are starting to be caught in greater numbers plus the fantastic news of a 35 pounds fish being landed on the river recently and continuing larger fish being caught week in week out has put the Tay again at the centre of everyone’s attention. Hopefully the weather will remain reasonably settled over the coming weeks and give everyone a chance of landing a spring “Bar of Silver” and even possibly a fish of a lifetime.
Beat catches reported
(week ending 24th March)
SALMON & GRILSE: Upper Redgorton 4, Benchil 1, Catholes 1, Stobhall 1, Taymount 6, Ballathie 2, Islamouth 1, Meikleour and Upper Islamouth 3, Delvine Burnbane 1, Murthly 1 1, Glendelvine 4, Murthly 2 2, Newtyle 1, Dalguise 2, Lower Kinnaird 1, Edradynate 1, Findynate 2, Farleyer Upper 1, Loch Tay Fish n' Trips 4, Portnacraig Pitlochry 2.
Total: 41 Largest: Glendelvine 25lbs
SEA TROUT: Delvine Burnbane 1.

Spring salmon were landed last week in continuing greater numbers in relatively cold weather and river conditions favouring those who braved the elements in most cases. The river has been unsettled especially on the lower river yet again from melting snow on low ground sending coloured water from the burns and Isla making fishing extremely difficult, however colder nights made the river above the Isla drop back giving good conditions last thing on Saturday and with a return to colder weather it should be a good week coming. The numbers were heartening with over forty fresh spring salmon recorded last week but it must be said that could have been a lot higher if the lower area had been more fishable loosing at least 3 days. It is early yet with only small runs coming into the river and fluctuating weather can make fishing difficult. Some of the fish that have been caught remain truly memorable as typical Tay specimens due to their size and depth. Hopefully there will be a lot more of them to come.

The Lower river saw a few fish being landed earlier in the week giving everyone a boost before the water coloured from heavy rain and snow melt on Thursday and Friday before clearing late on Saturday. Fish have now been caught below Stanley with Upper Redgorton going on a roll with 4 fish in three days earlier in the week. 

The week for Mike Hay got off to a flyer with Alan Robertson landing a 13 pounds long tailed lice fish on Monday, it was soon followed by fish landed by George McKinlay and 

Greggor Nimmo up to 14 pounds from the boat. It was not until the Saturday when the river was clearing on the Stanley beats that 

Alistair Mitchell caught a lovely fresh 9 pounds fish casting the fly in Aitken Head on the Benchil beat and Frank Muller landed a 7 pounds fresh fish in the Back Dam on the Catholes beat. Further upstream Taymount got their week off to a great start with 3 fish followed by another 3 over Tuesday and Wednesday. 

Stobhall only had a single fish in the week however it was 24 pounds beauty caught by lady angler Grace Van Beek. 

Ballathie had a couple in the week with a 20 pounder caught by the Yorke party on Monday then defying the odds on Friday before the water coloured Peter Kellock landed a lovely fresh fish from the boat. Islamouth had one on Tuesday but would prefer much lower water to gain more success. 

Upper Islamouth and Meikleour managed 3 for their week with Graeme Leslies party enjoying success, Bob Crawford and Peter Stewart-Baker both landing fish up to 9 pounds.

The Middle river enjoyed good water conditions mostly throughout the week and fish continued to appear. The area around Murthly continues to fish reasonably well with both Murthly beats and Glendelvine having success. Murthly 2 had a couple early in the week and the lower beat had a fish on Wednesday meanwhile 

Glendelvine fishing on the opposite days on the bottom beat had a good end to the week with 4 fish including a superb 25 pounds fish from that famous lie in the Garth pool where the 35 pounds monster came from earlier in the season. 

Up at Newtyle Brandon Bryant enjoyed success on the fly from the Cotter landing a 9 pounds fish on Saturday. Dalguise had a couple in the week with fish landed on Monday and Thursday. Lower Kinnaird also had a single fish.

The Upper area has featured last week as fish moved up the system giving everyone hope of landing one of these memorable fish, 2 fish were landed on Findynate with a 12 pounds fish caught by Perth and District Angling Club secretary Bob Mason. Further fish came from the Edradynate and Farleyer  beats. 

Loch Tay is also seeing sport with Fish n’ Trips recording 4 last week which included good fish up to 21 pounds for John Struzik, Graham Armstrong and Jamie Cannon. There has also been news of a 36 pounds monster caught in a private boat by the "Lomond boys" Robert Ramage, Sid and Fraser Garth. 

The Tummel was also seeing more sport with a couple reported last week form the Pitlochry Angling Club stretch at Portnacraig. 

Alan Wales caught a 19 pounds fish on the fly and later in the week Colin Fiargrieve caught a similar sized fish on a spinner. Steve Watt also had a fish from the Clubs Sawmill stream weighing 16 pounds on a Vision. 

Just down stream on the West Haugh and Dunfallandy beat 4 salmon were landed last week up to 20 pounds. Marty Wilson caught a 20 pounds beauty earlier in the week then 3 were landed on Saturday with David Craig, Alan Carpenter and Mr Low all catching fish up to 16 pounds. 

There was an even better story for a lady angler Mary Bowman landing her first ever salmon, a lovely fresh 10 pounds fish from the lower Tummel on the fly in the Rock pool. Fish were also caught at East Haugh. 

The Tay is certainly the place to come to for the chance of a fish of a lifetime. The sheer size of the river produces very powerful large salmon and the possibility of a 40 pounds fish must be on the cards now. The food source for atlantic salmon is moving further away from our shores with sea temperatures rising and salmon are spending longer away in the ocean before they are returning making the possibility of much bigger fish finding its way back. The fish that are being caught now is further evidence of that phenomenon.

These are optimistic figures in the past week however the sheer class of the fish caught continues to be outstanding and with hopefully with a settled river in the coming week should see improved catches with a settled forecast as well.  
The Spring Salmon fishing was well and truly underway after all the excitement of opening day’s celebrations. It has been a quiet start but let us hope the season lives up to every one’s expectations over the coming weeks and months and when you visit the Tay you catch a fish of a lifetime. Tight lines!

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 the reports.
Salmon Fishing Scotland - By Robert White

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