Monday, March 19, 2018

Salmon Fishing Scotland Prospects for Tay, Perthshire w/c 19th March 2018.

Salmon Fishing Scotland Prospects for Tay, Perthshire w/c 19th 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 and prior to the Opening. This has again unsettled the lower river from last Friday with melting snow but it is settling nicely now back to lower levels and excellent conditions. The coming week is slightly milder. 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 much lower at Caputh but clear on the middle river (just over 1’6) and settling nicely and clearing on the lower river (just over 3’) on the Ballathie gauge but may rise further with the milder temperatures.

The weather is to remain reasonably settled over the next week with higher pressure dominating until Thursday with a chance of some rain towards the weekend. There will be frosts at night early in the week and 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 38 degrees Fahrenheit or 3 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.

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 18, 2018

Salmon Fishing Scotland Tay, Perthshire Salmon fishing report w/e 17th March 2018.

Salmon Fishing Scotland Tay, Perthshire Salmon fishing report w/e 17th March 2018.

The Tay, Perthshire is now into mid March for salmon fishing with higher expectation and we have had the cold weather pattern return but certainly not as extreme witnessed from a fortnight 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 17th March)
SALMON & GRILSE: Catholes 1, Upper Scone 1, Stobhall 4, Taymount 4, Cargill 3, Islamouth 3, Meikleour and Upper Islamouth 4, Kercock 2, Glendelvine 3, Murthly 2 4, Newtyle 1, Dunkeld House 5, Dalguise 1, Lower Kinnaird 2.
Total: 38 Largest: Dunkeld House 24lbs
SEA TROUT: Lower Redgorton 1.
Total: 1 Largest: Lower Redgorton 1lbs

Spring salmon were landed last week in far 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 further giving good conditions, but this may change in the coming week with slightly milder temperatures melting more snow. The numbers were heartening with thirty eight 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 up for the end of the week by and large from the Isla. 

The beats around Stanley started to catch with Ed Slaven landing an 8 pounds fish on a Toby from Erics on the Catholes and Upper Scone landed a fresh fish from the boat on the Pitlochrie beat at Stanley Mills. Further upstream Stobhall had a good few days with 4 fish up to 21 pounds. Taymount had a similar score but had 3 in one day for the Robbins party. 

Hugh Robbins caught 2 of the fish from the Linn Pool landing his best spring fish ever weighing over 18 pounds. 

Just upriver Cargill also had 3 on Tuesday with Neil French landing a lovely fish on the fly from the neck of the Pot Shot. Other fish were landed from the boat by Paul Brian and David Thompson. Islamouth had 3 fish in the week and continue their excellent start to the season. Upper Islamouth and Meikelour had a good week with 4 fresh salmon up to 21 pounds in weight. 

The week started with Cohn O’Dea landing a 13 pounds fish on a Salmo from the Boxwood then Fraser Marshall caught a superb 21 pounds beauty from the Castle pool. Further fish of 18 pounds were caught by Paul Kelly and 13 pounds by Reiss White.

The Middle river enjoyed good water conditions mostly throughout the week and fish appeared with the lower river being dirty. 

It was good to see Kercock catching a couple with James Caulfield landing a lovely 15 pounds fish. Glendelvine got back amongst the fish with 3 on Saturday including 2 fish for John Dewar up to 22 pounds. Steve McIrvine reported to me that on Tuesday they lost another monster exactly out of the same lie that the 35 pounds fish came form after 20 odd minutes. Apparently, the air was blue, and the lady angler was distraught! 

Murthly 2 fished well during the week with 4 fish and the fly proving the popular choice. Newtyle caught a fish on Monday with Alistair Dunbar landing a good fish from the Cotter on the fly. 

Dunkeld House had a great week as well with 5 fish up to 24 pounds mostly from the boat harling. 

Much further upriver Dalguise got a good fish on Saturday with James McKay landing a cracking 18 pounds fish on a Devon from the bank. Lower Kinnaird also had fish with 2 landed on Monday.  

The Upper area has featured last week as fish moved up the system giving everyone hope of landing one of these memorable fish, however nothing was reported last week.

The Tummel was also seeing limited sport however yet again nothing was reported last week.

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.
Fishing Scotland - By Robert White

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