Monday, April 23, 2018

Salmon Fishing Scotland Prospects for Tay, Perthshire w/c 23rd April 2018.

Salmon Fishing Scotland Prospects for Tay, Perthshire w/c 23rd April 2018. 

The Salmon fishing season is now in the last week of April on the mighty Tay in Perthshire, Scotland.  We have been encountering some varied conditions with a large snow melt last week due to much milder weather at long last. We have had good conditions last week with good levels and excellent conditions despite a large river on Wednesday. The coming week is looking fairly settled with slightly cooler temperatures. This should settle the river down and give much better conditions. On the opening months several anglers braved the elements in pursuit of that magical spring salmon. The cold weather hopefully has given 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. Catches have improved and there is far more optimism after a slow start. 

On the nature front the first Sand Martins, Swifts and Swallows are starting to arrive, Ospreys are being seen, Ducks are about to have their first broods of young and Sand Pipers are on the river banks. Dippers are darting past getting food for their young and you could see the flash of a Kingfisher if you are lucky. Blue bells will be coming out in the woods, it is truly magical to be salmon fishing in Perthshire on the banks of the silvery Tay as everything bursts into life.

Currently the river is running settled at Caputh in perfect condition (just below 1’) and similarly on the lower river (just above 3’) on the Ballathie gauge.

The weather is to be reasonably settled over the next week with the chance of some rain on Wednesday. There are milder temperatures gently taking us out of winter however it is to be a bit cooler this current week with more typical readings. 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 was cold but now at around 47 degrees Fahrenheit or 8 degrees Celsius is warming slowly (taken on lower river at midday on Monday). 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. 
Line. 
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. 

Baits.
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 – 31stMay 2018 is that all spring salmon should be released, i.e. the Tay has a policy of 100% catch and release of all salmon caught in this period. 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. 


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 robert.salmonfishing@googlemail.com to be included in the reports.


Salmon Fishing Scotland - By Robert White

Salmon Fishing Scotland Tay, Perthshire Salmon fishing report w/e 21st April 2018.

Salmon Fishing Scotland Tay, Perthshire Salmon fishing report w/e 21st April 2018.

The Tay, Perthshire is now in the last week of April for salmon fishing with higher expectation in recent weeks and we have had a cold weather pattern generally up until a week ago however that has disappeared now with a far milder forecast. 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 plus numerous 20 pounds plus 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 21st April)
SALMON & GRILSE: Upper Redgorton 1, Benchil 1, Catholes 1, Pitlochrie 1, Stobhall 4, Taymount 3, Ballathie 3, Cargill 1, Islamouth 3, Meikleour and Upper Islamouth 4, Kercock 1, Glendelvine 2, Murthly 2 1, Newtyle 3, Dunkeld House 1, Dalmarnock 1, Dalguise 1, Lower Kinnaird 2, Upper Kinnaird 1, Farleyer Upper 1, Keithick Mains 7, Portnacraig Pitlochry 6.
Total: 49 Largest: Glendelvine 25lbs
SEA TROUT: Meikleour and Upper Islamouth 1, Newtyle 1, Keithick Mains 1.

Spring salmon were landed last week in continuing greater numbers in far milder weather and river conditions varied due to a large snow melt. The river has been reasonably settled despite some melting snow from high ground due to slightly higher temperatures, however colder nights made the river settle quickly to give good conditions generally. At the end of last week the river settled back nicely. The numbers were heartening with around fifty fresh spring salmon recorded last week making it another consistent week for April. The spring season is well on now and frustratingly only small runs coming into the river but fluctuating weather can make fishing difficult however as the fish travel slowly upriver most beats are catching. 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 had another reasonable week with clear water despite some severe snow melt from high temperatures giving high water on Wednesday which continues to rise the water temperature away from favouring the lower beats. Upper Redgorton had another salmon last week which is the lowest beat to have success this season so far. Benchil produced an 8 pounds fish on Saturday for Colin Baxter caught on a Toby casting from the bank. 

At Stanley, Steve Bloxham caught his first ever salmon weighing 9 pounds from the Horsey pool on the fly on the Pitlochrie beat on Friday and on the same day Danny Fulton, a regular on the Stanley beats caught his first of the season weighing 13 pounds from the Slap just below the Catholes weir. Stobhall and Taymount continue to work away with 7 between them which included a 17 pounds fish for 

Alistair Sheach on the Linn Pool when the water was dirty. Ballathie had a good day on Saturday with 3 fish landed on the lower beat up to 13 pounds and 

Freddy Harrison celebrating his 86thbirthday with a fish as well. Gary West and John Palmer also had success. 

Cargill only had 1 in the week but it was 16 pounds caught by Mike Brown weighing 16 pounds. The bigger water didn’t suit Islamouth but they still managed 3 fish in the week including a 23 pounds fish on Monday. The river should drop away this coming week and the beat should see improving catches in the weeks to come. 

Meikleour and Upper Islamouth had 4 for the week with Simon Littlejohn catching 3 of their fish on Saturday up to 20 pounds. 

Earlier in the week there was a notable 21 pounds fish for 93-year-old Tommy Saville, the largest he had caught in his fishing career. The Tay certainly seems the be the place to achieve these goals this year.  

The Middle river enjoyed similar water conditions throughout the week and fish continued to appear despite the large rise on Wednesday. 

Kercock had 1 for their week with Robert McFarlane catching a lovely 9 pounds fish on the fly. The Murthly area didn’t have such a good week but with settling river conditions that should change this coming week. Glendelvine had a couple including another memorable fish on Saturday weighing 25 pounds. Newtyle had 3 in the week with 

Ronnie Fraser and 

Andrew Donald catching similar sized fish on the fly from the Cotter early in the week. 

At the end on the week Mark Currie landed his first ever fish from the Ferry Pool weighing 20 pounds. Dunkeld House, Dalmarnock and Dalguise had a single fish for their week. Mike Sutton caught the fish on Dalmarnock from the boat weighing 10 pounds and Michael Carr caught a 19 pounds fish on Dalguise. The Kinnaird beats had 3 fish between them

The Upper area has featured last week as fish moved up the system giving everyone hope of landing one of these memorable fish, a fish was recorded on the Farleyer. 

Loch Tay is also seeing sport with Fish n’ Trips recording recently but alas nothing reported last week. 

The Tummel was also seeing sport with six reported last week form the Pitlochry Angling Club stretch at Portnacraig up to an impressive 18 pounds and odd fish are starting to ascend the ladder with temperatures rising. 

Dave Stewart had a good day on Saturday with 2 fish up to 18 pounds on fly, a further 9 pounds fish was also landed on the fly by Neill Sproull. Further fish were caught in the week by George Renwick, Ally Gowans and David Andrew up to 14 pounds mostly on fly. 

Further downstream Munro Reid had a lovely fish from Dunfallandy and West Haugh. 

The spring salmon are now going up the Isla with Keithick Mains recording 7 fish last week including 5 on Saturday alone. Coupar Grange will also be catching slightly further upstream. 

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 encouraging figures in the past week or so however the sheer class of the fish caught continues to be outstanding and with hopefully a settled river in the coming weeks should see improved catches with a settled forecast as well.  
The Spring Salmon fishing is picking up slowly as we enter late April and hopefully some warmer weather. 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 robert.salmonfishing@googlemail.com to be included in the reports.
Salmon Fishing Scotland - By Robert White

Monday, April 16, 2018

Salmon Fishing Scotland Prospects for Tay, Perthshire w/c 16th April 2018.

Salmon Fishing Scotland Prospects for Tay, Perthshire w/c 16th April 2018.

The Salmon fishing season is now in mid April 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 but that is now changing with milder weather at long last. We have had good conditions last week with good levels and excellent conditions. The coming week is looking fairly settled with higher temperatures. This may give us some more water from melting snow but hopefully not colour the water especially on the lower river again. On the opening months several anglers braved the elements in pursuit of that magical spring salmon. The cold weather hopefully has given 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. Catches have improved and there is far more optimism after a slow start. 

On the nature front the first Sand Martins, Swifts and Swallows are starting to arrive, Ospreys are being seen, Ducks are about to have their first broods of young and Sand Pipers are on the river banks. Dippers are darting past getting food for their young and you could see the flash of a Kingfisher. Blue bells will be coming out in the woods, it is truly magical to be salmon fishing in Perthshire on the banks of the silvery Tay.

Currently the river is running fairly settled at Caputh in perfect condition ( 2’ 6) and similarly on the lower river (just above 4’) on the Ballathie gauge but may rise further with rain forecast on Tuesday and milder weather melting snow.

The weather is to be reasonably settled over the next week with the chance of some rain on Tuesday and Wednesday with much milder temperatures gently taking us out of winter. There will not be a frost any night in the coming week and temperature will come up as the week progresses. 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 was cold but now at around 45 degrees Fahrenheit or 7 degrees Celsius is warming slowly (taken on lower river at midday on Monday). 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. 
Line. 
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. 
Baits.
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 – 31stMay 2018 is that all spring salmon should be released, i.e. the Tay has a policy of 100% catch and release of all salmon caught in this period. 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. 


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 robert.salmonfishing@googlemail.com to be included in the reports.

Salmon Fishing Scotland - By Robert White

Salmon Fishing Scotland Tay, Perthshire Salmon fishing report w/e 14th April 2018.

Salmon Fishing Scotland Tay, Perthshire Salmon fishing report w/e 14th April 2018.

The Tay, Perthshire is now in mid April for salmon fishing with higher expectation in recent weeks and we have had a cold weather pattern generally however that is slowly disappearing now with a far milder forecast. 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 plus numerous 20 pounds plus 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 14th April)
SALMON & GRILSE: Benchil 1, Catholes 1, Upper Scone 4, Burnmouth 1, Taymount 5, Ballathie 1, Cargill 3, Islamouth 12, Meikleour and Upper Islamouth 4, Kercock 2, Delvine Burnbane 3, Murthly 1 5, Glendelvine 4, Murthly 2 5, Newtyle 1, Dunkeld House 2, Dalguise 1, Lower Kinnaird 1, Upper Kinnaird 2, Edradynate 1, Farleyer Upper 1, Farleyer Lower 1, Loch Tay Fish n' Trips 1, Portnacraig Pitlochry 5.
Total: 67 Largest: Portnacraig Pitlochry 26lbs

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 settled despite some melting snow from high ground due to slightly higher temperatures, however colder nights made the river not rise dramatically to give good conditions. At the end of last week even milder weather melted snow on high ground but that has not upset things. The numbers were heartening with around seventy fresh spring salmon recorded last week making it another consistent week. It is early yet with only small runs coming into the river and fluctuating weather can make fishing difficult however as the fish travel slowly upriver most beats are catching. 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 had another reasonable week with clear water despite some gradual snow melt which continues to keep the water temperature favorable for the lower beats. Benchil was the lowest beat to have success with George McKinlay landing a 7 pounds fish from the Long Shot. 

Upper Scone had a reasonable week with 4 fish off the Pitlochrie beat which included a lovely 10 pounds fish from Horsey on the fly. 

There was a single fish caught on Catholes by Cairan Canney with a Devon casting from the boat weighing an impressive 18 pounds. Burnmouth had one in the week as well. Taymount caught 5 for former ghillie on the beat, Geordie Maitlands week. Ballathie had one with Cargill landing 3 during the week for successful anglers, Gavin Mason, Simon Smith and Danny Steele. Just upstream Islamouth had an excellent week with 12 up to the lower twenties in weight with Bill Jacks party having good success early in the week mostly on fly. 

Upper Islamouth and Meikleour continue to do well with another 4 fish last week with Pete Grose catching 3 up to 18 pounds. 

The Middle river enjoyed good water conditions throughout the week and fish continued to appear. Kercock had 2 for their week with 

John Kitchenman landing a 12 pounds beauty and then 

Kenny Milne caught a superb 20 pounds fish on Saturday. 

Delvine Burnbane had a better week with 3 fish up to 20 pounds and also a lovely fresh fish on the last turn of the boat on Saturday for Perth and District member Dennis Robb. The Murthly area seems to be holding a few fish with 14 off the area last week for Glendelvine and the 2 Murthly beats. 

Newtyle had a superb 17 pounder for Fishmaster owner Jouni Rauha from Finland casting the fly in the Cotter. He brought a party of keen fly fishers over from Finland for the weeks fishing, but he was the only one to have success. Dunkeld House had 2 and Dalguise had 1 during the week. The Kinnaird beats finished with 3 between the two beats. 

The Upper area has featured last week as fish moved up the system giving everyone hope of landing one of these memorable fish, fish were recorded on the Farleyer beats and Edradynate. 

Loch Tay is also seeing sport with Fish n’ Trips recording 1 last week caught by Alan Brown weighing 8 pounds. 


The Tummel was also seeing sport with five reported last week form the Pitlochry Angling Club stretch at Portnacraig up to an impressive 26 pounds. The successful anglers included Jimmy Robertson with a 9 pounder, Jim Fisher with one at 17 both on fly, then later in the week 2 superb fish of 21 and 26 pounds were caught again on fly by 

Ally Gowans and 

Steve Watt. Further fish were also caught just downstream on the clubs Sawmill Stream beat as fish arrive in the Pitlochry area in numbers and gather below the Dam. Dunfallandy and West Haugh didn’t report any last week. 

East Haugh also had a few last week with Steve Watt landing 2 up to 22 pounds and Malcolm Andersons party having a couple up to 24 pounds. 

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 encouraging figures in the past week however the sheer class of the fish caught continues to be outstanding and with hopefully a settled river in the coming week should see improved catches with a settled forecast as well.  
The Spring Salmon fishing is picking up slowly as we enter April and hopefully some warmer weather. 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 robert.salmonfishing@googlemail.com to be included in the reports.
Salmon Fishing Scotland - By Robert White

Monday, April 9, 2018

Salmon Fishing Scotland Prospects for Tay, Perthshire w/c 9th April 2018.

Salmon Fishing Scotland Prospects for Tay, Perthshire w/c 9th April 2018.

The Salmon fishing season is now in April 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 but that is now changing with milder weather at long last. We have had varied conditions last week with the river now settling back to good levels and excellent conditions as of Monday. 

The coming week is looking fairly settled. 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 ( 2’) and similarly on the lower river (just below 4’) on the Ballathie gauge but may rise further with rain forecast on Tuesday and milder weather melting snow.

The weather is to remain reasonably settled over the next week with the chance of some rain Tuesday and milder temperatures gently taking us out of winter. There will not be a frost any night in the coming week but the temperature will not be shooting upwards until next 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 42 degrees Fahrenheit or 5.5 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. 
Line. 
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. 
Baits.
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 – 31stMay 2018 is that all spring salmon should be released, i.e. the Tay has a policy of 100% catch and release of all salmon caught in this period. 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. 


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 robert.salmonfishing@googlemail.com to be included in the reports.
Salmon Fishing Scotland - By Robert White

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