Monday, June 12, 2017

Salmon Fishing Scotland Prospects for Tay, Perthshire w/c 12th June 2017.

Salmon Fishing Scotland Prospects for Tay, Perthshire w/c 12th June 2017.

The Salmon fishing season is now in Mid season on the mighty Tay in Perthshire, Scotland as we enter June and we have been encountering some heavy rain at times at long last resulting in fresh water in the river. The river has been low for quite a period but the rain has brought the river up. The lower river levels have not stopped fish running and triggering off reasonable catches, however the increased flows should help even further. We have had unsettled conditions over the past week which hopefully will continue to give more optimism and now there has been some rain as well at long last rising river levels considerably. The weather hopefully will remain reasonable to give a greater chance of producing some sport and some early "Bars of Silver" if you are prepared to brave the elements.
On the nature front the first Sand Martins, Swifts and Swallows have arrived, Ospreys are being seen, Ducks have their first broods of young and Sand Pipers are on the river banks. Blue bells are out in the woods and the Lupines are starting to bloom, it is truly magical to be salmon fishing in Perthshire on the banks of the silvery Tay.
Currently the river is at better levels after rain recently with improving conditions (below 4’ on the Ballathie gauge) to hopefully encourage more late spring salmon to run.
The weather is to be slightly unsettled over the start of the week with some rain forecast but improve as the week progresses. There is a chance that this may give us more water and spice the river up encouraging even more fish to run. Milder temperatures and no rain had basically brought the river down to summer levels however the river is still big enough to encourage salmon to run by its sheer size, we are just fishing another river within it now. The milder weather has given us higher water temperatures which would have encouraged salmon to run the river including over 3000 fish through the ladder at Pitlochry.
The water temperature has dropped back a bit with the fresh water after much warmer weather recently and is now hovering around 59F or 15C over the last few days but hopefully may drop back with a cooler forecast over the next few days. The temperature in recent days will encourage salmon to run throughout the system as earlier resulting in fish being caught well up the system depending on water levels. Hopefully there might be a chance of a fresh fish anywhere in the river.
The Tay in Perthshire is a prime spring salmon fishing destination so why not give it a go?
Popular hotels to stay in the area are the Tayside Hotel in Stanley, Ballathie House, The Meikleour Arms, Murrayshall Hotel, Scone and the Royal Dunkeld Hotel.
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 from June to the end of 2017 Season is that
• All hen fish of any size and all cock fish over 10 pounds should be released.
• All coloured and gravid fish to be released.
• No more than one clean fish weighing, where possible, less than 10 pounds should be retained per angler per day.
• Anglers should not use worms in September or October in any part of the district.

Please help preserve both them and the long term future of your sport by following the recommendations. It is vital the river system follows these guides to ensure the draconian rules do not get extended in seasons to come.
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

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