During the last two weeks anglers have been out fishing for the ultimate prize, a spring atlantic salmon in temperatures at times way below zero.
Two anglers were rewarded on the opening day of the rivers Tay and Upper Ness with the first salmon in Scotland for 2018. The first on the fly was caught on the Upper Ness system of the Moriston. The Tay system produced the largest fish in Scotland at 21lbs, caught trolling in Loch Tay. Congratulations to both anglers.
It was a pleasure to be fishing with Scott Mackenzie of Mackenzie Fly Fishing on the opening of the Helmsdale. Sir Michael Wigan's speech emphasised returning Kelts with care and respect - see speech.
On the Tay, we fished with Gary Scott of LTS Rods on Dalmarnock beat. The Interim chairman of the Tay & District Salmon Board, Iain McLaren, during his speech talked about conservation and in particular catch and release. Dr David Summers head biologist of the Tay said "early running spring salmon on the Tay are getting bigger. The mean weight of fish caught between January and March last year was 12.8lb."
At the Tay opening Mark Cockburn handed over a cheque to the Tay Foundation for £795.80 from angler donations made when booking fishing on the FishTay website. We would like to say a huge thank you to everyone who has made a donation when booking their fishing through the site.
Mark with David Summers from the Tay Foundation.
This year we are asking anglers if they would like to become a FishPal river reporter. If this is of interest, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
We know a lot of you take some super photos and video clips on your mobile phones. If you have a photo to share, or would like to see something featured in our newsletters or on social media, please do give the office a call or send your photo via email to email@example.com or direct message it to us via the FishPal Facebook page.
Everyone at FishPal would like to wish you a successful 2018 fishing season.
During the last few months we've been adding new beats to the Far North fishing section and we hope to add more during the coming months.
Five miles of double bank fishing on Glencassley Estate.
Near Bonar Bridge North of Inverness, lies Glencassley Estate which has been a private fishery for many years. We are delighted that once again the Estate is inviting anglers to experience the varied and exciting fishing Glencassley has to offer.
This beat has not been fished for many years. If it is peace and tranquility and excellent fishing within a remote location that you are looking for, then this is for you. There is accommodation nearby in the
shape of two country hotels -
Three miles of double bank fishing on Lairg Estate water
Not far from Glencassley is the nearby Lairg Estate on the Upper Shin. Close to the town of Lairg, this river offers a variety of fishing and is a typical Northern spate river. Anglers can enjoy 3 miles of double bank fishing. This river is perfect for those wishing to fish using smaller rods and tactics associated with them. This is not a 15ft rod river - read more.
Tom Carter has been working closely with both Estates. Please give him a call on 01573 470612 if you need further information, alternatively visit their pages on FishPal.
FishPal's Joe Early will be fishing the Blackwater.
Some rivers are now open in Ireland and so far no spring fish have been reported. The last few years the Drowes which opened on January 1st has caught its first Spring fish in February.
February 1st sees the opening of the Munster Blackwater. FishPal's Joe Early will be reporting live via our Facebook page from Glenda Powell's beat at Upper Kilmorey.
If you have always wanted to fish in Ireland, you can now find and book fishing for the Blackwater on our FishIreland site. For the latest availability and places to fish on the Munster Blackwater system please visit the site or give Tom a call in the office on 01573 470612.
Although it was a bitterly cold day, the river was in fine fettle and the turnout from locals and anglers exceeded last years numbers. It was good to see the achievements of a young local angler recognised with the honour of the first cast.
Sutherland School Pipe Band led the opening day procession.
Anglers were asked to "Be respectful of kelts" as it is thought that 1 in 10 return back to the river to spawn. You can listen to the speech here.
With less than 2 weeks to go before more rivers open, excitement is starting to build up for the start of the salmon season on River's Tweed, Dee, Brora, Hebrides, Teith and Ness.
The annual opening of the Teith takes place at Ancaster Square at 9am on 1st February. This years opening day is all about the communities surrounding the Teith and Forth. Local Callander resident Mike Luti will be doing the honours of officially opening the season. Anglers are invited to fish on opening day and until 10th February free of charge on Stirling Council water - read more.
Inverness Angling Club invites all members and friends to gather at the Mill Stream Pool, behind the Holm Mills Shopping Village, to mark the opening of the River Ness on the 1st February.
Following an old tradition the start of the Tweed salmon season will see the river blessed by the local vicar on the 1st February at Pedwell Landing.
The River Dee salmon fishing season will open on the 1st of February at Banchory Lodge, Aberdeenshire at 10am - read more.
There are plenty rods available either free of charge or at sensible prices for the rivers opening in February. Please give Tom a call on 01573 470612 for places to fish during February or visit the find fishing page.
FishPal are starting to make changes to bring us into compliance with the new GDPR regulations which are designed to protect people's personal data. Every business is making significant changes to the way they handle data and how and to whom it is passed.
To help fisheries or their ghillies to still be able to contact you, we have provided a way for them to message you by email or text using our systems (but without seeing the relevant email address or mobile phone number). Fisheries may wish to use this system to ask you for your contact details - read more.
This years Malloch Trophy Winner Tom Bonniwell, who caught a magnificent 44lb salmon on the River Awe last year was presented with his winners trophy by Marina Gibson during the opening of the River Tay.
Tom also won a Mackenzie DTX rod of his choice from Mackenzie Fly Fishing. A box of salmon flies of his choice from Caledonia Fly Company. A solid silver miniture replica of the Malloch Trophy, a £250 FishPal fishing voucher and a £200 House of Bruar voucher.
Congratulations to Gordon Armstrong for the first Atlantic Salmon on the fly in Scotland for 2018. His Spring fish was caught on the River Moriston at the Glenmoriston Estate in the Highlands. The fish weighed 17.5lbs and was safely released. Huge thank you to Screaming Reels Scotland for photographs and a short video.
A scale taken from the fish confirms that it was indeed a 'springer'. The scale shows a lack of 'erosion' on the edge of the scale indicating that it had been in freshwater for a relatively short length of time. This is a 'replacement' scale (one that the fish has lost and subsequently grown back) and so we cannot determine its full age, however it looks to have three sea winters.
Claire Mercer Nairn leading anglers to the river.
Last week saw opening day events throughout the Tay system with the largest ceremonies taking place at Meikleour and Kenmore. At Meikleour, the Tay & District Salmon Board official opening event took place. Perth and Kinross Provist Dennis Malloy and Claire Mercer-Nairn formally opened the river. The first symbolic cast in front of an enthusiastic crowd was made by Marina Gibson.
Interim chairman Iain McLaren said during his speech: "There is little doubt that we are experiencing a period of major changes in the Tay's salmon runs. It is the Board's responsibility to act whenever necessary to protect and conserve our valuable wild salmon stocks. "After due consideration and in line with the precautionary principle, we are introducing new restrictions or limits on the number of fish that anglers may kill in the summer and early autumn."
He said: "Previously, we advised anglers not to keep any fish at all in the spring and no more than one fresh-run male grilse per day after June 1. As that could add up to a significant number over the season, we are asking anglers now to keep no more than the very occasional fresh-run fish during this period — unless of course, there happens to be a sudden recovery in grilse numbers this year. All females must be returned."
On the plus side, early running spring salmon are getting bigger. The mean weight of fish caught on the River Tay between January and March last year was 12.8lb.
Anglers with fish caught during opening week.
Opening week produced fish of 12lbs, 14lbs, 16lbs, 19lbs and 21lbs from Cargill, Ballathie, Glendelvine, Stobhall and Loch Tay showing that fish are well spread throughout the whole system - latest river report.
If you would like more information on beats to try for salmon, sea trout and trout along with places to stay, please visit the FishTay website or give Tom a call in the office on 01573 470612.
We have a great selection of places to fish and stay in 2018 for salmon, trout and grayling in the UK, Ireland and Iceland.
If there is a beat we don't yet have availability for, don't forget to book a rod alert so you can be notified by email when rods are added, or give Tom Carter a call in the office on 01573 470612.
During the following weeks Monday 29th October to Saturday 3rd November and Monday 5th to Saturday 10th November anglers can fish the Old Melrose beat on Tweed for 6 days for £660 including accommodation in a newly refurbished estate cottage (minimum booking of 2 rods).
There are plenty of activities for non fishing members of a party. Edinburgh is a mere 60 minutes by train and the towns of Melrose and Kelso are nearby. Please contact Tom Carter for more information on 01573 470612.
Kelt photograph courtesy of The Atlantic Salmon Trust.
During the early spring months when fish are making their way back out to sea, a silvery coloured fish caught by an angler can sometimes be mistaken for a clean fish, one that has recently entered the river and has not yet spawned.
Kelts are salmon which have spawned and are usually identified by the thin shape, distended vent and presence of "gill maggots" on the red gill filaments. They are often encountered by anglers in spring when they regain a silvery appearance and can be mistaken for fresh run Springers - read more.
Along with the kelt there are some other classifications of salmon to be aware of when fishing in the early spring. The baggot or 'baggit fish' is a female salmon which is still full of mature eggs. They get their name as their bodies are plump, soft and 'baggy' with the eggs in them and are a silvery colour - read more.
Within The Atlantic Salmon Trust sites learning zone there is a excellent salmon recognition section.
Gone Fishing Radio Programme broadcasts each Saturday from 8 am to 10 am. with live reports from England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales on all angling disciplines. You can tune in live on www.cvfm.org.uk and "Listen Live”. You can listen to this weeks show by following this link.
FishPal are part of the weekly show with live salmon fishing reports in the UK & Ireland.