Prospects

Prospects for coming week

(Last updated: Monday 16th April)

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. 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 u




Opening Day on the River Tay, Perthshire
Opening day on the 2016 season. Read the tips below on how to ensure the safe release of your salmon.

How to Safely Release a Salmon

The best method of releasing a salmon is to leave it in the water and touch nothing but the hook with fingers or pliers. Whatever the method, care combined with speed, will give the fish the best chance of survival. Lee Wulff, Atlantic Salmon Journal Winter 1964/65.

• Use barbless or pinched hooks
• Retrieve your fish quickly; release it immediately
• Keep the fish in the water
• Use rubber or knotless cotton net, if one must be used
• Cut the leader if necessary
• Remove the hook carefully
• Hold the fish gently in natural swimming position, facing upstream until it revives
• Don't pump the fish. That is, don't move the fish back and forth in the water.

How should hooks be removed?

Very carefully. In quiet water, bring the wild salmon quickly within reach. Leaving the salmon in water and without squeezing it, remove the hook carefully with pliers or thumb and forefinger. If a net must be used, it should be rubber or knotless cotton. If necessary, cut the leader near the fly and spare the fish.

The Science of Live Release
Peer-reviewed science supports live release as a proven and effective conservation tool. Dr Fred Whoriskey, ASF Vice-President, Research & Environment.

Opening Day on the River Tay, Perthshire


Live Release Salmon.

Use a Digital camera or phone: make settings on the camera before you begin fishing or use a point and shoot film camera. Give it to your partner before the angling session. Whether a digital camera or a film camera, tell your partner to fill the frame, and take several images and allow the Fish to Continue its Spawning Run. Support the salmon underwater in a natural position facing the current, handling it as little as possible. Give it time to recover, and release the fish.

Weather information

In a sport where success can be directly related to the particular weather and water conditions, accurate information, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week is invaluable. By regularly checking our links to the sites listed below anglers can be well informed on how the week's weather pattern is developing.

Metcheck (includes sunrise & sunset times)
www.metoffice.gov.uk
www.bbc.co.uk/weather/
www.greatweather.co.uk


Tidal information

Seven day predictions from the Admiralty EasyTide site are available at:

Perth