(Last updated: Wednesday 21st June)
The Salmon fishing season is now in Mid season on the mighty Tay in Perthshire, Scotland as we enter mid 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 and it is now dropping back nicely. The lower river levels have not stopped fish running and triggering off reasonable
catches, however the increased flows have helped 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
On the nature front the Sand Martins, Swifts and Swallows have are in the skies, Ospreys are being seen, Ducks have their first and second broods of young and Sand Pipers are on the river banks. Wild flowers are in 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 and setting back with improving conditions (below 2' on the Ballathie gauge) to hopefully encourage more late spring salmon to run.
The weather is to be more settled over the week with some rain forecast. 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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 l