(Last updated: Monday 18th May)
The salmon fishing on the Tay in Perthshire has improved in recent weeks with good conditions for fishing and reasonably settled water levels have prevailed to give the river an excellent April and even better results in May. Traditionally in this period we see good spring runs and steady conditions as fish spread throughout the system, this may be the catalyst for even better catches which hopefully will continue over the next few weeks. Expectation remains high on the river for 2015 after consistent catches recently and hopefully favourable conditions may trigger off improving runs as we go deeper into May to give everyone a chance of landing a spring “Bar of Silver”.
Spring salmon were landed last week in continued better numbers in varied conditions but colder spring sunshine and this recorded the rivers best weekly catch of the season so far. Good numbers were landed daily
signaling another superb late spring week from all over as the river level receded and the quality of the salmon caught remained outstanding with fish caught in the late teens and early twenties. Sea trout are
making an appearance as well with some top quality fish caught. On the nature front the 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. The wild flowers are coming out as well with Blue Bells, Primroses and Lupines appearing. It is true what they say, “ a salmon is a bonus!”
Salmon have been caught throughout the system this past week in reasonable numbers, which is understandable with the superb conditions making it ideal as fish are running harder due to the warmer water temperatures and fish are spreading throughout the river. Rain at the start of this week may have encouraged more to run. The mandatory government catch and release restrictions have ended however the river would ask everyone to still release all spring fish to preserve what we have for future years. Return rates are at an all time low and spring salmon are a precious resource to the Tay and all rivers in Scotland. If an area of the river starts to kill salmon to excess the mandatory policy will ultimately increase beyond the spring and maybe for the whole season that would not be a popular concept for our fragile rural economy. Thank you for all who preserve the recommendations and shame on the few who cannot, their shortsighted outlook will bring everyone down and cost jobs throughout Scotland's river systems.
On the Lower Tay below Stanley there have only been odd fish recorded but Sea Trout are starting to appear in numbers however on the beats just above the Stanley area catches remained reasonable despite rising water temperatures. The time of year has arrived when all the boats come off the beats at Stanley and below until July for summer fishing. Bank fishing is available with reasonably priced daily permits and summer permits covering the whole period. On Benchil Mel Lackie caught a 9 pounds salmon on the flying C from the Long Shot and Sea Trout were also being caught from the lower beats with superb quality fish recorded up to 4 and 5 pounds. Salmon were caught on Almondmouth, Waulkmill and Upper Redgorton as well. John Lessels and John Tait both caught fish to 9 pounds on Thursday plus a couple of Seatrout from Upper Redgorton. Taymount and Stobhall continued to catch fish on a regular basis. Cargill and Ballathie caught as well but ideally would want lower river levels at this time of year. On Cargill 4 salmon were landed during the week with the successful anglers including Steve Curnow with a 14 pounds fish and Mr McGunnagil with his first ever salmon. Islamouth continued their recent good spell with 15 fish during the week with John Cuthbert and Jamie Aird being amongst the successful anglers catching on the fly from the Long Head and Green Bank respectively. Upper Islamouth and Meikleour had another great week that included 6 fish on Friday. Stephen Bolton got their week off to a flying start with 7 pounds fish from the Boxwood pool then Thursday saw Charlie Yeoman land a cracking fish while fly fishing the Castle Pool. Shortly after lunch, 88 year old Mr. Guest, landed another fly caught fish, this time a 12lb'er from Upper Islamouth. Stephen Bolton added another 7lb'er from the Boxwood Bush. Then it was a first salmon for Emmie Hubberstey, who on her very first fishing holiday landed a beautiful wee fish of 6lbs from Birch Bank. 6 springers were landed for the Orsen and McGuire parties, with a further 3 fish lost the following day up to 17 pounds and were caught throughout the beat by both fly fishing and spinning. Father and son team, the McGuires came for a day and were both rewarded with a fish. Most of the fish were sea-liced and fish were being seen all week. Superb sport and a great week.
The Middle river is continuing to see more fish with far better results this past week again and this should continue over the coming weeks in rising temperatures. Kercock had a lean week but were seeing fish running through the beat and it was a frustrating time hooking plenty fish only to loose them mostly on fly. Andy Kerr managed to land one at 15 pounds. Murthly and Glendelvine had another superb week with 40 fish between them off the three beats up to around 20 pounds. Newtyle caught on most days with another successful week. Their week started off with John Clark, Glenn Crawford and Tim Hughes landing fish up to 17 pounds from all over the beat. Ronnie Fraser caught a couple on the fly from the Cotter and Boil pools, Donny Brooks achieved the same feat while James Brown caught his first ever fish at 7 pounds. Alan Boddington and Phil Bissmire caught their first ever fish on fly weighing up to 14 pounds. Dunkeld House had a superb week with 23 fish that took them over 100 fish for the season and this included a red letter day of 11 fish. The week started quietly with David Adams landing a 9 pounds fish on Monday but then all hell let loose on red letter Tuesday with 11 fish landed, and 3 lost, successful anglers included James Podmore with a 7lbs in the Rock pool which was his first salmon, Neil Turner landed 3 up to 10 pounds from the Gauge pool, Bill Silvering from USA caught 2 up to 14 pounds, Peter Jones had a 14 pounder in the Gauge Pool, Nick Jenkins caught 2 in the Gauge pool, Gordon Pollock and Simon Furniss also caught fish. What a day! Later in the week Sandra Robbins caught the beats 100th fish of the season weighing an impressive 21 pounds on the fly from the Cathedral Stream. Nigel Pearman, Bill and Sandra Robbins, Paul Richardson and Ian Dorrian got into the act as well with fish up to 14 pounds on fly and spinner at the end of the week. Dalmarnock continued their recent success with 8 for the week. Included in the catch was Ben Marshall with a 12 pounds fish on the fly. Dalguise had 4 during the week including Greg Briggs with a 12 pounds fish from the Railway Bridge. Further fish were caught on fly and spinner. Upper Kinnaird had a fish during the week.
The Tummel is continuing to produce fish on a regular basis as fish make their way up to Pitlochry dam and through it as the counter is now showing in excess of 370 with more fish being caught in Loch Faskally in the last week. All the beats below the dam have been producing fish over the last week, which has been good news. At Pitlochry Dam 8 salmon were caught and fish were landed most days during the week on the Angling club stretch. Up to Thursday Steve Watt and Andrew Wright had caught on spinners but Ian Mclaren had success with the fly landing 2 fish up to 11 pounds. At the end of the week Mike Smith, Paul Carter, Colin Pugh and Neil Tong caught on Spinner and fly with fish up to 12 pounds meanwhile Alley Gowans and Les Dargie had success in the clubs Sawmill stream. Brian Lindsay landed the first fish on the clubs Ruan Ruarie beat further up on the Garry. Loch Faskally reported 7 fish in the week up to 12 pounds. Successful anglers included Radosian Kamola, Alan Miller and Garreth Thorne. There was another red letter day to report on the East Haugh beat of the Tummel with at least 9 fish landed up to 22 pounds on fly and spinner. Amongst the successful anglers were Malcolm Andreson and his pal Don.
The Upper areas are also to seeing odd fish. Salmon were reported from the Farleyer, Weem and Findynate beats consistently in the week as they run up to Loch Tay.
On Loch Tay fish are continuing to be caught in reasonable numbers but nothing was reported last week.
The Isla is starting to see salmon run the river. Coupar Grange reported 10 in the middle of the week.
The Ericht is also seeing fish run up the river with 8 reported off the lower river below Blairgowrie.
The Earn are also seeing a spring salmon run but nothing was reported.
The Spring Salmon fishing season is well into May and expectation is very high after previous seasons and poor overall catches last year. April and May's catches so far hopefully have encouraged everyone after fish were caught in the system in continuing better numbers. Let us hope with improving conditions and an upturn in catches will continue. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org to be included in the reports.