(Last updated: Thursday 4th December)
Tay opens 15th January 2015.
The river Tay in Perthshire, Scotland has had a difficult salmon fishing year by modern standards as the FishTay web site have reported only 4667 Salmon and Grilse being caught for the 2014 fishing season. It
must be said that this situation has been mirrored right across the north Atlantic area due to problems at sea with more smolt mortality than normal that is out of the rivers control. In terms of the salmon and
grilse catch, the 2014 season total shows an 42.5 % decrease on 2013 and a 30.8 % decrease on the 5 year average for FishTay beats.
Catches reported per month through the season were as follows Jan 32, Feb 124, Mar 481, Apr 547, May 429, Jun 200, Jul 181, Aug 683, Sep 779 and October 1211. The spring period from January to May was the most positive part of the season, showing a 28 % decrease on 2013 but a 23% increase on the 5 year average. There seems to be trend starting on the Tay with much better spring fishing. March showed a 23% increase on a very good 2013 season but the late spring run in April and May did not materialize as in 2013, which was disappointing however the spring proportion of the catch on the Tay is increasing year on year with this years catch being 34.6% of the total. Could we be seeing the start of a change in the cycles as in the past? Further evidence of this phenomenon is the disappointing summer period with less grilse being caught. June to August was down 48.7% on 2013. The autumn period, September to October showed a 47.6% decrease on 2013 due to the lack of rain and very weak run. October continues to be the most productive month of the year helped by the extension period to the end of the month. Another aspect of the catch was the continuation of larger multi sea winter salmon being caught throughout the Tay system in the 20 to 30 pounds class, which the river has been famous for over the years.
To provide some context it has to be said the 2014 salmon rod catch was extremely disappointing and everyone is glad it is over with hopefully improvements to come in 2015. The spring was again the big plus which is all ready creating massive interest in spring fishing for 2015 and the on coming season is being greeted with much anticipation after this years failings. The summer and autumn was more difficult in most areas due to the north Atlantic problems in the sea and also long periods of very low water. The end of the season was a bit better due to more water but still down on previous years and there was with a feeling that a real autumn run had not taken place. Fresh salmon were still running the river right up to the last day in limited numbers and the extra 2 weeks extension continued to give the local economy a much needed boost. The river is currently debating whether to continue with the extension period for the future and news of that result should be available soon.
The river has had a difficult year and everyone expects a lot more so every effort must be made to take the river forward to the levels of the past and put the mighty Tay in its rightful position of being the premiere salmon fishing destination in the world. The river has had another good spring run and catch this season, which may just be down to the majority of anglers returning salmon over the past seasons. Thank you to all anglers who have this season returned their salmon and in particular spring salmon to maintain our sport for the future, it is vitally important and is a great contribution by individuals who care for their sport and the river. Well done! It should be pointed out there are a number of beats that do not report catches on the FishTay website and the full rod catch for the River Tay in 2014 will be a bit higher than shown on the FishTay website.