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(Last updated: Monday 8th February)
Spring salmon fishing on the Tay in Perthshire has now entered February with improving conditions for fishing in colder weather and settling water levels and catches are improving. Expectation is high on the river for 2016 after successful springs in 2015, 2014 and 2013 and hopefully settled weather will continue with an improving run in February to give everyone a chance of landing a spring “Bar of Silver”.
Spring salmon were landed mostly at the end of last week with colder weather and fortune favoured those who braved the elements in some cases. The week improved from Thursaday with 16 fish landed and the biggest one recorded was an 18 pounds fish from Meikleour. It is early yet with only small runs coming into the river and very cold weather is not making fishing easy. The spring fish that have been caught so far have been superb quality and of a good size.
The majority of the salmon have been caught in the lower river, which is understandable with the cold conditions and only odd fish running. The beats around Stanley traditionally lead the way in these conditions in early spring and should be a barometer for the runs. Fishponds got off the mark with a fresh run 12 pounds fish. The Stanley beats were the most productive with John Tuckwell landing an 11 pounds fish from Pitlochrie pool on Upper Scone fishings. Further success came in Pitlochrie pool on Stanley fishings with Freddie Sutherland landing an 11 pounds fish in adverse conditions on Friday using a Toby Salmo. The Catholes produced 3 fish in the week with Danny Fulton landing a superb 17 pounds fish on Saturday. Calum King also accounted for a couple of fish off the beat as well in the Back Dam. Burnmouth opened their account with a 9 pounds fish meanwhile the Linn pool proved productive for Taymount and Stobhall. On Taymount 84 year old Arthur Muirhead landed a superb 10 pounds fish from the Green bank on the fly and Jim Ferrie landed a good fish from the boat. Slightly further upstream Upper Islamouth and Meikleour had a couple of fish including an 18 pounds beauty from the Islamouth in the boat. Upper Kinnaird reported a single fish and a fish was registered on the Earn at Lochlane and Laggan.
The Spring Salmon fishing season has now entered February and expectation is very high after previous good springs. Last weeks catches were heartening after the slow start and bad weather. Let us hope this is a sign of an upturn in catches as last February proved.
The Spring Salmon fishing was well and truly underway after all the excitement of opening day's celebrations. It has been a reasonable start so let us hope the season lives up to every ones expectations over the coming weeks and months. 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 email@example.com to be included in the reports.
Tay Salmon Fishing Review 2015.
The river Tay in Perthshire, Scotland has had a reasonable salmon fishing year by modern standards as the FishTay web site have reported 5499 Salmon and Grilse being caught for the 2015 fishing season. It must be said that salmon fishing catches are no longer easily achieved with this situation being mirrored right across the north Atlantic sea board due to problems at sea with a continued increase in smolt mortality that is out of the rivers control. In terms of the salmon and grilse catch, the 2015 season total shows an 15% increase on 2014 and a 18.3 % decrease on the 5 year average for FishTay beats. It should also be noted that there were no catches in the last 2 weeks of October this year due to the extension fishing being stopped halfing the October catch effectively.
Catches reported per month through the season were as follows Jan 34, Feb 89, Mar 307, Apr 499, May 699, Jun 657, Jul 487, Aug 907, Sep 1141 and October 679. The spring period from January to May continues to be a positive part of the season, showing a similar catch to 2014 and representing a 13.8 % increase on the 5 year average. This confirms the trend starting on the Tay 3 years ago with much better spring fishing. The early spring was steady but the late spring was very positive especially for the middle river confirming the spring proportion of the catch on the Tay is increasing year on year with this years catch being 30 % of the total. We are continuing to see the start of a change in the cycles as in the past. Further evidence of this phenomenon was the superb June ending the 2015 spring run. The summer period including June to the end of August increased by 81% on a disappointing 2014 which was very positive. The autumn period was not good as in 2014, September to October showed a 10 % decrease on 2014 due to the lack of rain and very weak run. The Grilse run improved in 2015 however there was a distinct lack of larger fish. September was the most productive month of the year due the extension ceasing in 2014 curtailing October figures. 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 2015 salmon rod catch was an improvement on 2014 with a great late spring run but with disappointments in the autumn, hopefully there will be improvements to come in 2016. The spring was again the big plus which is all ready creating massive interests in spring fishing for 2016 with much anticipation after this years autumn failing. The summer was better with the end of the spring run and a few more grilse about but the autumn was more difficult in most areas with a distinct absence of a run possibly due to the north Atlantic problems in the sea and also long periods of very low water at the end of the season. October catches were well done due to the lack of water and even the extension would not have made a difference. The river debated the extension period (last 2 weeks of October) for the future at the end of 2014 season and decided not to continue it in 2015. The rains well and truly arrived at the end of November and have continued right through December with water levels not going below 8 feet on the Ballathie gauge. There is no doubt damage has been done to the spawning especially on the main stem. Thankfully we have a hatchery at Almondbank to help, this maybe something to further develop for the future with all the weather extremes being thrown at us in recent years.
The river has had a reasonable year with some positives but 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 2015 will be a bit higher than shown on the FishTay website.