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(Last updated: Tuesday 17th October)
Salmon fishing season on the Tay in Perthshire has now ended with changeable autumnal conditions, slightly colder weather plus reasonable water levels from rain at times and catches have been steady with autumn
arriving. The temperatures had started to drop making the resident salmon more aggressive, a few more fresh fish were being seen, giving everyone a chance of landing a good Tay salmon before the season ended.
On the nature front as autumn arrives the Sand Martins, Swifts and Swallows have departed quickly, the Ospreys have already gone for warmer climes, Ducks have their broods of young growing up steadily and Kingfishers dart past on the river banks. Even the odd Sea Eagle can be seen if you are very lucky. Recent weeks have seen the first Geese arriving. Odd wild flowers are still in bloom, the autumn colours are now showing, it is truly magical to be salmon fishing in Perthshire on the banks of the silvery Tay where a salmon was a bonus.
July was the rivers best month so far for fresh fish running and August was steady with more salmon landed in warmer weather and river conditions have improved as the weeks have gone with plenty of fresh water. Settling river levels after rain recently and water temperatures dropping had improved catches with autumn well underway and a few more fresh fish were being seen as last week of the season got underway. Recent rain has helped to spice things up. It was another reasonable week despite fairly unsettled conditions with around 130 fish landed and the biggest one recorded was 20 pounds from Stobhall. Spring is now a distant memory for 2017 and Summer has disappeared as we move deep into Autumn. Some of the fish that have been caught are memorable as typical Tay specimens due to their size and depth with only a few grilse caught so far.
This past week again saw more fish from the lower river scattered throughout the beats with a spread in catches mainly due to water temperatures dropping and resident fish becoming more aggressive. The beats at Stanley and below are seeing sport and the rise in water levels in recent times may just have spiced things up by encouraging salmon into the river however fresh fish were a premium as there has only been a very weak autumn run. The very lower part of the river is producing consistent catches with Almondmouth, Waulkmill and Lower Redgorton all catching in the week but in disappointing numbers for the time of year. The beats further up were not fairing any better as everyone hoped for some form of autumn run which did not materialise. On Luncarty Max Cole managed a last day fish caught on a vision. On Fishponds the Horlock party enjoyed a bit of success landing fish throughout the week. At Stanley Simon Smedley enjoyed a few days earlier in the week land 3 salmon up to 12 pounds including a lovely fresh fish from the little Shot on Benchil. Austrian visitor, Harold Neumueller enjoyed success on the Catholes with a 15 pounds fish from the Catholes Stream on the fly. Taymount and Stobhall had just over 30 between them in the week with Ray Bailey's party having a good week on Stobhall. Ballathie had a reasonable week with fish most days and a 19 pounder on the last day. Cargill was similar with Ian Jardine, Neil French and Gavin Mason being amongst the action. Islamouth had a quieter week as the season drew to a close however it was another very successful year for the Tay's most productive beat with just short of 500 fish. Upper Islamouth and Meikleour finished their season with 5 fish which included Des Beirne landing a personal best at 15 pounds on the fly, Kevin Reed landing a couple and Scott Sykes landing 2 on the last day up to 18 pounds.
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The middle river continued to be extremely disappointing despite dropping river temperatures and more water not producing good sport however there have been odd exceptions. Kercock finished the last week with
4 which included a good fish for Samantha Datta assisted by beat ghillie Gary Harkin. Delvine saw the Thompson party land a 12 pounds fish. Murthly, Newtyle, Dunkeld House, Dalmarnock and the Kinnaird beats had
odd fish in the week.
The upper river was seeing steady sport with fish recently caught and reported last week at Edradynate and Findynate including one at 18 pounds. Further fish were reported from the Dochart at Strathfillan.
The Tummel has been quiet from the Port-na-Craig beat administered by Pitlochry Angling Club but there are now well over 4000 fish through the Dam resulting in fish being recorded in Loch Faskally and odd fish up the system at Ruan Ruarie. Further upstream fish have also been caught in the Tilt.
The Isla is seeing salmon run up the river and progressing to the Ericht. 4 came off Keithick Mains.
The Earn has seen a run of salmon and sea trout progress up the river with a good few fish caught in the system over recent weeks.
The Salmon fishing season is finally over for 2017. It had been a difficult season but there still have been quite a few memorable fish caught. We now look forward to 2018 and what it will bring!