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(Last updated: Wednesday 21st June)
Spring salmon fishing on the Tay in Perthshire has seen out May with improving conditions for fishing in milder weather and settling lower water levels until recently as more water has arrived plus catches are
improving after a slow start to the season. Expectation is high on the river for 2017 after 4 successful springs and hopefully settled weather will continue with an improving run in late May and June to give
everyone a chance of landing a spring “Bar of Silver”.
On the nature front the Sand Martins, Swifts and Swallows are all over the skies, Ospreys are being seen, Ducks have broods of young, Sand Pipers are on the river banks and Kingfishers dart past. Many wild flowers are in bloom but a good few are now past their best for another year, it is truly magical to be salmon fishing in Perthshire on the banks of the silvery Tay.
May saw improvements with more salmon landed in milder weather and river conditions have improved as the weeks have gone on favouring those who braved the elements in some cases. It is early yet but considering the conditions the results so far have been disappointing as we saw out March but we are seeing an improvement with more consistent catches over the last couple of months and settling river levels after rain last week should hopefully continue to improve catches over the next few weeks. The lack of rain had dropped the river to summer levels however salmon are still running due to the Tay's sheer size as you fish another river within it. Rain was forecast at long last which has helped to spice things up. It was a better week with around 120 fish landed and the biggest one recorded was 21 pounds from Murthly. Some of the fish that have been caught are memorable as typical Tay specimens due to their size and depth. Hopefully there will be a lot more of them to come as the run develops further.
This past week saw a few fish from the lower river scattered throughout the beats with Islamouth area again proving the best beat as fish hesitate at the mouth of the Isla. The beats at Stanley and below are seeing limited sport but the rise in water levels last weekend may just spiced things up by encouraging Sea Trout into the river. The very lower part of the river is now producing more fish with Almondmouth, Waulkmill, Upper Redgorton and Upper Scone all catching. John Tait caught a lovely fresh fish on the fly from Berhaugh on the lower part of Upper Redgorton. On Upper Scone David Mitchell was amongst the fish mainly from Horsey at the lower end of Stanley. Sea trout also featured in the catches with fish up to 6 pounds reported. Further upstream Stobhall accounted for 4 in the week and the Ballathie and Cargill beats had 12 between them. On Ballathie Roger Birnam's party enjoyed a good week with fish landed up 15 pounds which included success for Stewart Wilkinson, Kevin Gardner and Roger himself. On Cargill 5 nice fish up to 19 ½ pounds were landed. John Wilson had his first Tay fish on Friday as did Gordon Robinson who landed a personal best of just under 20 pounds. 91-year-old Tom Kenyon had a grilse on the fly from Clocksden to cap a good week. Islamouth had another consistent week with John McElroy's party enjoying success earlier in the week. Neil Tong, John Campbell, Gordon Fleetwood and Philip Black all caught fish up to 13 pounds including the odd grilse. Upper Islamouth and Meikleour had another good week with water levels suiting them. Good fish were caught up to 15 pounds with John Cameron landing 2 on the fly and Bill Barnett catching also on the fly a superb fish weighing 14 pounds. Chris Staniford also had success with a spinner later in the week.
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Meikleour also hosted with their AFYD group (Angling for Youth Development) their first "HENS & BAIRNS" fishing event. They invited local mums, grannies, aunties to come with their young ones for a fun
morning of casting and fly tying. Younger ones were using single handed rods while the mums and the older youngsters had a go with salmon rods. They all made their own fly - a simple but effective trout pattern-
and had a great bonding experience on the river. Everybody left with the same question: when are we coming back? We can't wait to see these hens & bairns with a fish on.
The event would have not been possible without the hard work of all our volunteer AFYD instructors, Tom Brown who once again kindly offered his help and shared his casting knowledge and the Ghillies Calum and John for preparing the event and assisting on the day. A big thank you went out to Ian Gordon for providing AFYD with easy salmon rod outfits. A superb event, well done all concerned.
The middle river is fairing much better with rising river temperatures over recent weeks and more water should certainly help. Kercock had a better week with 5 as did Delvine Burnbane with 4. Jim Redmond, James
Redmond and Dougie McLean were all on the score sheet with fish up to 11 pounds at Kercock. Fish up to 14 pounds came from Burnbane including a good one for Willie Cumming on a Salmo. The Murthly beats did well
with 20 between them including a 21 pounder. Glendelvine had a good week as well with 7 which included a beauty for John Dewar. Newtyle had one and Dunkeld House two in the week. Ian Willis contributed a couple
of fish the Dalmarnock tally with fish up to 15 pounds on Saturday. Dalguise had 3 for the week and the Kinnaird beats had 5 between them.
The upper river is seeing steady sport with fish recently caught however there was only odd fish reported from Edradynate, Findynate and Farleyer last week.
The Tummel is continuing to see sport from the Port-na-Craig beat administered by Pitlochry Angling Club with 5 landed last week and there are now well over 3000 fish through the Dam resulting in fish being recorded in Loch Faskally. William Smith got the week off to flyer with an 18 pounds cracker on the fly, Brian Joseph caught on fly as did Bertie Warren who is a new member but he celebrated with a 3 pounds grilse. Other fish were caught in the week by John Love and Hugh Robertson up to 16 pounds. Loch Faskally caught as well with 1 fish reported.
The Isla are seeing salmon run up the river and progressing to the Ericht however nothing was reported.
The Spring Salmon fishing season has had a quiet start but has started to show signs of picking up with improving catches and some outstanding fish landed so far so let us hope the season lives up to everyone's expectations over the coming weeks and months. Tight lines!