(Last Updated: Monday 20 March)
CATCHES IMPROVE ON THE MIGHTY RIVER TAY AS A SPRINGER OVER THIRTY POUNDS IS LANDED!
(River Tay weekly report week ending 18th March 2023)
We have now moved into mid-March and over the next few weeks we should be entering the prime spring period for many salmon fishing beats on the Tay system. Gradually the runs of salmon entering the system destined for the River Isla and Tummel should start to gain momentum. This is in addition to the fish that run the main river into Loch Tay and beyond.
It has been a strange spell of weather in recent days. At the beginning of the week, milder air coupled with rain led to a thaw and the river rose quickly due to the rain and snow melt. However, temperatures dropped significantly on Tuesday and Wednesday and at night were well below freezing. Towards the end of the week, temperatures rose once again. Indeed, on Friday some parts of Perthshire recorded temperatures in double figures and this led to a further lift in the water. The water temperature last week was 38.1 degrees Fahrenheit which is 3.4 degrees Celsius. Catches improved on the River Tay last week and a springer in excess of thirty pounds was landed.
Young Jake McFarlane had a day to remember when he was trolling on Loch Tay with his Dad. Jake hooked, played and landed a cracking fifteen pounder on a fifteen foot rod on Thursday. It is just great to see the younger generation enjoying our sport. Well-done young man! On the upper river both the Farleyer beats produced fish up to nineteen pounds last week. Mr John Muir had an evening to remember at the Portnacraig Beat on Wednesday. Jonh was fishing the Portnacraig bank when he hooked and landed a lovely springer on the spinner. The fish weighed sixteen pounds and was safely returned. On Friday Portnacraig regular Mr Steve Watt had a fifteen pounder on the spinner from the Portnacraig bank. There were two more fish caught from the beat on Saturday. Successful anglers included Mr Martin Timmins and Mr James Broomhall.
It was great to see the Dunkeld Beat produce a nice fish on Wednesday. The fish was caught from the Mouse Trap and weighed eleven pounds. There was also a couple of fish lost from the beat on the same day. On Friday there were two more fish caught from the beat. It was an eventful morning for Mr David Gardner at Newtyle on Wednesday. Mr Gardner was fishing the fly in Boil when he hooked a decent fish. After a few powerful runs, the fish came to the surface and was clearly fresh and around the twenty pounds mark. Unfortunately, it went on to throw the hook. However later that morning Mr Gardner was fishing the Steps and hooked another fish and this time there was a much happier ending when he landed a lovely fourteen pounder. There was more success at Newtyle on Saturday.
It was a red-letter day on the Murthly beats on Thursday with a total of six springers caught. There were four springers caught from the Murthly 2 Beat and also a couple from the Murthly 1 Beat. The good sport continued with the Murthly 2 Beat finishing the week with six fish. It is great to see such good sport on the middle river. There were two nice fish caught on the fly from the Glendelvine Beat on Wednesday. Mr Stuart Lang was one of the successful anglers.
Mr Petley who was fishing the Meikleour Beat enjoyed his first ever visit to the Tay. On Monday Mr Petley landed a cracking fifteen pounder from the tail of Boxwood Bush. On Wednesday Mr Petley landed two more springers including a fourteen pounder from the Castle Pool. Three springers in three days is great sport in anyone’s book! On Friday there was more success at Meikleour this time for Mr Archie Stirling-Aird who caught a fabulous nineteen pounder from the beat. What a fish! There were two more fishing caught from the beat on Saturday including a twenty two pounder rounding off an excellent week.
It was good to see the Taymount Beat produce a fish on Thursday.Mr Simon Furniss was fishing the Luncarty Pool on the Fishponds Beat on Wednesday when he got a savage take on a Vision110 lure. What ensued was a relentless battle with the fish making numerous deep surging runs. After a terrific and at times savage fight Mr Furniss went on to land a magnificent springer which tipped the scales at thirty one pounds. The fish was sea liced and safely returned.
On closer inspection of the Owner hooks, Mr Furniss realised that the hooks had been bent during the fight due to the sheer power of the fish and so was a very relieved man. What a fish and it just goes to show the calibre of fish which run the Tay system at this time of year. There were also fish caught on other beats last week but those beats wish to remain anonymous for the purposes of this report.
We would like to thank all the ghillies and beat owners on the River Tay system who have contributed to this report by providing their time and information as the weekly report would not be possible without your help and support. If you would like to share any interesting stories or pictures from your time fishing on the River Tay for the purposes of this report, please free to contact us at
Good luck to all those anglers fishing on the River Tay next week.
Samantha & Sandy Datta
Beat catches reported (for beats reporting on Fishpal only)
(week ending 18th March)
SALMON & GRILSE: Loch Tay 1, Upper Farleyer 2, Lower Farleyer 2, Portnacraig Piltochry 4, Dunkeld 3, Newtyle 2, Murthly 1, 2, Murthly 2, 6, Glendelvine 2, Meikleour & Upper Islamouth 6, Taymount 1, Fishponds 1,
Total: 31 Largest: Fishponds 31lbs
ANOTHER THIRTY POUNDER IN THE WEEK AHEAD?
(River Tay salmon fishing prospects week commencing 20th March 2023)
There was a decent lift in water at the beginning of last week due to some rain on Monday coupled with snow melt. However, temperatures dropped rapidly on Monday and Tuesday night which led to a hard frost and by Wednesday river levels were almost back to what they were last weekend. Further rain and snow melt towards the end of the week led to another lift in water over the weekend. There was quite a lot of rain over the catchment area on Saturday but Sunday was mainly dry.
Looking ahead to next week low pressure will be in charge leading to an unsettled spell of weather. Monday will see some showers or longer spells of rain. Tuesday should be drier with more showers on Wednesday. Temperatures will be in the low double figures for most. Towards the end of the week, there could be a return to colder conditions with snow falling over higher ground and a return to night time frosts as a northerly airflow develops.
Catches were well spread on the river last week from Upper Farleyer down to Fishponds. There was also fish caught on Loch Tay as well as on the River Tummel. On the main river there is a good chance of making contact with a fresh fish almost anywhere as catches from last week would suggest. Several Tay beats offer prime spring salmon fishing at this time of year which represents excellent value for money compared to many other rivers across Scotland. With there already being one fish caught weighing in excess of thirty pounds is there more to come? The best way to find out is by wetting a line on the Tay system in the upcoming days!
Good luck to all those anglers fishing on the River Tay next week.
Samantha & Sandy Datta
Tactics for the River Tay during the early spring period (January-March)
The ghillies on the River Tay are all highly experienced and have an intimate knowledge of their beats. Their advice and guidance are key to success. Please contact your ghillie for up to date advice on tactics and what tackle to bring prior to visiting the River Tay.
During the early spring months water temperatures are often low and river levels high. In such conditions the depth at which your fly is moving through the water column can be the key to success. Often you may be required to use floating lines coupled with sinking polyleaders, intermediate or even full sinking lines. It is therefore important that you have a fly rod that can work in harmony with a heavy line. As the Tay is a big river usually a powerful fifteen-foot rod with a ten-line rating will cover almost any eventuality.
In terms of lines whether that be a full Spey line or Shooting head system a floating line coupled with a selection of polyleaders of various sink rates can work well. In higher water an intermediate or full sinking line may be required to produce the best results.
Make sure that your fly reel has got an adequate backing capacity and a good reliable drag system. On the River Tay when that line tightens the fish could turn out to be that one of a lifetime. It is also important during the early spring period to use leader material with an adequate breaking strain. Usually a breaking strain between fifteen and eighteen pounds ideal.
During the early part of the season tube flies often work well. If the water temperatures are low weighted copper, brass or even tungsten tubes of a decent length will allow your fly to get well down and close to where the fish are likely to be lying. In cold weather the fish are unlikely to be keen on moving fast so it is better that your fly moves through the water column at an adequate depth and not too quickly.
A powerful spinning rod between ten and eleven foot is usually more than adequate to cover the River Tay. The rod should be able to comfortably cast lures weighing anything from eighteen to forty grams. A good fixed spool or multiplier reel with a reliable drag system is perfect for the River Tay. The reel should be able to accommodate a large amount of either nylon or braided line with an adequate breaking strain.
In terms of lures, spoons like the Toby, Salmo Toby and Blair variety work well on the river. These can range in weight from eighteen to forty grams. Devon Minnows can also be effective on the River Tay during the early spring months. Vision 110s and Rapalas are also lures which are well worth considering.
Harling is a method unique to the River Tay which involves fishing from a motorised boat. This method is employed on many beats and can be highly effective during the early spring months.
Usually two or three rods are placed in rod holders with various lures and then the ghillie skilfully combs the water by moving back and forth in the boat, whilst gradually dropping downstream, covering the likely lies on the beat. Harling is a method which is very much water height dependent and is practiced at the beat ghillies discretion.
TDSFB conservation policy
All anglers fishing on the River Tay system are reminded that the TDSFB’s policy from January 15th to 1st of April is that all spring salmon must be released. This means that the TDSFB has a 100% mandatory catch & release policy of all salmon caught. This is in line with the Scottish Government Statutory Conservation Regulation. Even if the fish dies it must still be returned to the river.
It is also worthwhile remembering when releasing fish to keep them in the water for as long a period as possible and to use minimal handling. Please also give the fish plenty of time to recover before releasing them. It is important that anglers treat their quarry with the utmost of respect at all times.
Tackle Shops and Outfitters on Tay
Guides and Instructions on the River Tay
Where To Stay on Tayside and Perthshire.
Where To Eat on the river Tay.
Fishing Permits for the River Tay and its tributaries.
There is a good selection of fishing available across the Tay system on FishPal for this week and during Spring.