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(Last Updated: Monday 08 April)

SPRING HAS NOT SPRUNG, DAM SUCCESS AND LIGHTNING STRIKES TWICE!

(River Tay weekly report week ending 6th April 2024)

 

We moved into April last week and the Scottish weather continued similarly to previous weeks, with low pressure systems racing in from the Atlantic, bringing periods of heavy rain and strong winds. On Friday morning, there was even a spell of snow that fell to lower levels. Many of us have been asking where spring has gone, as it feels like we have taken a step back and moved closer to winter! Clearly, spring has not yet sprung!

To start the week, river levels were settled, but unsurprisingly, there were multiple lifts in the water from midweek onwards. On Saturday, heavy overnight rain, melting snow, and mild gale force south westerly winds led to a rapidly rising river, which was far from ideal. They put an end to any meaningful fishing on most beats. River levels on the Ballathie gauge peaked at over seven feet, and the water carried a significant amount of colour. Despite this, some lovely spring salmon were caught from the Tay system last week.

It was good to see a couple of fish caught through the middle part of the week from the Lower Bolfracks Beat on the upper river. Successful anglers included Mr Peter Backhouse, who caught a lovely twenty pounder on Wednesday.

On the River Tummel, there was dam success at Portnacraig as anglers enjoyed some decent sport last week. Mr Gordon Hanslip banished away those Monday morning blues when he landed a fine seven pounder from the Portnacraig Bank on the fly. On Tuesday, Mr Jack Polllard caught a cracking eighteen pounder from the Pitlochry Bank on the fly. There was more success on Tuesday, this time for Mr Brian Thomson, who caught a fine eight pounder from the Portnacraig Bank again on the fly.

Next on the scoresheet at Portnacraig on Wednesday was Mr Les Dargie. Mr Dargie was fishing the fly when he got a powerful take on the Pitlochry Bank. After a great fight Mr Dargie landed a magnificent seven pounder.

It was good to see a fish caught at Dalmarnock on Friday. At Dunkeld, it was a happy Monday for angler Richard, who landed a nice twelve pounder on the harl from the Chestnut Tree Pool. On Thursday, angler Brian had a close encounter when he lost a fish at Dunkeld. However, his disappointment was short-lived, as ten minutes later, he hooked and landed a sparkling seven pounder.

The Newtyle Beat has produced some cracking fish in recent weeks, and last week was no different. On Tuesday, Mr Hans Larsson caught a lovely fish on the fly from the Cotter Pool in the afternoon. On Wednesday, there was more success at Newtyle when a fine seven pounder was landed on the fly from the Steps.

On Thursday, Mr Gerald Davenport caught a springer from the Deans Burn at Newtyle. Ten minutes later, Mr Anthony Holloway caught another springer from the same spot. Well done, gentlemen!

Both Murthly Beats caught some nice fish last week. On Wednesday, the Murthly 2 Beat produced three springers, including a magnificent twenty pounder, which was great to see. There was also success at Stenton on Monday. On Friday, Mr Alistair Watkins landed a cracking eight pounder from the Delvine Beat. The fish was caught on a Tay Lure from the Big Stone.

On the River Ericht, the West Grange Beat continued to produce some nice fish. It was good to see fish caught on both the Meikleour and Cargill beats on Thursday. Young William Laing had a day to remember at Meikleour on Friday. William caught a springer on the fly last year weighing seven pounds but went one better this year when he caught a ten pounder from above the bridge. Well done, young man and it just goes to show that lightning can strike twice!

On Friday afternoon, Mr Euan Innes landed a stunning twenty three pounder at Meikleour. The fish put up a great tussle and was caught from the Islamouth pool. What a fish! There were also other fish caught last week from the Tay system on beats that do not wish to be mentioned in this report.

As we move through April and into May, the number of spring salmon entering the river should continue to increase. This gives anglers a decent chance of making contact with that Tay spring silver tourist.

 

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. 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 feel free to contact us at [email protected]

 

Good luck to all those anglers fishing on the River Tay next week.

Tight lines,

Samantha & Sandy Datta

 

 

Beat catches reported (only for beats that wished to be mentioned in the TDSFB report)

(week ending 6th April 2024)

 

SALMON & GRILSE:

Lower Bolfracks 2, Portnacraig Pitlochry 4, Dalmarnock 1, Dunkeld 2, Newtyle 4, Murthly 1, 3, Murthly 2, 3, Stenton 1, Delvine & Burnbane 1, West Grange 3, Meikleour & Upper Islamouth 3, Cargill 1

Total:28 Largest: Meikleour & Upper Islamouth 23lbs

 

MORE TWENTY POUNDERS IN THE DAYS AHEAD?

(River Tay salmon fishing prospects week commencing 8th April 2024)

 

The Scottish weather bared its teeth once again as a series low pressure systems brought strong winds and spells of heavy rain to many parts last week. This led to unsettled river levels, especially towards the end of the week. There was even a period of snow, which fell to lower levels on Friday morning. On Saturday, a combination of heavy overnight rain, melting snow and mild gale force south westerly winds led to a rapidly rising river, which was far from ideal and no meaningful fishing was done. The river peaked at over seven feet on the Ballathie gauge and the water carried a lot of colour. The unsettled weather has continued through the course of the weekend. Looking ahead to next week, the unsettled theme is set to continue, unfortunately. Monday will be mainly dry with variable amounts of cloud with a chance of a few showers. We could see further rain on Tuesday and Wednesday, which could be locally heavy. Temperatures will feel cooler than of late. The unsettled conditions will persist as we move towards next weekend with showers or longer spells of rain with the odd drier interlude. 

There were some lovely springers caught from the Tay system last week and it was encouraging to see that three of the fish landed were around or over the magical twenty pounds mark. This just goes to show what the Tay system is capable of producing at this time of year and hopefully there will be plenty more twenty pounders landed in the days ahead.

It was good to see that the River Tummel and River Ericht produce a few fish. As we move through April and into May, sport on these tributaries should continue to improve. Many of the fish caught last week were sea liced, indicating that the fish entering the system are now running hard. There is a chance of picking up a fresh fish anywhere on the main river next week, as catches in recent days suggest. Loch Tay is also a good option, as is the River Tummel and Ericht.

With some lovely spring salmon being landed daily, why not wet a line on one of Scotland’s most prolific salmon rivers? You might just have that April day to remember!

Good luck to all those anglers fishing on the River Tay next week.

Tight lines,

Samantha & Sandy Datta

 

Tactics for the River Tay during the spring period (April-May)

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.
 

Fly Fishing

During April and May water temperatures usually begin to rise on the river. The fish also start to become a bit more active. As river levels start to drop and water temperatures rise often heavy sinking lines and big tube flies are no longer needed. Instead sink tip lines or even floating lines coupled with a sinking polyleader can be more than adequate.
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.
In April and May depending on the water height and temperature smaller tube flies of various weights can work well.  If the water temperatures are low weighted copper, brass or even tungsten tubes will allow your fly to get well down. Usually by late April and into May depending on the water height dressed flies can also be considered as a good alternative to the tube.

 

Spinning

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. In April and May, the Floating Devon can also work well. The Vision110 lures have also got a good reputation for producing fish on the river. These lures can be excellent during the spring months. Once the water temperature rises sufficiently the Flying C is also a great lure and one which can produce the goods.

 

Harling

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.

 

Beat catches reported

(Last week)

Beat Catches
Stobhall Salmon - 1, Sea trout - 0
Islamouth Salmon - 1, Sea trout - 0
Meikleour and Upper Islamouth Salmon - 2, Sea trout - 0
Murthly 1 Salmon - 1, Sea trout - 0
Stenton Salmon - 1, Sea trout - 0
Upper Kinnaird Salmon - 1, Sea trout - 0
West Grange Salmon - 4, Sea trout - 0
East Haugh 1 Salmon - 13, Sea trout - 0
Portnacraig Pitlochry Salmon - 9, Sea trout - 0

Peter Backhouse lands a nice fish from Lower Bolfracks

Peter Backhouse lands a nice fish from Lower Bolfracks

Les Dargie lands a fine fish caught at Portnacraig

Les Dargie lands a fine fish caught at Portnacraig

A lovely springer caught by angler Brian from Dunkeld on Thursday

A lovely springer caught by angler Brian from Dunkeld on Thursday

A Newtyle sparkler caught on Wednesday!

A Newtyle sparkler caught on Wednesday!

A fine springer caught on Thursday at Newtyle

A fine springer caught on Thursday at Newtyle

A nice fish caught at Delvine on Friday

A nice fish caught at Delvine on Friday

A Meikleour sprakler caught on Thursday

A Meikleour sprakler caught on Thursday

Young William Laing lands a stunning springer at Meikleour!

Young William Laing lands a stunning springer at Meikleour!

Euan Innes lands a magnificent springer at Meikleour on Friday

Euan Innes lands a magnificent springer at Meikleour on Friday

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
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