River Tay Salmon Fishing
By Jock Monteith 13th December 2018
The River Tay is one of Scotland's finest salmon rivers and is fortunate to benefit from an extensive salmon fishing season that runs from the 15th of January to the 15th of October each year. The Tay is known as a big fish river and often produces huge specimens and in recent years salmon up to 45lbs have been landed.
River Tay Fishing Accommodation
The Tay Valley has great choices for quality accommodation with the hubs of Perth, Stanley, Dunkeld & Pitlochry that offer quality hotel options. In the early Spring there's a run of big multi sea winter Spring salmon that heads up to loch Tay and if you are tactful enough with the correct early Spring salmon fishing mind set and can intercept one of these heavyweights you'll certainly never forget the experience. This run of heavyweight Tay salmon are present from February each year even though most Tay salmon anglers are still completely unaware of this fact. This February saw the capture of a 34 lbs fish on the Glendelvine beat as testimony to what I've just stated about this run of big Tay Spring salmon.
River Tay Salmon Runs
From mid March the River Tummel salmon appear which adds to the main Spring run which builds right through until the end of May. Sometimes depending on water levels and temperatures the Spring run can roll over into June so don't right off the first 2 weeks of June on colder than normal Spring years. The Summer months are a great time of the year for fishing as all the salmon pool formations and attractive River Tay streams take their shape in the lower water conditions that June, July & August usually bring. The salmon lies that would be targeted in the high water of Spring are usually the opposite areas of the same Tay pools you'd be looking for Summer salmon in so a good understanding of the type of water that suits high water Spring salmon and low water Summer salmon is important for success on the Tay and all other Scottish salmon rivers.
The River Tay Catchment
Due to the sheer loch fed size of the River Tay catchment salmon can & do enter the river off every tide as there's always sufficient water for fish to run the Tay. This feature of the Tay makes it a safe bet for a fishing trip when some of the shallower smaller Scottish rivers can struggle in low water conditions and especially through the Summer months. In addition to this fact that the Tay is the biggest Scottish salmon river its valley is positioned in central Scotland within easy commuting range from the major hubs of Glasgow & Edinburgh which make it a very accessible Scottish salmon fishing destination for a huge portion of the Scottish population.
River Tay Autumn Salmon Fishing
When the Autumn months come so does the big Autumn run of salmon and although these fish can be caught anywhere in the system the lower Tay beats in and around the village of Stanley usually benefit from the biggest build up of fish. These days this head of Autumn salmon has been showing up during late September & early October due to lower than normal late Summer rainfall levels which has to be expected as salmon are tuned only into water conditions and not our diaries which are often out of sync with Mother Nature. If good water levels are present during late August or early September a large portion of the Autumn Tay salmon run can be found up in the middle Tay area too in the fine salmon beats around the Perthshire towns of Pitlochry and Dunkeld.
Big River Tay Autumn Salmon
The River Tay Autumn run also brings big salmon back into the river and it was during the month of October that the 45lbs salmon I mentioned above was landed a few seasons ago on the Kercock Beat of the Tay close to the village of Murthly. The British rod caught record salmon of 64lbs which was also caught on the Tay in the same area was another October fish and both of these heavyweight were enormous male or 'cock' salmon. This year 2 heavyweight cock salmon of approx 30 pounds in weight were caught during late September and mid October on the Dunkeld House beat of the Tay which is another great holding beat for salmon in the higher water levels of early Spring and late Autumn. Make no mistake about the fact that there's many 20lbs plus Autumn salmon present in the Tay each year with the occasional real 'monster' lying in amongst them!