Changing Salmon Pools
By Jock Monteith 4th March 2021
Over the years I've seen many adjustments to various salmon pools on many Scottish rivers after the Winter floods which is a naturally occurring phenomenon but none more so than the ever changing River Tummel mouth which has been on the move for the last ten years.
A Truly Magnificent River Tay Setting
I recall the Junction Pool on the Lower Kinnaird beat of the Tay where the Tummel used to flow into the Tay close to the beautiful Ferry Cottage where I was fortunate to live for a while. This entire area is amazing for all forms of wildlife from otters, ospreys to even nesting gulls on the perfect banks of gravel that form in this designated site of special scientific interest. It is no surprise that Spring salmon that are migrating to the River Tummel and Loch Tay love to hang about this area too.
The River Tummel River Tay Confluence
The salmon lies on the prolific Junction Pool on Kinnaird keep altering & adjusting with every Winter flood and the further upstream the Tummel mouth naturally moves the more the Upper Kinnaird March Pool is beginning to fish well too giving this quality River Tummel mouth area yet another excellent salmon fly fishing approach. In the last 10 years the mouth of the Tummel has moved approx 500 yards and my opinion is that it will keep going thanks to Mother Nature and her ever re-adjusting Winter floods.
Ever Changing Salmon Pools
All salmon rivers are an ever changing and ever moving living creations in their own right and from our fishing perspective it often shifts the salmon lies about like dealing a new deck of cards. That has been the case on the Tummel junction area where still plenty of salmon are caught each year. The scent of the Tummel and the big head of annually returning Spring fish that run this excellent River Tay tributary are what makes the Lower Kinnaird beat's Junction Pool or Upper Kinnaird's March Pool so special especially through the Spring and early Summer months.
How Far Will The Mouth Of The Tummel Travel
Having spent many years on this area of the Tay I've watched and studied the pool flows fairly extensively. My prediction over the next ten years is that the mouth of the Tummel will eventually flow into the Tay opposite Upper Kinnaird's Rock Pool as currently there's a secondary 'full flood' Tummel flow that deposits much sand there. Currently there is now only a few hundred yards separating the mouth of the Tummel and the Rock Pool sand bank so I'd say it's fairly inevitable this will eventually happen. When it does this entire area will become even more potent for quality salmon lies from either the Upper Kinnaird beat or Lower Kinnaird beat riverbanks.
Study Carefully For Salmon Lie Signs
While many less experienced salmon fishers believe that a big huge jagged edged 5 tonne plus quarry stone is the only way to create a salmon lie I can assure you that is not necessary for salmon and can sometimes have the reverse effect through excessive turbulence which will eventually likely scour a downstream hole and burry even the biggest of stones. Some of the most potent salmon lies I've seen in my professional career have been from deeper lying natural smooth surfaced much smaller stones that create the most subtle boil of water on the surface of the river every 30 to 60 seconds and if you're not carefully watching for this type of indicator it'll likely go completely unnoticed. A salmon's nose is a highly sensitive instrument for navigation, scent & water pressure and it doesn't need a lot to hold it on or near the riverbed where it can expend minimal energy in anticipation of its next move.