Famous Tay Salmon Pools
By Jock Monteith 17th November 2020
When it comes to famous Scottish salmon pools nothing tops the Glendelvine Beat's Boat Pool on the River Tay thanks to the late Georgina Ballantine's fine efforts on the 7th of October 1922. Glendelvine is still however a big fish River Tay venue and make no mistake about it.
A Special River Tay Salmon Beat & Ghillie
Glendelvine water is truly something else to fish and still frequently produces salmon in the 30lbs class due to the highly experienced and 'in the know' head ghillie Steve McIrvine who has fished this beat since boyhood. Steve's been the head ghillie there for some 25 years and if you want to study the form of a true Tay boatman and how they operate then he's definitely one of a few 'true' craftsmen operating on the Tay these days. Talk about having the nose of an otter!!
The Old Iron Glendelvine Bridge
Having personally fished the Glendelvine Beat since my early teens I recall the days when the old Iron Bridge was standing which was a real picture in itself before they replaced it with the new Caputh Bridge some 20 years ago. You can still see the riverbed bases of the old bridge stanchions if you look upstream from the new bridge and fortunately for Georgina her 'beast' after being hooked high up in the neck of the Boat Pool chose a left hand bank flight path between the first stanchion and the riverbank when rapidly exiting the pool that famous day and they were able to get back into the boat and follow it in an attempt to get some line back on the reel!
The Neck Of The Boat Pool Salmon Lie
This world famous salmon lie (circled in red) is located high up in the neck of the Boat Pool is easily missed by anglers as it's only a deep scoured riverbed pocket but a clear 'stopper' for salmon in the faster water at the neck of the pool. This river bed trough is best fished from the right hand bank as it's much closer for a controlled salmon fly when fished from the right bank. This is the sort of salmon lie where running salmon will frequently enter and leave from so the 'little and often' approach is the smartest option so as not to detract from covering other fantastic Glendelvine Beat salmon lie hot spots. If a transient 'taker' has moved into this lie it will usually always identify itself fairly quickly!
Special Glendelvine Memories
I recall some far distant but highly memorable fishing days on this glorious River Tay salmon beat including one day of 2 perfect Autumn heavyweights from underneath the wires at the Ministers Pool and landing a 17 pounder sea liced Springer in the Boat Pool on my birthday the 15th of March in the mid 90's immediately after watching an opening day trout fisher directly opposite on the Murthly bank hook what was obviously a similar sized fish which sat there giving the occasional head shake for 20 minutes before deciding 'enough was enough' and rapidly emptied his trout reel before the inevitable sound of a loud 'crack' was heard!
Recent Big Salmon From Glendelvine
The Garth Pool at the upper end of the Glendelvine Beat has produced some seriously big Spring salmon in recent years up to the 38lbs mark. Even in recent years a 34lbs scale perfect February 'clunker' of a Springer was taken on the 'harled' tube fly out of this exact same square metre salmon lie in the Garth Pool. Nothing beats time spent on an individual salmon beat to get the real variable water height taking spot picture into your head where you're leading with visual and memory driven intuition as to where the takers are likely to be found. When you've got a ghillie of big Steve McIrvine's caliber you can relax as it's only a matter of time before he makes sure your fly's on target and your reel begins to sing!