River Tay Opening Days
By Jock Monteith 10th January 2020
The 15th of January each year is indeed a highly monumental day in the Scottish salmon fishing calendar as it marks the opening of the River Tay salmon fishing season. Thousands of salmon fishers will ascend on the Tay next week for this special occasion and in pursuits of Scotland's finest gamefish.
The Sound Of River Tay Bagpipes
The 'magic' of being back out on the Tay is a big relief for thousands of dedicated Scottish salmon fishers who started their own personal 'countdown' shortly after Christmas was over. Great celebrations will be happening on all of the Tay salmon beats next Wednesday and the sound of bagpipes will be heard throughout the valley at around 9am when each River Tay salmon beat will having its own individual opening day ceremony.
Catching A River Tay Salmon In January
Make no mistake about the fact that there will be a scattering of fresh run Spring salmon holding in the many of the Tay salmon beats throughout the river system due to the recent mild air temperatures and decent water levels. Although these fish will be present it often takes a little bit of good fortune and persistence to place your fly or lure at just the right speed into that square metre of water directly in front of a Spring salmon to make it take. Being extra patient and methodical in your salmon pool approach will often pay off in the first few weeks of the Tay salmon fishing season.
Treat Salmon Kelts With Total Respect
The Tay will also be full of many successfully spawned kelts and occasional 'rawners' & 'baggots' that are salmon from last year that haven't spawned yet or possibly won't spawn. These salmon are out of condition and are usually very keen to intercept a fly or lure and it's normal to hook many before connecting with the big silver fresh run River Tay 'Springer' you seek. Treat these out of condition salmon very carefully and show them the full respect they deserve as these are the successful salmon that have made it back against all of the odds to keep the Tay populated with new stock.
The Best River Tay Spring Salmon Beats
The middle River Tay is and always has been a fantastic Spring salmon holding area and none more so than the Kinnaird salmon beats which have some of the most attractive Spring salmon fly fishing water on the entire middle Tay and are positioned exactly upstream & downstream of the River Tummel junction. I'd be surprised if these fabulous Tay venues don't produce a few perfect fresh run early Spring salmon this year due to the recent abnormally mild spell and the benefit on having River Tay expert and true gent Martin Edgar as 'Head Ghillie' overviewing the fishing effort on both of these excellent middle Tay beats.
The Cold Water January Salmon Take
Whatever you do next week make sure you treat every tug, dunt or click on the fly reel with the utmost caution as often the take from a perfect River Tay Spring salmon will commence in the most subtle manner. Give your fish a few extra seconds after you think the time is right to set the hook as often the take is a slower more drawn out affair in early Spring water conditions. Keeping your salmon take composure is vital so don't let the caffeine or malt whisky make you react too quickly! Always fish with a suspicion that these perfect early Spring salmon could be right in front of you and remember that they haven't seen a fly this year which usually equates to 'sub surface cooperation' when they do!