River Tay Salmon Fishing Report
By Jock Monteith 21st January 2018
An interesting first week on the Tay which clearly indicates the presence of some perfect Spring salmon down at the lower end of the river. I'll give you my take on what happened this week over the next few paragraphs and an accurate assessment of the prospects for the coming week.
The 15th Of January Tay Opening Day
The opening day on the Tay always benefits from massive rod pressure up and down the entire river but unfortunately last Monday on the 15th there were horrible salmon fishing conditions as the water was dirty & rising throughout the full course of the fishing day. Needless to say no fresh run Spring salmon were caught on the river which was the first time that has happened in a long time as normally even in poor water conditions one or two will be located due to the huge opening day rod pressure. Expert boatman Simon Hill at Fish'n'Trips up on Loch Tay did however land a perfect 21 pounder so it wasn't a complete blank for the entire Tay system.
Water Conditions Before The Tay Opening Day
During the few days prior to the opening day fishing conditions were lovely and on the middle Tay on the Dunkeld House beat fish had been spotted in all the right Spring salmon lie areas that looked as though they could easily have been fresh Spring fish. The opening day high water has clearly moved these salmon on and nothing has come in at the back of them which is due to the bitterly cold weather that's been present in Perthshire this last week. As you'll know there's always a little bit of good fortune involved in catching the river conditions in optimal fishing order which is part of the magic of the sport.
Lower River Tay Salmon Action
The lower Tay last week was the place to be with 4 perfect Spring salmon to 19lbs were caught and the Ballathie beat or any of the adjoining upstream beats like the Stobhall beat are well worth a go. The middle Tay is very quiet at the moment apart from 1 perfect fish at Glendelvine and all the great Spring salmon holding pools of the Tay on Lower Kinnaird, Upper Kinnaird and the Dunkeld House beat touched nothing except for kelts. This will change the moment the air & water temperatures lift which I understand is due next week as freezing conditions always hold salmon back on any river system.
The Tay Prospects For This Coming Week
If the forecast for milder weather comes to fruition and we see milder air temperatures coupled with a lift in the water from the accompanying snow melt I've no doubt the lower Tay beats will see more perfect fresh run Spring salmon landed and the middle Tay will also burst into life. The beauty of the Tay Valley at this time of year is exceptional and the perfect clear sky Spring sunlight is truly awesome even though the clear skies last week kept temperatures at freezing point.
Early Spring River Tay Rod Pressure
There's never a huge amount of rod pressure on the Tay through the early weeks of Spring (except for opening day) and more often than not many of the Tay ghillies are not even out covering their beats when they have no guests booked on. The reason for this I've never truly understood but I guess it's different for everyone and as to how consistently they want their early Spring salmon lies covered. Personally I'd forget the 'catch stats' just now as the Tay has a fraction of the rod pressure compared to April & May and get out there. At this time of year there will be many heavyweight fresh run Spring salmon about to start running the Tay and if you're successful at intercepting one of these it will more than likely be the pinnacle of your entire 2018 salmon fishing season!