Salmon Fishing Hot Spots
By Jock Monteith 1st June 2019
There are many beautiful salmon pools on the River Tay but few as perfect as this particular salmon lie which stops running fish & holds resident fish throughout the Tay's extensive salmon fishing season. This fine salmon pool shot could easily creep into your fishing dreams!
The Gauge Tree Pool On The Dunkeld House Beat
This famous Dunkeld House beat salmon pool as featured above is the perfect 'stopper' of running salmon in medium to low water conditions when the River Braan side of the Tay becomes fairly shallow. The deeper running side of the Tay for salmon that have come up through Dunkeld Bridge is up along side the stone wall at the Dunkeld Cathedral which aligns them perfectly for the Gauge Tree Pool.
Memories Of The Gauge Tree Pool
I vividly recall connecting with a perfect March run 20 pound sea-licer in here which was one of the nicest proportioned 'scale perfect' Spring salmon I'd ever seen. The same Spring I also recall walking down from the Chestnut Tree Pool above and observing 3 or 4 salmon 'heading & tailing' close in at the Gauge Tree. On arrival my first cast was received by a solid 'dunt' before my second cast got a firm hold of the culprit! My fishing colleague appeared with the landing net and I told him to put the net down and have a cast too which he did and all of a sudden we were both playing Spring fish!
Gauge Tree Pool Salmon Activity
Perfect Spring salmon are caught in the Gauge Tree Pool and often within a few feet of the riverbank when the river is running high. Until you've actually seen how close to the riverbank salmon move in higher water conditions you wouldn't truly believe it. On many occasions over the years I've advised anglers to stay on the riverbank on certain pools of the Tay who've ignored my advice to then see a salmon show between their wading position and the riverbank! I've personally followed a run of salmon up the side of the Tay in highish water conditions as they snooped slowly upstream within a few feet of the riverbank but you'd need to see this for yourself to stop you thinking I'm havering!
New Changes At The Gauge Tree Pool
Although salmon have previously been caught on the fly in this lovely Gauge Tree Pool over the years the high bank at the top end of the pool can psychologically put fly fishers off. I've seen this on many salmon pools on the Tay and often these areas are absolutely 'deadly' for a fly as is the case at the Gauge Tree Pool on the Dunkeld House beat where that type of slower cold water presentation is always going to have the advantage and especially at close range where the fly can be effectively fished right into the riverbank. This beautiful middle Tay salmon pool has recently become another Dunkeld House 'safe haven' for visiting salmon fly fishers as there's an over abundance of high quality spinning water upstream of the Gauge Tree Pool for those who prefer only to spin fish. I'm a big believer in fly fishing & spin fishing segregation and I'm well qualified to talk about the value of running successful salmon beats that way.
The Cathedral Stream Pool At Dunkeld
The left hand bank fly fishing that the lovely Gauge Tree Pool represents doesn't get much better on the middle Tay for getting in front of a running or holding salmon and the entire area of the Dunkeld Cathedral has a certain 'magic' about it which has probably something to do with this specific 'historical' area being regarded as the 'sacred heart' of Scotland. The Cathedral Stream Pool immediately downstream of the Gauge Tree Pool is fishable only by boat and I'd say without doubt it's truly 'thee' most enchanting cast on the entire River Tay due to its perfect fly fishing stream and the magnificence of the 'commanding' 200 year old Telford Bridge. If you were to have a choice of positioning yourself optimally on the entire middle Tay for an encounter with a Spring fish then these two adjoining Dunkeld House Beat salmon pools would be my top preferences.