Salmon Fishing Guests
By Jock Monteith 16th June 2019
As a professional Scottish salmon fishing guide it's amazing who you can meet on the riverbanks of Scotland. This fine shot which was taken in the beautiful Glen Tilt is of the brilliant and original Batman actor Michael Keaton. Scotland is renowned for it various high profile and globally recognised salmon rivers which attract thousands of salmon anglers each year.
Salmon Fishing VIPs
Other well known visitors I've had the pleasure of fishing with in recent years include her Royal Highness the Princess of Dubai, Douglas Daft the CEO of Coca Cola, Dave Cote the Ceo of Honeywell, the former Scotland & Rangers manager Walter Smith and the former Liverpool & Rangers boss Graeme Souness. All these people were attracted to the Scottish salmon rivers based on their beauty, reputation and healthy Atlantic salmon runs.
The Natural Salmon Cycles
For those of us who understand the game we are involved in and the natural cycles of this amazing game fish you'll realise that the unpredictability of the sport is much to do with the actual allure of trying to catch a wild Atlantic salmon. Natural stock cycles exist in nature with naturally occurring peaks and troughs. In salmon fishing there are no guarantees and I hope there never are as a salmon river knows how to separate 'the men from the boys' and encourage the 'boys' to lift their game when the going gets tough.
Obtaining Quality Salmon Fishing Tuition
You simply cannot just turn up on any salmon river anywhere and expect the same instant gratification you'll find in a stocked trout fishery or society in general for that matter. An Atlantic salmon doesn't care who you are and if your presentation or equipment is not good enough a salmon will always avoid capture. In periods of naturally occurring low stock levels you really do need to know your trade intimately to be able to coax a fish into cooperation.
The Attraction Of Scottish Salmon Fishing
The above is definitely part of the attraction of salmon fishing and long may it remain this way as if it were too easy to master there would be little of a challenge. I recall my late mentor Willie Laird on the River Tay advising me that during the 1930's there was a very low stock period when not many fish appeared in the Tay and the words 'natural cycles' were words he often used when describing the River Tay salmon runs.
The River Tay Autumn Salmon Run
On the back of a pretty poor Autumn run of salmon on the River Tay last year primarily due to a long hot low water Summer and the ongoing inability of the Tay fishery board in sanctioning the now necessary fishing season extension to the end of October I have no doubt (from experience) that our prized Autumn River Tay salmon appear during late October through November as I've personally witnessed in recent decades. As a river man and not a bureaucrat the perfect seasonal fishing dates for the Tay these days would be from the 15th of February (to allow the kelts and spawning salmon some respect) to at least the 31st of October and the majority of Tay fishers and professional salmon fishing guides would agree with this basic logic.
The Changing Salmon Run Patterns
These seasonal River Tay fishing dates would allow an easier passage back to the sea for kelts which are unlikely to survive being caught by salmon fishers in January when they are very vulnerable and physically weak after the rigours of spawning. This carnage is simply bad form for the river's valued brood stock and a disgrace to the industry these days which is meant to be all about safeguarding salmon. A later finish on 31st October from the River Tummel confluence down (or better still 15 November) would mean the Autumn Tay salmon fishers would stand a much better chance of seeing the Autumn run which wasn't seen at all last year nor would it be with the Tay closing on 15th of October and especially during seasons of low warm water during Summer and early Autumn which 'naturally' pushed the Autumn run back.