The Perfect River Tay Salmon
By Jock Monteith 2nd February 2021
Catching a salmon at any time of the year is a truly amazing experience and regardless of how you've caught it and its condition. However nothing comes close in my opinion to an encounter with a super fit pristine conditioned Atlantean in the cold Spring water of the Scottish rivers when lured on the fly.
The Scottish Spring Salmon
To my mind there's little that compares throughout the Scottish salmon fishing season to the early Spring and that's nothing to do with detracting from the other fishing months of the year. February & March once the majority of kelts have gone is the time to search for heavyweight Spring salmon which are present in the Tay and other Scottish rivers for those with enough faith to venture out in pursuit of them. Don't be put off by a generally low cost salmon permit price of early Spring as much in Scottish salmon fishing has altered in recent decades even if the majority of angler's thoughts haven't synchronised with these obvious changes.
Big Spring Water Salmon Fishing Tactics
If you're out in the high water of early Spring make sure you're seeing things as a salmon would. Look for the deep slow moving steady glides on each pool you fish and come through the water as methodically as you can and not too fast or not too deep in the cold water. If you cover a spring salmon properly and make it easy for it to 'have a go' then 'have a go' it will. Beware though that sometimes the take can be gentle and don't get careless and assume it's just another kelt as the more rattles from kelts you receive the closer you're getting to the real prize and that's the mind set you must adopt. Let the kelts be your indicator that your fly is fishing well enough.
Be Careful When Playing A Spring Salmon
Often when a Spring fish is hooked the fish will initially be fairly easily drawn to the river bank early into the fight. Again don't be thinking this is just another kelt because the power switch hasn't been flicked at this point of proceedings. Once a Spring fish senses it's in danger of an alien abduction it will quickly demonstrate its speed 'off the mark' as perfectly witnessed here on the River Tummel's Lower Tummel salmon beat. Be ready for this with any Spring salmon as it's common for salmon not to wake up properly until a few minutes into the battle. Take your time when you're playing a Spring fish and when you eventually start to see that perfect sub surface glint from the salmon flanks at close range then (and only then) get your landing net ready for action.