(Last updated: Tuesday 10th October)
The Salmon fishing season is now well into the Autumn on the mighty Tay in Perthshire, Scotland as we enter the last week of the season in mid October and we have been encountering some rain at times resulting
in fresh water in the river. The river has been a bit unsettled for quite a period with regular rain showers but the rain has brought the river up and it is now dropping back nicely. The lower river levels have
not stopped some fish running and triggering off reasonable catches, however, the increased flows should have helped even further. We have had some unsettled conditions in recent times with rain raising the
river but that has now settled which hopefully will continue to give more optimism plus a reasonable summer run entered the river since July with the hope of some more autumn fish to come. The nighttime
temperatures have dropped as well cooling the river and triggering off more aggression in the resident fish resulting in improving catches. The weather hopefully will remain reasonable to give a greater chance
of producing improving sport and good fish.
On the nature front, as autumn arrives the Sand Martins, Swifts and Swallows have now departed quickly, the Ospreys have already gone for warmer climes, Ducks have their broods of young growing up steadily and Kingfishers dart past on the river banks. Recent weeks have seen the first Geese arriving. Odd wildflowers are still in bloom, the autumn colours are now showing, it is truly magical to be salmon fishing in Perthshire on the banks of the silvery Tay where a salmon is now a bonus.
Currently, the river has dropped back after rain recently and settling with improving conditions (around 3' on the Ballathie gauge) however rain from the west will maintain heights to hopefully encourage more salmon to run.
The Weather has been again unsettled over parts of last week with rain and that theme will continue for this coming week with some rain forecast but mainly in the west which hopefully will not upset the river too much. Some heavy downpours have given the river some water from rain in recent weeks but the river has steadily dropped back to just above summer levels again. This current week continues to look a bit unsettled with some rain forecast at times. Calmer weather will settle the river back to good levels and make ideal autumn fishing conditions. The water temperature is now cooling to 52 degrees Fahrenheit or 10.5 degrees Celsius at the start of this week and should remain at that level in the current weather conditions with colder nights. This is good news making the resident salmon more aggressive and more likely to take. These are typical temperatures for this time of year. Hopefully, there might be a chance of a fish anywhere in the river.
To methods, in settled conditions fishing by any method will have to be a bit quicker with large lures to catch the elusive Tay Salmon. 20 pounds main line with a 15 pounds leader plus favoured lures include Devons, Toby Salmos, Vision 110's and Rapalas, for spinning and smaller Temple Dogs, Tubes, normal dressed flies and Monkies for fly fishing. The Tay is a large river but modern lines should make turning over and casting larger flies easier and the fish tend to be near the bank in larger waters. Floating lines and sink tips are now on the agenda as we go over the magical 48 degrees and into summer. Harling is also a favoured method on the river to cover the lies for the less experienced.
Tackle recommendations for fishing the Tay throughout the season.
The Tay is a large river especially when running at a normal level and even in lower levels you are fishing another river within the mighty one so therefore a 15 foot fly rod for a 10 weight line is certainly minimum requirement for much of the season. Do not come under gunned. In some parts of the river where it is especially wide even longer rods are used. It should be noted however that it is better to cast a shorter controlled line than try to cast out with your capabilities and have the lines end up in a mess and decrease your chances.
In early season when the water is cold you need to cast larger flies and get them deeper in the water to fish them slowly. There is a tremendous choice on the market nowadays which can be quite confusing to many anglers. Any type of Skagit line that can easily cast a 15 foot sinking leader of various depths is a good choice especially to the less experienced. Iflights and a tip of choice attached are another good bet as these lines enable you to cast a longer line than normal with ease. For more experienced anglers, there are a vast array of shooting heads of different sinking abilities available as well. These tactics can be used in late season as well when the water starts to cool down.
Once the water temperature starts to climb by April then tactics change to mainly floating lines and sink tips with much smaller conventional flies. Again, the choice of lines is incredible