(Last updated: Tuesday 15th August)
The Salmon fishing season is now in late Summer with Autumn looming on the mighty Tay in Perthshire, Scotland as we enter mid August and we have been encountering some heavy rain at times resulting in fresh
water in the river. The river has been low for quite a period but the rain has brought the river up and it is now dropping back nicely. The lower river levels have not stopped fish running and triggering off
reasonable catches, however the increased flows 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 is in progress. The weather hopefully will remain reasonable to give a greater chance of producing some sport and some summer "Bars of Silver".
On the nature front the Sand Martins, Swifts and Swallows have are in the skies, Ospreys are being seen, Ducks have their first and second broods of young and Sand Pipers are on the river banks. Wild flowers are in bloom, it is truly magical to be salmon fishing in Perthshire on the banks of the silvery Tay.
Currently the river is dropping back after rain recently and settling with improving conditions (Just above 1' 6 on the Ballathie gauge) to hopefully encourage more summer salmon to run.
The Weather has been settled over the latter part of last week but may unsettle in the coming days with some rain forecast in the coming week but hopefully not upset the river to 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 looks more unsettled with some rain forecast at times. Calmer weather will settle the river back to good levels and make ideal summer fishing conditions. The water temperature is hovering around or just above 60 degrees Fahrenheit or 15.5 degrees Celsius last week and should remain at that level in the current weather conditions. These are typical temperatures for this time of year. The temperature has risen encouraging more salmon to run resulting in fish being caught well up the system. The temperature in recent days will encourage salmon to run throughout the system as earlier resulting in fish being caught well up the system depending on water levels. Hopefully there might be a chance of a fresh fish anywhere in the river. As 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 from longer belly Spey lines to shooting heads. If you go to shooting heads, then it is important to choose a good shooting backing as line management can be a big issue casting longer lines on a river such as the Tay.
You should have a minimum of a 10 foot rod for casting baits of 20gm to 6