Season on the Tay is one to remember
The closing of the
salmon fishing season on the River Tay was celebrated
in style at the Kenmore Hotel on Saturday 14th
October. The millennium season on the Tay has
been highly significant. For the first time in
three years the River Tay had a good grilse run
during the summer months. Grilse are salmon that
have only spent one winter at sea. Robert McIntyre
the Ghillie in Kenmore had one very special evening
when he caught and released five grilse in the
space of 20 minutes. Bob described it as the best
fishing he had ever known. No sooner had the fly
hit the water than he was playing another fish.
The return of the grilse in good numbers indicates
that the decline in the Tay salmon populations
may have been arrested suggesting that runs of
multi sea winter salmon for the coming season
may also improve.
According to the Tay District Salmon Fisheries
Board fish counts from monitoring stations across
the whole system were higher during 2000 than
for recent years. Fisheries managers also report
good numbers of parr (juvenile salmon) in the
river and that the smolt run (juvenile salmon
migrating the sea) was excellent in the year 2000.
Many beats have even doubled their catches over
the previous season.
These improvements can be partially attributed
to the earlier buy out of the Tay estuary netting
stations by the Tay Foundation, thus allowing
more salmon to spawn naturally. But this is not
the whole story. The Tay Board is encouraging
anglers to show more restraint during difficult
times and rods have responded well. A voluntary
catch and release scheme introduced this year
has gained momentum. Some beats now put back as
many as 60% of fish caught. The Burnbane/Delvine
Beat even returned a fresh salmon weighing 40lbs!
A pilot scheme called "Passport to the Redds"
for the tagging and releasing of salmon was also
introduced during the millennium season. Anglers
who caught a tagged salmon were asked to return
it immediately to the river.
John Mitchell Managing Director
of Normark Rapala returns a Tay salmon on the
Point Beat of the River Tay.
Returned Safely at Burnbane/Delvine
Report by Duncan Glass
"The recent high eater and unsettled weather has
John MacKerral worried he would arrive to find
the river un fishable for his last day' s salmon
fishing on the Burnbane/Delvine Beats of the River
"On the morning of the 11th October he arrived
to find the water clearing and running at three
and a half feet. He started the day fishing the
fly in the new pool at the tail of Sparrowmuir
and landed a 16lb hen fish which he returned safely
to the river. After lunch he was fishing opposite
the spot where Mrs Ballantyne landed her 64lb
salmon 78 years ago alomost to the day when his
silver Toby spoon was taken by a monster fish.
He shouted for the boatman to take him aboard
to play the fish from the boat. After a lengthy
struggle following the fish downstream to the
Burnbane Pool, it was decided to try to land the
fish from the bank. After around an hour the fish
was landed and weighed 40lbs. and its length was
over 4 feet. The massive cock fish was then released
unharmed to the river, hopefully to bring more
40 pounders to the river in future."
raise £10,000 to help the Tay salmon
It is not however a
time for complacency. These are early indications
and anglers and fisheries managers must not drop
their guard if the improvements are to be maintained.
The gala closing event and dinner at the Kenmore
Hotel, which was hosted by Hello! Magazine was
followed by an auction at which £10,000
was raised for the Tay Ghillies Association. This
charity has been leading the charge for the creation
of a new salmon hatchery for the Tay. The Association
has already helped the Tay Board to build a brood
stock holding facility designed especially for
spring salmon. This facility was inaugurated earlier
this season with 30 adult salmon being kept in
safety for the hatchery project. The generosity
of the guests and anglers from Hello! Magazine
will now ensure that the hatchery project is brought
It clearly demonstrates the commitment of anglers
and friends of the river to further protect and
improve their sport and an important part of Scotland's
natural heritage - Salmo Salar, the Atlantic Salmon.
This generosity and dedication, together with
the wide range of initiatives now underway allows
us all to look forward to the coming seasons with