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August 1999

River Tay - Kenmore, Castle, Point and Bolfracks Beats

The river and loch water levels held up remarkably well this summer. In fact the island (gravel bar) off of the Kenmore Bridge was only rarely visible. River height was consistent. Conditions have thus been excellent for running fish.

There has been much talk of the grilse runs getting back to reasonable levels now that the nets have been bought off, but in reality we have yet to see any significant impact. So far there has been little to explain their non-appearance. Grilse never make it as far as the feeding grounds of the Labrador and Greenland coasts, but stop at the Faroes, so from our coasts to the Faroes may be where the problem lies. Scale reading on smolts have shown a check mark shortly after entering the sea. Are they short of food (over fishing by the commercial fleet?) or is there a disease/parasite problem (fish farms?).

Three grilse were taken for the month, two of which were returned. A Mr Manfred had two from the Point weighing 4 1/2 lb and 6 1/2 lb. Les Petty had a grilse of 4lb from the Chinese. Les is getting a reputation as a light line specialist. Earlier he had a salmon on ten pound test and his grilse fell to a size 14 mallard and claret on 3 pound test! Trout rods also reported hitting into "huge trout" that broke them instantly. Perhaps we are fishing with too large flies. The water is lower and clearer, so a small fly will be highly visible. Many salmon rods balk when the ghillie suggests fishing a size 10 or 12 single, but it works.

There have been moans and groans from the lower beats, with sport being slow there as well. There has been enough talk ... it is time to take action.


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