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River Tay - Kenmore, Castle, Point and Bolfracks Beats

October 1999


A good run of salmon went through at the back end of September. The River Lyon was very high after heavy rain and many fish took refuge in the Point Pool at the confluence of the Tay and the Lyon (The Tay here is loch fed so the water is clear). Many of the fish were dark, so these were probably the Springers making their second or final movement upstream to the spawning grounds.

Radio tracking indicates that salmon make three distinct movements during their stay in fresh water. The first is when they enter the river for the first time. Fish can take up residence anywhere, but they tend seek out the deeper holding pools. The second is when water conditions are favorable with the fish moving close to where they will spawn and the last movement is onto the redds. The colour of these fish indicated that they had been around for some time.

The first week of October went very quiet as the river dropped back. The occasional fish was seen heading upstream, but they proved hard to entice. David Tomkin had a 7 1/2 pounder from the Dairy on an Ally's Shrimp which was returned. The Haxton party were due to be fishing the Point, but found the road blocked with gravel from a new house under construction. While this was being moved they had a quick go further down. Just as well too! Dr Haxton had a 6 1/2 pounder from Home Farm on a Devon.

We are now seeing bright silver fish coming through as well. Yesterday (11th October) a dozen or so fresh fish went through the Point heading for the Loch before 9.30 in the morning. During the rest of the day fish continued to move through. Again they are proving hard to get, seeming intent on making their way upstream. Len Evans had a 7 lber on a flying C from the Dairy and Nils Erik lost a 20lb+ fish from the Point. His party were just getting the video camera ready, when the line went ping! That will teach them for being over confident.

While these fish are frequently called salmon, it is just as likely that they are in fact grilse. A grilse entering the river late has had just that bit more feeding at sea and grows that bit bigger. Without doing a scale reading it is impossible to tell, and we are more keen to see them go back than to start taking scales. A fish is a fish and they all fight like the devil!

Nils Erik had two salmon from the Point on the 14th of 14 and 8lb, both of which were returned, followed by a third of 7lb from Pipers. Inspite of valiant efforts over a 15 minute period the fish failed to revive and had to be killed. Nils is always very good at putting fish back and he was quite upset at actually having to kill one.

Tomas Norberg (also from Norway) had his first ever Tay salmon the same day from Pipers, a fish of 8lb which was returned, while Ian Clatworthy had two more fish from the Point (7lb and 10lb). The bigger of the two was returned.

The closing party took place on Friday, sponsored by Hello! magazine, Normark and Mitchells of Pitlochry. The gala dinner was a particularly fine affair this year - the first time the new owners of the Kenmore Hotel have been able to put on a real show. An auction was held on behalf of the Tay Foundation.



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