Catch and Release on the River Tay

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Catch and release Programme

The Tay District Salmon Fisheries Board quite rightly promotes a catch and release programme throughout the River Tay District. They opperate a "varied bag" limit during the season.
The programme started in the 1999 season and continues to this day.

Why Catch and Release

Multi Sea Winter salmon stocks (prminarily spingers) are, as we all know, under pressure. There are more anglers and our equipment is more effective, resulting in more fish being killed and thus further reducing discrete stocks. Protection of these fish is imperative. if not for our own sport, but in accordance with legislation.

The Tay District Salmon Fisheries Board has sought to protect such salmon cohorts by introducing a new Conservation Code for 2008.

As an added incentive the Board are offering sweat shirts for anglers who have released Tay springers.


Guidelines to aid success in catch and release

Catching the fish   Landing the fish

Use approppriate tackle. Treble hooks and even doubles are not conducive to catch and release. The use of barbless or micro barbed single hooks is recommended, as they make the removing of the hook easier. As a minimum please only use singles.


Use a fine knot-less meshed landing net and ensure the fish remains in the water. Keep the fish in the water. Beaching a fish on gravel is not acceptable as it causes abbraision to the skin and will in all likeleyhood cause infections which will kill it before it spawns.

Playing the fish   Handling fish

Try not to play the fish to exhaustion but reel it in as soon as possible. Use lines commesurate with the size of fish you wish to catch. Playing a 20lb fish on light lines is not sport if you want to release it. Move the fish out of fast flowing water if possible.


Gaffs of tailers must not be used.
Never pick up a fish and hold it by the wrist (tail) as this will break its spine. Pictures of fish held by the tail are dead fish.

Removing the hook   Reviving the fish

Wet your hands, a dry bare warm hand can cause abrasion and shock which later leads to infection. Remove the hook gently, if possible remove the hook using forceps or a hook disgorger, taking care not to squeeze the fish. If the fish is deep hooked cut the line as close to the hook as possible


Support the fish, in a current, facing upstream and allow time for the fish to recover and swim away on its own. Do not throw the fish into the water..

Recording fish    

Do not weigh the fish but estimate the weight of the fish from its length. A live estimate is better than a dead record. Take pictures of the fish in the water.



See also

Editors Comments

By Paul Fishlock

Catch and Release Tagging Programme

The new TDSFB programme.

Salmon Nomograph

To estimate the weight of a salmon from its length.

The Tay Foundation and the Tay District Salmon Fisheries Board have, as a joint initiative, "purchased" leases of commercial netting operations that operated within the Tay Estuary and river. This has allowed salmon and sea trout, that would have been taken by nets, to reach their spawning grounds



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