Professional career based salmon fishing guide advice on the best approach to fishing Scotland's famous River Tay for new and experienced fishers.
If you're new to Scottish salmon fishing or to the River Tay the most sensible and tactical way to fish the mighty Tay is with your own personal salmon guide. A professional Tay salmon guide will not only make sure you understand the best tactical approaches to the river but will also provide all of the required salmon fishing equipment including proven Tay salmon flies & lures. If you're an experienced salmon fisher with all of your own equipment and a good tactical understanding of Scottish salmon fishing then email me directly at; email@example.com for a professional recommendation on where to consider fishing based on your seasonal timing availability and other fishing requirements. If you're new to salmon fishing or require a personal guide to make sure your fishing effort is optimised book a professional River Tay salmon guide to give you the best chance of success.
A professional River Tay salmon guide will teach you how to use our traditional double handed salmon fly rods in addition to how to carefully and methodically fish through each of the Tay salmon pools with the correct fly or lure cast/swing spacings. Your guide will also supply all of the required salmon fishing equipment including chest waders & waterproof jackets & life jacket. A professional Tay guide will also take you to one of the famous Tay salmon fishing venues (beats) based on the time of the fishing season and where there will be a good chance of catching salmon.
The 'mighty' Tay is Scotland's longest river at 117 miles in length and it drains a massive 2000 square miles of Scotland. The Tay starts its majestic course high up on the slopes of Ben Lui in the far West of Scotland before eventually reaching the north sea at Dundee in the East. Several of it's main tributary rivers such as the rivers Tummel, Dochart, Lyon, Lochay, Earn, Isla & Almond are indeed as big in size as many other independent Scottish rivers. The Tay is without doubt the King of Scottish salmon rivers. The River Tay salmon fishing season officially opens on the 15th of January each year and closes on October the 15th.
The Tay is Scotland's most prominent and accessible salmon fishing river due to its sheer size and consistent loch fed water levels. Even during the lowest annual river levels fresh salmon still have enough water to run the river and even in full flood conditions the Tay is often still fishable due to the huge headwater lochs that feed the river that also act as settling tanks keeping flood water sedimentation levels to a minimum. Being positioned in central Scotland the River Tay is logistically easy to get to from the major Scottish cities of Edinburgh & Glasgow which are about 1 hour away by car. In 1922 the British rod caught record salmon of 64lbs was landed on the famous Glendelvine Beat by lady fisher Miss Georgina Ballantine. In recent years 40lbs class Autumn salmon have been landed including one which was caught during October 2013 from the middle Tay which was estimated at 45lbs. Autumn salmon fishing on the Tay can produces huge salmon of this nature. I personally have no doubt that salmon of the 50lbs category and above still enter the River Tay system especially during late Autumn and often the carcasses of dead 'kelts' (salmon that have spawned) are found in early Spring that are clearly in this heavyweight River Tay salmon category.
During the Spring & Summer months salmon are often landed in the 20lbs & 30lbs class and I'm sure it is only a matter of time until the 40lbs plus class of salmon re-establish themselves in the Tay during these earlier seasonal months. There is a run of big Tay Spring salmon that head for Loch Tay & the River Tummel system during the earlier months of the River Tay salmon fishing season through to the month of June. Salmon of the 40lbs class have been seen in the viewing chamber of the Pitlochry dam's fishladder on the River Tummel which is a superb River Tay Spring tributary river. The River Tay normally produces between 4,000 & 7,000 rod caught salmon each season.
The River Tay's opens on the 15th of January and a few fresh run Spring salmon are present at this time and though Febuary. Once March arrives things change dramatically as Spring salmon appear in greater numbers that are destined for Loch Tay & the Isla & Tummel river systems. March usually brings slightly increased river temperatures which encourage fresh Spring salmon to push on up the river and the prolific River Tummel & Isla tributaries and surrounding areas can be exceptionally good from March onwards throughout the rest of the Spring months. The late Spring & Summer months bring steady runs of salmon continually entering the Tay system and normally all salmon beats start to perform well from late Spring onwards & throughout the remainder of the Summer months. The Autumn months from August onwards sees large numbers of salmon starting to build up in the lower Tay and prolific catches of 20 salmon per day per beat are ocassionally recorded. Autumn salmon fishing on some of the famous lower Tay salmon fishing beats can be exceptionally good. The middle and upper RiverTay salmon fishing beats can be very productive at this time too.
The River Tay salmon fishing methods are predominantly fly fishing and occasionally spin fishing which are both normally conducted from the riverbanks. Traditional boat fishing known as harling (which is a form of trolling) is also utilised on the River Tay which allows typically 3 lures to be fished from the boat at once. Spinning fishing and fly fishing can also be worked from the boat but more often these methods are deployed from the riverbanks on beats where the riverbank fishing access is easy.
Fly fishing equipment needed for the River Tay is typically with a 14-16ft ft double handed salmon fly rod with a floating line and a sink tip. In low Summer water conditions a full floating line with sink tip is still ideal for the Tay's deeper pools and in the early Spring an intermediate line or a longer heavier sink tip added to a floating line are both perfect. Shorter length fly rods of 10ft to 13ft that have infiltrated the salmon fishing equipment markets these days are of no tactical value on the Tay as long range salmon fly control is important on a big river like the Tay and only a longer fly rod can provide that fly swim control option.
Popular Spring salmon flies are the deadly Posh Tosh which is a modern day variant of the traditional Black & Yellow. The Cascade & Gold Bodied Willie Gunn also work well in the early months tied on copper tubes and moving onto single or double hooks with the same pattern for the late Spring months. Once mid May arrives going down to a small size 11's often gets results. Other salmon fly patterns that do well on the Tay are the Ally's Shrimp, Sunray Shadow, Willie Gunn, Cascade, Orange Flamethrower, Copperass & the Stoat's tail to name a few.
A waterproof jacket with a few thermal undergarments are also important pieces of fishing kit especially on cooler fishing days. Chest waders will studded boots are essential on the Tay so as to get a good grip of the riverbank and riverbed stones when wading as too are polaroid sunglasses to cut through the surface glare on the water and give you clarity on where you're wading along with eye protection against a mis-timed cast. A weighted wading stick is also very worthwhile to make wading easier & safer along with a life jacket just in case you should lose your footing while wading.
Many picturesque Perthshire towns are situated in the River Tay valley such as Dunkeld, Pitlochry and Aberfeldy along with the city of Perth which is located where the tidal estuary waters begin. Quality hotels and B&B's are in no shortage in the River Tay valley and most are located within easy travelling distances of the salmon fishing locations. Hotels can provide evening meals, breakfast & packed lunches and most are fully licensed for an evening post fishing malt whisky. We can make recommendations for good local hotel accommodation as part of our guided River Tay salmon fishing service.
Having caught my first salmon in 1970 at the age of 5 years old my own personal relationship with the River Tay has been special and has spanned decades as a ghillie (guide) looking after and providing quality introductions to River Tay salmon fishing for thousands of salmon fishers. Once you've fished the Tay don't be surprised if she lures you back annually such is her outstanding natural beauty & prowess as Scotland's deepest and longest salmon river.
To maximise your chances of catching salmon on the River Tay it is always advisable to hire the professional services of an expert. Follow this link for detailed information on how to book a professional River Tay salmon fishing guide. Your professional Tay salmon guide will supply all of the required salmon fishing equipment including chest waders and waterproof jackets in addition to any required tactical fine tuning and seasonally appropriate Tay salmon fishing access.
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