The River Tay finally closed its banks to salmon fishers on Monday for another season. The river will open again for the 2019 salmon fishing season on the 15thof January. Looking back at this year, the salmon fishing on the River Tay has been very mixed. This mirrors many other rivers in Scotland this season. During the early part of the season, the weather was far from ideal. The infamous Beast from the East brought freezing temperatures and heavy snow to Perthshire as it did to the rest of Scotland. In spite of the weather there was no getting away from the fact there was a lack of Scottish spring salmon. What was positive however was the number of big fish being caught from the Tay. There were numerous salmon over thirty pounds landed as well good numbers of twenty pounders.
It felt that there was very little of a spring season in Perthshire. We went from the bitterly cold weather of the winter straight into summer as temperatures soared. During the summer months, there was very little rainfall and water levels were low. We had weeks and weeks of bright sunshine and cloudless skies and this made for difficult salmon fishing conditions, to say the least. By mid-August most of the country was suffering from drought conditions and Perthshire was no different. In spite of this, there were some nice salmon landed from the river. These were a mixture of grilse and summer salmon. It was not until September once temperatures started to drop that there was a decent lift in water. This appeared to be the catalyst for improved catches on the river. The Tay was producing well over two hundred fish per week consistently and on some weeks the tally exceeded four hundred. This was impressive given the conditions and how many of the other rivers around Scotland were fishing. Most of the fish were being caught from the beats located on the lower river but towards the end of September and into October catches on the middle river improved dramatically.
The last two weeks of the season saw spells of heavy rain across Perthshire which led to unsettled river levels. There were still decent numbers of salmon landed with some fish weighing in excess of thirty pounds which was good to see.
Looking ahead to next year, hopefully, there will be an improvement in the numbers of spring salmon that enter the river with a good summer and autumn run to follow, so many anglers can experience the magical delights of the mighty River Tay!