River Tay

River Tay

River Tay at the Kenmore Bridge

Salmon Season

15 Jan to 15 of Oct

Below Dalguise the season has been extended to Oct 31st on a catch and release basis.

Description of the River Tay

The River Tay is said to start 100m above the bridge at Kenmore as it flows out of Loch Tay in the Highlands of Scotland. It is famous for its salmon fishing, especially spring salmon and holds the UK record. It is the largest river in the UK if measured by flow which is more than the Thames and Severn combined.

Loch Tay

Loch Tay

The true headwaters of the catchment start less than 10 miles from the west coast and flow eastwards to enter the North Sea through the Firth of Tay by Dundee. Two major rivers the Dochart and the Lochay flow into Loch Tay. This is a huge body of water over 14 miles long which acts to regulate flows somewhat. The River Tay proper is said to start at the bridge at Kenmore where the river exits the Loch so at birth the Tay is already a sizeable water course and is already 40m wide. Two miles downstream the Tay is joined by the River Lyon. From here down it is approximately 50m wide.

River Tummel from Pitlochry Dam

River Tummel from Pitlochry Dam

The River Tummel itself a large water rising on Rannoch moor and with watercourses through Loch Laidon, Loch Ericht, Loch Rannoch, Loch Tummel and Loch Faskally with its own tributaries of the Garry, Erochty and Tilt, joins the Tay at Ballinluig by the A9. Much of the river is visible from this major road north. From here on down it must be classed as a large river and is about 80m wide. At Dunkeld it is joined by the Braan.

River Tay at Dunkeld

River Tay at Dunkeld

Below Dunkeld at Meiklour the Tay is joined by the Isla system with its tributaries of the Ericht, Ardle and Blackwater. This system is particularly productive especially of summer fish. The River Almond flows in just below Stanley. Some of the most famous beats are to be found on this section. From Perth the Tay becomes tidal and is joined by the last major tributary – the Earn before reaching the Firth and eventually the sea at Dundee.

River Earn

River Earn

Salmon can be caught almost anywhere in the system except above impassable falls and are present throughout the season. The lower beats are the most productive, difficult to get on and expensive, but your chances are that much better.

Jock’s Tips and Advice on the River Tay

River Tay Fishing GuideClick here for guided fishing trips on the TayIn the early colder Spring months of the year salmon enter the River Tay and most of these early salmon are heading for the sanctuary of Loch Tay given the permissible & expected high Spring water levels.The later runs of Spring salmon show up in the Tay from late February onwards when the water temperatures increase a few degrees to the end of June where fresh run salmon can be caught throughout the system and even as far up the river as Loch Tayand beyond. The later run of spring salmon run appears in March, April & May and are predominantly heading for the River Tummel therefor anywhere in the immediate area downstream from the River Tummel/Tay confluence is well worth a visit. In the summer months salmon fishing on the Tay offers good sport and sea-liced fresh run salmon are present throughout the Tay system. Excellent fly fishing water can be found on quite a few of the famous middle Tay beats.

The lower end of the river around and downstream of the town of Stanley traditionally fishes very well in the autumn through to the end of October when the Tay closes and these later running fish will also move up into the middle Tay salmon beats at this time. Accepted methods of fishing for salmon on the Tay are mainly these days with the fly and occasionally spinning during higher water levels. Harling which is a traditional form of trolling from a boat is permitted on the river and most Tay beats have boats in order to conduct this form of fishing. Popular and proven Spring Tay salmon flies are the Black & Yellow, Willie Gunn & Garry Dog and during late Spring and the Summer months flies the Cascade, Sunray Shadow, Stoats Tail & the various Ally’s Shrimp patterns fish well.

In the autumn months of September & October salmon flies with red or orange in them do well and patterns like the Red Editor, Black & Orange or orange or red Flamethrowers often produce results. The River Tay opens annually from 15 January through to the recently extended closing date of 31 October. The Tay in my opinion offers great salmon fishing in Scotland due to its sheer size and seldom doesn’t have a good fishable water level due to its massive 2500 square mile loch fed catchment area. In recent seasons many large 3 sea winter salmon have returned. This class of salmon is what made the River Tay famous and this mighty Scottish river still holds the British record for a rod caught Atlantic salmon which was landed in October 1922 near the village of Caputh and weighed in at a staggering 64lbs. A 40lbs salmon was landed in the Lower Tay last season so I would not bet against a larger fish showing up this coming season.

Fishing Links for the River Tay

[catlist id=422 numberposts=-1 orderby=title order=asc excerpt=yes thumbnail=yes]