THE RIVER Tay is the longest river in Scotland and its mighty flows are bolstered by a number of important tributaries, many of which are excellent salmon fisheries in their own right. The Tay is also the first of Scotland’s famous four salmon rivers to open, with the season beginning on January 15. Fresh salmon will enter the river every month of the year, making the Tay a popular early-season destination for anglers in search of an elusive springer.
Salmon fishing on the Tay is world famous, and beyond the main stem there are many other beautiful adjoining rivers such as the Earn, Isla, Ericht, Tummel, Garry, Dochart and Lyon. Sport begins in January, and while there will be fresh fish entering the system from day one, the chances of connecting with a bright bar of silver increase as the weather warms and we move into spring and early summer. Early season fishing on Tayside starts at £30 a day, and many beats also offer fishing from a boat from £90. The runs of summer salmon and grilse build significantly in June and usually peak in July. The river rarely suffers from the low-level drought conditions that can affect other rivers because of the number of hydropower schemes on the system, which manage water levels, so there should always be plenty of water in which to swing the fly and grilse can always enter the river without having to wait for a summer spate. It is in these warmer months that some of the best fishing is to be had, with a day on the bank starting at £60 and a day on the boat £140. In recent years fresh fish with sea-lice on them have been caught all the way up to the end of the season in midoctober. A day chasing autumn salmon may cost anywhere from £90 to £500 depending on the beat. There are many famous beats up and down the river, including Newtyle, Murthly, Upper Redgorton, Dunkeld, Dalmarnock, Upper and Lower Kinnaird, Taymount and Islamouth. The Perth and District Angling Association also offers fishing on various beats up and down the river, membership of which costs £200 for the year.
Although it is not noted as a sea-trout river, the Tay still has a good run of these enigmatic fish. They usually begin to appear in the catch returns around May and June, with catches continuing throughout the summer. Away from the main stem, the River Earn is a noted sea-trout river.
Although not widely noted for its brown trout fishing, the Tay, and especially its tributaries, offers some excellent sport for wild fish in beautiful surroundings. Day tickets for trout are available for as little as £10 and fish approaching 5lb have been caught on dry-fly.
A boat can help cover the furthest lies.