Watching a salmon leaping up a waterfall on its way home to spawn is one of nature's sights to behold. Records show salmon leaping at least 12 feet in determination to ascend a waterfall. In Highland Perthshire you can often see Salmon leaping at The Hermitage, Pitlochry Dam & Salmon Ladder, Soldiers Leap at Killiecrankie and the Linn of Tummel.
Rivers and burns throughout Highland Perthshire are home to many thousands of migratory salmon, some of which swim many miles into the mountains to reach their home pools to spawn and start another cycle of their amazing life story. The young salmon grow in our clean waters for a few years before starting their epic journeys to the salt water feeding grounds via the North Sea and the Atlantic Ocean. Some of them reach the Davis Straight on the west coast of Greenland before heading home again, a distance of 6000 miles as the crow flies! On their return they battle their way past nets, killer whales, dolphins and the thousands of seals that prey upon them around the coasts. The survivors, a small percentage of those that hatched in our rivers return home safely to re-produce and provide thrilling sport for the angler fortunate enough to encounter them.
Salmon fishing is available throughout Highland Perthshire from 15th January until 15th October although some beats of the River Tay remaining open until 31st October.
Salmon may arrive in the River Tay on any day of the year but of course there are peak times. Spring salmon are the earliest running multi sea winter fish. In most rivers the main runs start to arrive in March, but on the River Tay they can arrive much earlier but generally the numbers are fairly low until then. April and May are the hot times for spring salmon, these fish can be large, and in years gone by specimens around the 30lb mark have been encountered.
Salmon require a good freshwater habitat for successful breeding; pollution free water, accessible stable redds, and good water levels.
Catch & Release has been introduced on our rivers to aid the survival of the mighty Salmon, one of our treasured natural resources. Over the last 3 decades the number of salmon returning to our rivers from the sea has fallen by more than half.
For more information on river habitats visit Scottish Natural Heritage, the mighty salmon visit Salmon & Trout Association, fly fishing visit Lets Fly Fish with Ally Gowans