Mark Cockburn FishPal

unspecifiedMost of our salmon rivers are now closed with the exception of a few who remain open till the end of November. It seems a long time since I attended the opening ceremony on the Tay at Dunkeld! So how have our rivers faired overall, lets have a look at some individual rivers with my thoughts on their season.

River Tay: This is the second season without the 2 week extension. The river opened on the 15th of January, a cold day greeted us with snow on the ground. The river always receives media interest and this year was no exception with Dr Aileen McLeod performing the first cast with a double handed salmon rod and not a spinning rod. Opening day saw a few fish reported and then angling pressure eases. Those who braved the cold conditions enjoyed some early catches of springers which soon got anglers casting a line. Anglers fishing during Spring had fish up to 34lb and catches of 24lbers in January and March. Summer months anglers were encouraged with some cracking days reported by Tay Reporter Bob White.

Great to have the Tay doing so well so early on and anglers were really optimistic about the fortunes of the season overall as autumn approached. We waited for some more Tay giants to arrive – mindful that Georgina Ballantyne caught her record breaking fish in Autumn. Hopes were raised when a female angler caught a 32lber on the fly in October in the pool shared with Islamouth beat and Meikleour fishing. Sadly the big run of fish did not materialised in any significant numbers, and pods of running fish were seen with a few bars of silver amongst them to anglers rods.

So before we new it, 15th of October arrived and frustratingly fresh fish in numbers did not. Some questioned the extension had been taken away and a growing concern that the run of fish would arrive as the season was closing, but, history will tell us that this did not happen. The temperatures remained stubbornly high during the last few months and the season fizzled out after such a promising start to the season.

River Dee: Not too dissimilar a pattern. Anglers fishing the river enjoyed some cracking early spring and summer fishing. Rod pressure in the earlier part of the year was good. It’s encouraging to report that catches on the Dee are year on year up close to 40%.
This is great news and reflects the condition of the river, despite high temperatures and a distinct lack of any serious rain to top things up during the year. Like the Tay an autumn run that failed to deliver on expectations.

River Spey: A fantastic start to the year with some excellent reports of decent spring runs keeping anglers very happy. Summer continued the trend and with the river proving to be extremely popular this year, more so than I have seen in recent times, catches continued to be good and many a tale of some cracking days on the rivers with numerous parties clambering to get their 2017 fishing booked up already. I’ll come back to 2017 later in my blog.

River Tweed: Open until the end of November, many are hoping this extra month might yield a good run of fish, time will tell. With temperatures cooling Autumn fishing has mainly consisted of coloured salmon caught up to 36lb.Early spring and summer fishing has again been reasonably strong overall with some really cracking fish caught, including a red letter day for young angler Jess England fishing Hendersyde on the 19th February, with 3 spring salmon on the fly during the morning. The lower river up to Junction beat has faired better than middle and upper beats which is not a surprise given water levels suited to beats the lower Tweed. Tweed angling pressure has continued to be strong, although frustration with a lack of fresh fish this autumn is certainly something I am aware of as we turn our attentions soon to next year.

River Thurso: An east coat river that did well early in the season. I”m sure you all heard about the week when anglers fishing the river had some 440 fish, what a week to have been fortunate enough to have been on the river for those lucky anglers to have been a part of it. Sadly a lack of water, high water temperatures slowed down the Thurso towards the end of summer. But we will never forget that one magical week when everything came good!

River Tyne: Interesting year with a mixture of cracking weeks with good catches, interspersed with poor weeks when the fish just weren’t playing ball. Lack of water and temperatures again at the heart of the problems and irregular reliance on water released from Keilder into the north & main Tyne. The Tyne is a very popular river with a growing audience of anglers all keen to get in amongst the action. Always a good stop of point for any trip travelling to & from Scotland if you can fit it into your plans. There are good numbers of fish running the river (43,189 last year) but catching them, well that’s a different matter entirely!

Yorkshire Ure: Another river that I confess to have only discovered this year is the Yorkshire Ure. What a beautiful river it is and all for prices that will certainly not break the bank! Try a few days on Swinton and/or Bolton and you won’t be disappointed. The river doesn’t open again now till mid April but there will be springers about at that time who will not have seen a fly and I for one will be there to try and connect with a Ure beauty.

There are of course many others rivers across the country and simply to many to mention for now – quite enough I here you say for one blog!

In summary when a localised spate has hit these rivers then rods have found excellent sport. With very little water anglers have had a tough old time of it as you would expect on any river down to its bones.

So there you have it, a quick canter round some thoughts of mine as I look back at the 2016 season. I personally have had some great trips this year to many rivers and necessarily hooking into the bar of silver. Days that have been full of great craic and memorable laughs and meeting new anglers across the country.

With many challenges facing our sport I will always be thankful for my time on the river.

Anglers have had some good fishing memories this year in spring and summer. You will not be surprised to hear that most of the calls right in to FishPal are from anglers trying to organise trips for spring and summer.

There is still a fair bit of work for proprietors and agents to do in order to get their available fishing on to our river sites. We are working with them to get things organsied so you can find the fishing you are looking for.

If you have not booked a “rod alert” notification informing you by email of new fishing uploaded onto our site then please follow the link HERE. It’s the best way to keep up to speed with all new available fishing so you don’t mss out on any new fishing.

Tight lines everybody


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