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Salmon Fishing on the River Tay – a comprehensive guide

A breakdown of the different River Tay beats

Starting at the Estuary, working upstream, the main beat on the Tay are as follows:

Almondmouth is the closest beat to the city of Perth and the estuary, and one of the most prolific beats on the Tay, as salmon can stack up here ready to run one of the main tributatries, the River Almond.

Lower Redgorton, accommodates 6 rods and is 1.35 miles of excellent fly fishing water and 20 named pools. The beat is timeshared, however rods do become available.

Waulkmill is located on the North bank of the Tay and close to Scone Palace, (the owner). The beat is split to “Goldcastle” and “Waulkmill” with a reciprocal arrangement with the owner on the opposite bank. So Waulkmill and Goldcastle are fished on alternative days. There are 22 pools on the beat, a good hut and access is easy. Boat fishing is also available for people with mobility issues. 

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Home made fishing rod section holders

Upper Redgorton is a beat fished from the south shore of the Tay and the fishing starts at the Sochie Burn and runs up to the Craigs. There’s a small and iconic old hut on this beat and it shares fishing with Fishponds in that there’s a rotation system in operation, (split to Fishponds and Knowesbank) in that on Monday, Wedesday and Friday Fishponds fishes the upper part of the beat from the Fishponds hut to the Craigs, and on Tuesday, Thursday and Sat Upper Redgorton have access to these pools. Knowesbank is the lower section from the Fishponds hut to the Sochie burn. 

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A first salmon for our guest on the Fishponds beat

Fishponds, in my opinion the is one of the best beats on the River Tay, and the peak of fishing is from late July onwards when big runs of grilse come in and the salmon numbers multiply. Fishponds has an excellent hut and the Ghillie is in my opinion the best on the Tay, Iain Kirk is not only helpful, and knowledgable, but good humoured and is a qualified SGAIC casting instructor and rod designer for Scott Mackenzie. In August 2020, Fishponds had 71 salmon caught and released, and this was remarkable considering it was lightly fished due to covid. In a strange move by the palace, the beat will be leased on from Jan to April 2021, with a new Ghillie in place. I know from having my finger on the pulse and fishing there regularly over the last 5 years, people have been fishing the Fishponds because of Ian, so what will happen if he’s not Head Ghillie remains to be seen.

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The impressive fishing hut on the Fishponds beat of the Tay

Benchil  is the next beat upstream of “The Craigs” on Fishponds and accommodates 4 rods on double bank fishing and 10 named pools including Skellies, Aitken Head, Plain Water, Ship Linn, Long Shot, Tail of Shot, Ewelundie, White Craigs, Little Shot and Todholes. In spring it shares fishing with Ratholes on a rotation basis. And in Autumn there are two boats available and 1 full time Ghillie. 

Catholes is the next beat and located approx 6 miles upstream of Perth and the tidal water. This is a short beat at only 1000 yards of double bank fishing. Accommodating 4 rods and 13 named River Tay salmon pools including The Slap, The Pot, Gean Tree, Little Cast, Catholes Stream, Black Stones, Back Dam, Lucknow, Eric’s, Geoff’s, Freddie’s Woodside and The Little Head.

Pitlochrie is located near the village of Stanley and takes 4 rods. There are only 9 names salmon pools, the Pitlochrie Pool. Two boats are provided and there’s decent anchored fishing from the boat. It fishes six rods and has a hut situated overlooking the Wash House. Low water pools,  Corner Pool, the Dyke, Kirkie and the Woodside. Horsey is a good high water pool. 

Upstream from Benchil is Upper Scone beat, the is an excellent spring beat and accommodates 6 rods. The beat has two boats and two ghillies, and fishes in rotation with Pitlochrie and Benchil. This is a timeshared beat, and occasionally rods are let on an ad hoc basis. 

Burnemouth is accessible through the village of Stanley and is a small beat primarily best for Spinning. There are two boats on the beat and a full time Ghillie Geordie Stewart. 

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A River Tay salmon released carefully

Stobhall is double bank fishing positioned downstream of the River Isla with 29 named pools, as well as the world famous Linn Pool, there are the Linn’, ‘Stank End’, ‘Kill Mou’ and ‘The Major’s Cast’ pools, and all of this set close to historic Stobhall Castle and Taymount House. A beat steeped in history and famous for catching some huge salmon.

Taymount is one of the most famous beats on the Tay, divided into upper and lower beats and alternating with Stobhall, The Linn Pool is an excellent spring pool, especially when the waters high. There are 6 rods available, 2 ghillies, 2 boats and 1 hut per beat. 

Ballathie is a well known and productive beat on the River Tay and is adjacent to Ballathie House, which offer excellent accommodation near the river. There are two double-bank beats, 1.25 miles total fished on alternate days by 6 rods with 2 ghillies, 2 boats, 1 hut per beat. Ballathie begins with the ‘Bridge Stream’ pool, a long stream which and ideal fly water with a deeper channel on the inside making it easy to fish. The rest of the beat, is quite flat as the river runs over a shelf of sandstone rock there are many salmon lies in this 1/2 mile run and it can be highly productive as in lower water it can hold fish. 

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Salmon Fishing on the Tay at Murthly

Cargill is a highly productive salmon beat on the Tay and located near Ballathie. The beat fishes alternate days and shares with Ballathie. In 2021 Cargill anglers will fish upper Beat on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, lower Beat on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.  On week 1-11 there will be one Ghillie and thereafter 2 ghillies. There’s a well appointed hut and access. Some of the pools on Cargill are legendary, like the Pot Shot, Rumbling Stone, Cobble Croy, and Clocksden. 

Islamouth could be argued as the most famous beat on the Tay as it is located at the junction of the River Isla, and in the same way that the Junction pool on the Tweed/ Teviot is so famous. In low water the fish will accumulate the junction and fish that run the Isla and its tributary the Ericht can be easily caught here. This is some of the best fly fishing water on the tay, and only in extremely high water conditions sometimes spinning is allowed. There is an excellent hut, 2 ghillies and 2 boats. 

Meiklour and Upper Islamouth is a lovely middle Tay beat with 1.7 miles of fishing double bank and 2 boats and 2 ghillies. There is an excellent fishing hut, located beside the bridge over the Tay. 

Kerkcok, beat upstream, offers 2.25 miles of double bank fishing and has a 5 year Catch return average of 132 fish. The beat can accommodate up to 10 rods. In 2013 a 45lb salmon was caught here on a Devon Minnow, it was 49 inches in length. This has been the largest Tay salmon in the last 20 years. , 

Delvine Burnbane beat is located just downstream of the Caputh Bridge and offers 1.5 miles of left bank fishing and boasts a new fishing hut and improved facilities. Fishing can be from the bank or boat and fly fishing and spinning is permitted. 

Glendelvine beat is perhaps the most famous beat on the Tay. Immortalised by the capture of a UK record breaking salmon caught on this beat in the Autumn of 1922 and weighing in at 64lb. You can also follow in her footsteps and rent the cottage se use to live in. Located close to the beat, the cottage sleeps 6. 

Murthly 1 – Stenton and Murthly 2 beats – Beat 1 is split between the Top Water (five rods) and Low Water (five rods). Beat 2 splits to alternate days on Stenton (three rods) and the Top Water (five rods. This is some of the finest fly fishing water on the Tay, with spectacular scenery to boot. The 5-year catch return average stands at 318 salmon and 17 sea trout. 

Newtyle beat is located downstream of Dunkeld and of Birnam Wood, where you can see The Birnam Oak from Shakespear’s Macbeth. Newtyle offers 12 named pools on double bank and a boat. The fishing hut is iconic and was an old cricket pavilion hut and then used on a curling pond. It’s now been moved to the banks of the River Tay and has has many marks on the walls where previous floods have filled it up beyond half way! The Head Ghillie Andy Gunn does an excellent job of running a superb beat and there’s something for everyone here, streamy fly water, deeper pools and water fishable in all heights. 

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The River Tay on the Newtyle beat – what a backdrop!

Dunkeld House offers 8 rods and fishing on the left hand bank only, between Thomas Telfords bridge and the new bridge over the A9 road to Inverness. There are two boats and fish are often caught fly fishing or hauling from an anchored position. There are spectacular views here and you can also fish the tail of the ‘Gauge pool” opposite Dunkeld Cathedral and the junction where the River Braan enters. 

Upstream of the A9 bridge is the Dalmarnock beat of the River Tay, offering a superb hut, and 3 miles of fishing with 15 named salmon pools. It’s possible to fly fish or spin this beat and the beat is available for let on a daily or weekly basis. 

Dalguise beat is located upstream and near the village of Dalguise. A beautiful; and scenic beat offering 9 named pools, and a mixture of fly fishing and spinning water. Easily one of the best fishing huts on the Tay, and thereat can accommodate up to 7 rods. Lunches can be provided and the Head Ghillie Moray McFarlane is friendly and knowledgable and always happy to offer guests an end of day dram from a selection of Malt Whisky. There is also the option of a boat and this can give access to some unique spots. 

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A big Autumn River Tay cock Salmon, from the Dalguise beat

Lower Kinnaird beat is located downstream of the River Tummel and offers some spectacular fly fishing in iconic and famous salmon pools, including Ferry Stream, Plantation, Swimming Pool, Island Stream, Green Bank, Ash Trees, New Pool, Fir Trees, Kindallachan pool and the Guay. The beat has been managed by Head Ghillie Martin Edgar for the last 10 years and has a superb fishing hut. Martin is a real gentleman, who looks like a bearded viking in Tweed. I mean that in a complementary way, as he is one of the River real gentlemen and always willing to help. 

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The River Tummel at Kinnaird

Under the same ownership of Kinnaird Estae is the Upper Kinnaird beat. There are 17 names salmon pools including Middle Pool & Mikes Run on the River Tummel, which offer classic fly fishing water, amidst some truly spectacular scenery. This is Right hand bank fishing on the Upper Kinnaird beat and left hand bank on the Tummel. Access is easy with little walking involved.

Weem beat offers 1 mile of private salmon fishing on the flooring named salmon pools Twin Trees Pool

Deep Holding Glide, The Groins, Substation Pool, Island Pool Tail and Bridge Pool.

Edradynate and Upper Grandtully offer some of the best salmon fishing in the Grandtully to Aberfeldy stretch of the Tay, with 6 salmon pools, Tom-an-Droighne, Cluny Ferry, Poltewan, Glide, The Pot – and the Church Pool which has produced some very big salmon over the years. There are two miles of left bank and two miles of right banks fishing. You can fish the fly and spin gear and there is a boat available.

Findynate beat is a smaller beat consisting of three named salmon pools including the ‘Findynate’ which is 300 yards long and a first holding spot for salmon that have ran through the Grandtully Rapids. 

The Lower Grandtully fishing is made up of Findynate beat 3 rods Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays Cloichfoldich beat 3 rods Tuesdays Thursdays and Saturday, 

Bolfracks, is a beat downstream of Aberfeldy and with the following pools, Neils, Dalrawer Island, Bolfracks House, Haugh and Home Farm, wghich famously produced a 28lb salmon two years ago. 

Lower Farleyer , The Lower Farleyer Beat is the downstream half of what used to be called The Farleyer Beat, now split into Upper and Lower. This salmon beat is located near Aberfeldy and offers right hand banks wade fishing using fly or spinning rod. 

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A magnificent Scottish Atlantic Salmon, the ultimate prize.

Upper Farleyer is one of the best salmon fishing beats of the Upper River Tay stsytem near Aberfeldy. As well as having an iconic fishing hut, which featured as one of the best fishing hut sin the Uk, in the book “Fishing Huts” its offer some wonderful fly water, left hand bank, as salmon hold up here prior to running one of the main tributaries the River Lyon. The beat is 1.25 miles long