The River Tay has seen one of its best salmon-fishing seasons in recent years with catches up by a fifth.
It’s estimated that more than 5,500 salmon were landed this year with a marked improvement in the quality of fish returning to the river.
The welcome boost for the Cargill beat in Perthshire has seen ghillie David Godfrey celebrating the best season in ten years.
He told STV News: “We ended up with 425 salmon and 41 sea trout. The quality is very good this year, we’ve had several fish over 20 pounds, fish up to 28 pounds in weight and really solid, very well fed salmon.”
Despite the successes, the season did face its challenges, with some beats struggling because of the hot summer.
Dr David Summers, from the Tay District Salmon Fisheries Board, said: “August wasn’t such a good month because of the weather, but if we’d had good fishing conditions then it would’ve been better .
“We’ve had a few difficult years, but this year has been really quite encouraging.”
There were also some mighty catches this year, as Dr Summers explained: “There were three salmon caught in March over 30 pounds and it has been a long time [since we’ve] had something like that.
“If this trend continues, my prediction is, in the not too distant future, somebody will get a 40 pounder.”
This was the first salmon season without restrictions on travel and hospitality since the coronavirus pandemic. Anglers and guests returned in high numbers, pouring millions of pounds into the local economy.
Mr Godfrey said: “We’ve had an occupancy rate of about 90 per cent this year, so that’s really good. It’s great to see people coming back and enjoying the fishing.
“In rural economies like ours, salmon fishing is one of the mainstays of bringing people back to Scotland.
“Hotels, newsagents, people who buy their milk and their sandwich in the morning are all reliant on salmon anglers coming to this river to come fishing.”
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