Autumn week on the River Tay 2011

Text/Photo: Dave Parkes – Power Team

Autumn on the River Tay in Scotland is a wonderful place to be, a very pretty place,with changing colours of the leaves and normally a river with plenty of salmon, both fresh fish, and fish that are the colours of the leaves, salmon that have been in the river for a while.
So we were looking forward to our week on Taymount beat in October.

On Monday morning we arrived at the hut early and we were greeted by ghillies Cohn and Mike. John my fishing buddy and myself had drawn the bank for the first morning session, which suited us fine as the beat has some superb fly water. I set up a 14ft 8in 10/11 Le Cie coupled with a float/hover/intermediate triple density shooting head, these triple density lines cast superbly well and are well suited to a big river like the Tay. Fly selection was orange and yellow tied on a small brass bottle tube.

My favourite autumn Tay fly

The river was running a little high but clear so it was with much anticipation that I made my first casts in a pool at the bottom of the beat called Stank End. The pool is probably 150 metres long and an easy wade and although there are hot spots you can expect a fish anywhere down the pool.

I fished down the pool three times and I managed to get four fish, the biggest was 15 lbs, two were sea liced which were a lovely purple colour, typical autumn fish, and two which were older fish but were just as welcome.

15 lbs of fresh Autumn fish

In the afternoon John and I were drawn in the top boat so fly fishing was difficult, so I swapped with one of our party to fish the bank again. I fished a pool called the Alden Stream, another classic fly pool, and ended the day with another five fish to 17lbs. In all our party of six got 14 fish for the day, a great start but typical of a good autumn day on the Tay.

On Tuesday I swapped with another one of the guys and again fished the bank, it was a perfect height for a  pool called Red Rocks, and after about 10 minutes I had a lovely slow draw and after a good heavy fight i finally landed a superb fresh autumn fish that would be at least 25lbs in weight. Another older fish followed but what a morning.

My biggest fish of the week at 25 lbs plus (Ecstatic or what!!!!)

After that morning fish on the fly became scarce (we don’t know why). The last hour of light proved to be the best bet for a fish.

Other guys were catching fish on both spinner and worms but they were not easy.
I know a lot of people do not agree with worm fishing, but I feel to fish the worm properly there is a lot of skill involved. To work a worm through known lies is quite exciting, especially when you get the take from the Salmon, it really gets the heart pounding. I always strike quickly when I feel the take to try and avoid deep hooking the fish, the only disadvantage when worm fishing. Fortunately if a quick connection is made this can be avoided.  And the fish can be returned.

I use an Lpxe 11ft 60g spinning rod coupled with a small multiplier for my worm fishing and I find it excellent for the job, light but powerful enough to handle the biggest salmon.

The weather was kind to us all week and the river levels remained static. We ended our week with 54 salmon to six rods which is a good week for Taymount beat on the river Tay in Autumn.

We managed a mixture of fresh and old fish with another fish of 22 ½ lbs, with a lot of fish in the teens of pounds, and at least half of the fish over 10lbs. Quality fishing.

Both Cohn and Mike the ghillies looked after us very well. Our thanks to them both.

All too soon it was over, but the memories will remain with us, and they will carry us through to next season.

Bring it on !!!!!!!


  1. That’s an enjoyable account of what sounds a very good week of autumn fishing. A class bit of sport to round the season off with. Really interesting your comments on worm fishing too – Henry Giles.

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