The Scottish salmon season has opened with a trickle of spring fish from its main rivers

High water and cold conditions saw the Tay get off to a slow start.

The salmon season in Scotland is under way, with the Helmsdale in the north east corner opening first on January 11th. This year, it offered free fishing until January 23 to anyone that signed in.

Last season, the Helmsdale had an improved run on 2021, with an estimated catch of 1300 fish, along with an increase in the grilse run.

On the Tay, the river was high and cold on January 16 (the normal opening date of 15th was a Sunday) and a few anglers appeared down the length of the whole river on the Monday, with a turn out of 90 anglers at Meikleour. There, the opening cast was performed by author, David Profumo along with actor, Burn Gorman.

No fish were caught from the river during that opening day, and it took until the Wednesday before a 21-pounder came from the Upper Scone beat, and then Lower Bolfracks recorded a two-pound sea trout on the Friday. Later, a bright 11-pound fish was taken from Dalmarnock (well known to anglers – where the A9 crosses the river, just north of Dunkeld).

The Dee then opened with the first official cast performed by author and photographer, Matt Harris, on February 1. The weather was milder by now and the Dee was in good ply. The first fish of the season came off Cairnton & Middle Blackhall – a fresh-run 8 pounder on a Black & Yellow Monkey for Steph Monaghan, and a seven-pound fish followed later from Invery & Tilquhillie near Banchory. So far, three fish have been recorded.

Also opening on February 1 was the Tweed, which was opened by opened for 2023 by Scottish Secretary for Rural Economy and Tourism, Mairi Gougeon. The river was high that day, but it has already reported a trickle of spring fish, with Upper North Wark, Upper Hendersyde and Upper Dryborough all getting off the mark (the whole Tweed system records around 200 fish during a normal February).

The river Spey will open on Saturday, February 11.