Malcolm Anderson from Caledonia Fly Company shares his fly choice for September on the Tay.
Water levels on the river this month have been dropping and when this happens it can unsettle the fish from taking. There are a few fresh salmon running and a few grilse. Most of the beats have a good number of resident fish which are proving hard to tempt but are switching on from time to time. I think if you are heading out, go for the fresh runners which will take more freely.
Flies for September – I will be using two top patterns for this month they are the Shadow Shrimp and the Copper Raider both these pattern should be fished in a size 8 or 10. If you get a rise in the water the Aurora Cascade feeler is well worth a cast in a size 8 or 10. If you are fishing faster streams and need a fly to hold in the flow longer use a Sunburst Cascade copper tube, deadly fly for the backend fish. The fish that are there just now are older fish and they have probably been caught or at least seen a lot of flies and baits over their time in the river so sometimes a plain subtle pattern like an original Willie Gunn or a Munro Killer will tempt them. Fish are still being taken on clear intermediate tips but I would prefer a little bit deeper using a tip of about 3”/sec
Everything is pointing to another quiet backend just like the last two seasons which were very quiet. Let’s hope the Autumn run will start this month and top up all the beats in the Tay to spread the sport from the top to the bottom beats. There has been fish over the last month dropping back down the river which is good news as what fresh fish that are running will stop and hang around for a time before moving onwards up the system. What is needed apart from a magic wand is a drop in water temperature or a good rise in the river level to try and tempt fish lying out in the Tay estuary to run the system.
The speed the fish have been moving up the river this year has been incredible with thousands just running past you and not stopping. It is looking like there are changes afoot with mother nature and her Atlantic Salmon, there seems to be a rotation in the river where the spring run is the main run now on the river with ever decreasing numbers at the back end. It will be interesting to see what the other systems that also enjoy a backend run do this year as they too have had quieter than normal backend runs.
Remember to handle the fish with great care as they are not so robust as they are in the spring. The females are fat with eggs and if you are lifting them out of the net support the whole body.
Wishing you all the best from Malcolm at Caledonia Flies.