Tay District Salmon Fisheries Board

Protecting and Improving The Tay System


Government angling catch data for the Tay District

Since 1952 all proprietors have been obliged to provide a return of salmon caught each month of each year if asked for by the Government . Every year the Scottish Government published the total all method annual district catch in statistical bulletins, although in the last few years monthly data have been published. These annual aggregate figures were not in themselves particularly illuminating but Marine Scotland Science has supplied the TDSFB with monthly rod and net catches since 1952. In the last few years the Board has also collected its own data. Thus the graph collected below is an amalgam of long term data collected by the Government and more recent data collected by the Board. Please also note that we have identified some missing data from some beats in the historic data and where possible we have sourced these figures and made the necessary amendments. Thus the graph below might not be identical to one produced by Marine Scotland figures alone.

Government net and cobble catch data

Monthly net and coble catch, Tay District 1952 – 1996
As with angling, the Government has collected netting catches since 1952. At the end of the 1996 the last major net fisheries in the Tay closed down. Since then only very small numbers of fish have been caught. The graph below shows the monthly catches from 1952 to 1996. The netting season used to finish 20 August.

The catch data show a number of trends.

Whole district rod catches show marked downward tend since 1960s in early spring catches

Net catches show same early season decline, although early season net catches did not increase in 1960s like rod catches

In the 1950s most rod caught fish were taken in the spring. Autumn catches were very low.

In the 1950s the nets caught most of their fish in summer, though in much smaller numbers than in the 1960s and early 70s. In the 1950s spring catches made a bigger proportion of the net catch than later.

Rod catches in June and July have tended to increase over time. July was always the main month for the nets and their decline and closure seems to coincide with the increase in July rod catches.

Autumn rod catches were initially very low, started increasing in the 1960s but reached a peak in the late 80s / early 90s. Though there has been some decline, autumn catches are still dominant. Read more about changing autumn runs by clicking here.

Although autumn rod catches were higher after than 1960s than during the 1960s, August had been the peak netting month in the 1960s (bearing in mind August only represents 20 days of netting). After the 1960s August net catches declined even though July catches increased for a time, and thereafter August was never as good for the nets as July became.

Stobhall catches were much lower before the 1960s. Lower fishing effort may be an issue.

From the 1930s to the 1950s most Stobhall fish were caught in spring. Autumn catches were very low. Spring catches during this period were relatively good, especially bearing in mind the beat was not being fished as it was after the 1960s.

Recent autumn catch trends for Stobhall essentially follow the whole district catch.

In the 1950s most fish caught by nets were reported as "salmon" as opposed to "grilse". There was then a gradual change and by the 1990s the big majority of fish were reported as "grilse".

Before about 1810 most fish caught by the nets were described as "salmon" but the proportion of "grilse" was increasing and by the 1830s the majority of fish were described as "grilse".