|Salmon fishing River Tummel, Pitlochry Dam - Portnacraig and Pitlochry Beats
Pitlochry Dam Salmon Fishing
Day permits are available for visitors to fish for salmon on Portnacraig and Pitlochry beats of the River Tummel. The season runs from January 15 to October 15 and the double bank fishing on Portnacraig Pitlochry offers some of the most productive spring salmon fishing available on the River Tay system. Fresh fish arrive from January onwards and good sport can be expected from March to mid-June with spring runs best during April and May. The River Tummel is noted for its large multi-sea-winter salmon and Atlantic Salmon in excess of 20 lbs are not uncommon. Demand to fish for salmon at Pitlochry Dam is high during April and May. Portnacraig bank (right bank looking downstream) tends to fish best in higher flows and the Pitlochry bank (left bank) tends to suit lower water. Permit holders can commence fishing at dawn but must not fish after 17:00pm. The banks are swapped each day at 12:00 noon so everyone gets the opportunity to fish from each side of the river.
Fishing off the Portnacraig bank one would hope for medium to highish water which encourages fish to hold to the Portnacraig side of the river. Starting at the top of the beat is a fast run of “riffly” water where fish lie waiting to ascend the fish ladder, which they do in increasing numbers once the water temperature has risen to around 10 deg. C. This section can be especially good for grilse in July and August. Next down is a much deeper pool which is more suited to spinning, perhaps, but the tail of this pool is a great cast for the fly. Salmon lie well back on the lip of the pool and takes can be very aggressive as the fly will be coming round at speed. When salmon are running through, they often do so very close in to this side, so there is no need to try and cast to the opposite bank. Below the Summer Stones (which are only visible in low water but are slightly upstream of the parking bay) is a long run of good holding water known as the Green Bank. Below the surface are many ledges and slabs and fish can be expected to take all the way down the run, often quite close in to the bank. There is no need to wade deeply here as all the water can be comfortably covered from close to, or on, the bank. The tail of this pool is marked by the Suspension Bridge and this is, arguably, the best taking spot on the beat. Salmon also lie in the steady water just below the Suspension Bridge, which is not deep. Casting across and allowing the fly/lure to drift round on the current is all that is required and provides many salmon off the beat. In low to medium water you can work right down under the bridge, continuing downstream about 50m until the depth and flow make it necessary to back out onto the bank. In low water conditions anglers can push much further down the bank, wading out just a couple of metres from the bank and many fish are taken very close in.