My 8th excursion to this lovely river in Perthshire has been and gone. On the River Lyon fishing for salmon can provide some truly great sport; indeed, on our August visit, we had never previously blanked. But this time, after 5 weeks of hot, humid and very dry weather, I was anticipating some difficult conditions. On arrival it was no surprise to hear from Bill Mason, the semi-retired gillie, that things had been pretty desperate. As expected, the river was much lower than we would have liked, and we estimated that two fish for the week would be a good result.
The first two days were blank with only a very odd salmon showing here and there, but on day three Ryan ‘got the skunk out’ with this 9lb cock fish, caught up-streaming a small Toby spoon in a small but productive pool. The remarkable thing about that was that the fish chased the lure down-stream no fewer than five times before taking on the sixth cast! Having caught several hundred salmon, including the Alaskan ones, my experience is that if they don’t take it in the initial two offers, they won`t take at all (but what do I know?!!!).
The following day I had my friend, Bill Stewart, as guest for the day to fish my rod. He kindly brought me some very special birthday whisky and some lovely Cuban cigars but sadly had no luck with the fishing, despite a valiant effort. When we met the others, however, we learned that John (Venner) had landed a small grilse, and Rodney had lost a big fish at his feet after a tremendous 15-minute battle! Things were looking up!
Next day (Thursday), Ryan had a take on his fly in the Powerhouse Pool but made the ‘schoolboy error’ of striking, and subsequently lost the fish (easily done, especially for someone who’s used to trout fishing!). Rod then went from zero to hero by catching one of its mates on an upstream Toby in the same pool shortly after. He went on to complete his perfect day by hooking, landing and releasing what he believed to be the very same fish he`d lost the day before! It proved to be an (estimated) 18lb hen Salmon, and took the same lure – a heavy ‘Flying C’ in the Fir Pool, as it had done on the first occasion. Many folk would have kept that fish, as it was in good order, but good old Rod felt it had deserved its freedom and nursed it for some minutes before it swam strongly away.
I have had my share of fish on the Lyon, but this time I was dunce of the party, my only action being a ‘head and tail’ take on fly on the last day, which was never really hooked. Having said that, the whole week was sheer joy, with extraordinarily good self-catered food, some lovely wine and tons of much-needed snoozing!! In the circumstances a great result.