River Lyon


The Lyon is a major western tributary of the Tay. It rises in the hills just east of Bridge of Orchy, and then flows about 35 miles before meeting the upper Tay a few miles west of Aberfeldy. Glen Lyon is a spectacular, narrow steep sided glen, arguably the most stunning part of the Tay catchmen.

However, the Lyon was radically changed in the 1950s when several hydro dams were built in the upper catchment. Lubreoch Dam cut off something like 8 miles of the upper river and greatly expanded the previously small Loch Lyon. Salmon no longer have access to that area. Formerly a very flashy river, the flow in the River Lyon is now highly regulated. The average flow is much reduced and the upper part of the river is dependent on artificial “freshets” to help salmon migrate. Our research has also shown that aspects of flow regulation may have impacted on the Lyon’s invertebrate community and thus salmon production for a considerable distance downstream of the dams.

Although the Lyon may not be as productive as it once was, it still has a significant salmon run and, as well as contributing to salmon catches all along the Tay, the river is also fished along pretty much all of its length.