What a year it has been globally. None of us could have ever imagined in January we would be where we are now. The Covid 19 pandemic has affected every part of our daily lives and it appears that we will have to get used to living the “new normal” for some time to come.
As much of the world went into lockdown in spring so did Scotland and there was no fishing allowed for much of the spring. For as long as can be remembered salmon rivers in Scotland were rested during the prime spring salmon fishing months. The fish were left in peace for a number of weeks which surely did no harm to our quarry. Once fishing did resume there was no shortage of salmon landed on many of Scotland’s salmon rivers. Indeed, initially when fishing restarted the weather was very hot and sunny and despite the difficult conditions, excellent numbers of fish were caught. This highlighted to many anglers how important resting the fish can be. Many of the fish caught would have never seen a fly or lure and so were good takers.
The runs of summer fish were excellent on many rivers with an abundance of fresh grilse and larger summer salmon caught from many Scottish rivers. It was clear that on some of Scotland’s rivers there were more salmon than in recent seasons. One of the reasons for this could have been that the during lockdown many of the North Atlantic deep sea trawlers had stopped fishing for several weeks and this could have led to more migratory fish returning to our rivers. The result was that anglers on rivers like the Spey, Dee, Tay and Tweed amongst others enjoyed some excellent sport which was great to see.
It was not only the larger numbers of fish entering our Scottish rivers which helped but the weather also seemed to play ball for many anglers out with the far North of Scotland. There was no prolonged hot and dry spell and there was also no shortage of water through the summer months. Frequent lifts in water following rain appeared to be the catalyst for good sport.
Towards the end of the summer, there was no shortage of fish but on many rivers, they became quite difficult to catch. This may have been due to the warmer water temperatures. In late August and September, the fish appeared to become quite dour and difficult to tempt. However, once water temperatures started to drop there was a big improvement in catches and this continued through until the end of October. It was also good to see the number of big fish landed by anglers, with the River Tay producing numerous fish weighing over twenty pounds and some even hitting the magical thirty pounds mark.
For all intents and purposes, the Scottish salmon fishing season is now over. There is no doubt there were more fish around this season and there were excellent numbers of fish caught from some rivers. The reason for this is likely to be pandemic related as well more fish as whole entering our Scottish rivers and favourable weather conditions.
It would be fair to say that 2020 has been one of the strangest years in living memory for all the wrong reasons and for some extremely tragic. However, for Scottish salmon fishing, it has given many, grounds for optimism. Let us all hope this is a sign of things to come and that salmon fishing in Scotland goes from strength to strength in the upcoming years!