To say that it has got colder across Scotland over recent days, would be a bit of an understatement. Over the past week, a large area of high pressure has centred itself over Scandinavia and this has led to bitterly cold easterly winds developing across the British Isles. The winds originate from Siberia and have been nicknamed “the beast from the east”. We have had frequent snow showers and daytime temperatures have barely got above freezing. When you add on the wind chill, it has felt more like minus ten in some places. So what effect will such extreme weather conditions have on the salmon fishing in Scotland over the upcoming days?
Firstly, we need to remember that historically Scotland has had very harsh winters. In the past, this did not have a negative impact on the salmon fishing. Ghillies that have been plying their trade for years, will tell the stories of when they had to break the ice on the pools during the early spring months, so that their guests could wet a line. In those days even in extreme cold conditions, plenty of fish were still caught. Of course, it has to be said that there was more spring fish then.
Cold weather is not a bad thing when salmon fishing in Scotland, during the early spring months. With it being so cold, hard night time frosts have been a daily occurrence. This has led to river levels dropping. Low water levels at this time of year can be beneficial especially when you are fishing on some of the larger rivers. This is because spring fishing early in the season can often be like looking for a needle in a haystack. When the water is lower that haystack gets smaller, and therefore the fish can be easier to find.
Water temperatures are also currently very low, which can be a good thing. Cold water will slow the speed at which the fish move upstream. This means that they will spend more time in the pools which gives anglers more of a chance to ambush them.
There is now an abundance of snow over the Scottish mountains. If it remains reasonably cold this snow can act as a reservoir later in the spring. Often, in late April if river levels are low and there is a lift in temperatures this snow can melt and subsequently the water levels rise. Snow on the Scottish mountains can be the anglers best friend during the late spring months, especially if water levels are low.
As you can see even though the weather is bitterly cold it is not all doom and gloom. The beast from the east could yet turn out to be the salmon angler’s best friend!