Autumn is a magical time of year to salmon fish in Scotland. The landscape starts to undergo it’s seasonal transition from the deep greens of summer to oranges and golds. This truly offers a spectacular backdrop to the salmon fishing itself. Traditionally September is a prime month on many of Scotland’s salmon rivers and all things being equal when some of the biggest catches are made. This is why it can be such a popular time of year to come and salmon fish in Scotland. So which tactics work well at this time of year?
Firstly you need to consider the weather conditions. The weather in Scotland is variable at the best of times but even more so during the autumn months. Often anglers can be confronted with two extreme scenarios. If there has been very little rain over the summer months and this has been coupled with hot weather which has extended into September, then river levels can be quite low. If this is the case and temperatures remain high then the tactics used would be akin to the tactics which are employed during the summer months. So, fishing with floating lines coupled with poly leaders and small flies can often be the order of the day. If the water temperature is up and the water is low and clear small lightly dressed flies can be very effective. In such conditions it can also be worth trying Sunray Shadows, as often the fish are very active and happy to chase a fly at speed.
Conversely autumn could have arrived early like it appears to have done this season. There could be plenty of water and the temperatures could be quite low. If this is the case then tactics similar to what are used in the spring can work well. If water temperatures are low and the river is high then often intermediate or sinking lines may work better coupled with tube flies. In such conditions, it is often better to let the fly swing around slowly in the current and at an adequate depth. Fly patterns like the Willie Gunn, Park Shrimp and Cascade seem to work well in such conditions.
In terms of locations for salmon fishing at this time of year, there is definitely plenty to choose from. It really depends on what the individual angler is looking for. If you enjoy fishing larger rivers then the likes of the River Tay and Tweed can be particularly productive in September and October. Indeed, September is often the most productive month on these rivers. There is also the chance of landing a big fish at this time of year. If, however, you prefer chasing your quarry on smaller rivers then the likes of the River Teith, Deveron and North Esk all offer good salmon fishing at this time of year. Anglers are truly spoiled for choice when it comes to autumn salmon fishing in Scotland.
Many rivers so far this year have enjoyed a productive season with excellent numbers of fish caught post lockdown. There is every chance that the good fishing will continue as we move through September and into October. So why not chase some September silver this year? It could be an experience that will live with you forever!