We are now into the autumn salmon fishing season in Scotland. The autumn fishing period in Scotland runs from the beginning of September through until the end of the season. Usually, at this time of year there is a good head of salmon in many Scottish rivers and given adequate water there are also fresh fish running upstream. September and October can be very productive months on a number of Scotland’s salmon rivers. So which flies produce the goods during the autumn months?
Before looking at individual fly patterns it is worthwhile considering the size and style of fly. As always, the size of the fly will depend on the water height and temperature. In Scotland, in autumn the weather can be quite variable. Some years September can be hot and sunny, and this coupled with low water can mean using tactics which would work during the summer months. Usually, such tactics involve using smaller dressed flies coupled with floating or sink tip lines. Conversely, during the autumn period, it can be quite cold and wet. If this is the case, then river levels can be quite high and the water temperature low. If there are regular night-time frosts this makes it perfect for autumn salmon fishing. In such conditions using larger tube flies (similar to what is used during the spring months) can often be the order of the day. In terms of lines, an intermediate or full sinking line may be required to get the fly down close to the riverbed.
When it comes to fly patterns there are three that seem to do particularly well during the autumn months when salmon fishing in Scotland. The famous Willie Gunn fly is a Scottish classic. It is a firm favourite among many experienced salmon anglers in Scotland. The gold bodied version works particularly well. The fly seems to be equally effective when tied in a dressed version as well as in the tube fly style.
Another productive fly during the autumn months is the Cascade. The Cascade like the Willie Gunn produces fish all season. The Cascade fishes well when tied on doubles and trebles but can also work well on tubes. If the water is low and clear and conditions are more akin to the summer months, then the Cascade can be a good bet.
Finally, we come to the Red Ally’s shrimp. This fly is best used in the dressed version. The Red Ally seems to work well during the autumn period as red is a colour that can bring out the aggressive nature in salmon when it comes close to spawning time. It is a great fly for producing fresh fish as well as some large resident fish which may have been in the pools for some time.
If you have a Willie Gunn, Cascade and Red Ally’s Shrimp in various sizes in your fly box when salmon fishing in Scotland during the autumn months, you have an excellent chance of making contact with the king of fish!