Over the past few days, temperatures have plummeted across Scotland. We have had a strong northerly air stream which has brought perishing cold winds down from the north pole. This has been accompanied by heavy snow showers with over twenty centimetres falling even to lower levels.
You might be asking, well what has this all got to do with salmon fishing in Scotland? Most of the salmon in our Scottish rivers have completed the important process of spawning now. Many of the hen fish will have left the redds and started to make the long journey back to sea. Of course, very few of these hen fish will make the journey back to salt water successfully and most will die. However, the fish that do, will come back much bigger and stronger as multi sea winter salmon. The cock fish will be still be hanging around the redds guarding the fertilised eggs from predators, before they too will follow the same road as the females.
With the recent cold snap across Scotland, the weather has been perfect to facilitate this process. At this time of year big floods can be disastrous. They can wash away the fertilised salmon eggs and play havoc with the whole process. Thankfully, this year so far there has been no massive floods during the peak spawning time and this should ensure a productive period. In addition to this, the recent cold temperatures have meant that river levels across the country have dropped away. Indeed, some rivers have dropped to summer level. This is perfect, as the eggs remain safe on the riverbed.
Another added bonus of all the snow is that there is plenty of the white stuff now on most of the Scottish mountains now. If temperatures stay low enough through the remainder of the winter, this snow should remain on the hills and amounts should build. Once we enter the spring season this snow on the Scottish mountains can act like a big frozen reservoir. As we move into April and May, if the water is low and temperatures start to rise, the melting snow can lead to a decent lift in water. This can then encourage any fresh salmon lying in the estuaries to run the river systems.
So, as you can see even though the Scottish salmon fishing season has now finished, the weather that we are now experiencing could have an impact on not just next year’s salmon fishing but also on salmon fishing in Scotland for years to come.