If you book a salmon fishing holiday in Scotland, you will be hoping for the perfect weather and water conditions. As salmon anglers, we all know how important it is to have favourable weather when we are fishing. Often it can be the difference between success and failure.
Ideally, when salmon fishing in Scotland, you are looking for a mild cloudy day with maybe a gentle downstream breeze. The downstream breeze can often aid your Spey casting, and give you those few extra yards of distance that may be needed. The most important thing however, is to have adequate cloud cover. If the water is low and the sun is shining brightly down the river, with not a cloud in the sky, fishing can be very difficult. Often in such challenging conditions the fish can feel quite vulnerable and are not willing to move from their lies. However, once it clouds over, the fish usually get more confident and can be more receptive into taking a fly.
It is not only the fish that can behave differently when it is very bright which makes things difficult. It also makes it more challenging for anglers to be conspicuous. If it is very bright and sunny, it becomes very easy to cast a bright shadow across the water thereby spooking the salmon. It is not only an anglers silhouette that can cast a shadow, as so can a big double handed fly rod. In addition to this, nylon can also appear to be more visible in the water, especially when the fish look up from down below into the bright sky above. It is therefore often worthwhile resting a piece of water if it is bright and sunny and waiting until there is adequate cloud cover. This is especially the case if you know that cloud cover is forecast. By fishing when during the brightest part of the day, you may go on to spook the fish and then not get the best from you fishing, when conditions are much more favourable.
I was fishing the River Spey earlier this year, on a very bright sunny day, when the water was low. I was desperate to fish a shallow pool where a good number of fish were showing. However, the ghillie on the beat insisted that I waited until the sun had come off the water. As it was bright the entire day, I did not fish the pool until after six in the evening, once it had clouded over. The result of listening to the ghillie and not disturbing the pool when the conditions were futile, was landing a twenty-seven-pound spring salmon. This highlighted to me, how having cloud cover can make all the difference, when it comes to salmon fishing.