As salmon anglers we often spend endless hours on the riverbank chasing that elusive Scottish salmon. This is all well and good, if you are solely on a salmon fishing holiday in Scotland, fishing is what you would be concentrating most of your efforts on. However, what if you only had limited time, say a couple of days, or worse still only a few hours? When would be the best times to fish?
The optimum times to fish through the day are related closely to the time of year you are fishing and the water temperature. In spring, when the weather is generally much colder you want to be concentrating on fishing during the warmest part of the day. Usually, at this time of year water temperatures are low. This is often because of melting snow and the shorter days. At this time of the year, you want to be fishing hard during the warmest part of the day as this is when the salmon are at their most active. So, between the hours of ten and three can often be the most productive time. Many anglers who are fishing at this time of year do not stop for lunch, as potentially this is the most productive time of the day. In the past I have seen a pool which has lots of fish showing, when it has warmed up around midday. By four in the afternoon once the temperature has dropped you would swear that the pool was empty. This is most likely due to the drop in air temperature.
Conversely, during the summer months, when the water is low, and it is bright and warm, exactly the opposite is true. In June, July and August you should focus your efforts on fishing very early in the morning and then again last thing in the evening, when the light begins to fade. In Scotland during the summer months there is a lot of daylight and the fish often prefer to run when it is cooler and in low light conditions. Many anglers turn night into day. They arrive at the fishing beat at around six in the evening and fish through until around eleven at night. They then take a short break and start fishing again around two in the morning. Often these anglers will continue fishing until around seven and they finish for the day once the sun has come up and the temperature starts to rise.
When it comes to autumn fishing a lot depends on the weather but generally the same rules apply as for spring salmon fishing.
Sometimes when salmon fishing in Scotland, it is not just about the number of hours that you spend on the riverbank. Instead, often it is about concentrating your efforts at the most productive times and this is governed by the time of year that you are fishing.