Next week we will be moving into October and so are in the twilight of the 2018 Scottish salmon fishing season. One by one, the rivers are beginning to close around us. This is especially true of many famous rivers in the Highlands. Rivers like the Halladale, Helmsdale and close for the season at the end of the month as does the River Spey. The Dee and Tay will follow shortly afterwards. For all those anglers who are looking to experience some good late season sport, don’t despair as there are still plenty of excellent salmon fishing opportunities available in Scotland before the season finally draws to a close. There are still two weeks of the River Tay and Dee season remaining and often early October can be very productive time of year. Looking further ahead, rivers like the Alness and Teith amongst others are open until the end of October. Of course, there are also several other rivers open in southern Scotland well into November. These include the Annan, Nith and the prolific River Tweed.
The climate and landscape around us is now transforming as we move deeper into autumn. The leaves on our trees are a sea of colour with bright oranges and golds everywhere. The once warm days of summer are now long gone, being replaced with cooler evenings and longer nights. Often, early in the morning there is a distinct chill in the air and overhead the delightful sounds of geese arriving back to our shores can be heard once again.
October can traditionally be one of the most productive months on the Scottish salmon fishing calendar. Most of our rivers have a decent stock of fish in them and with good water conditions, many of the larger back end fish will be entering our river systems. If there is a decent spate or a hard frost many of these fish will become more aggressive as they turn their thoughts towards spawning. Hopefully, this will also make them more inclined into taking a fly.
October is great month to be out on the river. Often it is at this time of year, large numbers of fish can be caught, and that red-letter day is not so uncommon. Given typical weather and water conditions for the time of year, the small flies and floating lines can be set aside and replaced by heavier tube flies and sink tip lines, similar to what we use during the spring. Heaver leader material is also often required as there is always the chance of hooking into that fish of a lifetime. Numerous fish of over forty pounds have been caught in October in the past and it is traditionally a month which yields big fish. Let us hope that October 2018 is no different.
With good numbers of fish in many of our river systems and hopefully more to come in the upcoming weeks, why not venture out and have a cast? Time is running out to catch that last salmon of 2018?