Summer 2018 has been one of the warmest and driest on record in Scotland. Water levels on many rivers have been at their lowest for years. This hardly made for good salmon fishing conditions and as a result, catches on most of Scotland’s rivers were well down. In some parts of the country the dry conditions lasted well into mid-September. In places like the Northern Highlands there had been no major rainfall since late April and salmon anglers were desperate for rain. Rivers like the Thurso, Naver, Halladale and Alness amongst others were all suffering from the low water conditions. In this part of Scotland, many of the rivers close at the end of the month and it appeared that time was running out for a big spate. Many estuaries around the coastline in the North of Scotland have had large numbers of salmon waiting patiently for water so they can migrate upstream.
Thankfully over the past weekend, the weather has changed across Scotland and become much more autumnal in nature. Indeed, overnight ex-hurricane Helene has brought heavy rain and strong winds to much of Scotland. This coupled with the rain over the weekend has led to the first decent lift in water on a number of Scotland’s rivers including the Alness, Spey and Tay amongst others. Indeed, the River Spey has risen around three feet in the last twenty-four hours. This is just what the doctor ordered and hopefully once the rivers begin to drop and clear there will be some good salmon fishing to be had.
There is nothing worse than chasing silver during the autumn months when the water is at summer level and warm. This lift in water should give many of our Scottish rivers a good clean out which is badly needed and also freshen up conditions. It will also encourage fish lying in the estuaries to run upstream. The lift in water has thankfully come just in time before the salmon fishing season draws to a close on some rivers in the next few days.
The weather is set to remain unsettled with more rain forecast later this week. Hopefully, there will not be too much more rain as the last thing we want is unsettled water conditions. In addition to the lift in water if we also get a drop in temperatures this could just be the perfect catalyst for a productive few weeks on many of Scotland’s salmon rivers. So thank you, Helene!