The Scottish salmon fishing season finally draws to a close on Thursday. Most rivers across the country have been closed for several weeks and by the end of the week, fishing activity on the Tweed, Nith and Urr will also cease.
Looking back, November started off on a quiet note weather-wise across much of the country. For long periods of time high pressure was firmly in control of our weather bringing largely dry and settled conditions to many parts. Temperatures were low and there were regular night time frosts. Over the mountains, there was the odd flurry of snow which was a sign of things to come later in the month. Through the middle part of the month, there were some wintry showers, and these were not just over higher ground as some of the white stuff fell at lower levels. This however did not amount to little more than a dusting. Towards the end of the month, the weather has turned more unsettled with frequents showers or longer spells of rain affecting many parts of the country. This has led to unsettled water conditions and some fishing days being lost.
Rivers like the Annan, Nith and Tweed all had lifts in water through the course of the month. For several days through the early part of November, water conditions were almost perfect on many rivers. This is quite unusual in late autumn as the weather can be so unpredictable. You would therefore have expected decent numbers of fish to be caught on the handful of rivers that remained open. Sadly, this was not the case. Despite the conditions being favourable, there were very few fresh fish caught. The autumn run did not seem to materialise in any great numbers. The fish that were being caught were mostly older coloured fish.
Anglers on the River Tweed had a lean time in November. Conditions were decent through the early part of the month but unfortunately there were very few fresh fish around. By mid-November, some of the fish had started to spawn and even a few kelts were being caught. The river started to shut down naturally as most of this fish had turned their thoughts towards spawning and were not interested in taking a fly in the slightest. Throughout November, most of the fish were caught from the middle and upper river, with just the odd fish being caught on the beats around Coldstream. There was heavy rain over the catchment area numerous times towards the end of the month. Indeed, several fishing days were lost during the last full week of the season, as the river was in flood and this did not help catches. During the final few days of the season the water dropped away nicely but there has been no sign of an upturn in catches.
The River Annan closed its banks to anglers in mid-November. Catches on the river were disappointing through the course of the month. There was decent water through the early part of the month and there were a few fish caught but once again most of these were coloured.
Just like the Tweed, anglers on the Nith also struggled in November. There appeared to be a lack of fresh fish in the river. The majority of fish being caught, were older, coloured fish. During the last few days of the season, the river has been in good condition after a rise in water during the penultimate week of the month. There have been a few fish caught but sadly not in any great numbers.
It has been a difficult November across Scotland. Generally, water conditions have been favourable, especially through the early part of the month, but unfortunately the back-end run has failed to materialise in any great numbers. Let’s hope that it will be a very different story next year and anglers will be landing good numbers of fresh autumn fish in November 2018.