The Scottish Highlands is a truly special place to wet a line. The Highlands are commonly classified as the area of Scotland, North of the Great Glen and more specifically North of Inverness. The Scottish Highlands have no shortage of productive salmon rivers and when you combine this with its remote location and breath-taking rugged scenery it becomes a very appealing destination for the visiting salmon angler.
There are a multitude of very famous and prolific salmon rivers in the Scottish Highlands. These include the Thurso, Helmsdale, Naver and Oykel just to name but a few. These rivers are usually much smaller in size compared to the larger rivers in Scotland like the Tay, Tweed and Dee. However, on their day they can be just as productive. Many of the rivers in this region of Scotland are spate rivers and so fish better after there has been a lift in water following heavy rain.
A number of the salmon rivers in the Scottish Highlands enjoy a good spring run of fish. Some of the rivers are some the earliest opening in Scotland with anglers wetting a line on the likes of the Thurso, Helmsdale and Halladale on the 11th of January. However, usually the most productive spring period is between the months of April and May. In terms of the summer fishing, much is dependent on water heights. Given good river levels, excellent numbers of hard fighting grilse and larger summer salmon can be caught. If you are lucky enough to time your visit with a lift in water, sport can be truly fast and furious with big numbers of fish landed. During the summer months, often, stealth tactics on some of the rivers can pay rich dividends. This involves being careful in your approach and stalking fish. This has an added charm of its own. If water levels remain favourable good sport can continue right through until the end of September on many rivers.
In the past, salmon rivers in the region used to be like “dead man’s shoes” in terms of being able to book fishing with weeks handed down by generations and fishing booked years in advance. However, in recent times many of the rivers have become more accessible and this has resulted in many more people being able to experience what salmon fishing in the Scottish Highlands is really like.
In terms of fishing tackle, as many of the rivers are relatively small, during the spring months, often, a thirteen or fourteen-foot rod can be more than adequate. This coupled with a sink tip line is perfect for the job. In lower water during the summer months, many of the rivers can be comfortably covered with a single-handed or switch rod. Using shorter, lighter rods mean that if you do go on to hook a larger fish you are in for an unforgettable fight.
So if you are planning to book a salmon fishing holiday in Scotland next season, don’t discount the Scottish Highlands as a region to explore. Many of the rivers in this area of the country could provide you with that salmon fishing experience of a lifetime!
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