October saw the 2018 salmon fishing draw to a close on many rivers around the country. Rivers like the Thurso, Brora, Dee and Tay amongst many others closed their banks to anglers throughout the course of the month. The weather was reasonable for the most part and water levels were decent. During the early part of the month there was very little cold weather and at night temperatures barely dropped below freezing. In spite of the reasonable fishing conditions, one thing was clear, the autumn run did not materialise in any great numbers across Scotland. There were some nice fish caught but most of these were older with very few sea liced specimens landed.
In the Scottish Highlands, the Thurso river closed for the season at the end of the first week of October. Anglers enjoyed some excellent sport on the river during the last few days. Finally, there was heavy rain over the catchment area which made a difference. It had been a very dry year with record low water levels on the Thurso. The lift in water appeared to be the catalyst for improved sport. Fish were caught from most beats on the river which was good to see. There were reasonable numbers of fish in many of the pools on the river. The vast majority of the fish caught were older. This is not unusual for the river, as the Thurso is not famed for its autumn run just like many of its highland counterparts. If the water had come earlier in the season it is likely that the Thurso would have produced many more fish.
Water levels on the River Alness were reasonable after heavy rain during the middle part of the month. This ensured that Loch Morie at the head of the system was full. Catches were good immediately after the spate but slowly became more sporadic. It seemed to be that some parts of the river were holding good numbers of fish while other areas appeared baron. Towards the end of the month, there was a dramatic drop in temperatures coupled with a lift in water. This did lead to improved sport during the last few days of the season. The rain just kept coming and the water became very unsettled. The likes of the River Beauly and Ness also picked away through October but again there was a lack of fresh fish caught.
The River Dee finished for the season on the 15thof October. The last two weeks of the season produced decent numbers of fish. The water levels were reasonable, and catches were well spread. Beats like Birse and Dess amongst others enjoyed some productive days. All anglers’ eyes will now be turning towards the spring 2019 season on the river. Hopefully, it will be one to remember.
Catches on the River Tay seemed to peak in late September. In one week over four hundred fish were caught. The last two weeks of the season saw fewer fish being taken. This was not helped by high water during the final week of the season. There were some nice fish caught but most of these were older. The long-anticipated Tay autumn run did not materialise in any great numbers. Some beats had decent numbers of fish showing but they did not seem to be keen on taking while it was much quieter on other parts of the river.
It was the beats on the lower river which enjoyed the best of the sport, but the middle river also picked away. The Tay opens in mid-January and anglers will have their fingers crossed that there is a decent early spring run.
Water levels on the Tweed were reasonable through the course of October. There was a big lift in water during the second weekend of the month and after that river levels gradually dropped away. Towards the end of October, it was felt that the river would benefit from another decent lift in water. The Tweed mirrored what was happening on other rivers around the country which was a distinct lack of fresh fish.
Most of the fish were caught from the lower and bottom river. However, after the lift in water during the middle part of the month anglers on the upper and middle river enjoyed some decent sport.
There are four weeks of the River Tweed season left and hopefully catches will improve and some fresh fish will enter the system. In the past November has produced decent numbers of fresh. All anglers fishing the river in the upcoming weeks can do is to keep their fingers crossed.
Most of Scotland’s rivers have now closed for the season. However, there are still a few salmon fishing opportunities available for those anglers who want to get their rod bent one last time. The River Tweed, Annan and Nith are all open for the next few weeks and given decent conditions, there could still be some good sport to be had.