As salmon anglers, our worst nightmare is arriving at the river first thing in the morning to find that the water is rising. Usually a rising river does not make for conducive salmon fishing conditions. So what can you do if you find that the river is rising? Well you could go visit the nearest fishing tackle shop and spend lots of money on gear that you really don’t need or even go sight seeing with the family. If however, you are on a salmon fishing holiday in Scotland and are keen to fish none of these options may seem appealing. So you could actually have a cast, as you just never know. As one very wise salmon angler said to me once “the best fly is the one which is in the water the most.”
In actual fact, catching salmon when the water is rising is quite possible. A lot however has to do with how quickly the water is coming up and also the associated colour of the water. The colour of the water can have a huge impact on the salmon fishing. When the water begins to rise it also usually starts to get coloured. Sometimes the water can get so coloured that it resembles coffee and of course fishing can be a waste of time when the water is so dirty, as the fish cannot see the fly. If this is the case you might as well visit the nearest tackle shop.
There is however a window of opportunity just when the river starts to rise that can be very productive. This is especially the case if there has not been a decent lift in water for some considerable length of time. Often the fish can become quite active and aggressive when the river first starts to lift and if the rise is slow and there is not much colour in the water this can be quite a productive time. This period may only last a couple of hours before the water starts to rise faster and gets too coloured. I have seen in the past, many times people catching fish when the water starts to rise but is still clear. Indeed, this has happened to me a number of times. If it does however come to a point when the water starts to rise very quickly and starts to get coloured, then that can be the time to wave the white flag!
As soon as some anglers see that the water is rising, they go through the motions or sometimes not even have a cast. It all depends on how quickly the river is rising and how coloured the water is. If the river has just started rising and the water is clear don’t find yourself in the nearest tackle shop buying tackle that you don’t need, as you just might regret it!