September started off as quite a warm and dry month across much of Scotland. The heavy rain that was badly needed on many of the Highland rivers failed to materialise and river levels remained desperately low. Rivers like the Helmsdale, Naver, Borgie and Thurso amongst others struggled to produce salmon on a consistent basis. What was so frustrating for anglers was the fact that the estuaries on some of these rivers were full of salmon waiting to run upstream. As the month progressed thankfully temperatures started to fall and there was more of an autumnal feel to the weather.
During the third week of the month, there was some heavy rain across Northern Scotland and this finally led to a decent lift in water on many rivers. Rivers like the Alness, Helmsdale, Ness and Beauly all got a good lift in water and the fishing improved significantly. On the Thurso River Loch, More was finally full once again and this has ensured decent water levels until the end of the season. There were good catches made on the River Alness and Beauly and the Ness continued to have a productive season.
Many of the rivers in this part of Scotland have now closed for the season. Anglers will ponder what could have been when looking back at the year. If there had been decent water from late spring onwards many more fish would have been landed but it was not to be. At least when the water finally did come there were some nice fish caught and good sport to be had.
September was also a frustrating month on the River Spey. Water levels remained low for much of the month and salmon fishing was a struggle. It was the beats on the lower river unsurprisingly which excelled with the Brae Water producing decent numbers of fish. It was not until the third week of the month when finally, the water came. Unfortunately, there was a number of lifts in water through the course of that week and the river was coloured. If only there had been such a spate two months earlier. However, the lift in water appeared to be the catalyst for improved catches. During the last week of the season, most beats produced fish including Tulchan, Delagyle, Rothes and the Brae Water amongst others.
Water levels on the River Dee remained on the low side at the beginning of September. There was the odd small lift in water and this did encourage a few fresh fish to enter the system. Beats on the lower river like Park enjoyed some good sport with a mixture of summer salmon and grilse being grassed. During the middle of the month, there was a slightly more substantial lift in water and this encouraged some of the fish in the lower reaches and estuary to run. Decent catches were made on the beats around Aboyne and Banchory which was good to see. It was not until the third week of the month that the big spate came. This was the lift many anglers had been waiting for. For two consecutive weeks the river produced over three hundred fish which was great to see. Catches were well spread from Crathie down to Park. Most of the fish caught on the upper beats were older fish. Further downstream there were a mixture of residents and fresh fish landed.
The beats above Aboyne Bridge have now closed for the season but the rest of the river is open until the 15thof October. Given decent water conditions there is no reason why anglers can enjoy some good sport over the next few days. Often at this time of year the Dee produces a big fish and let’s hope that this is the case.
As with many other rivers around Scotland river levels on the Tay were relatively low at the start of the month. In spite of this the beats located on the lower river continued to produce some nice fish. Beats like Waulkmill, Lower Redgorton and Cargill all enjoyed some good consistent sport. On the middle river it was a bit quieter but beats like Lower Kinnaird, Dalmarnock and Kercock produced some nice fish. It was the third week of the month when finally, the flood came. Water levels peaked at the Ballathie gauge at over eight feet. Initially there was some colour in the water accompanying the rise which was hardly surprising as the river had been low for such a prolonged period of time. Catches picked up dramatically after the flood with good numbers of fish coming from most beats on the lower river. The middle river also started to produce fresh fish which was great to see. With two weeks of the River Tay season left the water is at an excellent height and there are decent numbers of fish on many beats. Hopefully anglers fishing the Tay will be able to finish their season with a flourish.
It was the beats on the bottom river which dominated catches on the River Tweed in September. Apart from the odd small lift, water levels were low until the end of the second week of September. After heavy rain over the catchment area there was a lift in water of around eighteen inches and this did result in improving sport especially for the beats on the middle and lower river. During the penultimate week of the month there was a much more substantial rise and river levels became unsettled. The coloured water which accompanied the rise led to difficult fishing conditions for a few days. In spite of this there were some nice fish landed. It was good to see the beats on the upper river start to pick up a few fish and hopefully this trend will continue as we move through October and into November. The last week of September saw decent fishing conditions on the river and there were some nice fish caught from the middle and lower river but the beats on the bottom river continued to dominate catches. October and November can be prime months on the River Tweed and hopefully this season there will be a decent autumn run on the river coupled with good fishing conditions.
Many rivers across the country will be closing for the season in the upcoming days but there are still some excellent fishing opportunities available, so anglers can end their season in a high. So why not wet a line this October and chase some late season Scottish silver? You just can’t beat hooking a  back end belter!