Over the past few days, a number of rivers in the Scottish Highlands have closed for the season. Rivers like the Helmsdale, Halladale and Spey amongst others have now finished for 2018. In the upcoming days, other rivers in the area like the Thurso, Wick and Brora will also close their banks to anglers.
It has been a tough season on many of the Highland rivers and this has been mainly due to the poor fishing conditions anglers have endured throughout the year. March and April were very cold months and most of Scotland was hit by the now infamous “Beast from the East”. This led to widespread travel chaos and many rivers across the country froze. In the Scottish Highlands, fishing conditions were far from ideal. From late April onwards, there was very little rain until the middle of September. As the vast majority of salmon rivers in the Scottish Highlands are spate rivers this made it very hard going. During June, July and August there was very little rainfall to speak off and this coupled with high water temperatures made salmon fishing very difficult to say the least. As each week passed more and more salmon were gathering in the estuaries waiting to run. By the beginning of August, most estuaries in the region were teaming with salmon. It was not until the middle of September that some rivers experienced a decent lift in water. This encouraged the fish to run and thankfully there was some good sport to be had. Rivers like the Thurso, Alness, Beauly and Carron all produced decent numbers of fish. Unfortunately, many of the rivers in this part of Scotland were in the twilight of their salmon fishing season.
Looking back on the season as a whole in the Scottish Highlands many anglers will wonder what might have been. If there had been decent water and the temperatures were slightly cooler there is no doubt that sport would have been better. There appeared to be no shortage of fish towards the end of the season and the lift in water once it finally came appeared to be the catalyst for improved sport.
Looking ahead to next year, hopefully, the weather will be a bit kinder to salmon anglers in the region. If this is the case anglers will enjoy some good sport in some of the most beautiful surroundings which are the Scottish Highlands.
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