The 2018 Scottish salmon fishing season is now underway on a number of rivers across the country. In the Scottish Highlands, rivers like the Thurso, Helmsdale, Halladale and Moriston have all opened their banks to anglers and further south the mighty River Tay opened last week. In the upcoming weeks rivers like the Spey, Dee and Tweed will all open and then the Scottish salmon fishing season will be in full swing.
We are only into mid-January, but already there have been some lovely big fresh salmon caught from our Scottish rivers. The River Moriston which makes up part of the Ness system in the Scottish Highlands, produced a cracking spring salmon on the 15th of January which was caught on the fly. The fish gave a terrific fight and after a quick photograph was returned safely to carry on with its journey upstream.
There were also a number of nice fish caught from the Tay system, including one from Loch Tay on the same day. River levels were quite settled for much of last week and this did help catches. The weather was quite inhospitable as there were frequent snow showers and strong winds but the anglers that persevered got their rewards and there are none greater than a January springer!
The weather is set to get milder this week as the wind swings around to a southwesterly direction. This is likely to lead to a significant thaw and river levels are likely to rise. This could have a detrimental impact on catches, especially if water levels become unsettled.
Overall, there are some encouraging signs so early in the season and hopefully anglers will enjoy a productive spring on many of Scotland’s rivers. As more rivers open in the weeks ahead, there will be larger numbers of salmon caught and we should then get a better idea of how many fish are running our Scottish rivers.
As always, at this time of year, when the water temperature is low it is important to use big flies which show up well in the water and fish them as deeply and slowly as possible. Salmon, so early in the season usually move upstream slowly and lie close to the riverbed. Often a heavy tube fly coupled with a sinking line is all that is required. Salmon fishing in Scotland, early in the season can be tough going but the rewards are well worth the effort, as the fish already caught in 2018 has proved.