Tomorrow sees the start of the much anticipated 2018 Scottish salmon fishing season. In the Scottish Highlands, rivers like the Thurso, Helmsdale and Halladale amongst others will open their banks to anglers for the season ahead, and next week anglers on the mighty River Tay will wet a line once again.
Over the close season, many anglers have been spending hours at the fly tying vice creating those deadly patterns for the season ahead. Over the next few weeks, they will have the opportunity to see if some of these creations will be able to tempt that elusive Scottish spring salmon.
There is always great anticipation before the start of a new salmon fishing season. What will the season ahead have in store? Will there be a good spring run? Will the grilse be plentiful? The answer to all these questions will be answered in the weeks and months ahead. As salmon anglers we can only live in hope that the year ahead will be productive.
Over the past week, the weather has been quite cold and settled. There have been some hard night time frosts. Indeed, in the Scottish Highlands, temperatures plummeted to minus fifteen in some places last weekend. This is not that unusual for January in Scotland. However, the cold weather has meant that it has been mostly dry, so many rivers in the Highlands are currently running at a nice height for opening day.
The Helmsdale river has produced fresh fish on opening day on a number of occasions in the past. This year, the river board have generously allowed anglers to come and fish the river free of charge for the first nine days off the season. This is a fantastic opportunity for people to fish on one of Scotland’s most exclusive salmon rivers and have a genuine chance of catching a fresh fish. So, if you do have some spare time over the next week and are looking to wet a line, it could well be worth that trip up north.
Salmon fishing so early in the season can be tough and often the weather is not at its most forgiving. Gale force winds, heavy rain and frequent snow showers can be a common occurrence at this time of year. However, if you are lucky enough to hook a springer, all the hard toil is quickly forgotten. Catching an early season Scottish springer on the fly has to be the ultimate achievement in our sport.

Let us hope that in the weeks and months ahead, many anglers will enjoy a productive time on our Scottish rivers. Hopefully, decent numbers of salmon will be caught as we move through the year, so that the 2018 will be season to remember for all the right reasons.
Tight lines for the season ahead!