Beautiful Spring Salmon
By Jock Monteith 7th January 2023
We'll soon be again approaching the best time of the year for that 'once in a lifetime' encounter with the very finest and most perfect marine creature of all the Scottish 'Springer'.
The Naturally Occurring Salmon Run Cycles
Unlike many who profess to know this business I've personally been through the 'mill' on the riverbanks of Scotland on a professional basis without boring you too much with the details. To my mind and I'm sure more salmon anglers will soon also be realising that the Spring run of salmon that enter the Scottish rivers looks as if it going to dominate for a while until 'Mother Nature' re-shuffles her deck once more. Natural 'ever changing' cycles are a fantastic part of Scottish salmon fishing and should be embraced by all anglers and accepted as part of the magic of salmon fishing. Catches during 2018 & 2021 were low due to hot Summer months with little water which obviously played a big part in the generally poor salmon fishing as our fish (& anglers) never did like those low warmer water conditions.
Why Do We Fish For Salmon
One of the main attractions of Scottish salmon fishing is obviously catching a salmon but that is not the 'be all and end all' if it doesn't happen and I don't know any angler or professional ghillie anywhere who has a 100% batting average. The sheer escapism, natural riverbank beauty, the flows & swirls of the river, the excitement of the tug on the fly reel and many other salmon fishing attributes are what does it for me and thousands more salmon fishers. Being in with the 'chance' of a salmon is another appealing component of the lure of Scottish salmon fishing and there's always a chance in this game. By comparison our old friend Nessie hasn't popped her head up for many decades yet over 2 million visitors show up annually on the banks of Loch Ness for the most remotest possibility of a sighting! The 'natural' world is where we all once evolved from and deep down that instinct to return is also present even in the most 'hard core' city dwellers.
A New Era Of Salmon Fisher Hosting
If you're a ghillie with minimally deployed guest hosting skills or have a resistance to taking photographs and posting them on social media then now's the time to learn and make these necessary adjustments to your game for the promotional benefit of the entire industry. We are now well and truly into the 'customer service' era and client hosting & teaching skills are absolutely paramount to the client experience for a reasonable chance of repeat bookings & referrals. If that means a daily 5 mile run at 6am in the rain to blow the cob webs off then just do it. As a nation Scotland has one of the very finest salmon fishing infrastructures in the world paired with the best salmon fishing traditions and fly fishing style however we are not doing the game justice if we're not maximising the fishing guest experience nor promoting all salmon captures and beautiful riverbank scenery marketing opportunities.
Learn From Salmon Fisher Success
On a personal basis I don't like it too easy when I'm fishing for salmon anywhere and would rather be the 'lucky chap' third or fourth through the pool to catch the only fish of the day than having it made easier by being the first fisher through a pool. There's much more of a buzz if your mind has had to go deep into 'subsurface' mode to force a salmon to take that's seen it all than casting for that newly arrived alert 'sea licer' who's coming for anything you launch at him. If you see the above occurring on any river make that chap your fishing buddy and 'observe' as there are not many about these days with that level of 'tactical wizardry' but they most definitely do exist as I'm fortunate to know a few of them.
The Changing Scottish Salmon Runs
Often I do just wonder if the reducing Autumn salmon runs may have something to with the fact that these Autumn salmon haven't been protected the same way Spring fish have been in the last decade on a few Scottish rivers or should we really have the right to think salmon runs should remain the same when everything else on the planet is constantly changing. Just my own observations but it is probably cyclical temperature changes the planet goes through sometimes forcing the bulk of the Autumn run to appear in the closed season as I've personally witnessed many times before. In the meantime thank God for being alive at this place and time as you'll soon be out in the Scottish Spring salmon zone for the chance of another adrenalin inducing encounter with 'The King of Fish' and I hope the next tug on your fly reel is from an absolute brute of a heavyweight 'Atlantean' that doesn't like the look of you!