February's Salmon Fishing Mindset
By Jock Monteith 17th January 2020
Thank your lucky stars you're alive, fit & well enough to throw yourself out of the comfort of your warm house and TV distractions and into the natural arena of the spectacular and famous Scottish rivers in pursuit of a perfect Spring salmon. Fast approaching February is another special month in the Scottish salmon fishing calendar if you care to look closely enough.
Memorable February Salmon Fishing
February can bring with it a vast array of water and weather conditions that we often assume are not great for salmon fishing. February can be wet & cold or sometimes even bright and warm if the north wind isn't present. I've been out in the boat on the Tay in February where the sun was so intense through the clear early Spring atmosphere that my 2 salmon fishing guests decided to take their shirts off. They both got sun burned and turned up the following day looking like 2 boiled lobsters! You'd never believe that's possible during February but that is indeed factual. Nothing however beats the sheer physical beauty of a February Springer is you're clever enough to get in front of one.
Rough Weather Won't Stop A Salmon
From a wild Atlantic salmon's point of view it doesn't care too much what the weather is doing as it has survived & navigated through the roughest of sea conditions out in the Atlantic that you could possibly ever imagine. To put this in perspective while we think the fast flowing pools of the Scottish rivers are tough for salmon think about the turbulence, swells and constantly strong oceanic currents they've had to deal with while heading off to and returning from their Greenland & Faroe Isles feeding grounds. The high powerful water of the Scottish snow melt driven rivers at this time of year is a mere Sunday school picnic for any Spring salmon!
Salmon Fishing Magic In February
Next month IMHO is one of the very best months to be out as many of the kelts have already left or are about to leave the rivers and more pods of perfect (& often heavyweight) Spring salmon quietly slip into the Tay & other Scottish salmon rivers. It's almost as if they know the majority of Scottish salmon fishers are asleep and conditioned not to be out searching for them until the warmer more predictable late Spring arrives. If you want rested salmon pools and a beat to yourself then this is the time to go salmon fishing. Many Scottish rivers give away their early Spring salmon fishing to synchronise with the incorrect lack of demand for salmon fishing at this time of year which is derived primarily from a lack of February salmon run experience.
Preparing For Early Spring Salmon Fishing
The important thing after double checking all your salmon fishing equipment is in top working condition is to make sure you've got warm synthetic layers of clothing under a proper water poof outer shell. These days acquiring this type of kit is easy as there are plenty of outdoor supply companies and many trusted clothing brands whether designed for salmon fishing or not. I always found the Buffalo Mountain shirt (pertex) to be worth its weight in gold and technically a simple 1 layer garment for heat retention. Wrap up well and enjoy your day as connection with a lively & perfectly conditioned Spring salmon will immediately disperse any thoughts you may be having about the weather conditions!
Old School Salmon Fishing Food For Thought
My late mentor Willie Laird who served his entire life on the Tay as his father Jimmy had done before him maintained that the best of the Spring fishing on the Tay was over when the buds started to appear on the trees each year! Think about that for a moment and let that one truly sink in as these day few take their salmon fishing on the Tay seriously until the leaves start appearing on the trees! The sometimes less favourable weather conditions of January, February & March and the low catches (via low rod pressure) are undoubtedly keeping many anglers away from key months in the Scottish Spring salmon fishing calendar.