Fresh Run Early Spring Salmon
By Jock Monteith 27th December 2019
The early months of the Scottish salmon season gives you the chance to see an example of what silver should really look like on the flanks of God's finest marine creation. This is the most exciting time of the salmon fishing season if you understand the caliber of fish that are present and that you'll most likely have the salmon beat to yourself!
Early Spring Salmon Fishing
Most of the Scottish salmon fishing fraternity prefer the later Spring months when there are more fish about and the water levels are down with warmer more tolerable air temperatures. Personally as a seasoned professional River Tay ghillie I'd be scratching at the door of the house like a demented werewolf to get out and into the Tay's fresh air during the early months of the year for the chance of a real fish which I know only too well are always present in the Tay during that time of the fishing season. In saying that my absolute early Spring 'faith' comes from a career of having my personal early Spring fishing doubts obliterated on far too many occasions!
The Early Spring Salmon Challenge
During the early Spring when higher water conditions and fewer salmon are present to target it increases the cubic foot of water to salmon ratio which is a great time of year to hone your persistency & river water coverage skill levels to be in with a fair chance of success. This time of year separates the men from the boys as the men will be out there where it matters and the boys will be thinking up different excuses why they shouldn't be. The real salmon men however understand the exceptional prize they are playing for and have deep routed faith in the presence of these specimen Tay salmon and that's the main difference. In my opinion an early Spring salmon caught pre-mid March is the most rewarding challenge of all for many solid reasons.
The Scottish River Opening Days
While the opening day ceremonies on all the Scottish rivers are heavily attended it amazes me how the thousands of anglers who show up for the celebrations are then mainly nowhere to be seen for the following 2 or 3 months. Last year on the Tay rising coloured water conditions ruined any real chances of success on the 15th of January which was a shame but a brilliant basic lesson from the salmon river who cares not a jot for well attended ceremonies, river reports or even the TV cameras.
Take The Early Salmon Fishing Months Seriously
These early months are some of the best of the year and highly under rated for a chance of connection with a Loch Tay destined 'clunker' of a Spring fish. This was the time of year on the Tay when the 'Yellow Belly' devon minnow was used with great effect in the 70's as was a big long tailed 'Yellow & Orange' tube fly when systematically and expertly swung over the salmon lies from the boat via real traditional 'harling' skills by the old true master Tay boatmen. This was also the time of year to sit beside a coal fire in the fishing hut listening to the amazing stories of the Head Ghillie while still as 'high as a kite' from the capture of your first Spring fish of the season.
Get Yourself Out Onto The River
Don't be deceived or put off by a big flowing Scottish salmon rivers during the early months of the Spring nor be surprised about the lowish 'catch stats' reporting nonsense that's sadly influenced the amount of rod pressure Scottish salmon fishing has received over the last decade via classic 'chicken & egg' syndrome! None of these above factors mean that the timing of your fly or lure won't coincide with the square metre of salmon pool where a perfect heavyweight brute of a fresh run Spring salmon has just pitched tent before its deadly and still very prevalent hunting instinct begins the scrap of a lifetime!