Salmon Fishing Facts
By Jock Monteith 2nd October 2020
It's always a great moment when you arrive at any salmon beat in the morning whether you're a guest or a professional ghillie and far superior than checking into an office unless of course the fishing hut is your office!
Life On The Salmon River
They say 'life is for living' and that it's no dress rehearsal so personally it was always only ever a basic IQ test to devote my career to the salmon river which was a decision made early in life. The natural beauty and vibe of the river is certainly addictive but so also is the 'banter' of brilliant riverbank relationships that form out of the thousands of salmon fishers most ghillies will meet throughout their professional careers. The salmon fishing pursuit has multiple attractions aside from the inevitability of enough thoughtful casts!
The Scottish Ghillie Career Choice
Taking the river path in life is a brave path indeed given the 'unpredictability' of Atlantic salmon and their total defiance of our timing keeping measurement tools. The ever changing ocean temperatures, and Winter flood levels have always played a role in the returning abundance of the species making it an even bigger challenge for success on years where there's fewer fish about. On the river these days unchecked predation issues that once never existed have also hindered progress so the professional ghillie has a different set of issues to mentally overcome just the same as most other career paths will come with.
Keeping Faith In Salmon Runs
While it was easy to write off the recent 2018 season in it's entirety due to a poor Spring run where only big but fewer salmon showed up our salmon yet again mysteriously appeared as soon as the water and lower temperatures arrived. The heart felt pain for the lack of salmon action that year which was primarily due to warm weather and low water is nothing different from the hassle and head turmoil of a floundering personal relationship! My advice is to just get over the lean times as salmon do what suits them best and if stock enhancement measures are to be introduced to bolster wild stock levels it will likely take time as we currently have zero juvenile stock output measurement control and an accompanying lack of oceanic security required to effectively safeguard our salmon's 'known' migration routes to and from their feeding grounds. There has also been a general lack of 'in-river' predation control which only a few decades ago did not exist although I hear the Tay has made some good progress on that front in the last couple of years.
There Are No Salmon Fishing Guarantees
While many anglers have developed a modern day life 'catch statistics' dependency by comparing everything to previous years it's all mostly certainly flawed for the following reasons. The average angling skill set level wouldn't necessarily capitalise on a pool packed full of fresh run 'takers' so that scenario would be unlikely to translate into half a dozen or more salmon landed which it should do as has been demonstrated by a few individual 'highly' skilled salmon anglers (RF, GR) on the River Spey in the last week or so. In addition to that fact the general salmon landed to fisher day ratio has never been much better than 15 to 1 even on the best fishing years if you really care to zero in on the 'rods to salmon landed' figures. There have never been guarantees given in this business which adds to the thrill and achievement of catching a salmon and good salmon fishing skill levels, persistency and a little bit of 'timing' luck seem to have always been the winning formula!