Summer Salmon Fishing
By Jock Monteith 24th May 2023
The Summer months have always represented a great time of the year to be out on the Scottish salmon rivers with your fly rod searching for one of these special creatures. June, July & August were always attractive to me due to the often lower rod pressure experienced on many Scottish beats during these prime salmon fly fishing months.
Runs Of Perfect Summer Salmon
At this time of year we always see consistent small runs of salmon entering the bigger Scottish rivers off every tide and especially the deeper Tay. These Summer runs have always been consistent as long as I can ever remember even if the rod pressure to survey them hasn't been. Sure I get the fact that anglers have been trained to book when there's fish being caught but given the nature of warm water running salmon they often don't hang about too long for that booking methodology to be effective! Anticipating these fish and making sure you're in front of the run always beats arriving too late!
Summer Salmon Pool Pressure
I personally prefer to be out on a salmon beat that's not fully booked where there are more hot spots to visit throughout the course of the fishing day when I'm fishing alone or guiding for guests. Getting in front of a hard running Summer salmon often involves visiting a few different potential stopping points multiple times over the course of the fishing day. 'Little and often' over these likely brief pausing areas will eventually coincide with the presence of a cooperating fish as long as you stick to the battle plan. Never assume in Summer salmon fishing that once a 'hot spot' has been covered then that's it done as at this time of year being in the 'right place at the right time' is often the winning formula.
Great Summer Salmon Fishing Days
Sometimes quieter Summer salmon fishing months of June, July & August can be truly amazing if your timing and persistency levels are good. I recall a June day on the Tay a few years ago when a trout angler turned up on an 'introductory' guided salmon fishing gift voucher his wife bought him for Christmas. The pools I took him to on the middle Tay looked like they were empty until the fly started to swim! At 5 o'clock the guest turned to me and said he'd had a truly great day after catching 4 perfect fresh run salmon but he much preferred trout fishing as he found it more of a challenge! There are many other great memories of similar experiences through the Summer months I can also vividly recall.
Get Your Fishing Focal Points Spot On
Here's a few additional thoughts to dwell on next time you're out on the river. Switch your mind 100% onto your salmon fly the second it lands out in the river and don't just let the river swing it round aimlessly. Put your mend in on touch down and always pay attention to the swing pace of your fly line as your salmon fly speed indicator. Many anglers ignore this logic but I can assure you a 'controlled' salmon fly will always out fish an 'uncontrolled' equivalent. Also pay attention to your fly swing spacings and 'pre-identify' your exact new wading boot positions between each cast before you even move there. These riverbed boot positions should be approx 3 apart for clinically 'precise' salmon pool coverage.
Pursuing Summer Salmon
Make no mistake about the fact that good water coverage right now with a subtle and persistent small fly will get you in front of a fine Summer salmon on most of the bigger Scottish rivers. Don't be put off by the lack of rod pressure as that's no real measure (nor ever has been) as to the potential of a beat during these lower water Summer months. Look for the areas of the salmon pools where running fish are likely to pause and work out a fishing plan where you can fish them multiple times. Don't deviate from that fishing plan and sooner or later and probably when you least expect it our Salmon God will show up!