Late season Salmon fishing can often be hit and miss and this year was no exception with the autumn run of salmon failing to materialise throughout much of the country. The salmon season is now all but over and many angler’s thoughts are already turning to next spring…
Late season Salmon fishing
My last outing of the season on the Aberdeenshire Dee coincided with a timely rise in river levels just a few days prior to my arrival. This seemed to bring the fish on the take and I was lucky enough to land two for my day as well as losing another. The biggest being a cracking male fish which was estimated to be in the region of 18lb. The high, but clear water was ideal for fishing one of my favourite late season salmon fishing flies – the Black Snaelda Cone Head. The salmon just couldn’t resit it when it was fished down in front of their noses and I had two fish on the bank within half an hour of starting.
I began the day fishing a floating line with a sinking versi leader but as the day wore on, the salmon went down. Fishing the fly deeper and slower seemed to be what was required to get their attention. I briefly had hold of another fish shortly after swapping the floating line for an Intermediate. Unfortunately, the fish threw the hook before I had the chance to land it but sometimes tweaking your tactics and fishing different depths rather than just changing your fly can have the desired result.
My penultimate day’s fishing of the 2017 salmon season was on the River Don a week before it ended on the 31st October. The Don is often forgotten about due to running almost side by side with its more famous neighbour; the Dee, but the Don has its own special charm which attracts many anglers. The Don can also boast having some of the best wild brown trout fishing anywhere in the world. Trout up to 7/8lb are regularly caught on the dry fly. The Don tends to colour up after a rise and will take on a dark peat stain once the majority of water from the initial spate has run off. This makes it ideal for fishing with a Junction Shrimp type fly.
My personal favourite for these conditions is the Junction Rocket. Again, I fish this fly deep and the orange and white combo can be deadly when the river is peat stained like I experienced on Donside recently. The fish were playing hard to get which might have been down to the water conditions but their presence was made known every now and again as they jostled for position for the favoured lies in the pools. Despite the testing conditions, I managed to land a nice hen fish of around 10lb just as the water began to clear and drop. This was particularly pleasing as my tried and tested set up for the conditions worked its magic again.
The winter months will now be spent at the fly tying vice tying up the successful patterns from this season. They will be ready for action when the time comes and hopefully, they will be equally successful as they were this year.
Much of my tying is done on the Fulling Mill Magni Double Hooks, after landing many special fish on them over the seasons past, I have full faith in these hooks and highly recommend them for any winter fly tying.