Atlantic Salmon and the Different Fishing Methods
The Atlantic salmon is a species with many local variations. In some rivers fresh fish run every month of the year but most rivers have a bias towards either a spring run or an autumn run. Quite often there is a run of summer fish. Heavy estuary netting over the last 120 years, however, has progressively culled the spring and summer fish-runs; many salmon now run and spawn in winter and the survivors are back in the sea before the season opens. In any case, if caught, they are returnableor spent fish. This is what private netting has done for us.
`Early’ rivers — where there is a run of spring salmon — are pearls of price, because a fresh spring fish is the salmon at its peak of perfection. Summer salmon, although desirable, soon become ‘potted’ or stale, especially when low water follows spate. Autumn salmon — often the biggest fish of the season — are already starting to exhibit the dark hues associated with the spawning process.
Spring salmon are usually caught by deep, preserved sprats, devon minnows, and prawn being the usual bait. Flies — when the water is fly only — are commonly of the tube type, often lightly leaded, with a treble in the tail. Many rivers are seldom heavy enough, even in the spring, to warrant anything much bigger than a 2/ 0 ‘meat-hook’ — the largest standard single salmon hook. But in big rivers a really big tube-fly is probably the best bet.
Summer fish nowadays are caught onfly or by light spinning. They can be caught on sea-trout flies, but some anglers prefer the worm-bunch or a small prawn. Autumn fish fall between spring and summer as regards methods used. The water can be quite low in a dry autumn, in which case small flies catch fish, but heavy water calls for a return to the big flies and baits of spring.
In very low water, when the fish are a trifle stale, the best method for sport and interest is probably nymph-fishing.
Click to read more on the following salmon fishing methods: