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Chasing Scottish spring silver!

Chasing Scottish spring silver!

The Scottish spring salmon is highly prized among many anglers. These magnificent fish are usually large in size and extremely powerful. They have fantastic fighting qualities which can often make them a challenge to land. Spring salmon enter Scotland’s rivers from January and usually run until the end of May. The prime months on most rivers around Scotland are usually from early April through to May. This when the runs of spring salmon peak.There are a multitude of productive salmon rivers in Scotland to choose from when it comes to chasing spring salmon. Each river has its own unique character and offers something different for the visiting angler. So which rivers in Scotland offer the best opportunity to make contact with one of these prized creatures?Each river in Scotland has its own opening date in the calendar. Some rivers open as early as mid-January and by the middle of February the bulk of the salmon rivers around the country are open for business and consistently producing spring salmon. The first rivers to open in Scotland are in the Scottish Highlands. Rivers like the Thurso, Helmsdale and Halladale all open on the 11th of January. These rivers are much smaller in size compared to some of the rivers further south. They usually produce the odd fish in January but it is from March onwards that more consistent catches are made. The Thurso River is nestled in the Northern Highlands and has an excellent reputation for producing spring salmon. The river is around twenty miles long with twelve beats. The river is located in beautiful Caithness and some of the scenery on the banks of the river is second to none. This truly is a remote spectacular wilderness. The river has the added advantage of having a loch at the head of the system with a dam. This means when there is adequate water in the loch, river levels can be controlled ensuring there is decent water for anglers. The Thurso usually produces its first fish of the season in early February. The prime months on the river for spring fishing are in April and May. If you enjoy salmon fishing in unspoiled breath taking surroundings, then the Thurso could be the river for you!The mighty River Tay is probably one of the most famous salmon rivers in Scotland. It runs through the heart of beautiful Perthshire in central Scotland. It is Scotland’s largest river and is mighty in size as well as in its reputation. The river opens its banks to anglers on the 15th of January and usually there are a number of fresh fish caught on opening day. The river produces a few fish in January, but more consistent catches are made in February and March. The main runs of spring salmon enter the river in April and May. Many of the fish entering the river during these months are heading for some of the rivers tributaries like the Tummel and Isla. These are excellent early season rivers in their own right. The main River Tay consistently produces spring salmon and so represents an excellent chance for making contact with that elusive springer for the visiting angler. There is also always the chance of catching a large salmon on the River Tay as it has had a reputation for being a big fish river for years. Indeed in 2018 the were numerous fish during the early part of the season caught weighing in excess of twenty pounds and there were also a handful landed weighing in excess of thirty pounds. No trip to Scotland would be complete without a visit to the mighty River Tay and if you are hunting for spring salmon then April and May would usually be the prime months.

The magnificent River Dee is another one of Scotland’s famous salmon rivers. The Dee flows through picturesque Royal Deeside and has traditionally been regarded as Scotland premier spring river. The river is much smaller in size compared to the Tay and there is much more of an intimate feel when fishing. The Dee opens on the 1st of February and consistently produces fresh fish from opening day onwards. Just like many other rivers in Scotland the runs of spring fish usually peak in April and May. However, March can often be a very productive month. The river has some fantastic fly water, and this coupled with its crystal clear water and fasting flowing nature makes it a top early season salmon fishing destination in Scotland. The River Spey is probably Scotland’s most iconic salmon river. This is of course because it was the birthplace of the famous double handed Spey cast. The river flows through the heart of whisky country, Speyside, and there is never a distillery more than a stone’s throw away from the river. The Spey opens in mid-February and is also one of Scotland’s most productive spring rivers. The river starts its journey high up in the Cairngorm mountains and winds its way through magnificent Speyside. Some of the fly water on the river is truly mouth watering. Many of the pools are a joy to fish. Fresh fish are caught from the river from opening day onwards but usually spring runs peak in April and May. Like the Dee the Spey is smaller in size than the Tay and it shares many characteristics of a Highland river. The River Spey is well worth considering if you are planning to come to Scotland during the early part of the season. Most of the anglers that come to the river leave with big smiles on their faces!Scotland is a top destination when it comes to spring salmon fishing and we have only looked at a few of the rivers that have a reputation of

producing good numbers of spring salmon. Indeed, there are so many other rivers to explore. As the rivers are located relatively close together many anglers will fish two or three rivers during their time in Scotland to maximise their chances. There is one thing for sure, if you are lucky enough to hook some early season Scottish spring silver, you will have a fight that will live with you forever and it will leave you craving for more!

Samantha Datta

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