Tactics for chasing Scottish summer silver

Tactics for chasing Scottish summer silver

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The Atlantic Salmon fishing opportunities in Scotland are truly endless. There are no shortage of prolific salmon rivers for the visiting angler to choose from. As the rivers in Scotland vary so much in size and character there truly is a salmon river to suit all tastes. 

From the small spate rivers in the Scottish Highlands to the larger more well-known rivers like the Spey, Tay, Dee and Tweed there is a river for even the most discerning of fly fishers.
Atlantic salmon run Scotland’s rivers all year. Many of the rivers have an excellent spring run. During the summer months (between June and the end of August) good numbers of grilse and summer salmon enter Scotland’s rivers and towards the end of the season the back-end run can be prolific.

The summer salmon fishing is becoming ever more popular in Scotland and it’s easy to see why. The weather is often better, and the days are longer, so there is ample opportunity to chase the silver tourist. So, what are the best tactics to adopt when chasing silver during the summer months in Scotland?

When it comes to salmon fishing at any time of the year much depends on the weather and water conditions. Often at this time river levels can be low, and the weather can be hot and bright. If this is the case, you may need to think carefully about the times that you fish. 

When it is hot and sunny often the most productive time of the day is early in the morning (sunrise) and then again at dusk. It is at these times that temperatures are at their lowest. 


Also, because of the low light conditions salmon often have the confidence to run upstream especially if the water is low. There can be no point fishing during the day in bright brassy blue skies with the sun shining strongly down the river, as you can end up just disturbing the pools which can then become counterproductive, especially, if you intend to fish in the evening.

When it comes to fishing in low water during the summer months it is also important to think about the tackle that you are using. If the water is low and clear it can be easy to cast a shadow over the water with a longer rod. This can then in turn spook the fish. It is therefore better to use a shorter rod coupled with a lighter fly line. The lighter fly line will cause less disturbance when casting and it will also encourage more movement of the fly. If there is limited flow in the pools a lighter fly line will move that bit faster and so in turn will the fly.

It is also worthwhile fine tuning your terminal tackle when salmon fishing during the summer months. If the water is low and clear, then using fluorocarbon for leader material instead of nylon can pay rich dividends. Fluorocarbon is less likely to spook the fish, especially on smaller rivers. Conversely if the water is high then standard copolymer will suffice.

Finally, we come to the age-old question of which flies work best. Every salmon angler has their favourites. Again, much depends on the water height and colour. If the water is low and clear smaller dressed flies can often be the order of the day. Usually flies which have a subtle appearance work well. Small dressed Stoats tails and Silver Stoats seem to be particularly effective for grilse. Micro tubes also work well when then light begins to fade. If the water is higher with a hint of colour a larger bolder fly may be more effective. If this is the case then fly patterns such as the Willie Gunn, Cascade or Ally’s Shrimp tied on tubes may do the trick. 

So, as you can see much depends on the weather and water conditions when it comes to salmon fishing in Scotland during the summer months. It is about choosing the times that you fish carefully and making subtle adjustments to the tackle that you use. By doing this you stand a great chance of landing some Scottish summer silver!


This article was written by Sandy Datta who together with his wife Samantha are co-founders of Salmon Fishing Holidays Scotland . This company is dedicated to providing bespoke tailor-made salmon fishing holidays in Scotland. Sandy has also recently written The Ultimate Guide to Salmon Fishing in Scotland.
In their spare time, Sandy and Samantha are both very passionate about their salmon fishing. They are never found too far away from the river bank, and they usually have a rod in their hands!