Or it’s more common name … Salmon Fishing. With the mullet on the board for the year, the clock is now ticking for the salmon. During a 3 hour session on the Lune yesterday evening I had 3 hours (un-disturbed by fishy activity) to ponder about the viability of salmon fishing and the state of the 3 principle rivers I fish, namely the Eden, Lune and Ribble. From talking to other club members, other anglers and reading internet forums and the fishing press it’s pretty clear that certainly all west coast rivers in England and Wales (Scotland’s west coast fisheries has been long blighted by fish farming activity and that’s another tale) are in a slump in terms of salmon and sea trout returning, a slump that’s currently running at 3 or 4 years and things don’t seem to be getting better.
The causes I’m sure we will never get to the bottom of, but my guess is combination of netting, over fishing at sea, greedy “anglers” killing any salmon from fresh run sea liced to tartan coloured monsters, cormorant, goosander, otter predation of juveniles etc etc. It sure isn’t pollution anymore that’s for sure.
I love my salmon fishing and although my technique can hardly be described as classic I love my Spey casting and swinging flies but the whole idea of the game is catching and there comes a point where you ask yourself “I’m paying a hell of a lot of money to do this – am I getting back in terms of fishing experience, value for money?”.
Discounting the number of fish (or lack of) in front of you, In terms of the water fished – Yes I’m getting value for money the 3 rivers I fish have excellent fly water, are pristine and in areas of stunning natural beauty, there aren’t hundreds of other members flogging the same water and everyone is genuinely pleasant and a good craic. The trout fishing on the Ribble and the Eden is very good, with some excellent winter grayling fun thrown in for free. It could just do with a few more salmon.
If you are going blank, you may as well blank on fantastic fly water. A evening on the Lune
It’s not just a case of sulking because I’m not catching – it seems that no-one is ..
In my coarse fishing specimen hunting days, big bream were always associated with lots of blanks – day after day of sitting around waiting for that one bite which could be a double. Blanks were worn as a badge of honour but you always had the crumb of comfort that somewhere in the lake the fish were there, in salmon fishing these days that’s not the case.
But I still go and flog the water with the hope of silver, this year five full day sessions and twelve evenings have yielded one lost fish.
I’ve provisionally given myself another five years to really give the systems chance to recover, I truly hope they do, if not I’ll have to revaluate as to whether I continue or not, it’s not the cost or the blanks really but the reality that I could be spending my time chasing fish that are actually there.
I’m thinking this winter of going Skagit on the pike in the Ribble, there are some absolute beasts in there and I’ll get to swing the fly after them, maybe this will be the future of spey casting for me.
Rant over and I’m looking forward to a trip to the Eden on Sunday after Salmon!