We have only 2 relatively reliable signs of the presence of fish in the river.
The first sign is the jumping of salmon over the water or other activity at the surface that we can observe. The second sign of the presence of fish is bite on the fly.
It is clear that both these signs are very unreliable. Fish for various reasons may not show itself at the surface of the water. Most often, we associate the activity of salmon with the change in the water level, with the temperature and its dynamics. It should be taken into account that these changes have different effects on different salmons. Some fish appeared in the river at the end of summer in August, other groups entered the river later, in early September or in October. Their adaptation to river water runs at different rates and affects their behavior in different ways. This refers to the movement of salmon in the river, rest areas or parking for a long time, and also affects the response to flies.
This year, for example, there was a period of increased activity of salmon, which entered the river at the end of August. These fish are distinguished by a slight purple hue on the back. Such coloring occurs when salmon 2-3 weeks is in water, the temperature of which is still quite high, about 9-12 degrees Celsius. It was possible to observe massive jumps of such fish in places of their temporary parking, starting from the mouth of the river and far up the river. Usually salmon jumped on the border of pits or depressions in the main channel, which served as their temporary parking lot. After long rains in mid-September, the water level increased significantly + 30cm, and then the temperature dropped, which led to a sharp drop in the number of jumps. After a week, the temperature stabilized within 6-7 degrees and the water level began to slowly decrease. Again we began to observe jumps of salmon with a purple hue of the body practically along all the length of the river. It is very difficult to estimate the number of fish in one pool. It can often be noticed that fish of different sizes jump, sometimes the fish only appears above the surface, sometimes it completely jumps out of the water in different directions and in different parts of the pool. It seems that the salmon do not tend to leave the pool, but only demonstrate their presence here.
If you have time, sooner or later in each good pool you will see the fish. Sometimes it will be one jump, sometimes 5-6 per minute. Perhaps, this change in behavior depends even on the time of day. If in the beginning of autumn the position of the sun is important, then in October the change in daily temperature begins to play a greater role. Morning water temperature can be 1-1.5 degrees below daytime or evening. Therefore, the activity of fish on the surface is often observed in the evening. Surprisingly, such a slight temperature change affects fish life so much.
The approaching colds have a depressing effect on salmon, which appeared in the river in August or early September. With the temperature drop in September from 12-10 degrees to 7-6 the part of this group of salmon loses activity. Large fish lose weight especially quickly, although small fish still show their presence.
By mid-September, the fresh salmon run usually becomes more active.. If the water level in the river is sufficient, then the approach of the salmon can be quite intense. Usually fish come in small groups, in which there are also violet-colored individuals and completely white. The colder the water, the less purple fish and more silver fish run into the river. Probably the most comfortable for silver fish is a temperature of 6 degrees.
Fresh sea salmon can be distinguished by its silver color. If you can well consider such a jumped fish, then it is just white and black without any violet hue. The appearance and movement of these fish along the river is often associated with a high tide. They jump forward as if on the run. Such jumps are sometimes serial and you can trace the movement of a fish or an entire group upstream. A rising fish jumps over any obstacle that comes in its way. Most often these are small rifts or individual rocks blocking the main stream of the river.
We can`t know the exact number of such fresh fish in the river. Again we must take into account the water level and its temperature. Raising water level can hide the movement of fish, and lowering the temperature from comfortable 6-7 degrees to 2-3 could completely deprive the salmon move upstream. With a sharp cooling, which sometimes happens even in early October, the salmon simply stops in the deepest pits in the lowest parts of the river. He does not give out his presence until the onset of warming.
Fresh salmon, which moves upstream, often stops on the same stretches, which are already occupied by violet-colored fish. Arrival in the pool of new fish somehow stimulates the jumping of both local fish and new arrivals.
Such social behavior is quite typical for resident fish, which are preparing for spawning this fall. They also denote their presence by jumping. Resident fish by early September accumulate in convenient shelters near future spawning sites. Usually both males and females jump. These fish can be distinguished by dark brown color. Individuals ready to spawn are often painted completely black. Their jumping is of a slightly different nature than the jumping of the autumnal fish. Most of the salmon jump out of the water vertically and fall to the side. It is like jumping whales in the sea. With a decrease in the temperature of the water and the onset of spawning, more and more resident fish are run aground and jumps cease. In early October, at a water temperature of 4-5-6 degrees, resident salmon stop jumping. They are shown on the surface at spawning grounds, if the water level allows one to see their backs and tails.
Here I would make a small digression. There is an opinion on the presence of spawning pits, the word pit is often tied to the salmon spawning place. The location of these pits or even one large or main spawning pit is supposed to be far upstream of the river. According to my observations, a significant number of salmons remain at the bottom of the river and spend unnoticed here all summer. They begin spawning at the first rifts only 400-500 meters from the mouth of the river. The true number of fish can be judged only when the water level in the spawning grounds allows them to be noticed. It's amazing how many large fish can be hidden by us in completely ordinary, unremarkable pools.
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