Second week of September was characterized by a very slow decrease in water temperature to 12 - 13 degrees. Only by the end of the week after several night frosts the water cooled to 11 degrees. Probably this chills caused some revival of fresh salmon in the river. It was hard to say how resident fish reacted to this water changes as we still catching many of them in most of the pools.
We could not accurately assess the intensity of fish movement from the sea, but our recent catches of sea-liced salmon began to be more frequent. Now fresh salmon accounted for up to 25% in total fish landed. Most of them had a light purple hue, which indicated that they had already spent some time in the river.
But still the silver fish takes were unpredictable and very gentle. Perhaps, for the first time, we were faced with a situation where none of our flies gave a permanent result. If it was easy to determine a good pool with some fish in it, then we had problems with choosing an effective fly for fresh salmon.
During the second week of September, silver fish chose places on a fairly fast current, as a rule, they stood in shelters among the stones on the main stream. At least in such places they came across a hook. Pools with medium calm flow and a flat bottom brought us many resident fish, but not silver. In conditions of low water level, we often had to fish very short stretches of the river, and accurate casting and a very delicate and slow presentation just by the salmon nose were important. This is the main difference between autumn fishing and salmon fishing in spring. The water level matters, but I want to understand how the change in water temperature affects the activity of salmon, whether the temperature optimum is ahead or has already passed and the activity fades out. In low water there is no point of casting far out, all pools are available and easy to reach without any long distance casts. As a rule, the best result achieved by accurate and delicate casting and presentation in the right place. Casts across the river and work on the area in the autumn, as a rule, is less effective than in the spring. In such conditions it was more convenient for me to use completely floating lines with long body. They are more convenient to adjust the position and fish among the stones with hard flow of water.
Discussing the results of several days of fishing, we came to the conclusion that, subject to all other rules of fishing, the most success achieved by the flies with a combination of silver body (usually silver body or silver body parts) and blue / light blue in the wing or forward hackle. The remaining details did not play a significant role. Surprisingly, the tendency to keep and even enhance the blue details on the flies continued throughout Autumn season.
Presentation of the fly with the continuous movement of the line (figure of eight or slow stripping) turned out to be unusually productive. These are not typical strips, but picking up the line with your fingers. It is quite possible that in the conditions of a low water level such an animation increased the interest of the fish in th fly and provoked the aggression of the fish. Those methods have been introduced to us by our Scottish guests Colin and Malcolm. They regularly use line when presenting the fly and it’s the way they fish it back home. I can say that I was surprised not by the whole method but how frequent they use it. Personally I would try moving the fly from time to time but Colin and Malcolm were mostly doing it the whole time and a I said they caught the most fish in the group!
Looking ahead, I want to say that these were not the last surprises this autumn season gave us.
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