The beginning of September did not bring any changes to the state of the river and our catches. The water level was comfortable and stable, the water temperature was kept within 10-12 degrees. As before, the most in our catches were resident salmon. They were represented almost exclusively by males of small sizes, sometimes completely dark in color. But many of them were very energetic, vigorously resisted when fighting. Large males came up, reaching 82-88 cm in length, painted in yellow-brown colors with a red pattern on the skin. The number of bites were significant, so there was no good reason to change anything in the fishing technique and fly selection. As before, salmon clearly preferred delicate fishing presentation of medium and small size flies, and not too bright in color.
Catching resident fish brought a lot of pleasure, but it was interesting to clarify the situation with fresh silver fish. The fact is that silver autumn salmon were already in the river. We saw their movement on the surface of the water and sometimes we managed to hook such a fish on the fly. But these were isolated cases, and we would like to evaluate the picture more accurately. Usually at this time of the year there is not yet a massive salmon run from the sea to the river. Separate groups of fish are gradually distributed along the entire length of the river, choosing places with a fairly strong current on the main stream. If in such places there are shelters with big boulders, then the fish stays here for a long time until the change in water level and temperature forces it to look for a new position.
Thus, with cooling of the water there is a multidirectional movement of salmon of different ages. Resident fish gradually leave their shelters and get close to the spawning grounds. While silver fish occupy the safest places suitable for long-term staying. Therefore, we more or less knew in which pools and in which places we are more likely to encounter fresh fish.
Surprisingly, these days, resident fish dominated everywhere in all pools. It is possible that their number and activity simply did not give a chance to a few fresh fish to prove themselves. We tried to change the fishing technique to weed out resident fish and provoke fresh salmon. I had a hope for a last season hit - a pink streamer. A year ago, Malcolm showed us a pink fly in combination with an overly aggressive presentation. The result then was simply stunning against the backdrop of our dull attempts to seduce sluggish fish by traditional methods. Unfortunately, now, attempts to interest silver fish with Pinky were not so good, fishing at the bottom also did not bring a stable logical result. Fresh fish came across irregularly and at first we could not create any system in its catch. Each season is different from the previous one and presents many surprises. This has already became an axiom.
We found a possible way out of the situation almost by accident. It turned out that fresh fish took uncommon places for this time of the year on wide and deep pools. Typically, such places with a slow current concentrate fish in late autumn. Now, at water temperature of 10-12 degrees, this preference seemed strange. Nevertheless, in such pools some big fish took positions, which, most likely, began to enter the river from mid-August. Such fish usually quickly lose its activity. Their presence goes unnoticed until the fall of next year, when they appear on spawning grounds. In such a situation, only very small flies worked for us. The Undertaker tied on hook number 12 turned out to be the best. The size of the fish caught in such places was from 72-82 cm. But the fishing technique itself in wide deep pools with calm water turned out to be quite difficult, and we could not count on stable catches. Therefore, the bulk of salmon was still represented by resident males of 62-68 cm in size. Which were easy to catch in all accessible places.
By the end of the first decade of September, the water temperature very slowly approached the mark of 8 degrees. It was evident that smaller specimens of salmon had already reached small open grounds, large fish still preferred to be near shelters on the main stream.
Keep in touch, soon we will write about the best period of fishing for Atlantic salmon!
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