There is no shortage of advice on choosing tackle for salmon fishing and ample helpful instructors regarding techniques on how to catch salmon at different times of the year. But the big question, and the one most often asked, is “where do I go”.
So let’s try and break it down. If you can afford it Russia is the most prolific place for salmon. Weekly bags on the best rivers will run into hundreds of fish, shared perhaps by groups of 10 to 15 rods. On a good day a single rod could get 10 or more fish with individual weekly bags varying from 30 – 100. Second would come Iceland which has the benefit of being closer with probably more predictable weather conditions and all without using Russian helicopters.
For big fish, Norway would be first choice with some rivers giving truly enormous fish.
For those who do not want a long journey, or even the need to fly, Scotland and the north of England. The main Scottish rivers are all East Coast and while the cost will be less than Russia the cost per fish will be higher as bags are much smaller. Availability is often dead men’s shoes as on many rivers the same parties fish the same beats on the same weeks year in year out and getting a slot may be difficult. Often you have to take a less good week and hope your face fits so that you work up into a better period as vacancies occur.
Now none of what I have mentioned so far is cheap – be it Russia, Iceland, Norway or a private beat in the north, but do not despair. The opportunity to fish some of the best rivers, even at the best times, is still there.
Most major rivers have at least one Association beat where you can get a day or a weekly permit. Sometimes you have to be staying in a hotel or a B&B in the town, but that apart there is normally no difficulty. Naturally you have the competition from locals – particularly when the conditions are good and fish are running – but as you get to know the water you are in with an equal chance as them.
Just as an example. The Spey has two or three Association stretches, the Tweed likewise as has the Tyne and all sorts of smaller rivers. The staff in the John Norris
shop will be able to help with a list of addresses and advice on the best times.
Happy fishing – good luck and tight lines