The Farlows Guide to Autumn Salmon Fishing

There are no hard and fast rules for autumn salmon fishing but if you are looking to get on the river in search of a big autumn fish then our team is here to point you in the right direction.

The river in autumn is a delightful place to be and with the season beginning to turn it is indeed a time of mists and mellow fruitfulness. As far as our quarry is concerned there are likely to be big fish in the river running to their spawning grounds as the end of the season approaches and on some rivers, such as the Tweed, the back end fishing can be quite exceptional.

Clothing for Salmon Fishing

You will fish most effectively and enjoy your day more if you are dressed properly so do make sure you have comfortable, warm and waterproof clothing, autumn temperatures can be very chilly indeed.

Also make sure your waders aren’t leaking and check and replace studs if necessary. You should also ensure you have a good wading staff with a rubber bung to avoid unnecessary noise and that your life vest has been checked and serviced.

Water Conditions for Autumn Salmon Fishing

Generally speaking, the rivers will be fuller at this time of year and the best of the fishing is often in the wake of a flood. Heavy water after a prolonged dry spell is not always the best time to be out as the river will be carrying a lot of debris, but as the level stabilizes the fishing is likely to improve.

Rivers do vary though, so always liaise with the ghillies on your beat, they know the water and how it responds in differing conditions better than anyone.

Autumn Salmon Fishing River Wye

Autumn Salmon Fishing Tackle and Tactics

Higher water, the possibility of bigger fish and conditions that are likely to be far more hostile than you experienced during the summer months all call for you to look at your autumn salmon fly fishing tackle with a critical eye – and beef it up if required. But conditions, particularly in early autumn, can be very variable indeed so you do need to be prepared for all eventualities.

Unless we experience a prolonged period of low water you will need to have a selection of sinking fly lines in a range of densities to allow for tactical changes in relation to changing temperatures and water level.

There are many options - Spey, skagit or shooting head - and all are good in the right conditions and all have their own pros and cons.  At the end of the day it will come down to your own personal preference. The RIO Scandi VersiTip Kit is a favourite of the team here, but do please call or email us if you would like advice on which line is likely to the best option for you.

Autumn Salmon Fishing Flies

Fly choice will vary according to the river you are fishing but make sure you have a range of tube flies tied on tungsten, brass/copper, alloy and plastic tubes with classic patterns, such as Willie Gunns and cascades, always reliable. Reds and orange can be particularly effective colours at the back end, but do pop a few singles and small doubles in your box too, in case you are faced with low water, with an Indian summer you could be facing tough fishing even in October!

Enjoy your autumn salmon fishing and remember that back end fish are not always the best for the table, by returning them you will be doing the river a great service.

Ian Welch

A freshwater biologist by training I drifted into angling journalism and am now Farlows Group marketing manager. A hopelessly inadequate fly angler (the team are hoping to put that right.) I have fished all over the world and am now most at home fishing for River Test grayling, River Ebro catfish, Indian mahseer, or battling giant freshwater stingray on the Thai rivers. Away from my rod I do a bit of shooting and a lot of fruit and vegetable growing!