Knowing how to optimally time your salmon fishing trip to Scotland is a key factor for success and there are a few different components to consider.
The best time to fish for salmon in Scotland is when there's a taking fish in front of you and that can happen at anytime throughout the long Scottish salmon fishing season which typically runs from February through to October. With that said my honest opinion on this often asked question is firstly to consider the Spring months as the calibre of a fresh run salmon during Spring is second to none as are its fighting qualities in the cold well oxygenated Spring river water. These are special creatures without a doubt and it's a natural honour to have an encounter with one.
During late March, April, May & early June the Scottish riverbanks come back to life after the bleak Winter and the early Spring months so it's also a very beautiful time of year to be out on the river. In addition to this there's a head of multi sea winter heavyweight Spring fish that traditionally enter the River Tay between late February and early April and to stop one of these will undoubtedly create that 'fish of a lifetime' experience. Most of the bigger Scottish rivers also have a Summer and Autumn run of salmon which can produce great sport too however for me as a professional salmon guide nothing beats catching a salmon during late March, April, May or early June. Book a salmon guide in Scotland on one of our major salmon rivers during the Spring and see for yourself what I'm referring to here.
There's really no run of fish that tops the sheer physical beauty of a Spring run Atlantic salmon as illustrated in these accompanying photographs. In addition to this fact on the River Tay there is a tributory river callled the River Tummel which has a renowned run of powerful Spring salmon that are short and deep-set in proportions. These perfect River Tummel bound Springers can be caught in and around the Tummel/ Tay confluence during April, May & early June and always add an extra dimension of excitement when you realise you've hooked one! The entire middle Tay Valley area encapsulating the main stem of the Tay 5 miles upsteam & downstream of the Tummel/Tay confluence is indeed an asture tactical planning area to be swimming a fly during Springtime.
During the above mentioned Spring months (and especially the earlier months) the larger Scottish rivers like the Tay usually always have good steady favourable water conditions. This is primarily due to the Scottish mountains releasing a steady run-off from snow melt as the air temperatures start to warm through the Spring and into early Summer. Ocassionally the Scottish rivers will run lower than normal through the Spring and this can be caused due to extremely cold air conditions which freezes mountain snow melt run off or via a poorer than normal mountain Winter snow cap formation (unlikely). Regardless of the water conditions Spring salmon will be present and personally all Spring water conditions excite me as it's just the most perfect time of year to fish for salmon in Scotland.