A winter break from the river
Posted on: 23rd November 2015
Salmon fishing enthusiasts will know that on 30th November, the last remaining rivers in Scotland (Blackadder, Ettrick, Tweed, Till, Teviot, Whiteadder and Yarrow) will shut up shop for the Winter. Happily the hiatus is brief and anglers will be back out on 11th January on the banks of the rivers Carron, Cassley, Evelix, Helmsdale, Shin, Oykeln and Thurso Stroma in search of the first of the 'Spring Salmon'. It's likely that snow will still be on the ground as they make their way to their chosen river.
I love the excitement of the first day of the new season; it’s as close as I ever got as an adult to the childhood thrill of waking up on Christmas Day to find the longed for, present-filled stocking at the end of my bed. However, I also appreciate the peace of a closed river. I was recently sent a photo (shared in this blog) by a friend who was enjoying some late season fishing North of the border. Whilst the river was still (just about) open, the fallen leaves and empty banks reminded me of the quiet of the winter season.
I don’t fish as much as I once did but I still appreciate the enforced discipline of the winter closures. Any angler will tell you that wherever they are, whatever they are doing, their mind is always at least partially occupied by thoughts of the river. For me, this manifested itself as a nagging feeling that I had forgotten something – keys left dangling in the door? An oven turned on? A work deadline missed? In fact it was the nagging worry that my 20lb salmon had swum past whilst I was away from the river. Knowing that a trip to the bank was ‘off limits’ gave me few weeks respite from the worry as well as the pleasure of anticipating next year’s season.
Author Izaak Walton called fishing the “Contemplative Man’s recreation.” Certainly he was right that there are few more relaxing places than the river, rod in hand, but he underestimated the lure of the sport and the tendency of those who love it to be (happily) consumed by it. So, to all my fellow anglers, I wish you a peaceful winter and here’s to heavy rods in the New Year!