After a scorching summer in June, the United Kingdom experienced an interesting climatic change. Since the beginning of meteorological data collection in 1836, July has been the sixth-wettest month on record. In a dramatic twist, Northern Ireland experienced an exceptional deluge, setting a new record for the region’s wettest July.
Though described as a ‘July washout’ by meteorologists from the Met Office, the relentless rainfall brought forth an unexpected boon. A stroke of good luck brought about the annual migration of salmon upstream, which is crucial to their reproductive cycle. These fish were able to make their way through the flooded rivers that resulted from unceasing rainfall.
The Tweed river fishing reports were a source of great excitement. The serendipitous convergence of wildlife and weather in July led to an estimated 600 catch. Approximately 400 more salmon were caught in the first week of August. This was an impressive feat, especially given the usual flooding concerns caused by the incessant rains.
The Tweed, the focal point for angling, showed remarkable resilience to potential flooding. This was attributed in part to the Tay River’s network of flow-regulating lochs. Even the Tay’s Cargill beat boasted a commendable salmon count of 50 in July, defying the odds.
Nevertheless, this abundance is a catalyst for a conservation debate. The majority of anglers – 90 to 95 percent – have opted to maintain catch and release. This approach demonstrates how important it is to preserve the salmon population in the future.
Nature’s capricious rhythms play a pivotal role. Last year’s drought conditions impeded salmon upstream journeys, leaving them vulnerable to predators like seals and dolphins in the Berwick estuary. This year’s River Spey spring catches were lower than the five-year average. This highlights the fragile ecosystem that governs these aquatic ecologies.