Lies, Damn Lies and Statistics
During my time (20 years) on Gaula, the most prized week on the river which at that time was probably week 28 (mid-July) has shifted to week 27 (early July). We regard this as our absoloute peak week when the chance of numbers of fish/size are at the optimum point.
However, there are plenty of other weeks in which good numbers of fish will be caught and there is no guarantee that any week will top the rankings. Historical statistics prove that the period from mid-June to Mid-July is when the main run of fish takes place on Gaula but it is not always so.
Anglers who fixate on getting rods in so-called prime weeks on Gaula, however, might be missing out on some really good fishing while they wait for their ultimate ‘slot’ to pop-up. Every season is different on Gaula and the weeks that might appeal to you might not appeal to someone else.
Whilst certain fishing weeks do consistently well on the stats board, history also shows us that there are numerous twists and turns a season can take.
The major deciding factors are:
How Much Snow did we get?
When did it stop melting?
Did we get a strong ‘second Run?’
What is the water temperatrure/weather pattern?
Some historical data provided by the past few seasons will illustrate just how hard it is to predict what is going to happen.
Some seasons will see great fishing from the start, others will follow a more predictable curve with the peak in Early July while numbers of fish caught in some seasons will peak in August.
This is 2022 Season for the whole of Gaula. the chart shows that 6923 fish were caught. The left hand graph shows the fish catches peaking in week 27. The second graph shows the weight of the fish in kilos by week. The third chart shows the size range distribution of salmon while the final chart shows the methods by which fish were caught. Fly caught fish are by now far, far in the majority and this has helped the catch and release statistics for the river.
The 2020 season is different to 2022 , showing a similar start and peak but with a big lift in the last two weeks of the season. The average size of the fish in 2020 was low compared to 2022 and you can see this reflected in the 3rd chart which shows size distribution. Number of fish is similar to 2022 but the size of the fish is smaller.
The chart for 2018 is different to both 2022 and 2020. Look at the left hand chart showing peaks and troughs throughout the season with the majority of fish for the wjhole season caught in August! Average weight was disappointing with medium size salmon being the most common. The number of fish caught is down slightly too.
Which Week Should you Book?
If price is not the most important thing and you get the opportunity to secure weeks 26, 27 or 28 you should almost certainly do so.
The so-called off peak weeks cost less money and yet will still offer a decent chance to enjoy good sport and as you can see from the charts above, the season really is unpredictable.
Here’s my summary of the different weeks of the season and how good your chances might be…
Weeks 23/24: Roughly one in five seasons will see fish on our beats from June 1st. The chances of us catching fish in week 24 are probably 50/50. the fish that are caught are often large and very large salmon.
Week 25: This is the week in which the fishing usually gets going for us in a ‘normal’ season. Not as prolific generally as week 26 but if we get an early start, this could be the best week of the lot. A slight gamble that high water will knock the fishing back but a decent gamble IMO.
Weeks 26, 27, 28,29: These weeks often provide the cream of the fishing but water conditions are critical.
Weeks 30-35: August is a safe time to book in terms of fish numbers, however, whether they will take will depend on weather and water temperature.
Low water and high temperatures will give poor August fishing but protracted drought periods are quite rare.
Rain and thunderstorms are often frequent in August and give the right weather the fishing can be exceptional. For those that enjoy presentation, single-hand and switch style fishing, this is an excellent time given decent water.
Steve Atkins and Andy Eriksen with a typical early season fish. The colours are sharp and almost electric, the flanks mirror-like. Salmon can be caught throughout the season on our water but these fresh bars of silver win the beauty competition in my book!
If you fancy fishing with us in August, you might like to know that our rod limit is reduced to six anglers per week. This is to give the fish more resting time by reducing angling pressure. Fishing in August will also get you into our system and improves your prospects of getting one of our top weeks in future seasons. The fishing is cheaper, of course, than it is in June and July to reflect the greater risk with regard to water conditions. You can find August packages on the ‘booking’ part of this website.