salmon fly below
Making the perfect illusion
To a certain degree surface fishing for trout and salmon is quite uncomplicated compared to wet-fly fishing – When fishing in the surface, it is the element of commotion or entrapment that is the master-key to success – more than the actual details in the fly. If you’re using a conventional salmon fly – a small details in the fly could very well be the thing that catch the attention of the fish.
The right salmon fly
Getting the right salmon fly for your fishing is certainly an axis point in the world of salmon and obviously it is well worth spending time & money on making or buying the ideal flies.
As a general rule one can look upon the salmon fly as a miniature airplane or rather submarine – It´s ability to maneuver and finally deceive the fish will very much depend upon or be determined by the river you have come to fish – So the salmon fly has to be able to perform in the river. Hairs, feathers, colors and details in the fly will work with you to make the illusion complete - and if convincing enough you might hook up with Mr. Fish.
The ability to see different colors, gradually change when the fish enter the river – And flies in different colors may work totally different on a fresh summer salmon equate to how it will work on a stale fish.
Here a big male August salmon, hooked on a General Practitioner – A super salmon fly for late fish especially multi sea winter salmon like this one.
Why is a red salmon fly better at the end of the season ?
During the life of a salmon it will travel between two very different worlds. Worlds with colors and images so divergent that it has developed extraordinary abilities to cope with the change of scene.
The eye of the salmon changes physically so the fish is able to view different colors * – best as possible (* colors being technically explained as: different wavelengths of light)
When staying in the river as parr the eyes will be set on: light with long wavelength. This would be colors in the orange – brown tone
In early spring when the time has come for the salmon parr to journey to the feeding grounds at high sea, the endocrine system glands will produce a new pigment for the eye. This will enable the salmon to focus on light with short wavelength like; green and bluish colors… Quite handy ! as these are the colors that prey like: sand-eels, sprat and herring has incorporated in their coloration, to hide and blend into the sea-world.
Upon returning to the river to spawn the fresh silver salmon may actually still have their eye structure set to sea life setting – and often he will be interested in a salmon fly with blue & green colors… Some of them will be so greedy that they will hit any color salmon fly but that is another story… Never the less ! The endocrine glands will gradually produce another pigment that will transform the eye back to its original freshwater setting – with abilities to focus on red, orange and brown colors – Something also reflected in the colors of the skin pigmentation. The many patterns in brown, orange and red seen on male salmon – is not just eye candy brought on for the sake women – They are fully lid warning posters to rivaling male salmon.
Micro cone-head tube fly
If you know where the fish is – Take aim and just do one cast – Play darts!
The Kinnaber Killer a salmon fly I have had very good results with in Norway and Scotland
If you know where the fish is lying a well presented fly up-stream to the fish is the way to go. The sudden appearance of the fly in Snell’s Window * has a strong effect on the fish and will many times induce a rapid take.
When you get to the late end of the season ( August – November) the greatest presentation depth could be 10 – 20 inches below the surface. To be able to fish correctly in this depth a salmon fly like the Micro coneheads may come very handy.
Present the fly in front of the fish on a slack line – Let it sink a few seconds – When the fly starts pulling away it will be at the center of attention and you should be expecting a solid hook-up
Get the salmon fly into Bull’s Eye
Just like when fishing a dry fly to a known salmon lie and the edge of Snell’s Window * it can be equally valuable to work out where the edge of * Snell´s Window is situated when fishing a wet fly (Snell’s Window is the technical term describing how an underwater critter see life above water) – It is at the edge of Snell’s window that your imaginary Bulls Eye is situated. You have maybe tried to get such a Bull’s Eye when fishing – having a salmon or trout grab your fly instantaneously when it hits the water. To get knowledge on Snell`s Window go to -
Three types of fish
Being successful is of course a very subjective term and most anglers i know will be happy just to be out with their fly rod – But being the guide at the river, the definition of the word success means: fish on the bank… When it comes to sea trout, steelhead and particularly salmon that is not always an option- and anglers can be put to the test for days and weeks. Fishing for salmon and trout we learn to accept these conditions and we fish for every fish as if they all where potential biters.
- The Non-biters: Trout and salmon entering the river is not consistently on-line and a large percentage of them never will be. Science tells us that it is only 10 – 30 % of the Atlantic salmon that actually do bite the hook. The majority of fish will pass right by our feet.
- The stupid silver one: Is the fresh salmon or trout – Steaming in from the feeding grounds at high sea – some with fresh memory of their greedy life at sea, eager to hit your salmon fly – Others could haven been eating on their way to the estuary or river mouth – These are as aggressive as they get – The stupid silver one is the fish most anglers will come to know and so often tie flies to catch – See images of food found in fresh salmon
- The resident fish: Is the fish that have been in the river for some time, that has lost some of its initial aggressiveness – It has traveled through pools and rapids – it might even have been out in the estuary again. It could also be a fish that has settled down in a holding pool. That is starting to take color. Who will jump when new fish enter his pool – and occasionally rise to the trail of drifting insects… This is the fish that is so well in tune with the environment that he live in, that it will take a special salmon fly to hook him – A fly that will work just right in that specific area – The local guy who comes to fish this spot on a regular basis…will have just that salmon fly in his box.
Pure Uncut Resident Evil: One aggressive male salmon from The Viaduct Pool at the North Esk in Scotland… A fish that probably had been in the river – and maybe in this particular pool all summer. It has most likely seen 101`salmon fly and know every rock in the pool – A truly formidable animal and one of the strongest freshwater fish you can catch on a fly rod. This one hooked on a tiny 10 millimeter Black & Orange tied on a copper tube.
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