How to Select your salmon flies.
I have been reading and had a lot of talks with other fishermen about how to select flies to catch salmon or steelhead. And even if a few fishermen tend to believe that the fly you pick up does not really matter, there are a few points to know that are proving the contrary. According to fauna ophthalmologists.The salmon has a poor monocular vision which explains why in low water condition and low fish mobility one needs to use small and medium size flies and present them right next to the salmon head and sideways. In case of high water condition and a more important fish activity one needs to use big flies with a high movement factor so that the fish can see them or distinguish their movement. As a fact, many fly tyers use the addition of wild boar fur to their flies to increase their attractivity thanks to its shuddering potential. The fly trajectory has also a very important part to play in the catching of salmon or steelhead but that would need another article more related to your casting technique and selection of proper line (floating, intermediate or sinking). But let’s go back to our fly selection… So when the salmon reaches the sea, it swims in deep water to reach its destination. Once it arrives close to “home”, before reaching our rivers, it stays at a 2-3 meters depth and feeds a lot. Salmons detects their prey thanks to instinct, vibrations and smell. At this period they visually detect their nutrition thanks to movement and brightness due to light reflection. Well, this information is very important in the conception of our flies to reproduce the same condition when the salmons are feeding in the sea. As you may know, once the fishes reaches our rivers they don’t feed anymore because of the transformation of their digestive system. But they still take food in mouth as they still want to eat but cannot swallow their food. Ophthalmologists also noticed that they distinguish red, green and bleu colors very well, which explains the success of certain fly patterns : the Green Highlander, the Shrimp or the Blue Charm,… just to name a few. When presenting a fly to a fish, quite often the first things that the fish will see are the body, butt and throat parts of your artificial fly. So colors and brightness are very important here! And a green, blue or red throat with brigth filament is quite often a killer feature. The throat must be well garnished, colorful and not too soft to improve the swimming of the fly and the movement of the fly is resulting from the combination of materials. This is just a few ideas to get you started in Salmon fly tying, as we could discuss this subject during days and days but to close up this article I included a short video from Tom Larimer from Larimer Outfitters commenting on how he choses his flies for Winter Steelhead fishing and bring a few other tips. He has a similar point of view that Fly selection DOES matter!!! 🙂 [youtube id=”n8p6V9EN1jo”]