Well almost.....a few more days and it will be a week on the Salmon River with family and friends. I always love this time of year and what is to come, except leaves in the river which make it a PITA to swing a little sumpin. sumpin. The river is cooling little by little and the fish are getting closer and closer to running the gauntlet. Days are getting shorter and the nights are getting longer so the various species in and around the river know what's coming. The feed bags are on so to speak and I'm hungry as well....even though I don't look like it.
I'm tired of looking at flies in boxes and in the vice, online, catalogs etc.... They need to get wet!! Nothing like moving water to fill out the recipe of each and every fly. Hopefully some will catch, but I know it will be a learning experience like always. Especially when the kings are in the river. They are definitely a challenge when you fish a fly above them and not through them. It almost seems futile to even to try after a while, but I tell myself they are tougher to get on the swing than Steelhead. If swinging for steel isn't a numbers game, then swinging for kings is for hard heads like myself. I guess it's a confidence thing and not catching anything isn't all that bad when you understand what you are trying to accomplish. I guess that's why I find it so rewarding.
Smaller flies seemed to work better for me and my Dad last year, compared to all the big flies everybody thinks you "need" to fish. Well it's personal choice so I do both. But for now I'll stick to writing about the smaller flies. When I say smaller I am talking about size 4-6 up eye salmon hooks, even size 8. You don't always need big flies to get big fish to move for them. Presentation, presentation, presentation!! Finding un-molested fish is also a big part of the game.
The flies that one would typically use for Atlantic salmon are perfect for the Salmon River. Hairwings, mixed wings, and strip wings are a good place to start. I like to reference "Flies for Atlantic Salmon" by Dick Stewart and Farrow Allen for inspiration. I also like to reference "Flies for Steelhead" by Dick Stewart and Farrow Allen as well. Sometimes I like a pattern but change the colors to what I have previous success with in the Salmon River. Have fun with it and don't stress yourself. Sometimes letting go is the best way to get a grip on what is going on around us.
Afternoon Delight, Signal Light, Coal Car, Purple Peril, March Brown, Copper Killer are great flies to try out this season. Maybe you'll find a little secret fly of your own that not many people use or even have in their boxes. Don't be afraid to experiment with synthetics as well. I've always liked a combination of both in a fly for fishing. Kind of like the best of both worlds.