Summer and salmon season is proceeding and we are seeing the biggest runs of salmon on the northern rivers. Fishing reports are telling excellent fishing in some places and difficult in others. No matter where you fish, here's a handful of flies and few tips how to use them properly.
Cast & swing
With running fish cover the water rather quickly. If the fish are takers they will grab the fly with determination and you will get solid takes. We love to use Sunray Shadow's and Collie Dogs. Cast them accross the current and let them swing with good speed. A lighter option for the swing fly approach is the Golden Killer - perfect for clear water.
Here's one trick. If the fish aren't biting the large tube flies or you are getting just splashes and whirls -> switch to a smaller fly such as Pikku-Musta or Micro Blue Charm. If you are fishing with a friend, it might be a good idea that first one goes through the pool with a Sunray and the next one follows with a smaller fly.
We love to hitch flies. And hope you do too. Hitching is super effective for running fish and many times for large resident fish also.
Salmon might play with the hitch fly for a while before actually taking it. If you get a wave or whirl under the fly, wait few seconds and repeat the cast. If nothing happens during the next 5 casts, change to a old school single Hairy Mairy and tie a half hitch around it. A slightly deeper swimming hitch fly might do the trick. If that doesn't help -> go for a larger Collie Dog or the last resort - a Red Frances with a dead drift presentation. For late season fishing the Purple Frances has proven to be a good alternative in the box.
Dry or die - like hitching, fishing with dries is great fun and effective. Dries work well in pools where the fish are staying little longer. Have a couple of different size and different color dries in the box. Start with the larger one and switch to a smaller one if needed. Our favorites are the Tube Bomber Aqua and larger Olive & White Bomber.
Always play the possible scenario in your head before you start fishing. Pick the fly that you start the fishing with and think about possible options what might happen. Have those flies ready in your box in your waders so you can make the change quickly. Read more in our Playbook post about the approach.
We've built the complete selection for you including dozen deadly flies, hooks and a fly box.
It's not often that salmon anglers are faced with high, warm water conditions in the latter part of the season.
I have experienced this twice now in Norway, and this situation is most common on rivers with a lake above their system that has a big enough catchment to collect localized rainfall, and or rivers that are fed via glacial melt water.