Salmon Angling Methods: Spring Fly and Fly in Summer
Spring salmon fishing can be summed up in the sentence : ‘Fish down and across, fish deep, fish slow.’ The fish will be lying sluggishly at the bottom of the deep holding pools with no particular interest in moving objects. The fly needs to be at the same level as the fish, and no great distance from it, before a take is likely.
All this is, of course, a broad generalization. On the warmer days which one gets even in March the fish sometimes move up into the slack water at the sides of the runs. It is then a standard routine to fish this water before covering the pool proper.
Most anglers seem to agree that a small treble hook, as used behind tube-flies, obtains a better hold than the standard single salmon irons, particularly those in the bigger sizes.
The actual casting of the fly consists in laying line, leader, and fly at an oblique angle downstream according to the speed of the current and the position of the lie. Adequate time must be allowed for the fly to sink to a position where the fish can see it.
Some anglers don’t work their fly. Again, it depends on the speed of the water and the lie of the fish. To pull the fly for a couple of feet just as it is passing the fish encourages a take, but this can easily be overdone. Salmon will not chase about after a fly in cold water; they want it brought to them.
The angler should never hesitate about changing the size or type of his fly if he thinks it is fishing too shallow. The fly must be down near the bottom — but of course not to be so heavy that it catches in every stone.
Fly in Summer
Fly-fishing for salmon in summer is almost entirely confined to the technique known as ‘’ although, in fact, most anglers no longer bother with grease but use a self-floating line. The only occasion when spring fishing technique with sunken line is used in summer is when fishing the falling waters of a big, cold flood. Greased-line fishing is based on the fundamental principle of fly-fishing — that the combination of cold water and warm air means fish will rise to take surface fly. But cold air and warmer water mean the fly must be taken down to the fish (ie. sunk). From May onwards, on average, the former conditions apply in most British rivers.