When To Swap Salmon Fly

If you have ever fished through a pool with a reputation for holding a good stock of salmon, but with nothing to show for your efforts, it can be a struggle to decide whether to fish it through again with a different Salmon Fly Line, a different size and/or pattern of Salmon Fly or try somewhere else.

Decisions Decisions?
If you consider a different line, then having a Shooting Head System Kit will not only increase your distance and casting efficiency but also your ability to adapt to the conditions.  For example, the Greys Platinum Shooting Head Kit can be configured to adapt to any double hand fishing situation.  The kit comes with 90ft of running line, a floating or intermediate body and three tips: floating, intermediate and sinking.  For example, if the water is running a bit low, and you opt for a smaller fly, try the floating tip.

Greys Platinum Shooting Head Kit
The pool you’ve been fishing might be one of the best in the entire river, but you need to also ask yourself does it hold taking fish in the prevailing water conditions? Some pools produce fish only in low water. Others when the water is high. Just a few will produce fish irrespective of the water height. So it might be better to move. You can always come back later – perhaps when the sun is no longer shining straight down the pool.
Sunray Shadow
As for changing the size of the fly, the lore of salmon fishing indeed dictates big flies in cold water and smaller flies in warmer water – the size steadily reducing as the temperature rises. And many believe that if the fish aren’t showing much interest in a particular size, then it’s best to swap it for something smaller.

As rules go, many believe this isn’t a bad one to follow. However, others might argue against this notion, and, having failed with a "conventional" fly and presentation, cover the pool with a much larger Collie Dog or Sunray Shadow. Such flies may produce more boils than takes, but at least these confirm that there are fish in residence. Of course, some would start with the Sunray, and then swap to a conventional fly for the second time through.
Collie Dog
It won't do any harm to swap from one pattern to another, within reason, and if nothing else, this course of action might revive your flagging spirits.

Having said all the above, guard against developing the habit dashing from here to there, changing flies every ten minutes, and swapping lines at coffee, lunch, and tea. Salmon tend to come on the take when they are right and ready, and not before. When they do, it’s often amazing just how conventional they can.

Of course nothing can beat local knowledge, so asking the ghillie what the best flies and fly lines to use for the prevailing conditions will give you an advantage.

This article was brought to you in association with Trout & Salmon Magazine.