Know Your Signs When Salmon Fishing

When salmon fishing, you can't help but be drawn to the sights and sounds, scenery and surroundings. As we connect with nature, it has a relaxing and calming effect. However, the mind can wander, so when we are chasing a bar of silver, how much attention should focus on the water?
Mackenzie NX1 Double Hand Salmon Rod
For every salmon that takes your fly with confidence, there will be others that just pluck at it, or take a look without touching it. Experience shows that these tentative takers will, if treated appropriately, frequently rise a second and sometimes three or more times, and finally be hooked. This may involve giving the fish a short rest, perhaps changing the angle of presentation, wading a few steps back upstream to come down to it again, and/or changing the size and pattern of fly.

Loop SDS Shooting Head Kit
Of course, if you fail to notice that the salmon has moved to your fly, you’ll simply move downstream, make another cast, and your chance of catching that fish will be gone.

So what you are looking for is some sign of a fish. If you are fishing a floating line, with or without a tip, you might see the tip stab forward or down. Or you might see the quick wink of a silver flank ahead of the line tip – where the fly is swimming – though it will look golden in peaty water. Or, where the fly is fishing, the surface of the water may suddenly bulge. You might even see the salmon’s back and dorsal fin.

Fly Box with 20 Salmon Flies
Any of these signs suggest you should try one or more of the tactics discussed to get the fish to come a second, and hopefully more productive, time.

Therefore, it's inevitable that you will be drawn to the beauty that surrounds you. However, to be successful, you need to pay attention to these subtleties and observe what the line, rod tip, and swinging fly is doing. If you are paying attention, you will make the necessary adjustments to your positioning, casting angle, and speed of the fly to entice a fish to take. You can still appreciate what's going on around you in the periphery AND still catch a fish.

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