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Topic: Atlantic vs Pacific style salmon flies< Next Oldest | Next Newest >
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PostIcon Posted on: Mar. 30 2008,13:46  Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Hi,

I've been looking at some salmon fly patterns, fishing ones rather fully dressed display ones. I believe the salmon we mainly have here in NZ are chinook, which are Pacific salmon. Pacific salmon flies to be a markedly different style to Atlantic flies. It seems like a lot of Pacific salmon flies are quite garish and fluffy, using a lot of marabou and such. The Atlantic ones, the style of which I prefer, seem to be a bit more refined and although often still bright are a bit more low key in general.

I'm wondering if the differences are just due to tradition and cultural differences, imagining that Pacific flies have a US influence and Atlantic more of a European influence. Or is it due more to the fact that Pacific salmon run once to spawn and then die, so they don't eat on the way to spawning and go for flies based on territorial responses, whereas Atlantic salmon may return to the sea after spawning and therefore are more interested in eating stuff?

Regards,

Jo
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PostIcon Posted on: Mar. 30 2008,20:00 Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Jo

Both types can be pretty aggressive and hit flies hard during that spell in fresh water, prior to spawning, when they don't feed.
After spawning Atlantics are kelts, emaciated silvery fish, they try an bite just about anything. (Not to be confused with Celts, wee old Scottish guys who paint themselves blue and fight just about anything :) )

I can name a few Canadian anglers who might object to the idea that "Pacific flies have a US influence ".
There is and was some interplay between the North American and European flies.
The influences on PNW flies includes Atlantic Salmon flies but possible more steelhead and trout wets, possibly a touch of trolling lure for luck? More recently, what they call Spey style flies, an old style of fly from this area, has had a big impact on the way flies for steelhead and Pacific salmon are tied, that style suits softer more feathery materials.

In Europe salmon flies are now more often tied with hair than feather wings. In the UK the most popular fly - Ally's Shrimp - has a touch of Canadian influence. Ally Gowans is a first class tyer, caster and angler and was good friends with the late Canadian tyer Warren Duncan.
Considering when that fly was first fished, the long tail and collar hackle at the head are what I would point to as highly unusual, suggesting outside influences  :???:  - short tails, wings to the end of the tail and beard hackles tied behind the wing were and are more common here.. imho that fly shows influence coming back here from Canada.
Even more recently, Scandiavian style tying using softer longer hairs has been widely copied both here and in North America.

Meanwhile, that doesn't answer whether the colours used here and on the West of America are what the fish like or what anglers like. That would be incredibly hard to confirm.

If I had to pick one colour to use for salmon flies it would be black (I'd pine for a little orange, yellow and then have to think about it.) I've asked some Norwegian and Swedish anglers and guides the same and again black was the first and dominant colour (They'd pine for a slightly different palate but it started with orange and yellow - green was far higher on their list than mine.)

If Matt picks this up it would be interesting to hear his colour choices.


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PostIcon Posted on: Mar. 30 2008,20:03 Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

In clear water, black is the colour for atlantic salmon. Stoats tail/silver stoat does very well.

I did well last year, with a small treble, gold body, black wing and yellow hackle.  Very effective fished on the dropper.

In Ireland, in peaty water, gold and orange is very effective.

At the end of the year red does very well.
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PostIcon Posted on: Mar. 31 2008,11:55 Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Hi guys,

Thanks very much for all the info, especially Magnus, very interesting. Thanks for the info about colours.

I hereby apologise to all Canadians, and henceforth will say Pacific Northwest :-).

I've actually just tied an Ally's Shrimp tonight. When I get to fish it will probably be in a river gorge about 80 km ( not far in global terms ) from the sea where such a big shrimp has never been seen, but it looks fishy to me and I'd certainly be checking it out if I were a fish :-).

I'll have to get some black bucktail, I seem to have every colour but. When I do I'll definitely tie up a Stoat's Tail, in tribute to Stoat if nothing else :-).

Regards,

Jo
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PostIcon Posted on: Mar. 31 2008,16:43 Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Magnus,

I'm no expert on salmon (Atlantic or Pacific).  I've never had a sea run Atlantic, and I've only had about 4-6 pacific salmon on flies (2 chinook, 2 coho).

Each fish was on a different fly.  

- small purple hairwing
- big black rabbit
- big red/orange marabou
- big pink rabbit
- small chartreuse "egg" fly

My understanding is that due to river condidtions and angling pressure as well as the general motivsations of the fish, Pacific salmon are very difficult to take on floating line/swung fly.  Most flies are heavily weighted or fished on fast sinking lines.  You get it in their face and they hit it.

MK


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PostIcon Posted on: Mar. 31 2008,21:25 Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Hi Matt

More steelhead? What's the first colour you think of for steelhead flies?

I've heard that comparison of fishing for Pacific salmon vs Atlantic Salmon quite a bit - so I know you didn't invent it  :D so I feel free to call it nonsense. Thing is its like an Underhand caster's description of Spey casting - often based on little or no real knowledge.

The idea there is that Atlantic salmon come to a fly fished on a floating line and a swung fly - some do. An awful lot (more?) come to flies attached to sunk lines, short leaders and.... Basically the same general rule - get it in their face.


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PostIcon Posted on: Mar. 31 2008,22:46 Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(Magnus @ Mar. 31 2008,21:25)
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What's the first colour you think of for steelhead flies?

Black.  The absence of color.

The Atlantic salmon fly called "Black Bear" is a very good summer steelhead fly.

Check out these typical flies for Pacific Salmon.

http://www.kaufmannsstreamborn.com/Catalog....?page=3


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PostIcon Posted on: Mar. 31 2008,22:52 Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(Magnus @ Mar. 31 2008,21:25)
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The idea there is that Atlantic salmon come to a fly fished on a floating line and a swung fly - some do. An awful lot (more?) come to flies attached to sunk lines, short leaders and.... Basically the same general rule - get it in their face.

Right, I'm just guessing.

There are all kinds of ways that I've seen to catch pacific salmon on flies, but the last approach you hear of is floating line and unweighted fly.

Many of the typical approaches use lots of lead and long leader with floating line and a dead drift/dredge approach.  Others use long sink tips and large flies.

Jim Teeny uses small flies and slight fishes them.

One thing to note is that there are 5 species of Pacific salmon in the US, so generalizing is a mistake.  Coho love flies and will take Wogs or Poppers in the surface in some places.  I have landed them stripping streamers which is very exciting.  Chinook seem tougher to get.  Pinks, Chums, and Sockeyes are a mystery to me at this point.

One thing I am sure of is that for Pacific salmon, the key is to find the fish.  Large numbers of them preferably.  Unmolested.

This seems even more important than it does for steelhead.


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PostIcon Posted on: Apr. 01 2008,00:02 Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Hi Matt

Greased line salmon fishing, dressing a silk line to float, was "invented" as a specialized technique by A.H.E. Wood on the Cairnton beat of the Dee. Lovely holding water - plenty fish, his fly sizes varied but tended to be small. However he was far from representative and if the river was in spate he wasn't using his wee (12ft) single handed rods, floating lines and small flies.

Unweighted flies? Have you any idea how much a 3" brass tube weighs?  :p
Go back a century or so and salmon anglers on the rivers around here fished single hooks - sizes to make a tarpon nervous - I've seen up to 8/0 and I know they could be bigger. Far bigger hooks than we would even consider using now - but the fly dressed on the hook was not always very big.
Their lines, silk, didn't float, they were neutral density - essentailly the only means of depth control came from the hook or iron.

In this area fly fishing was just another way to fish - so the salmon angler would switch to spinning or bait if the water was high or coloured or too cold, fly was confined to certain water heights, clarity and temperature.

Until plastic lines in a variety of densities came along flies were the only means depth control. About the same time tube flies were becoming more common. Combine those and you have ways to fish all depths with a fly, opening up the range of conditions a salmon angler could fish a fly.


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PostIcon Posted on: Apr. 01 2008,00:23 Skip to the previous post in this topic.  Ignore posts   QUOTE

Magnus,

How does one generally fish for salmon in Scotland? Ive always pictured it as with a ghilly, greased line, beautiful fly, and letting the fly "swing" towards the fish.

This image has captured many of us on the east coast of the US who have never thrown a fly to a salmon to fish for stripers as if for salmon, look for current, throw ones fly upcurrent, let the fly come down, mend  a couple of times to look cool, watch your buddy with the fast sink catch another fish.  :oh:

Id be greatly dissapointed to find out that I was doing was out of sink with real salmon fishing. :D

Mike


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