Land-Locked Salmon

by Fly Fisherman

These beautiful and gamy fish are only found in a few lakes, and in still fewer streams, in Maine, the Northern New England states and Eastern Canada, especially Quebec.
In the summer, when the water temperature gets above 48°, Land-locked salmon retire to the deep water of the lakes they live in. There you can only catch them by deep trolling, as for lake trout, using a spoon, or spinner, and a smelt for bait.
For a few weeks in the spring, and a shorter time in the late fall, however, Land-locked salmon come into shallow water. While there they take both dry and wet flies. These fish are practically always cruising and should be fished for just as other cruising trout. Cast either a dry or wet fly well ahead of the way the fish, or line of rises, is moving. Never cast directly to a rise as the fish will have gone from there before your fly lights—and a fish can’t see straight backwards.
Streamer flies and bucktails are good wet flies for Landlocked salmon, as are the smaller standard wet salmon flies. Long leaders, from 12 ft. to 18 ft., work best. They should be tapered from .020 or .019 diameter down to .010 diameter with some smaller tippets, tapered down to .009, .008 and .007, for clear water and scary fish. Fly sizes from No. 4 and No. 6 down to No. 12, 14 and 16 are useful.
In wet fly fishing, if the regular hand twist or rhythmic jerk retrieve at ordinary depths doesn’t bring strikes, try letting the fly sink clear to the bottom and then retrieving slowly by the hand twist method. Land-locked salmon put up a beautiful fight—leaping and making long runs as do their close relatives, the Atlantic salmon.

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