The Atlantic Salmon FISHING AND LURES

by Fly Fisherman

FISHING AND LURES.—The primitive method of fishing in the early days soon developed into the same tactics used to destroy the other species of fish. The spear, the seine, the net, and the other destructive devices soon made great inroads upon the salmon. The more modern and sporting method is sport fishing with the fly rod. Fly fishing is by no means a new thing for salmon fishing as it was used many years ago. The seventeen-foot rods have been replaced by the shorter and lighter types than those used even as late as 1864. Many twelve-foot rods arc still used but the sporting rod is about nine feet in length.
The chief fishing period is during the early spawning migration. The fish are more healthy and active and will strike the flies much better than during the later part of the summer ; yet there are many caught in the later months. The salmon that make a late spawning migration are seldom caught as they have other duties to perform and attend to them.
Many fishermen often spend a week or more without hooking a single grilse or salmon. And the fisherman who is able to take three or four of either in a day’s fishing may consider that he has had an excellent day’s sport. There are some fishermen who are lucky enough to be present when the salmon are really active and they are able to take a great many more in a day’s fishing.

There are far more grilse caught than salmon. The average is usually twelve or fifteen grilse to one salmon; this is due to the fact that grilse are more active than the salmon and usually beat them to the lure.
Salmon flies have been used for taking salmon since the earliest days of fly fishing, and the patterns used today are almost identical with those used in Scotland and other parts of Europe many years ago. The flies ordinarily used are much larger than those used for trout since the fish are much larger, but a salmon will strike the tiny trout flies just as quickly as the larger salmon flies, not because of hunger but because they are restless, curious, and active. The salmon flies were originally very highly colored—and many arc today—but there seems to be a general trend away from the brilliant color to flies that are plain. And they seem to take just as many fish as the highly colored flies. There also is a general trend away from the large flies to the smaller sizes. Many fishermen have experienced excellent results with number 14 and 16 trout flies although there is some difficulty in hooking and holding many of the large fish. Yet a good fisherman can have plenty of sport with the small flies.

There is no particular pattern that is guaranteed to catch a grilse or a salmon. Of course there are favorite flies for certain streams or individual fishermen just the same as for trout fishing, etc. But the best bet is to use a fly in which you have the utmost confidence regardless of its size or color. It is also very well to have an assortment of wet and dry flies as well as an assortment of various sizes. The size used by most fishermen is a number-4 hook and the larger flies are usually tied on a number 3/0. During low-water periods the sparsely dressed flies and the small sizes are far more effective than the larger types. During high water the heavy-dressed flies and larger sizes seem to produce the best results.
Some of the popular patterns are: The Silver Doctor, Silver Gray, Jack Scott, Wilkinson, Black Dose, Murdock, and Dusty Miller. For the fisherman who desires to use the smaller dry flies, the Cahill, Blue Quill, Hendrickson, and Royal Coachman have proved very effective.

Either a wet or dry fly may be used for salmon fishing, but there are more salmon caught on the wet fly. The fisherman who uses the dry fly may expect some unusual thrills when fishing the clear, still pools and have a large salmon rise to the fly. The fish may rise and look at the fly out of curiosity, then return to its resting place, or it may strike. It may take the fly from the water very gently or take it with a savage rush. Many times these large fish will strike several times before taking the fly or they may not take it at all. At any rate it is a thrill for any fisherman to see one of the big fellows come up, and a greater thrill when one takes the fly and starts leaping.

It is not often that a salmon sulks when the hook strikes home. Usually he leaps clear of the water and makes a savage rush that may take more than a hundred yards or more of line from the reel. It not only takes good tackle to hold these leaping demons but a skilled fisherman who knows how to handle big fish. May the Atlantic salmon always remain in its present range to furnish sport for those who are fortunate enough to journey to their habitat.

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