Salmon Fly Movement
By Jock Monteith 10th January 2023
When you're fishing your salmon fly in most streams there will be a certain amount of natural movement as the fly fishes around from it's initial casting angle starting point to the riverside edge below you. Salmon flies these days are tied mainly with buck tail or arctic fox that will react to varying degrees in the turbulence and natural movement of the stream.
Salmon Fly Wing & Tail Materials That Perform Best
Personally I like to take this to the next level and choose strictly the fly tying materials that offer the most attractive movement of all and even in the slowest moving salmon pools. I rarely will fish a buck tail fly these days and will always choose the much more mobile and attractive fox tail equivalent for the wing or tail material. You really want to be fishing a salmon fly at all times that appears to have a stream life of its own and my professional advise is to never compromise on this selection standard.
Soft Salmon Fly Hackle Movement
For the fly's hackles I'll choose the softer and longer schlappen hackles over regular hen hackles as what I'm always looking to create is an absolute 'live bait' of a salmon fly that even the most educated salmon in the pool just has to come off its lie to investigate. Anyone can catch the 'easy fish' and although always a challenge I get a much bigger thrill out of catching the old resident salmon that has seen it all before.
A Small High Quality Salmon Fly Selection Is All You Need
As salmon fishers we tend to carry around hundreds of salmon flies in our fishing bags but the reality of the situation is that you only need 2 or 3 proven flies to choose from for the vast majority of salmon fishing scenarios. This reminds me of my youth on the Tay when out fishing with my mentor the late Willie Laird who only ever kept 2 or 3 flies in a few different sizes in small tobacco tin in his tweed jacket breast pocket and those flies consistently caught him many salmon each season.
Test Your Salmon Fly Movement Before You Fish
Tie your fly with the softer more mobile materials and before you use them test them on a short piece of leader at the side of the river and fish only the ones that moves naturally and in a 'life like' manner. Don't worry about anything else and have faith in that natural waggle and movement you're looking out for when you see a fly that's performing perfectly. What you've now got is a 'deadly' fly and if you stick with it you should see your 'subsurface cooperation' levels increase significantly.