Targeting Deep Lying Resident Salmon
By Jock Monteith 25th May 2023
Where To Find Low Warm Water Salmon
At this time of year as we merge into the Summer months it usually always means salmon will hold up as residents in the deeper pools where they've a degree of security before the next flood moves them on again. These low warmer water holding areas tend to always have a deep section of at least 7ft or 8ft. Resident salmon like these deep water holding areas as the river warms as that's where the cooler water is to be found and provides safer surroundings to escape the attention of the wild otter populations or the same otter simulation commotions & silhouettes of the recently introduced beaver populations that zig zag across our salmon pools all night long! A really good low warm water salmon holding pool will often also have a fast stream at the neck which will provide good oxygen levels throughout the pool.
Winding Up Resident Salmon To Force The Take
When there's not a lot of easier caught fresh run salmon about and you're main focus is on older resident fish that are holding up in the pools you really need to get your salmon fly annoyance levels up as high as you can to induce a take. Old stubborn resident fish tend not to come charging up from the depth to grab a high fished fly so the best and most effective approach is to to get your fly right down in amongst them via the use of tungsten impregnated sink tip sections. When you do this you'll have a far better chance of a fish having a go at your fly even though the angling fraternity tends to believe in full floating lines and maybe a light polyleader in these low warmer water river conditions.
You'll Never Look The Same Way Again At A Room
I'm going to apologise in advance for opening up this tactical salmon pool depth thought & visualisation process as it will likely mean you'll never stop imagining every room you now enter as a deep Summer salmon river holding pool! If you're currently in a room while you're reading this then look up and imagine the ceiling is the waterline, the sofa is a big subsurface riverbed boulder and the floor is the gravel riverbed. Now imagine your fly swinging overhead a few inches deep fished off a full floating line with an 8 to 10ft leader. The only problem now is that these old resident salmon are tucked in bedside the big boulder (your sofa!) and your fly is operating 7ft above their noses! There's obviously little chance of any of these fish breaking from their deep water holding position to come and investigate your fly even though you'll feel like you're fishing!
Don't Mess About With Polyleaders
There's a big different between a monofilament cored polyleader and a heavier braided core sinking tip. Although I've caught many salmon on generally shorter lighter polyleaders over the years if I'm targeting deep lying resident salmon (as described above) I'll be fishing at least a 15ft length of type 7 braided core sink tip (or much heavier if required) to get that fly right down to the deep water column target area that I'm suspecting fish to be holding at. Big 'full arm' mends will be added on each forward delivery touchdown to allow that sinking tip time to do its job before the current tightens my fly line and the fly starts to fish. If I'm in a pool with a fast flow I'll also be using the full rod length with extended arm through the first 1/3rd of the swing with the rod held in a high outwards pointed angle before gradually bringing the rod tip around and down to keep that pace of fly perfect for the first 3rd of the swing right through to the final 3rd of the fly's flight path. Also, to my mind if you're not occasionally clipping the riverbed you're probably still not fishing deep enough!
Add Some Life To Your Salmon Fly
If you're going to force resident salmon to have a go you're not only going to need your fly down in amongst them but you should also be introducing the most 'unpredictable' salmon fly movements via your rod tip as the fly covers these fish. Like any creature that sees the same old thing 'day in day out' salmon also get used to seeing the same old daily 'boring & lifeless' salmon fly movement through the pool. So once you've assessed and picked the correct weight & length of proper braided core sink tip to get your fly close to these deep lying salmon (and after you've mended as much as you need to get that sink tip right down) you should then be introducing sharp erratic & slow pulsing rod tip movements as your fly covers the pool as I'll guarantee you these fish won't have seen anything like this before therefore giving you the best chance of a sub surface interception! These tactics are not the nicest way to fish but if you tool up accordingly with a range of heavy sink tips and follow the above advice over older educated resident salmon your fly will most certainly be the one that gets the attention!