Spring Salmon Flies
By Jock Monteith 13th January 2021
You can experiment all you like as to which salmon flies work best in the higher cold waters of Spring however these two particular patterns have had all the 'research and development' experimentation done for you over decades of professional Spring salmon fishing on the Scottish rivers.
Big Cold Water Salmon Flies
The type of fresh run 'springer' beast you're looking to attract won't be lured too easily and even though they're not long in from the sea in the early months you're offering should be the most effective one you can muster. Take a close look at this 'rosette' of Spring salmon fly perfection and in the next few paragraphs I'll talk you through a few of the components of each of these renowned early Spring tube fly patterns.
The Black & Yellow Salmon Fly
The traditional 'Black and Yellow' salmon fly was always recognised as a great combination of Spring colours as was the old famed 'Yellow Belly' devon minnow which was a huge hit in early Spring on the spinning side of things. This traditional Scottish pattern morphed into what's commonly known today as the 'Dee Monkey' or 'Posh Tosh' with the inclusion of a little bit of 'bling' in the wing and a stunning pearlescent UV varnished body for that irresistible sub surface glint.
The Dee Monkey Salmon Tube Fly
Even if a Spring fish does its best to ignore this fly you're going to feel the commotion the 'Dee Monkey' causes with a series of dunts, tugs or tremors on your fly line as it ghosts and waggles through the pool. In January & February forget any notions of anything else until this fly makes it a 'one horse race' for your early Spring favourite pattern via sub surface abductions! A few different sizes of tubes tied in this deadly pattern to match the prevailing water conditions is all you need and if you stick with it you'll soon see what I mean about its effectiveness.
Salmon Fishing From March Onwards
Once the rivers warm a fraction from March to the end of April then you're looking at a slight shift onto the 'Copperasss' tube fly. This amazing 'beastie' has the inclusion of a UV varnished copper body and a 'orange & yellow' injection in its hackle and tail. In its black wing there should also be 2 deadly strands of flickering gold holographic tinsel that extend slightly longer than the black wing itself which adds another 'snake tongue' flickering dimension to the fly if any natural sunlight is present. These 2 flickering stands of holographic gold shouldn't be under estimated as I've seen takes even when the fly is more or less static on the dangle due to this 'tantalising' flickering movement.
The Weight Of Your Salmon Fly
You'll notice that the Dee Monkey is tied on a copper tube for a better 'dig' into the usually higher early Spring water levels. With the traditionally more stable water levels of March & April we're moving onto the lighter aluminium tube bodies on the 'Copperass' which will also inspire a bit more swim action in the shorter wing of this fly. Focus your thoughts on the spacing and speed of either fly and most importantly the depth at which it is searching. Get yourself fully tuned in to your fly and its systematic swim coverage of the pool you're fishing through with good 3ft riverbank movement between each cast.
Salmon Fishing With A Sinking Tip
Careful sink tip selection with a view to fishing both tubes at approximately one to two foot of depth is great early Spring cold water fishing advice that only highly experienced Scottish ghillies will truly understand. Most of the time I'd be fishing a 15ft type 3 sink tip or its 10ft equivalent off a floating weight forward Spey line up until mid April depending on the prevailing water conditions. I wouldn't consider fishing any deeper than that until I know Spring salmon are starting to hold deeper in the pools from April onwards (when the water warms a little) even though this turns normal Spring fly fishing thoughts upside down.
Your Riverbank Fishing Movement
If your riverbank movement is good enough to achieve reasonable water coverage through the early Spring months it will only be a matter of time before you realise the potency of the salmon fly advice given here. These 2 deadly early Spring tube fly patterns will allow your confidence levels soar and keep your head up while either of these two marauders are searching out a perfect Spring salmon to buckle your rod and reinstate your true passion and belief levels for early Spring salmon cold water fly fishing. If you want to acquire a few of these my great friend Danny McLaughlin can usually accommodate.