Where Salmon Lie
By Jock Monteith 20th February 2020
Having the ability to recognise a salmon lie just by the movement of the water through a salmon pool will give you a huge advantage in salmon fishing. Once you understand the subtleties of this and observe and test your salmon lie recognition abilities out while on the river then you'll quickly move into a different dimension with your effectiveness in this sport.
Forget Salmon Fly Distance
Far too many salmon fisher's thoughts are only tuned into the distance they can cast with a fly rod which has got very little to do with catching these fine creatures. The secret to salmon fishing is being able to recognise where salmon are likely to be found regardless of whether or not you already know the salmon beat you're fishing through.
Indentifying Salmon Lies
This photograph is of the neck of the Rock Pool on the Upper Kinnaird beat of the River Tay. There's a small man made croy right underneath where the boat is moored which created that lovely break in the stream. Some of the bigger base stones of this subsurface man made feature are visible between the boat and the riverbank if you look closely enough.
Difficult To Spot Salmon Lies
The dark glassy water that's located directly opposite the stern of the boat would look to most people like the obvious salmon lie and in many cases this 'look and feel' type of water would be. Salmon being salmon often re-write the books that are written about them and this case is no different as the main salmon lie at this height of water is right on the seam of the crease 15 yards downstream of the boat.
Fishing A Salmon Lie Correctly
This is a difficult salmon lie to spot and ones like this that are productive really need to be known or spotted in advance of fishing and can only be covered effectively with the right pace of fly from one certain angle. In this case that angle is with a short line and light sink tip from a casting position approx 15 yards above the boat's position.
The Salmon Lie Appoach
This approach will not suit the vast majority of salmon fishers as it requires a stealthy wade and in most wind conditions a left hand up single Spey cast. The mainly used casting approach to this pool adopts a right hand up single Spey cast approach and in this case delivered from the centre seam of the river where you can clearly see the ripple coming off the shallow water that's present there.
The Correct Salmon Fly Swim Pace
The problem with the easy approach from this centralised shallow water wading strip is you're a good 35 yards away from the target area therefor even if you can reach this right hand bank salmon lie you're highly unlikely to be able to slow the fly up enough to cover this hot spot with the correct pace of fly to make a salmon take it.
Fish An Unpredictable Salmon Fly
To identify and cover a salmon lie properly you need to be a 'free thinker' and not fall into the salmon fishing 'sheep' category that systematically fish through the pools the same way on every visit. A different angled salmon fly from the less than easy fishing side is often the 'trigger' for a fish to 'have a go' and I can think of many occasions on different salmon beats where identifying tricky to cover salmon lies and putting a controlled fly through them has resulted in the only fish of the day.