The Top Ten Flies for Atlantic Salmon

Fly fishing for Atlantic salmon can be difficult in freshwater. Keep in mind, once the salmon leaves the ocean, it stops feeding. They can be taken on a fly but it requires expert presentation and the right attractor. Try these ten flies for success when fishing for Atlantic Salmon in West Cumbria.

  • Picasse
  • Jones Special
  • Out to Lunch
  • Alley’s Shrimp
  • Pompier
  • White Muddler
  • Black Sheep
  • Green Highlander
  • Mickey Finn
  • Ross Special

Use Wet Flies Early in the Season

For early season Atlantic salmon, large wet flies work the best. Successful sizes range from 5 to 12. Baitfish designs are recommended. These fish are still fresh from an open ocean diet of smelt and can be attracted with similar patterns. For wet flies of this size, make sure your leader is up to the task. Remember, you will have to roll the fly at the end of your cast and the larger flies can be difficult on light gear.

Switch to Dry Flies When the Water Grows Warm

Later in the season, salmon become accustomed to their new freshwater surrounding. When the water warms it is time to switch to dry flies. Stonefly and mayfly patterns work well. Salmon are not in the river to eat, but they will rise on flies if the pattern is tempting enough.

The Conditions Will Determine the Correct Fly to Cast

It is best to carry a wallet of several different flies. Conditions will dictate which to use. For clear water, select a brightly coloured fly. For dark water choose dark patterns. Bright flies also work well on sunny days. Darker flies perform better when the sky is overcast or just before dawn.

At the end of the season the fish become very selective. In the fall, use brightly coloured dry flies tied in insect patterns. It is your best bet to coerce a salmon to rise based solely on instinct.

Choosing the right fly for Atlantic salmon in Cumbria is entirely up to your preference. However, following these tips will increase your chances of landing a salmon, in any type of conditions.