I really enjoy summer salmon fishing – rivers will be at summer levels now and you can fish with much lighter tackle. Your approach needs to be much stealthier and a much higher degree of rivercraft will be needed. Good fly presentation is now key to success. In this post I’ll take you through my top tips along with demonstrating some of them in our new Sportfishworld YouTube video!
Depending on the river you are fishing, now is the time to expect good numbers of grilse and summer salmon to enter our rivers. As I write this the rivers are below summer levels – a drop of rain is needed! When it arrives a bonanza could be on the cards as rivers drop and clear after a summer spate.
Now is the time to fish smaller flies and search out shallower steamier water if you are not fortunate enough to be on the river bank when the river is fining down post spate. The greater flow will give the fish more oxygen and therefore allow them to be more active. The best chance of success will come early and late in the day – the heat of the day is generally a very poor time to fish although I have caught fish mid-day particularly just above tidal stretches where the incoming tide has persuaded fish into the lower beats.
NEW VIDEO: Allan Shephard, Marketing Manager at Sportfish, gives you some useful tips and tactics in this video to help you with your summer salmon fishing – ready for the holidays!
Grilse will often lie in really shallow water particularly at the tail of a pool or right at the neck. In such shallow water a single hook fly is often best as it will not fish so deep and snag the bottom – fish in a taking mood will chase and take flies fished just sub-surface. Flies should be lightly dressed – good patterns include the silver stoat, blue charm, small Ally’s shrimps and cascades. In extreme low water traditional trout wet flies will work and I have caught fish on mallard and claret, kate mclaren and soldier palmers down to size 14. I often fish a dropper and will probably use a 10’ 7 weight fly rod on medium to small rivers – this outfit will give the delicacy needed but still have enough power to land decent sized summer fish quickly.
To fish a large river well you will need a double-handed rod – my preference will be for a 9 weight 13’ to 14’ model, matched with a lightweight large arbor reel. There are now a range of line styles to consider to fish with a double-handed rod – my preference would be for a floating spey line, a spey line with a clear intermediate tip or a shooting head. Shooting heads now have quite sophisticated tapers so you will get the delicate presentation and distance you need.
So in conclusion here are five tips for success with summer salmon.
- Look for fast moving shallow water at the tail or neck of a pool – ideally with shade during the day.
- Make a point of being on the river at dawn and dusk – the time when fish will be most active.
- Fish with as long a leader as you can comfortably cast and use a dropper with a small fly.
- Try to wade very carefully or not at all – you could easily end up wading in water you should have been fishing in.
- If the water is low and clear, reduce your fly size accordingly, you will be surprised how small you can go.
If you’ve any top tips of your own, or wish to ask a question, please leave your comments below – it’s great to share & chat! You can also share with all your friends via our social sharing buttons below.