Will single, dry-fly only salmon fisheries become a feature in future fisheries?
It may be over one hundred and thirty years since Halford’s treatise was laid down for trout fishing, but maybe salmon fishing is catching up.
With lower summer rivers and the traditional methods proving harder and harder to catch salmon in low water conditions, anglers are increasingly turning to trout methods to get the attention of the fish.
Glenda Powell’s Blackwater Salmon Fishery ran a fascinating introduction to the tactics and techniques being developed and used by Icelandic anglers that bring salmon to the surface.
From the riffled hitch on size 18 micro tubes to similar sized micro trebles and even tungsten bead nymphs, the masterclass from the two Icelandic guides, Himmi Jons and Sigbor Olafsson, was an eye-opener in terms of what can be achieved.
As Glenda Powell has described, “One of these techniques was hitching micro flies. These flies make a tiny V shape when they are skated across the surface, and when you see a salmon come after it, well no words can describe the excitement. To me it is like dry fly fishing for salmon, so visual and oh so knee-trembling exciting.
“I came home to Ireland at the beginning of August. The Blackwater was very low and nobody was catching fish. I took out my hitching box and the fun began.”
As I cast and practised the techniques, Sigbor (or ‘SixFour’ as he came to be known during the day) took a glance inside my fly box dominated by shrimp and cascade style flies.
“This is like what my father would have had,” he told me. “It’s the past, not the future.”
Lighter rods, micro flies floating in the surface in both low and high water conditions (‘once a river isn’t chocolate and not colder than 6c’), we were shown a glimpse into how salmon fishing will be developing in the future.
A lifetime of tradition might be hard to leave behind, but when the salmon are even harder to catch, then the new might well soon become the norm.