Atlantic salmon fishing on the fly can be a bit of a grind sometimes. That is to say, the days are long (can be long), one can walk and wade for miles … and they salmon don’t always move to the fly. It is entirely normal for a beginner (or experienced) angler to get a bit discouraged from time to time.
One of the big advantages on many Atlantic salmon Rivers here is that you can always switch over to sea run brook trout!
On my home waters, the Ste-Marguerite River in Central Quebec, there is a pretty good run of sea trout. Starting in early July, adult anadromous Brook Trout start coming back to the river after spending time in the Saguenay Fjord. These wonderful trout (well, Char) range from 2 lbs to over 8 lbs, a nice average being around 3-4 lbs.
Adult sea trout are in themselves a pretty difficult fish to catch. They are extremely wild and are easily put off. They don’t flee from the pool when put down. Instead, they do a pretty good imitation of their Salar cousins and simply ignore a fly. However, the simple fact that there are more sea trout than salmon means that there is a better probability to connect with a trout than a salmon (usually!!).
My Liliane started fly fishing with me last summer. She has come a long way in one season. She still hasn’t caught her very own first salmon yet, but with a bad back and limited opportunities to get out, her first salmon is still in the offing. How to keep her motivated for fly fishing? Simple, set her up over a nice pod of sea trout for the morning!
A couple weeks ago we ran up to the river for some quality time. After doing a road side trailer hub re-build we finally made it to the camp in time to see the annual meteor shower.
The next morning, hot, sunny and calm weather isn’t always the best conditions to connect to salmon, so after a few casts I had Liliane switch to trout flies and she set up on a pod of sea runners.
Liliane on the #23 – the salmon hold in the foreground right and the trout out in the pool.
Since I could see the school of trout and Lili’s presentation was perfect, …
it wasn’t long before the inevitable happened!
Liliane had been fly fishing about 10-12 days so far over the past year, but she still hadn’t connected to anything. It made a really big difference to her motivation factor after connecting to her very first fish on a fly rod. (oh, … and she DID shout “Fish On!!”)
So just some food for thought. Many of us have been at this for quite some time. I have caught and released more trout ‘n salmon than I can truly remember. For a novice it is a whole different story. If you want them to keep at it, they do need some motivation sometimes.
I have sun fish out back of the house about 20 feet from the porch. It still puts a smile on my face when I go out and catch a few after supper. The neighbors’ kids get a kick out of it too when they come fishing here.
Chris Chin, Proulxville Quebec