The salmon river is a fragile ecosystem. The temperature can be both our best friend and our worst enemy when it comes to fishing. Quebec and Maritimes get smothered by heatwaves that lower the water level and warm the water up. The low water level and high temperature force us to adapt and learn more to catch some of our favourite fish species.
Size does matter!
Which fly should you choose? There’s a lot of things to consider before selecting the flies that will be at the end of your leader. One of the most crucial factors is water temperature. When we have a high water temp, the observation of many good fishers is that if you use smaller flies, you will have more success. The reverse is also true; if the water temp is cold, you should be using large flies. When we fish in the fall, even if there’s not a lot of water in the river, bigger flies can still be used.
Salmon fishing is no exact science; there are no magic tricks to guarantee fishes will bite your fly. Here are our recommendations that you can use as a starting point that you can adjust from.
13 °C and under
3/0, 1/0, 1.5, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5
14 to 18 °C
4, 5, 6, 7, 8
19 °C and up
7, 8, 9, 10, 12, 14, 16
We almost all know about casting 45 degrees downstream, the most popular way to fish a river pool, but that 45 degrees cast during a low water period won't move your fly enough to gain the fish's attention. One way to adjust yourself is to have a more aggressive cast at a 70, 75 or even 90 degrees angle. The current will then take your fly, and push it hard downstream, augmenting your speed. Once again, the reverse is also true. On really high water level, you should cast at a smaller angle downstream to slow your fly, and even use (where it's permitted) a sinking tip to slow it even more.
As in many areas, adaptation is key to success. Considering both parameters that we've discussed earlier will increase your chances of having the king of the river, take your fly, and if you are lucky enough, land this beautiful and strong fish.