It was part warm-up, part pilgrimage. On the second night, I was fishing above the covered bridge in Ruthierville and got a soft pull. Kill It! Surveying the Matapedia from the Routhierville bridge. Old Tracadie Pool on the Grand Cascapedia. Hot and low. Hiking into and out of pools in chest waders was no fun, and so we sought refuge at the Gite du Mont Albert for lunch, and in the newly renovated Cache — a wonderful thing to see. The salmon often sipped the wets, resulting in hook-ups that would easily get away.
Wet fishing became like dry fly fishing; you had to wait longer before setting to let the fish hook itself. Similarly, with dry fly fishing, I have never seen so many salmon rise to a dry without taking it. Outside of one brief hook-up, I had many salmon rise to my dry without every putting it into their mouths. Many time a salmon would rise to the dry and, without my moving the rod or line at all, the fly would either stay afloat or disappear underwater and reappear a moment later with no pressure on the line.
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In the end, we had two good moments, both on a day with some cloud cover and changes in barometric pressure. One was at Old Tracadie, where I caught a 20lber and lost one that was, according to the guide Perry, over Dave caught a 26 or so lbs fish here as well, making for three hookups in a row, all in the same spot and on the same fly. We saw and caught a few fish on this run. Guide JP Tessier is all smiles on the river.
Atlantic Salmon Flies & Fishing
Here with a nice, bright Cascapedia salmon. If you ever go with him, be sure to ask for the Bento box — his wife makes a mean lunch. The Gaspe is the only place I know of you can possibly catch a nice Atlantic salmon, a big sea run trout, and a big striped bass — possible all in one day. They are always so wonderful and helpful. Truly wonderful people. With conditions poor on the GC, we moved over to the Bonaventure, one of my favorite rivers around. That is the Bonnie. We explored the Bonaventure, starting at the bottom.
With more warm weather, we measured the water temps at the bottom to be close to 70 — not a good sign. So we moved upriver, where we found the water temps to be lower, and therefore safer for the fish. I found the same pattern as on the GC with dries: lots of action, no hookups. This was exciting and increasingly infuriating. My friend Jonas related a story of one day on this trip when he was fishing solo.
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He said came across some people who happened to be having lunch and that they also happened to all be young women with a camera crew. They were eating foie grois and grapes, and drinking champagne. Jonas also happens to not have any photographic evidence. Given the heat, we wondered about his sanity.
Sarah Nellis , from the Guide Co-Op, verified it was not a heat-induced hallucination and said lots of young women are getting into the sport. My opinion? Thank goodness. My Pulsar flies are salmon patterns with a very special high pulsing effect that is absolutely deadly when water levels are just above normal or really high as well. I love a series of flies for trout and grayling and I have even developed a complete series for large predators in salt and fresh water. For Atlantic salmon I probably have more effective flies then I have for trout and grayling altogether. I have given away hundreds of salmon flies over the years, but in a way salmon fishermen are a lot different to anglers who fish a lot for trout and grayling.
Today, the complete series of the Bondals contains 30 individual patterns. The big secret behind the major success of my special series of wet salmon flies is that each fly must have caught salmon in at least 15 completely different river systems before I put them in the series. This means that they really have to earn their place.
I just gave them a number and named only when I ran into something that was worthy of a proper name. Several of these named flies have already created their own incredible story. My close contact with friends like Dick Lemmerman, Jurij Shumakov and Bob Kenley, surely had a big influence on that decision. After I helped Jurij with a whole range of articles for some of his editorial works, he sent me some of his patterns in return for some further editorial work of mine. I got hooked on his wonderful tube flies immediately, and the way Jurij had tied his new generation of tube flies stimulated me enormously to experiment with tube flies again.
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We met in for the first time when he guided me at Cape Breton Island. On next to the last day of my trip I landed and released my biggest Atlantic salmon ever. I never use a landing net so I unhooked, measured and released the fish in the water. This amazing fish was caught in the Long Run pool of the magnificent Margaree River with a 7 weight single- handed rod with 12 pound tippet Maxima. Billy told me several times that I did extremely well for the poor fishing conditions in that particular week of The deadly fly was my Bondal Black, fully adapted to the heat by tying the wing as slim as possible.
My way to create low water salmon flies. I also reduced the hook to a size four single hook with down eye. The fish measured cm with an estimated weight between 24 and 26 lbs. During an amazing week of fishing I had seen the most beautiful rivers in Cape Breton Island and landed two grilse, one salmon and a lot of brook trout in the evenings while experimenting with large deer hair bugs for the first time in my life.
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The guided tour produced the closest friendship imaginable. Since then we have met every year for fishing and friendship and I have fished some of the Nova Scotia rivers dozens of times. It really is something to think about. How often do we ask other salmon fishermen what flies will work best and do the job and most of us tie on the fly that these people recommend to us right away.
One day in Newfoundland I saw 12 salmon caught in just a couple of hours by eight different people all using the same fly. It was the Blue Charm and when I talked to the fishermen most of them never use any other fly. So they never know if other flies will do better or worse.
It is true most fish are caught on the fly that sees the water the most. My personal strategy is a little different and when several people advise me to tie on a Blue Charm I purposely will use a completely different fly, especially when the fish have probably seen the same flies over and over again. It works well for me just because fishing is also believing in your own tied flies, techniques and strategies.
Still today my research and experiments on Atlantic salmon are not done and I am still learning every trip that I make and every class that do. I also have the fortune to do a lot of workshops on salmon and during these workshops I can test out and try a lot of different flies.
Who has ever tried to test the success of different flies when catches are really good? What I mean is that I like to change flies when catches are really good and I tell you why: it really gives you more answers and ideas than when you do the opposite, what most people do. From earlier experiences, I have learned that as soon the air temperature gets higher than the water temperature, that is when you can start using dry flies for salmon. When in midsummer the water temperatures get too high and the amount of oxygen has dropped to a critical level, most salmon will be hiding in deep lies with their noses down at the bottom and will avoid any activity, to save their strength for their upstream journey and spawning.
Another striking lesson that I learned in Atlantic Canada was that fishing rising water was not so good, but from the time it has peaked and starts to drop is a prime time for many rivers. In Norway, however, I experienced exactly the opposite; the best wet fly fishing for salmon was during rising water and I caught most fish during these periods. In both places I found dry fly fishing best at normal and low water levels.
Personally I like a high but stable water level over a long period because I love it to seek and find the new corridors that salmon take. During more than four decades of salmon fishing I started with 9 weight rods but nowadays I mainly use 6 weights with low water and small rivers and 7 weights for large rivers or high water. I probably have fished too long and too intense with single handed rods.
I also discovered that when you fish light, the fish leap a lot making them tired quickly and allowing a quick landing of the fish. In general I am a poor caster and therefore my strategy is that I use the wind, the current and special fishing techniques as my most powerful weapons. Special leaders help me a lot in my presentation, while retrieving techniques can help to increase the mobility of my flies and certain knots even boost the wake around my surface flies when needed.
The hooks are very popular in Atlantic Canada. Salmon are not shy fish but they can refuse all flies when they are stressed and disturbed. I learned a lot by good observation and while some salmon will come up for your fly once, others will do it twice or even five times. Sometimes when you know exactly when to change your fly, a salmon is in the mood to come up almost every cast, of course depending on which part of the world you are fishing. When I tell you that we have seen one and the same salmon come up more than 60 times, I easily can be called a liar again. Grilse can do even more than that.
When I told people that I caught salmon using nymphs there was again a lot of disbelief, but I can assure you that I have hooked a lot of salmon using special nymphs. My first salmon was hooked on a weighted Montana nymph in the Stordalselva during heavy, rising water. I landed five more that morning. Since I fish frequently with un-weighted nymphs in Atlantic Canada. In Norway and Russia you can fish for salmon with almost every fly and technique, but in Canada there are a lot of rules that most European people are not familiar with. So in many rivers using doubles or trebles or even weighted flies and sinking or sink tip lines is not allowed.
In some rivers you are not even allowed to do an upstream cast with wet flies and everywhere you must fish barbless. Most rules are made to prevent poaching and I am not in disagreement with them at all. In fact, I think they made me even more creative and inventive in my approach to salmon fishing. Insert details about how the information is going to be processed. How Can Aquaculture Become Sustainable? Aquaculture, sometimes referred to as fish farming is not historically known for its sustainability.
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