April 07, 2021 3 min read
When you start fishing for Atlantic salmon, you quickly realize that you'll never stop learning. And in the end, that's what makes this type of fishing so complete and addictive.
One question that comes up every time you go out is: What fly should I use? Everyone has an opinion on the subject. Some people study the question in depth and others will say that it doesn't matter, the good fly is the one that is in the water. Indeed, there is no miracle recipe.
There are several factors that will help you determine the right size and color of fly to use, like water level, opacity of the water and light conditions.
The salmon's eye has two important properties to remember. The cones and the rods. The cones, which operate during the day, when the light is dominant, allow the salmon to detect more details, such as the different shades of colors.
The rods take over from the cones when daylight turns to darkness. At this moment, the salmon does not perceive colors anymore, it only sees shapes, white, black or strong contrasts.
Be aware also of the colors wavelengths, which is from the shortest to the longest wavelength: purple, indigo, blue, green, yellow, orange and red. It's best practice to prioritize colors with a long wavelength like red and orange when the water is brown and opaque and choose short wavelength colors like purple or blue when the water is clear and transparent.
We often hear fly fishermen say to use small flies when the water lever is low and big flies when the water lever is high. It's a good starting point, but there are other factors to take into consideration.
The chart below will help you visualize the things to ask yourself and the decisions to take in a fishing scenario. It will help you define how to choose the salmon fly that will increase your chances to scream: FISH ON!!!
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