Flies for Springers – Early Season Essentials

Flies for springers

The salmon fishing season is underway on several rivers now and many anglers, including myself, will be glad to get out for a cast again. Rivers in the North of Scotland such as the Helmsdale, Halladale, and Thurso are all open for business again as is the mighty River Tay. This gives anglers an opportunity to try out their new gear purchased during the off-season or to test out new flies that have left their vices over the winter months. My own vice has been red hot during the holiday period as I was churning out another box full of my “essential” salmon flies for springers which have served me well in the past. There is no better way to whet the appetite for a salmon fishing season than sitting at the fly tying bench dreaming of the fish your flies might catch soon be catching.

Essential flies for springers.


Maggie’s Shrimp Conehead

Over the years I have cut back on the number of fly patterns I carry around in my fly boxes during the early months of the season. I now only carry around half a dozen patterns in various weights and sizes instead of two or three boxes full of weird and wonderful creations which rarely see the light of day, never mind the water. This was after reading a very interesting article in a magazine several years ago where the author spoke of wasting time changing flies when that time could be the only time the salmon come on the take during that day. This struck a chord with me and I have his advice wedged into my thought process whenever I’m out in pursuit of an early springer.

Fulling Mill Classic Black & Yellow 

Fulling Mill Classic Dee Monkey

My favourite patterns for the early season are the Willie Gunn, Gold Body Willie Gunn, Dee Monkey, Park Shrimp Conehead, Maggies Shrimp and the good old Black and Yellow or Tosh as it is also known. These patterns cover most water conditions whether the river is running crystal clear or carrying a bit of colour. There is something to cover every eventuality with these patterns and with such a limited selection, the temptation to change has been reduced and this gives my initial fly choice much longer in the water. flies for springers

A Springer caught using a Dee Monkey

I have mentioned in a previous blog post that confidence plays a vital part in your fly selection process. There is no point in carrying around a box full of flies that you’ve never had any luck with nor have no confidence in. You might give one or two of these flies a swim from time to time but that niggling feeling will always be in the back of your mind telling you that the fly you are using is not up to the task. This small piece of doubt will eventually grow and cause to you reel in and change to another pattern. It might just be during this time spent sitting on the bank pondering your next choice of fly when that prized springer you craved so much over the winter was there for the taking. That’s where thinning out the early season fly boxes comes into its own in my opinion. flies for spingers.

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