The traditional Black Zulu wet fly pattern is one of the most productive Loch fresh run salmon flies in my tackle box. It out preforms more realistic bait fish imitation fly patterns.
DOUBLE HOOKED TROUT AND SALMON FLY. Hook size 10 12 14 - $US each
West coast salmon fishing in Scotland
On my last trip to the west coast of Scotland I remember walking along the loch shore looking for fresh run salmon. There was a breeze blowing from my right shoulder and there was a gentle wave rolling on the shingle beach. I was fishing two flies. A featherwing mackerel imitating blue charm on point and a Black Zulu on the top dropper. I was only wearing knee boats so I was not able to wade. I extended a good length of line and worked my way slowly along the bank. After a few casts, as I was about to lift off, I notice a huge boil at the fly followed by a solid take. I had hooked into a beautiful fresh run 9lb salmon on my Black Zulu fly. After several good runs I managed to land it and then release the salmon back into the wild so it can fight another day.
In the afternoon I caught my second salmon, again on the Zulu. It had followed the team of flies nearly to my feet when it made its attack just as I was about to lift them out of the water. I caught a third an hour later in the same situation. The salmon seemed to be chasing the flies into the shallower water. Again it hit the black Zulu rather than the more baitfish imitation blue charm salmon fly. I have used the Black Zulu wet fly on my fishing trips to the Fjords of Norway and had the same success
When considering where to fish for salmon in Scotland in the Summer I always recommend locations on the west coast as it has several advantages over the east coast rivers at that time of the year. The Atlantic west coast is famous for its high rainfall. The moist air comes straight off the sea and hits the highlands. Clouds form and it you get heavy rainfall. Isn’t that that you want for salmon fishing? A summer deluge will mean that the river depths remain good. This contrasts with the often low water levels in eastern salmon rivers that receive less rainfall.
The west has lots of small spate rivers which rise and fall quickly depending on the rainfall in the mountains. They can produce magnificent sport for both salmon and sea-trout. I like to fish them with a single handed fly rod of 10-11 feet in length. The adrenalin certainly flows when you hook into a 10 pounder using this tackle.
Some western salmon rivers are reservoir fed which helps as once they have enough water the overflow pipes release a steady flow of water to keep river levels high. These large bodies of water act as a filter. All the debris that enters into the reservoir from the mountain runoff feeder streams falls to the bottom and the water that flows through the over flow pipe is normally gin clear. The cost of day tickets is often cheaper than those on the east of Scotland.
Western loch and reservoir fishing is great fun as it is rare to find water levels low even in the hottest of summers. Even if you cannot get access to a boat there is a surprising amount of sport can be had from the bank. Salmon like to lie in shallow water in these lochs at about 5-10 feet very near burn mouths. The word "burn" is Scottish for stream. Not only do these feeder streams bring in fresh oxygenated water but they transport a variety of aquatic insects and terrestrials into the bigger water system. It is a win win location for the salmon food and fresh water.
Loch Assyant and the Butcher
Many fishermen new to fly fishing seem to have little faith in the original standard Butcher wet fly dressing. They add all sorts of extra material. Perhaps this is because they think of the pattern as a flashy attractor pattern and fish it on the point. If they tried fishing it on the top dropper, they might change their minds. Whether it is taken as a beetle, swimming boatman or emerging midge is open to discussion, but I have found it deadly fished in that position.
Trout feeding in the scum lanes of a windswept Loch Assyant, (a freshwater loch in Sutherland, Scotland) came to it again and again last year. The measure of the greatness of this fly can be judged from the mount of variations it has spawned. The bloody butcher with its red hackle, a number of gold body Butchers have been sold and promoted. Hardy’s Gold Butcher being one of them. Then there is the Scottish and Irish kingfisher Butcher with either a blue or blae wing. These seem to work when the fish are feeding on olives.
The Butcher is often one of the flies that are relied upon to deliver results by competition fly fishermen. For me the choice is always the original in the top dropper position on a team of three flies for lake, loch, lough and reservoir trout fishing. Fished in the traditional way cast in front of a drifting bot for wild brown trout rather than stocked rainbow.
FACEBOOK READER'S COMMENT
River Tay, Perthshire, Scotland dropping back to summer level for Salmon fishing with good catches at the end of last week. I caught many Salmon with a black zulu wet fly