The modern Blue Charm feather wing fly pattern is a variation on the old classic salmon fly. It was so effective at catiching fish that it was taken to North America where it gained more fame as a go to fly on the North Eastern Atalantic coast.
SALMON DOUBLE HOOK FLY PATTERNS. Hook size 4 6 8 10 - $US each
Originally it was strongly associated with the river Dee in Scotland, but it crossed the Atlantic and has had incredible success on the North Eastern costal areas of North America. It also has a good record as a sea trout fly. Now tired using modern materials it is widely used as a summer fly pattern on all rivers. Theoretically, blue flies appear more attractive in the blue light of the early morning. We have it as a double and a tube fly as well as the single hook.
When to fish with a Featherwing Salmon Fly
The style of salmon fly you use depends on the type of water you fish, water conditions and time of the year. You have to consider when choosing what fly to tie on the merits of the different types. These range from traditional feather wing, modern hairwing, Spey type with long soft flowing hackles, tube flies or deer hair bombers. Other types of flies also catch Salmon but they are not normally regarded as salmon flies. Hook ups often occur when you are fishing for trout with trout flies like an orange gold ribbed hares ear nymph, Woolly Bugger, Scuplin or muddlers.
The featherwing is a traditional salmon fly that sadly is not fished enough these days. It is a fly I use a great deal and in the right type of water, it will outfish any modern hairwing. The featherwing is at its best in rough, fast water, often between pools or at the turbulent head of a pool, as it is far easier to control than a hairwing.
Its effectiveness in these conditions is mainly because its wing acts as a stiff rudder and helps keep the fly upright in fast turbulent water whereas the fibres used on a hairwing flatten and moves side to side with the current. The featherwing is always in line with the hook shank when the fly is brought back upstream with a short pull and then allowed to fall back slightly don stream, so that the body hackles pulsate giving life to the fly. Next time you fish for salmon in fast rough water try a feather wing salmon fly. You may be surprised at the results.
Over 90% of Salmon fly fishermen use hairwing flies on all types of water. I have found that it is most effective either as soon as it lands, on the hang or dangle. It comes into its own when fished at the tails of pools or where the water is not too turbulent. This is because the hairwing fibres gently move and flutter and imitate the movement of a small fish or shrimp. Because the water is not so turbulent the fly is easier to control
I do not doubt that you have taken fish in all types of water with a hairwing salmon fly but I believe you would take more if you switched to using featherwing files in fast rough water. But what about the Spey fly? When should that be used?
The Spey type of salmon fly is different inasmuch as the long, soft hackles on the body work well in long and level flat fast water sections of a river. This is because the flat roof-wing helps keep the Spey fly under the surface, making it difficult for it to roll over. Flies are often pushed upwards and rolled about in this type of water.
A sinking line helps to keep the fly down but it is difficult to exercise full control of a fly fished on a sunken line. I prefer a floating line or a sink-tip in these circumstances, since they enable me to maintain control over my fly, which is essential to success.
Pacific salmon is a general term used to describe the members of a fish species
that die after spawning. The Latin term for this family group is Oncorhynchus.
There are seven species. The following five occur on both sides of the pacific
(1) Chum Salmon also known as Dog Salmon (Oncorhynchus keta)
(2) Coho Salmon also known as Silver Salmon (Oncorhynchus kisutch)
(3) Pink Salmon also known as Humpbacked Salmon or humpies (Oncorhynchus gorbuscha)
(4) Sockeye Salmon also known as Red Salmom (Oncorhynchus nerka)
(5) Chinook Salmon also known as King Salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha)
The following two are only found on the coasts of Asia
(6) Masu Salmon also known as Yamame (Oncorhynchus masou)
(7) Amago Salmon also known as Biwamasu (Oncorhynchus rhodurus)
There is a landlocked Pacific Salmon called a Kokanee. It is a subspecies of a Sockeye Salmon. It spends it's entire life in freshwater and does not attain the large sizes of its ocean going cousins. They migrate to lakes and can be seen swimming back up streams to their place of hatching to spawn. Atlantic Salmon belong to a different group called 'Salmo'. Atlantic Salmon is in fact a species of fish within this group. (It has the Latin name of Salmo salar). Unlike the Pacific salmon that have complex and varied life histories that vary widely within and between species, the Atlantic Salmon have very similar life histories and are capable of surviving spawning and re-migrate to return again. Pacific salmon migrate from freshwater to the sea at different ages. Pink and Chum Salmon migrate at any time from one week to a month, Chinooks from 12 to 16 months, Coho Salmon from 12 to 24 months and Sockeye from 12 to 36 months.
Pacific Salmon nearly always return to spawn in the freshwater areas they were born in. They overcome very hazardous river conditions and swim great distances to reach their place of hatching. Scientists have documented some going to different locations but that is a very rare occurrence. It is believed that the salmon find their way back by sent. They follow their noses to find their home stream. Scientists have also tagged young salmon to plot where they go when they migrate into the Pacific Ocean from the rivers. Some swim many thousands of miles like the tagged Chinook which was recorded having covered 3,500 miles before being recovered swimming back up Salmon River in Idaho, to spawn. The salmon fatten up in the ocean. The record for the largest Pacific Salmon is 126 pounds caught commercially up in Alaska.