The Garry Dog Double Hook Salmon is one of Scotland's most popular flies, the Garry dog is rated in all rivers but particularly those that carry a dark peat strain.
SALMON DOUBLE HOOK FLY PATTERNS. Hook size 4 6 8 10 - $US each
THE GARY DOG SALMON FLY PATTERN
One of Scotland's most popular flies, the Garry dog is rated in all rivers but particularly those that carry a dark peat strain. Jimmie Wright is attributed with designing this fly. The story goes that on the original feather wing pattern he used hair from a dog owned by a local priest. The dog was called Garry, hence it's strange name. It is also known by other names Minister's Golden or Yellow Dog.
HOW TO FISH THE GRILSE SALMON IN SCOTLAND
A young Atlantic salmon that is on its first return back to the river where it was hatched from the open sea is known as a grilse. I like to use double hook salmon flies like the Gary Dog as I have found provide a very good hooking to landing ratio when fishing for young, energetic grilse. The flies look good and swim well. They arrive in large shoals but tend not to hang around in the same area to long before heading further upstream. You could be watching a quiet salmon pool one moment, where the occasional adult may break the surface every now and then, when suddenly, everything changes. It is chaos and mayhem with young silverfish splashing through the surface. This tells you that the grilse have arrived.
Many salmon anglers use large 15 foot rods and heavy leaders to catch these wonderful fish, but there is a more delicate method to hook and hold a grilse salmon. I have noticed when fishing the river Spey for salmon in Scotland that unlike the spring salmon grilse salmon will often be found in fast shallower water. They arrive, having spent one winter at sea, early June and peak at the end of July. If you want to catch more than a couple of fish you really should hire a local Gillie and tap his knowledge the river and expertise to the full.
Most returning grilse salmon are between two pounds and seven pounds, so you do not really need a monster sized rod. A 13ft 6in eight weight rod is all you need even on a big river like the Spey. On single handed five or six weight rod will be fine if your are salmon fishing on a smaller river. Use a line as light as possible with a tapered leader of between 15ft to 12 ft when using a floating line for grilse salmon. I like to use 10 lb clear flurocarbon in clear water. Grilse are soft on the mouth so there is no need to use equipment that is designed to deal with much heavier fish. There is not so much bend in the heavier rods. When your Gillie instructs you to keep your Rod up, if you are using a larger Rod, it'll be too powerful and will immediately pull the fish surface. There is a danger here that the grilse will immediately flap around and throw the hook. Grilse salmon are head shakers when hooked. If you want to improve your chances of landing a grilse then use a more flexible smaller Rod contrary to traditional thinking.
Salmon anglers with knowledge of exactly where the fish will be lying on a particular stretch of river will be able to fish there fly to that region at different speeds. This tactic always leads to more takes and is another reason for seeking local knowledge or guidance from a Gillie. Salmon Grilse will rest in water between 3 foot to 18 inches deep. They are also comfortable at staying in fast flowing well oxygenated water. This helps the salmon fly fishermen as the current helps fish their salmon fly at the correct speed.
When water flow is poor a good tactic is to strip your fly quickly through pools that you know contain grilse. In the early morning, when they are at rest, they particularly seem not to be able to resist chasing a fast moving fly. It is best to use a 12 foot to 15 foot long tapered leader when executing this manoeuvre. Be careful when approaching the pool. You can easily disturbed salmon lying in slow water. Stay low and be stealthy. Will pay dividends in the amount of fish that take your fly and are not spooked. Don't fish your fly deep. I have found that grilse, while resting in shallower water, or more often come up to take fly rather than follow one down to the depths