The Munro Killer salmon and steelhead Tube Fly is still a popular salmon fly, the main reason is because it keeps on catching fish.
SALTWATER, SALMON & STEELHEAD TUBE FLY
$US each. Price does not include hooks.
The Munro Killer salmon fly pattern has been successful on rivers throughout the British Isles and Scandinavia. This deadly fly was the brainchild of J.A.Munro who was the owner of a fly fishing tackle shop in Aberlour, Scotland.
I returned to fish the Irish River Moy last September, armed with a tackle box full of Munro Killer Copper tube flies, after a 10 year absence. My last visit had been in April when we had been after catching spring fish. They were not really plentiful but we hooked into a few; beautiful short fish, gleaming silver, thick across the back and so strong.
On my September trip, on the first morning, I saw several salmon show and had one take before stopping for lunch. Whilst I was munching a cheese and pickle sandwich my guide explained that the Moy has a most complex pattern of salmon runs. The spring fish of February up to April can be distinguished according to the part of the system to which the fish belong. Moy Salmon are bred in the headwaters of the Moy itself, but also in streams feeding Loughs Conn and Cullen. The biggest springers, up to 30 lb, are three-sea-winter fish, fattened from big smolts nurtured in the limestone waters of the Bellavary River.
The May to July period is really noteworthy for the main grisle salmon run. The size of the fish increase from about 3 lb for the earliest runners up to 5 lb for later fish, which run in smaller numbers. If the weather is right in August some big grilse of 8 lb enter the river.
September brings a run of ‘harvest’ fish, weighing between 8 to 12 lb. A select few may reach 20lb. It is at this time of the year that the resident fish wake up and decide to make their way up river.
There are many pools and deep sections of the river. That is why I normally tie on a Copper Munro Killer tube fly pattern. It gets down to the correct depth quickly and stays there. When fishing pools I cast at the head water and work down to the tail of the pool. It was this fly that caught the attention of six large salmon I caught that weekend. All but one followed the fly as it was about to be retrieved out of the water and engulfed it in one snatch.
Salmon lies and pools
Apart from the ability to cast a salmon fishing fly reasonably accurately a salmon angler needs to have a good knowledge of the river he is fishing and of the moving and resting places of his quarry.
Salmon do not believe in wasting energy. They need to find a place to rest where they need to expend the least energy to combat the flow of the river or stream. Most resting places, known as lies, are behind or at the side of large rocks.
Salmon normally will only take within a limited area of their lies, so casting to a known lie and being a foot out will produce nothing. You have to get your fly in front of their face to provoke a reaction. There are of course the odd exception to the rule when a fish will race 8 to 12 feet to seize a streamer but in my experience that does not happen very often.
The help of a local angler, landowner or fishing guide with years of salmon fishing experience can be the difference in you having a good days fishing or a blank day. They have the knowledge of where the most productive lies are on that stretch of water. Always remember to ask advice of the locals.
If you go back to the same spot each year on your annual fishing trip remember that winter floods and summer thunder storms can wash away big boulders so the location of good salmon producing lies changes over time.
On your return visit ask about recent strong spates and how this strong fast flowing water effected the fishing conditions and lies. Don’t assume that just because you caught fish in certain locations last year that you can do the same this year. Things change.
Large boulders that often weigh a few tons can be rolled into a depression by the flow of water. Smaller boulders could end up 100 yards downstream if there has been a particularly heavy downpour or rain within a short period of time.
The same flood may have created new lies that the visiting salmon angler without local knowledge will have a hard time finding particularly if the water is coloured.
If you are in the situation that there are no locals to ask about lies then you will have to try and find them yourself. I know the normal reaction is to get your fishing rod tackled up and start fishing as soon as you arrive at the waters edge but try to stop yourself.
You will have a much better days fishing if you use your number one fly fishing asset, your eyes. Take some time to study the water before you make a cast. Walk the river bank and try to spot likely spots where salon may be lying. Look for boulders and the edges of fast runs.
A lot can be learned from observing the water's surface even on rivers where there is little tell-tale disturbances to be seen. Look for the occasional boil, a section of water that seems to be moving over an obstruction on the river bed. That would be a good indication of a sub-surface boulder or tree. Cast behind the boil and let your fly sink to find the resting salmon.
Salmon swim in spurts and then rest before that battle the next section of river. In an area of fast constricted water look for sections of slack water. Once a fish has battled through a fast flowing current they normally look for somewhere to recover before continuing. I have often taken salmon from these locations.
A fast water channel with shallows to either side, such as is often found between pools, should not be missed. Salmon like to lie on the edges of these places.
In situations where the river runs deep under one bunk and gradually shallows off, towards the other, fish if possible from shallow side. I have found that salmon seem to take better when the fly comes out of deep water and into the shallows.
Early in the year, when the water is cold, salmon tend to lie in deeper, slower-moving parts of the pool. More fish seem to take a fly at the tails of pools, especially when the water levels are up. In summer they tend to lie near the heads of pools.
Look where the sun is. In cold water, fish seem to lie on the side of the pool that catches the most sunlight. Fish cannot wear sunglasses and just like humans they do not like looking into the sun. Never fish a pool or run if the sun is shining directly downstream. The fish cannot see too well in such conditions. Wait until later in the day when the sun has changed position otherwise you will be wasting your time.
Fast water between pools, sometimes only 18 inches deep may hold a fish or two on warm summer evenings. So remember to try a few casts . In my experience fish often take well when moving up from pool to pool on a rising river. I have found that it is advisable to keep fishing while the water remains fairly clear, but once it becomes dirty and full of floating vegetation then it is time to move.
Never pass a good pool because someone else has just fished through it without success. You never know when a new salmon will be entering the pool unseen Sometimes a resident fish will like the look of your Ally's shrimp fly where he turned its nose up at the other angler's Munro Killer fly. It can also happen the other way. Just because the previous angler caught in that pool it does not mean you will be as lucky.
To conclude, always seek out local advice and use your eyes before you start fishing. You will have a much more enjoyable fishing experience if you follow these to simple tips.