Suave

Remembering years past....Atlantic salmon flies

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A few days ago, I posted a picture of three spools of Pearsall's of England's Stout Floss that I acquired decades ago no doubt to tie three Atlantic salmon flies the very popular and very productive Rusty Rat and Cosseboom Special (usually called "Cosseboom") and the lesser known Blue Rat. It made me realize that I hadn't tied a salmon fly in two years and that, in the past eight years, since I stopped fishing for Atlantics, I had tied some only on a few occasions. So for old times sake, I decided to tie one each of the three mentioned above, of course using that Stout Floss for the bodies.

 

Rusty Rat

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Blue Rat20211116_133354.jpg.9e08c93dab863fd8b61fac50dd1d2526.jpg

 

 Cosseboom

20211116_133835.jpg.c57f6ca0b41bfa679cdc055c972b6743.jpg

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1 min ago, Tie one on said:

Very nice. Why did you stop fishing for Atlantics?

 

Mike

Physical problems: busted knee followed by hip replacement followed by partial  knee (the other) replacement all within five years during which I was unable to wade rivers. And old age! But I can still wade beach fronts so for the past eight years I've been flyfishing for stripers in the Gaspé.

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Making changes in fishing for whatever reasons we are very lucky we can make them :rav:

 

there is a wonderful sight to those peacock swords . 
 

thanks for sharing 

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On 2021-11-17 at 7:22 AM, Tie one on said:

Sorry to hear about your knee issues. For someone like myself that hopes to be able to fish for Atlantics

in Canada someday can you recommend some Rivers?

 

Mike 

Thanks but don't feel sorry for me.I had a good run of 35 years fishing for Atlantic salmon and a lot of those years were when salmon were much more plentiful than they are now and the rivers much less crowded.

 

Sure I can comment on rivers but  they are all in Québec (I've fished for salmon only in Québec) and, although I keep somewhat abreast of what's going on in Québec's salmon world through friends,  the knowledge I've acquired from personal experience is somewhat dated. 

 

And  although I've fished four rivers north of the Saint-Lawrence river and even in the Ungava, 90% of my salmon fishing was in rivers of the Gaspé peninsula that I preferred because of their light-colored bottoms  (northern rivers are mostly dark-bottomed that makes sight-fishing much more problematic). So I will mention only rivers of the Gaspé: the York, Dartmouth and Saint-Jean, all three easily accessible when you stay in the town of Gaspé; the Bonaventure and Petite Cascapédia that are close to one another and of course the Grand Cascapédia (the last three rivers mentioned flow into the Baie-des-Chaleurs); and the Sainte-Anne and Cap-Chat that flow into the Saint-Lawrence river close to one another.

   

 

Edited by Suave
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Thank you for this information. I am Quebec born also but I now live in the US. I have a lot of family living in the Beauce region that I visit every summer. I hope to be able to try some of those rivers the next time I head North.

When is the best time to fish that region? What flies would you recommend? Thanks.

 

Mike

 

 

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Mike, as soon as you have access to SOL's Private Messaging send me a PM and I will gladly answer your questions. 

 

As for my favorite salmon  flies, that's basically what I tied during the winter 2019-20 when tying a few dozen  flies  for a British friend (a SOL member) who was supposed (with friends) to come to the Gaspé in June 2020 and try his hand at salmon fishing. Of course trip was cancelled (and again this summer) but hopefully will be on next summer. And although I did post some of these flies, I will post some more on this thread (I think I tied about 18 different patterns for him, both dry and wet flies).

 

That being said, I seldom see Atlantic salmon flies posted on SOL but I'm quite sure there are a number of SOL members who do fish for Atlantic salmon or have done so (we used to see many Americans on the Gaspé rivers before Covid 19). It would be interesting to see what their favorite Atantic salmon flies are or were. So I call on them to post these and they are more than welcome to do so on this thread.  

 

Edited by Suave
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So favorite Atlantic salmon flies. Most of them are mine but a few are or were some of my friends' favorites. Of course my favorites are those on which I had success over the years. Same for my friends. But I found over the years that some of my favorites were favorites no matter which river I fished as I had success with them on most rivers while others were favorites for one river because they worked regularly on that river and not at all on others. So, if I had fished regularly  other rivers, I old probably have other favorites.

As an example, the Moisie River, known worldwide for its big fish. If I had fished that river regularly, some of my favorite flies would have been small (#10-12) and dark flies. Case in point: in another thread ("Smallest hooks for NE flyfishing and flytying?" started by BrianBM on January 17, 2021 ) I told the story of the "16-20 Club" started by Lee Wulff and the Préfontaines on the Moisie: to become a "member", you had to catch a 20+ lb salmon on a #16 fly.

 

My first favorites to be posted are three Michel Beaudin flies. Michel was a great fly caster and a fabulous salmon angler. In the late 70's he came up with a very good fly that became very popular on Québec rivers, more so in the Gaspé where it was intoduced: the Pompier as named by another friend (in his first career, Michel was a fireman (pompier) for the City of Montréal and, in his second, a top-notch  full-time guide in Gaspé, by the way with quite a few Americans among his faithful clients).The only change I made for that fly is to use seal dubbing for the body instead of chenille as called for.

 

So, the Pompier

20211121_114456.jpg.872271df9d2878f1d706ab15de520d66.jpg

 

A second Beaudin fly, much less known than the Pompier but actually my favorite of Michel's flies, a very simple spey-type fly which accounted for many fish for me on quite a few rivers: the MB Héron.

 

MB Héron

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Lastly, a fly that I'm sure very few anglers have in their boxes. Michel called it the Crapaud (Toad), probably because in its original form it was tied by Michel as a high-water fly on a long Waddington shank with a treble hook and, honestly, it was ugly as a Toad can be, more due to the proportions of the fly than to its color scheme that resembles that of the Pompier And I was with Michel on the York the first time he tried it in early season and he caught a 28lb fish. He was kind enough to give me one and I promptly tied a few more. And then decided to reduce it to a "normal" wet fly and tied it in #4-6-8. And it caught me quite a few fish.

 

Crapaud

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Edited by Suave
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3 hours ago, Tie one on said:

Nice looking flies. What is the reason for the double hook on the first fly you posted?

 

Mike

Flies on a double hook were a fixture on salmon rivers when I began to fish for salmon in the mid 70's and still were when I stopped fishing for salmon about 10 years ago. Why? A lot of anglers thought (and I think many still do) that a double hook hooks and and holds better than a single. I'm not convinced and when I began to fish catch and release in the late 80's , I used only single hooks when doing so. Also a fly on a double hook no doubt fishes a bit deeper than a one on a single hook butt I don't think it makes a difference in terms of catchability. Flies on double hooks are still allowed on Québec salmon even, inexplicably, when C&R is mandatory. 

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46 mins ago, Tie one on said:

How would one go about getting the recipe for these flies?

 

Mike

The Pompier's dressing is in at least one, maybe two, well-known books on Atlantic salmon flies. I think the MB Héron was written up in the Atlantic Salmon Journal. But I must be the only one with the Crapaud's dressing. I'll be posting other salmon flies in the upcoming weeks so I suggest you wait and eventually  send me a PM about the flies you'd like the dressings for. And if there are others interested, I might just post the dressings here.

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The Rusty Rat was definitely my most favorite fly the first seven-eight years I fished for Atlantics.I caught a lot of fish on it. But then I sort of moved away from it to try newer flies like the Beaudin flies, the Coffey Stonefish, the Green Machine and other Bugs from New Brunswick, etc (some of which I'll show later on this thread). But I'm sure the Rusty Rat is still a great fly.

 

As is the Silver Rat, to me on par with the Rusty in the RAT series and far ahead of the other flies in that series. The one I'm showing some fishing friends (Michel Beaudin among them) called the Special Slver Rat as we tied it with a different body: oval silver mylar tinsel instead of the called for flat silver tinsel with a ribbing of gold oval tinsel. We believe it has more flash in the water.

 

Special Silver Rat

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Two classic North American hairwings: the Green Highlander and the Black Dose. They were my favorites for fishing a wet fly with a riffled-hitch (or Portland hitch as popularized by Lee Wullf) to make it "wake" on the surface providing at times for spectacular takes.

 

Green Highlander

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Black Dose20211123_133025.jpg.1442a804c520068bf1c60964a70e3dc3.jpg

Edited by Suave
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