The following narrative is an attempt to summarize the essential elements of flyfishing for Atlantic Salmon. It represents a general overview to assist those beginning to pursue the sport although it does assume a basic understanding of flyfishing techniques and terminology. There are widely divergent views regarding the habits and behavior of Atlantic Salmon. The following is a merging of personal experience, the opinion of other fishermen, knowledge gained from the writings of others and from years of observation on the river. The information presented is generic but relates primarily to North Eastern North America and in particular Atlantic Canada. The recommendations and observations may not be appropriate for Scandinavian countries, European countries or Russia.
The Atlantic Salmon is the aristocrat of freshwater game fish. Angling for Atlantic Salmon has been referred to as "the sport of kings". Etchings of salmon appear among 20,000 year old artifacts of Cro-Magnon man. The Romans called him "salio", the leaper, about 100 BC. He was called the "King of Freshwater Fish" by Izaak Walton in his 17th century classic, The Compleat Angler. This gentle art to some is a sport but to many it is a way of life, an addiction! An addiction that cannot be truly appreciated until you experience the first pull.The FAQ is split into the following areas:-
This article does not attempt to answer all the possible questions relating to Atlantic Salmon fishing. Chapters and even entire books have been written on many of the individual topics covered. If you have questions, speak to other salmon anglers, guides and fisheries officers. There are many excellent books and instructional videos available at your local library or for purchase or rent at your local tackle shop. Additionally you can post questions to the FF@ list.
Hooking and landing a large Atlantic Salmon is arguably the ultimate experience in fresh water fly fishing. Do not be intimidated by the ritual of salmon fishing or your lack of experience. Most salmon anglers are happy to assist you. Take notes, observe and listen to fellow anglers. Join a local or regional salmon association. Have an objective of learning something new each day you are fishing and your odds will improve! There is no substitute for spending time on the river.
I invite salmon anglers from other countries to write an addendum to this article, or a separate article, outlining the differences in equipment, flies, presentation, regulations, etiquette etc. for their country or region.