Choosing the right fly is important!
With more than 25 years’ experience from the Trøndelag rivers in general and the Stjørdalen River in particular, I have found my favourite flies. I usually choose between 6-8 patterns, in a few different sizes, throughout the whole season. That is all I need!
In a salmon river conditions are always varying; from the cold, clear river in June to the warm summer river. Naturally, the salmon’s behaviour changes drastically under the different conditions. Early on in the season, when the river is still cold, the salmon is less active and we have to present the fly close up to it. Large flies, with a great deal of volume and flash, fished deep and slow are the required medicine in these conditions (Phatagorva cone). When the water is warmer and lower, the salmon becomes more active, and in these conditions it is likely to chase a Sunray Shadow on the surface. This all means that we need to adapt our strategy, fishing lines and flies according to the conditions of the river. Only experience will tell you which fly to use in your particular situation, but here we have put together a collection to help you make your choice.
The following are my favourite patterns for the whole season at Hembre and the Stjørdal river. Add some of your own personal favourites and you will be very well equipped for fishing the pools and streams of Hembre Farm. Good luck!
1. General Practitioner (GP)
My very first big salmon was caught on a GP! This was in the Kleiv pool, I was 15 years old and I had only just received my first two-hand fly rod. It is an experience I shall never forget, and I certainly never go fly-fishing without two or three GPs in my box. Usually recommended for use in the early season, in a coloured river, and in large sizes – either on a tube or on a hook; but for me it has become also a July, and especially an August fly, in size 6-8 on a double hook. It catches both the small and the big salmon , and it is also a good bet for sea trout at dusk or dawn.
2. Black & Silver
When it is dark enough for the bats to come out we need a fly with a bit of a silhouette. We bind the B&S with a fair bit of volume and a long wing; giving us a swimming fly that is visible even in poor light. Recommended for swift fishing at the more shallow stretches of the river. Typical float/intermediate, 90 degree cast, and the tip of the rod in the water. When fishing like this remember not to yank when the end of your line explodes into a frenzy.
3 and 4. Sunray Shadow.
Ray Brooks’ immortal patent from the eighties with a modern twist. We add a bit of flash and bind it with a white or orange underwing. This can be fished high in the water in swift movements, but it is also a killer on a sinking line in the early season. An allround fly, originally intended for fishing at dusk, but in our opinion it works just as well in the sunshine.
Everybody’s heard about the Thunder & Lightning. An excellent fly which has countless salmon all over the world on its conscience . We have fished it for years in a modern adaptation with fantastic results. This is the pattern that has landed us the most salmon in recent years, and you will see why once you get it into the water. The fly is tied on a small copper tube, made from soft and moveable materials and is quite sparsely dressed. A bit of polar bear and flash in the underwing adds a lovely sheen, and it’s great that the salmon likes it just as much as we do. There are many similar type flies but this is a really well-thought out killer which can be fished in all kinds of conditions and throughout the whole season. An absolute must for the serious fly angler! To be fished with a triple 10 or 8 tied loosely behind. Hembre’s signature fly!
6. Bag Limit Destroyer variety.
The Bag Limit Destroyer, first designed by Michael Høgh, the eminent Danish salmon fisher, has become a quite a classic in the Stjørdalen river. We have made our own variety which will fish just as well. It has the same colouring and the same alluring swim patterns as the BLD, but with a slightly darker top wing. Can be fished in sunshine as well as overcast weather conditions. A fantastic fly in slightly coloured water after a summer flood from Midsummer onwards. To be fished with a loose hanging triple 10 or 8.
7. Phatagorva Cone
Whenever the river is in flood, we need a highly visible fly. We have made our own variation of Mikke Frødin’s famous Phatagorva that works at least as well. In fact, throughout the whole season! When the river runs dark after a flood, there is no other fly that is even close to this. The colours really show, with plenty of flash and a wonderful swimming motion. Soft materials and a turbo cone (china hat) has tempted many a salmon to strike in recent seasons. Fish it slowly across pools and breaks using a sinking line, and you will see just how incredibly efficient this fly really is!