Gaspe flybox [Archive] - Fly Fishing Forum

: Gaspe flybox

12-29-2006, 03:54 PM
I'm (half dreaming, half) planning a Gaspe or New Brunswick salmon/brook trout trip this summer. What one or two dozen patterns should I be tying for this and in what sizes? Thanks in advance.

12-29-2006, 07:43 PM
I can't help you much with the brook trout, but here's a list for salmon:

Rusty Rat
Silver Rat
Green Highlander
Orange Blossum
Black Bear/Green Butt
Sugerman Shrimp
Night Hawk
General Practioner
Blue Charm
Magog Smelt
Green Widow
John Olin

There are lots more, but this is a good start. The black and green stonefly patterns are important on the two Cascapedia rivers. As far as size, so much depends on time of the year and water levels. In early June I sometimes use 2/0 standard wire doubles, whereas in September and low water I've been known to use #16 flies (salmon hook #16, not a trout hook.) About the only dry flies I bring anymore are bombers in assorted colors. Irresistibles, and the various Wulff patterns work, too.

This should occupy much of your winter.:Eyecrazy:

12-30-2006, 08:55 AM

The patterns listed by JR Spey are quite effective. You basically need just a few bright patterns (green highlander, orange blossom, cossaboom), a few dark patterns (black dose, black bear/green butt), a silver pattern or two (silver rat, down easter), a few medium or natural shades (grey rat, rusty rat), and a for wets.

Drys are bombers, smaller split wing bombers in different colors like natural or olive...with various hackle colors. Very simple. Its like anything else. A few of different colors. My feelings are that the categories I listed above are more important than specific patterns.

The sizes are more important. It all depends on the river you fish, and the water levels at that time of the year. Most Gaspe public waters are on the small small, except for the Matapedia. It also depends upon where you want to fish in that the bigger water is down stream and the smaller water is up stream. The size of your hook regulates the speed of your swing. Bigger water....bigger iron, to slow the speed down in strong fast current. Smaller water, less powerful current.....smaller iron to speed the swing.

In June, the water is highish. Sizes on MOST of these public waters should range from #4s to #8s. In July, it can range from #8 - #12. In August, #8 - #12, and in Sept, if the water comes up, it can revert back to June-July sizes. It all depends on the levels. And again, size is of most importance.

My feeling is the there are so many patterns....and they all catch fish. It's the presentation (delivery, swing speed regulated by mending casting distance and size of hook), and the willingness of your quarry to take your fly. It may sound complex, but it is not. Once you experience the will catch on quickly.

As for drys, they take all sizes. Big ones are great locators, and small ones are great takers......but all take fish. Just ty them with the least amount of winds, pack them tight, so they float like corks once dressed.

Buy a good salmon pattern Bates or something else, and try your skills. Keep you heads small and neat, and your proportions correct. Bates has some great pics so you can follow those proportions. And as for "half dreaming", perhaps you should start tying. It's a great excersise to expand the dream into reality. Once you have a good collection, you will want to fish them......

terry walsh
12-30-2006, 08:05 PM
Very thoughtful and informative reply, Howie. I will be fishing the Gaspe in September and found your advise most informative. Many thanks, Terry

12-30-2006, 11:45 PM
This probably should be discounted, because I only fished the Gaspe once and will, in all likelyhood, never fish there again.

But, that being said: had very excellent success on the Bonaventure with a really hideous fly we use on the Deschutes [sometime, when I'm really in my cups, I'll write up the the highlight of my Quebec adventure].

Very simple dressing:

No. 2 - 2/0 TULE hook.
Tail: Blue flashabou [Charlie's already stopped reading this]
Body: Palmered black rabbit
Wing: Black Crystal Flash
Head: Black

This was a consistent persuader in twilight, both dawn and dusk.

Don't show the fly to anyone. He or she will tear up your ticket.



01-02-2007, 07:22 AM
Well, I'm game to start tying. What's THE pattern book for these flies? I notice Bates has two books on Amazon: 'Fishing Atlantic Salmon' and 'The Art of the Atlantic Salmon Fly' (methinks the first is what I want, no)?

01-02-2007, 08:58 AM
Bates, Jorgenson...... and many other books, offer great info on flies that you can use on the Gaspé peninsula.

I would recommend you a new book and one publish in 1998 by Paul Mariner.

Modern Atlantic Salmon Flies (1998) and
A Compendium of Canadian Fly Patterns(2006)

Both books give you descriptive information on new creations of Trout and Salmon flies tyed by local fisherman of Québec and the maritime provinces. These are new and proven effective patterns and I am sure it will help you in your pattern research.:)

I am glad to be one of many contributors to these books.

For more info go to

01-02-2007, 09:48 AM
Hello Andre.
Nice to see you on the board. We met on two occasions as i toured the peninsula a few summers back when you had the shop at the house in Gaspe. I still have the Saumon magazine that you signed for me with the fly you had in it.
Back to the thread,,, i would recommend "Flies for Atlantic Salmon" by Stewart and Allen. Many fine patterns for the Gaspe. One i would personally recommend is the Pompier,,, this is a GREAT fly,,,period!! A close second would be Gary Andersons La Verte. Beautiful salmon flies to tie and fish!!!
Tag: Oval gold tinsel.
Tail: Fibres from a golden pheasant rump feather.
Body: Black Chenille. (I rather seal fur)
Rib: Oval gold tinsel.
Wing: Yello Polar Bear. (or substitute)
Cheeks: Jungle Cock.
Collar: Bright green hackle, long.
Head: Red.

La Verte
Tag:Oval silver tinsel(about 8-9 turns)
Tail: Golden pheasant crest.
Body: Green Peacock Herl.
Rib: Fine oval silver tinsel.
Wing: Silver fox guard hair or gray squirrel.
Throat:two hackles, the front one green and the rear one yellow, wound as a collar and pulled down and back.
Cheeks: Jungle cock.

About the wing on the pattern thats in the Stewart/Allen book. The pattern says silver fox but its not silver fox that is used or pictured. The wing should be Gray fox(as in the Rat series) and not silver,,,which is actualy black with a silvery sheen to it.
Hope these work for those who try them.
Salmon Chaser.

01-11-2007, 05:17 PM
We've just booked in for this September with Anne for our first Atlantic Salmon trip and we have a list of flies, but I'm curious about the dries. When we're talking about tying an Adams for salmon, it's obviously bigger than a trout version. I normally tie my steelhead patterns on Kamasan B180 and B190 hooks and I'd like to continue using them down east. The B180s are a low water type, yet they're still a heavy wire hook compared to a trout dry fly hook. I can't imagine a #8 B180 floating unless I tied on a cork float.

I'd like to narrow down my dry fly choices to just two or three so any help would be appreciated.

01-11-2007, 06:23 PM
Picasse in every size
Jones Special

Did I say Picasse?

O yeah, don't forget Picasse.

01-11-2007, 06:38 PM
Picasse in every size
Jones Special

Did I say Picasse?

O yeah, don't forget Picasse.

Thanks, found the Picasse in the archives. I find it interesting that browns and olives don't seem to figure too highly in salmon patterns.

01-11-2007, 06:52 PM
Hi Peter
I'll send you a couple of flies. Don't tell anybody.

01-11-2007, 07:03 PM
Wonderful Bill, mum's the word . . . . .

01-11-2007, 07:35 PM
Picasse, all the way. Big, small, doesn't matter (water height and temp of course) and you can even change the yellow out for another color (green, red, blue) and even the lace body. It's a cool pattern to play with.

Look up 'Aldo' too. It's my favorite fly of Marc's and it's my first fly on every year. Don't know about fall but I'm sure it'll do. White muddler on those clear rivers on clear days.

No more secrets.


01-11-2007, 09:46 PM

OHHHH! wrke (what??!!) .... ( I will definitely go check his fly box!!) :hihi:

To name a few!!

Some other patterns to consider:
- Tiger Ghost was a hot fly last season ( all season)
- Orange & white bomber
- White Bomber
- white & Olive Bomber
- Your guide's famous Muddlers ( it's a secret too!) :razz:
- Copper KIller
- Green Highlander
- Mickey Finn ( yup, September it's a hot fly too) I guess they forget they saw it in early June!
- Royal coachman
- Green machine

Sweet salmon dreams!!


01-12-2007, 08:03 AM
You mentioned you're fishin' with Ann's operation so you'll be in good hands !
September fishing is an entiely differnet kettle of fish from early June through July and then the Late July/Aug. fishing.Therefore most of the above mentioned patterns are basically junk by then, except for Muddlers, Tiger Ghost, Green Machine and Bombers.Tye up a load of Bombers and DON'T forget the original with Deer body "wing" and tail If ya've got some 94831 #4 hooks THERE IS NO SUBSTITUTE as these will ride nice and high ! The Canuelle is extremely effective on the York in sizes 10 through 2/0 .I tye this pattern on 3x streamer hooks.
Look in The Canadian Compendium for the correct (and current) method for tying the Trottinette which is a brilliantly effective fly EVERYWHERE and anywhere. If you do have the book the Dirty Bomber is VERY VERY effective on the York
Water conditions in September WILL dictate whether your wets will be #10's or 2/0's :smokin:
Enjoy the Gaspe and the trip down there !

01-12-2007, 08:50 AM
Thanks folks for all of the suggestions. Looks like I'll finally have to quit messin' about and buy the Canadian Compendium. I've been pawing it in the local shop but couldn't convince myself to crack the wallet open. Now I'll have to.

I will be taking one other fly with me -- the Weamer. It's accounted for nine species so far so I'd like to see if an Atlantic can make it an even ten.

Gaspe Salmon
01-12-2007, 09:57 AM

If you are fishing in September, you may want to think about brining both big and small flies. When I say big, I mean BIG!!! Size 1/0 spey flies that are ugly work well along with Orange flies like Alley's shrimp etc... in the evening, when you will see most of your action (last hour before darkness falls) there is nothing like tying on a real small Black bear green butt or a small green machine that is just skimming on the surface. On rainy days the Picasse is deadly, not only in September, but anytime of the season.

Dry fly action will be a bit slow unless you get good water temps and the right water level.

Although fly selection can count for something, please remember that FLY SPEED is the key in salmon fishing. Always has been and always will be the case with this fish.

You may also want to consider using real long leaders when you use the smaller patterns. I usually have my guests use a 12-14 leader with about a 1-3x tippet. When fishing smaller flies try varying your mends. Instead of always mending upstream as most do, try mending downstream to get the fly swinging faster, especially during the day. When you fish in the evening you may want to slow the fly down a bit, especially if you are fishing a faster run.

my .02 cents


01-12-2007, 10:43 AM
Your advice on swing speed and fly size sounds a bit like how I normally fish for steelhead. I've already become a convert to long leaders, even on my sinking lines where I'll run as much as 12' of thin FC. My steelhead flies range from #6 to 2/0 and I'll use both in the same run on the same day. This season I've been mostly using drab patterns with good success. Typically when fishing my Weamer pattern, I use the downstream mend to speed up the fly in the slower runs. As it's a minnow pattern, it has to behave naturally.

In faster or deeper runs, I'm working to slow down the fly speed, yet maintain a broadside presentation. I prefer casting square to the current rather than use the 45 degree downstream cast that's typically talked about for salmon. The first 10' to 15' of drift is virtually dead drifting on these 90 degree swings.

I'm used to hunting for that one, unseen steelhead lurking somewhere in a large run. It will be completely different experience casting to a large pod of easily visible salmon.

While I'll definitely be listening to, and following the advice of my guide, I'll also want to toss a little steelhead technique at them. I'm assuming that some of these fish have been in the river a while and have seen more than a few presentations already. Maybe something a little different will be the ticket.

Appreciate all the help here . . .


01-12-2007, 05:02 PM

I am glad to see you posting again. I have just missed your posts? You used to be "regular" on the various boards and I always enjoyed your contributions -- even if I didn't unstand some of the more technical ones.

You will love the Gaspe'.



01-12-2007, 05:03 PM
Picked up the Compendium -- now to start tying -- I have to start this early if I'm going to get any done.



Gaspe Salmon
01-12-2007, 06:51 PM

although I have been fishing for salmon since 1974 and guiding since the early 80's I can tell you that I have picked up a lot of different techniques along the way from steelheaders and anglers from across the pond. salmon are special, VERY special creatures and I have never seen one that acts exactly the same as the next one. using and trying your time-tested steelhead methods WILL produce results, i can guarantee you of that. they will work best when no one else is catching anything using the standard 45 degree swing, which personally, i tend not to use too much as I like to experiment all of the time.

one thing is for sure, if the water is right, you will spot lots of fish. the key is to fish as many fish as you can instead of continually casting to the same podd of fish. often, you will find that the 'loner' fish is the one that will come to the fly. safety in numbers with salmon seems to be a continual theme so seek out individual fish if you can spot them. if you have the privilage of fishing with one of the gaspe's finest guides, Austin Clark, you will be in for a treat. when you meet him tell him i send my very best regards.

best to you,


01-13-2007, 06:59 AM

Yes, I'm still hanging around but my posting is limited these days. Really looking forward to fishing the Gaspé.


Funny, but on the drive home yesterday, I was thinking of the times I've fished to a small pod of chinook and how I have always done better when hunting for the loners. Something to remember when I'm staring at those big pods.

Thanks for all of the advice.



01-16-2007, 08:28 AM
Hi Peter,

Just to let you know, I hit the jackpot this morning on the phone draw.
You'll be fishing York 3, Dartmouth 7 and York 9 with Austin!

Get those flies ready!!

Ann :smokin:

01-16-2007, 10:11 AM
Excellent! Maybe you should start buying my 649 tickets. :)

The fur will be flying . . . I'll be narrowing this down to a half-dozen patterns in a couple of sizes each.

02-21-2007, 07:38 AM
the gaspe is a wonderful place. each salmon river in the world has a huge some have a green tint, some a tea color and some run clear. a s a reneral rule you need to carry some dark flies some bright flies and some medium flies. i fish the matapedia and have had luck with

undertaker - dark
night hawk - dark
rusty rat - med
orange blosoom speical-bright
green highlander - bright
green rat - bright
silver rat - bright

alley's shrimp

the matapedia is a green river that is why the to green flies. if the river you are fishing is tea color you would carry another orange fly or two. if it is clear another silver fly or two maybe a silver doctor. how this helps

02-22-2007, 09:25 AM
I don't know about the Matapedia being green .Green flies DO work on it ,however.Same goes for the Patapedia,Causapscal,Godbout,Escoumins and Petite St Jean which are very Tannin stained !