Salmon hooks [Archive] - Fly Fishing Forum

: Salmon hooks

11-27-2002, 10:17 AM
I'm interested in tying some classic streamers. The Gray ghost and Black ghost look like something I could handle. My question is what hook style do you use for these patterns? I notice that many are tied on the salmon hooks that are black and have a heavy wire to them. I plan on using 6xl shank. Is there an advantage to the salmon hooks, possibly the weight let's the fly run deeper?

11-27-2002, 10:23 AM
I know that if you post this on the steelhead board you will get plenty of opinions on hooks. In short, different designs have different weights, ride at different depths in the water, have a different attitude due to their curves, and have different hooking and holding power....

11-27-2002, 10:35 AM
Aaah, two of my favorite streamer patterns. Like them so much that Black Ghost is my user name on a couple of other sites.
In the Joe Bates classic book - Streamers and Bucktails - The Big Fish Flies he states: "Unless otherwise noted it is recommended that all bucktails and streamers be dressed on 3x long hooks, usually using bronze for fresh water and either non corrosive nickel, cadimum, gold plate or stain less steel for salt water"

For trout, I like the classic turned down eye, limerick, in bronze 1x to 4x long. If I was using them for salmon or steelhead would need a stronger hook. Check out the major hook manufacturer web sites and your local fly shops.

Being a steelheader we have fetishes for all types of salmon, nymph, hair wing, dry fly, and streamer hooks etc.

Hope that helps

11-27-2002, 11:19 AM
Jim - if these are for regular trout I would go with the 3x or 4x limerick as Hal suggested. You probably don't need to worry about bending them out with the average size of fish we have around here (freshwater, at least) :D

For weight I would experiment with coneheads or beads. Over the last couple of seasons I have just gone to carrying the beads in my vest and threading them on the tippet if needed. Just need to open up your loop a bit so you don't stress the knot on your backcast.


11-27-2002, 11:35 AM

If your looking for 'classic' then I would go with a trad. salmon 'iron'. Those curves are just - well you know ;)

John Desjardins
11-27-2002, 11:47 AM
Jim, Are these for fishing or display? And how are you going to fish them?

The reason I ask is that the classic patterns were designed for trolling and have a looooooong hook. Try a web search on Mike Martinek for info on the long hooks. I recall reading somewhere that the reason for the long hooks is 2 fold; to act as a keel while trolling and to hook short strikers.

What I've found for streamers in general is that I prefer a 3-4X long hook of heavy wire. This is based on fishing in streams rather than trolling. Streamers seem to have a more natural looking nose down drift with the shorter hooks. I haven't tried the salmon hooks but am interested in the topic.

11-27-2002, 12:32 PM
You could tie these on some of the larger salmon hooks 7999, 36890s etc and they would provide a heavier and stronger hook which you need for salmon and steelhead. Other wise they are going to bend and straighten the normal trout style hooks.

If you are using them for display or general river trout fishing, I would use the traditional streamer hooks mentioned above.

Depends what your objectives are ?

11-27-2002, 01:08 PM
Many contemporary freshwater streamer patterns originated in the northeastern US and of these most (if not all) are tied on X-long (2-6x w/ 3x most common) bronze streamer hooks with the standard down-turned eye. The ghost series, black-nosed dace, smelts, the trusty hornberg are all tied on this hook style.

Tiemco makes a 5263 in 3XL 2x hvy bronze, size #2 down to #18, which I use for steelhead muddlers (fall caddis) and haven't had any deformation due to stress with the 2x hvy wire. They arent' heavy to cast either, very good hook.

Other brands make these hooks but in lighter wire and can be a little gimpy.

Salmon/steelhead wet fly hooks are typically loop-eyed in black alloy with about a 2x length, upturned eye. Pretty heavy iron for trout, but they will work and if the desire is to swim them in current they may work out better.

11-27-2002, 02:05 PM
Thanks for all the great responses.
I'll be fishing these in my local kettle pond. I may try them in the Indianhead river but most of my fishing for trout is just around the corner in a couple of ponds.
Mostly casting from shore and maybe trolling from the kayak or float tube, waters getting chilly though. I'm a real novice to freshwater tying and won't have anything worthy of a shadow box this year.
I think the bronze will do the trick, if I happen into one of the landlock salmon the tippet will probably be the failing point. I'm targeting the larger rainbows and browns; in the ponds I fish that translates into anything over a couple pounds.
John, Interesting point about xxxl for trolling. I think I'll tie up 3x for casting and a few 6x for trolling.
Those Tiemco's sound like a good fit. The bead on the tippet sounds like a cool trick if I need to get it down.

11-27-2002, 08:06 PM
:) Jim, If you want to tie Classic Salmon flies you want the Japaned finish which is black, and usually looped eyes, some have double hooks, I have a few boxes of them, I will have to dig some out and send some to you, what sizes do you want? I have some great video I have from the Coho Indianhead River, North River Fisheries. The extinct fishery, as it also was in the Lamperey River in Newmarket NH.

11-27-2002, 10:06 PM
Use a thin wire hook, regardless of size. The thin wire will hold a hel. of a lot bigger fish than most folks would suspect. But they "set" themselves .. and stay that way.

Lost fish to a hook that ended up looking like the 'letter' "L," you betcha ... but that's part of the WOW! of fishing.

11-29-2002, 09:30 AM
Thanks for the light wire perspective. As with all things flyfishing it looks like I'll need them all, heavy, light, short and long.:hehe:
I got out on the pond this morning and experienced my first Iced up guide trip:eyecrazy: so it's getting into tying season for me.

11-29-2002, 09:41 AM
A time and place for everything. Even though I'm not that far from the North Umpqua (couple of hours of freeway driving) very rarely make the trip. But after they put the no wted hooks regulation in force my first reaction to the size (for hook wt) of the flys being used was: Holy Christmas! It's a feathered club.

It's good to fish water where you really can choose what sized gear you want to go with. Rather than having it dictated to you.

12-01-2002, 08:26 PM

The Classic New England Featherwing Streamers really should be tied on a high quality 6x to 8x long looped down eye limerick bend hook, whether bronze or black is of no consequence. However, if they are tied on the shorter 3x or 4x long hooks or on salmon looped up eye hooks the proportions get ruined and the fly doesn't swim properly. A 6x or 7x long hook fishes very well in running water or cast in still water.

There are several good hooks on the market now for this style of fly: Daichi has a 7x long straight loop eye bronze hook (model #2370) known as the "Dick Talleur Classic Streamer Hook" (my favorite streamer hook); Partridge makes a very good 6x long loop eye streamer hook (the CS15 "Ken Baker Limerick Streamer Hook"); Mike Martinek sells a very fine hook for this style fly in both 6x and 8x; and Belvoirdale sells a very fine 7x long streamer hook as well. Avoid the extra long 10x long hooks from Partidge, they are just too long for anything but trolling and they also mess with the proprtions and lines of the classic streamer flies.

That said, keep in mind that muddlers and woolly buggers are not classic steamers and they were originally tied on 3x to 4x long hooks. If you tie a muudler or woolly bugger on the longer 6x to 8x long hooks the proportions are all messed up. The 6x and longer hooks are for the classic feather wing streamers, and the shorter 3x and 4x long hooks are for muddlers, sculpins, woollly buggers, zonkers, and marabou streamers.

Also, keep in mind that to tie the classic featherwing streamers properly you must glue the wing pieces together at the butts before mounting them. YOu build the wing sides seperately and start witht he inside feather out to the jungle cock cheek. ONLY APPLY GLUE TO THE BASE OF THE FEATHER! otherwise, you will ruin the action of the fly in the water. And if you tie the feathers for the wing in one at a time, the fly's head gets too big and the fly doesn't swim properly.