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new2fly 04-25-2005 01:09 PM

matching flys to whats real????
here is a pretty basic question but something that i need to know. When fishing for trout last spring i used two basic dry flys. one matched a musquito and the other that seemed to work really well was one that looked like a small bumble bee. now here is my question, while fishing for salmon last saturday we were using bright streamers with a lot of neon green and yellow with red. now these streamers dont look nothing like anythign that the salmon would be feading on, and the 2 flys that i used for trout last spring looked simular to what the trout would be feading on. so do certian fish at certian times take the brighter flys better, while at other times of the season they take a more natural fly better? Just something i thought of and maybe someone can explaine this too me. thanks in advance.


Dble Haul 04-25-2005 01:50 PM

Fish can be triggered to strike at flies that have colors schemes not found in nature. This is usually triggered by aggression or curiousity, and sometimes hunger. Sometimes somethinig that is a suggestion of life and easily seen is readily taken by gamefish.

Youngpatawan 04-26-2005 08:51 PM

With Salmon fishing brighter colors can work because they more or less aggitate the fish into hitting the fly. Plus they can also hit with a "knee" jerk reaction. Just think of when a bee lands on you and you freak out and try swating it . Kind of the same concept with salmon fishing. As for the patterns for trout, trout can get selective and during times of the year they will take those flies . hope this helps.

teflon_jones 04-27-2005 01:19 PM

Look at any tackle or fly box of largemouth bass baits and I'm betting that at least 1/2 of them won't be colored like anything that exists in nature.

Trout, bass, stripers, salmon, and most other sport fish are predators and all of these bright colors are designed to ellicit a predatory response out of them.

flytyer 04-27-2005 02:03 PM


The short answer to your question regarding flies for salmon is that salmon do not feed when they return to fresh water rivers and streams to spawn. This means that they are not taking or striking at a fly becaue they are hungry and want to eat. Therefore, the flies used for salmon for the most part don't imitate any type of food they eat in the ocean or in fresh water as smolts priot to going out to sea. Thus, the flies for salmon are much more colorful or have spots of bright or flourescent color that are part of the darker, drabber slamon flies.

In very simplified terms, since salmon don't feed upon returning to rivers and streams as adults for spawning, flies used for them need to elicit either an aggression response or kick in a memory of eating an insect or baitfish years ago when they were immature smolts of a few inches in size.

Trout, bass, pike, pickerel, and panfish are very different in this regard because they are actively feeding and looking for things that look like the prevalent insect, baitfish, frog, smaller fish, etc. in the area. That is why we imitate insects and use much smaller flies for trout than salmon.

Bob Pauli 04-27-2005 04:28 PM

What Fish See
What Fish See by Dr. Kageyama explains that the only visible colors in 60-feet of water are blue and green, and salmonids' eyes adapt to this, to the exclusion of other colors. Salmon strike bright green lures because they see green so vividly. According to Kageyama, salmonids' eyes become more sensitive to oranges and reds after entering fresh water and become spawining mature. It makes sense that seeing salmon eggs is important for spawning salmon.

The information re colors visible in the ocean's depths is confirmed in a recent issue of National Geographic.

What Fish See is an interesting book.

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