Labrador Salmon Fishing 7/16-24
Just returned from an awesome Atlantic salmon trip in Labrador. River and tidal conditions were optimal and the salmon were very cooperative-a catch and released limit of 4 salmon per day for seven days was the result. Most fish were grilse between 4 and 6 pounds. However, we did land a couple of 20 pound salmon and numerous in the 8 to 15 pound class. Sparsely dressed Black Bear Green-butt with green krystal-flash in the wing tied on 6 or 8 low-water hooks attached to the leader with the Portland Creek hitch was the best producer. Most mono as well as fluorocarbon did not stand up to the “hitch”. Soft, relatively large diameter material worked best like Maxima. Further, re-tying the hitch was necessary after each fish to prevent break-offs. Flies fished this way ride on the surface thus allowing the fly fisher to see just about every rise. Further, the regulation of fly speed on the swing, so necessary in eliciting the salmon’s strike response, is more easily facilitated.
In the fast water, I tried a shift from the accepted Newfoundland convention and fished a large 1/0 or 2 Magog smelt pattern without the hitch, introduced to me by a Quebec salmon guide. Due to the high-water, this fly proved extremely effective as it has on numerous Quebec rivers including the Moisie. My first fish on the Magog, was a wild 32” salmon estimated at 12 pounds covered with sea-lice. This fish tested the 7 wgt. Trident TL mid-flex to the “Max” and heated up the Bogdan #1½ by vacating the pool after the third jump. A precarious fifty-yard dash on the rocks along the cascade was necessary to bring this fish to hand and release. The black flies were ferocious.
Capt. Mike Bartlett