Here are the basic strategies that have helped me catch Atlantic salmon. I am sure they will help you catch more as well. I will explore them in forthcoming articles that I hope will be published. Each published magazine article and book will be announced on this web site.

  • Dark day, dark fly; bright day, bright fly is an important rule. I can recall few, if any, exceptions. The dividing line between bright or dark situations is whether the sun is visible. If the sun is not visible, then a dark pattern will be more effective. If the sun is faintly visible, then very likely a dark pattern with a little sparkle would be the best choice. Bright sunlight even with scattered clouds indicates a bright pattern.
  • Silhouette situations occur when the fish faces a sun positioned upstream. A fly presented to the salmon in this situation must pass between the sun and the fish. The fish sees only the silhouette of the fly as it passes. A silhouetted fly appears as a grey colorless shape. A silhouetted fly is less attractive than one highlighted by a sun positioned downstream. My experience also indicates that a bright sun upstream makes the salmon more interested in holding near the river bottom and less interested in surface activity. The silhouette concept is important in determining the most advantageous time of day to fish particular river locations.
  • Atlantic salmon are strongly attracted to the wake left by a fly traveling on or very near the surface of the water.
  • Buck bug and muddler patterns have a greater diameter and are more buoyant than conventional wet fly patterns. Thus, patterns tied on down eye hooks are more likely to rise to the surface and make a wake as the line pulls them against the current.
  • Down eye hooks incline the underside of the fly against the current. Thus, there is more pressure on the underside and less pressure on the top surface of the fly. The pressure differential causes the fly to rise towards the surface and make a wake as the line pulls it against the current.
  • Single hooks weigh less than double hooks. The less a hook weighs, the better the chances the fly will rise to the surface and make a wake. Single hooks also increase the percent of hook-ups landed. In addition, single hooks cause less bleeding so fish released will survive.
  • Best fishing results will be obtained when the air temperature is warmer than the water temperature. This rule is not absolute but it often explains why the fishing turns on or turns off. This rule is an excellent planning tool for the best times to begin and end daily fishing during the Atlantic salmon fishing season.
  • There are special pools where a no drag or dead drift presentation is required. These pools are typically public, subject to constant continuous fishing pressure, and there are always significant numbers of resident salmon present. These salmon may be resident for several days, weeks, or months. The fish in these pools learn to associate a dragged fly with danger. Thus in these heavily fished pools a dry fly dead drifted and not a wet fly pulled against the current is the most productive presentation.
  • High water, large fly; low water, small fly is another important rule. Relative water level determines fly size. I suggest the fly patterns in your box should be organized with different sizes of each pattern grouped together so the correct size of a particular pattern is available for differing water levels.


Jerome Farnsworth's
Buck Bug Magic:
Catch More Atlantic Salmon

Jerome shares his tips & tricks for improving your fishing using Buck Bugs.



© 2010-12 Jerome Farnsworth • All rights reserved
All photography and information on this site is the property of Jerome Farnsworth.
It may not be used without written permission.

Web site designed by Valentine Design