There's a vast array of information on the fascinating topic of salmon fly selection that can be rather confusing if you delve too deeply into this subject.
There's a vast array of information on the fascinating topic of salmon fly selection that can be rather confusing if you delve too deeply into this subject. The most important aspect of this topic is knowing roughly the correct sizes and colours to use through the different months of the salmon fishing season. Once you've mastered the basics then the most important factor regarding salmon fly selection becomes faith!
If you're carrying a few patterns that you've got faith in that cover high cold Spring water (1 1/2 inch aluminium body tubes) for high Spring water column swim targetting, smaller tubes or size 9's & 11's for late Spring & Summer work and some bigger tubes again (copper body tubes) for deep swim water column targetting for late Autumn tactics you're covering all salmon fly size bases.
On a personal basis I've always done well with salmon flies that include yellow, orange & black in the Spring and introducing some red into the above fly colours from mid Summer onwards. I'm a big fan too of a copper bodied salmon fly and 2 strands of holographic tinsel tied into the wing but no more than that. A small black winged fly like the 'Silver Stoat' has always done well for me in low warm bright light Summer water conditions and ocassionally a long black winged Sunray Shadow too if a fast stripped fly is required to stir them up!
There's no need to carry a suitcase of salmon flies around with you and a carefully selected box of no more than a dozen or so flies in different sizes is more than adequate. There are salmon fly pattern books that literally have thousands of patterns in them which tells you a salmon in the right frame of mind will have a go at any colour combination but I'm convinced certain colour patterns on certain rivers work far better than the majority of other fly patterns. For a quaility introduction to the famous salmon rivers of Scotland book a personal salmon guide to teach you the basics of salmon fly selection & all other important salmon fishing skills.
You cannot beat good old personal faith when it comes to salmon fly selection. If you've no real faith in the salmon fly you're using it will ultimately effect your fishing effort. Faith is derived only from multiple salmon captures so there is no short cut but once you've achieved that and personally witnessed the 'consistency' of a fly's salmon attracting ability then a true life long relationship has indeed begun.
The general rule of thumb for salmon fly size selection is to fish a larger fly in cold water and a smaller fly in warmer water however I've seen this work with the opposte approach taken. With colour selection anything with orange, yellow, red or black in the wing & hackle of the fly has worked well for me over the decades however salmon will readily take other colours too. Book a professional salmon guide in Scotland and understand more about salmon fly selection and all of the other important factors for success in this sport.