The opening day of the new salmon season is very close now and anglers are setting their sights on landing a spring salmon, the most highly prized salmon of them all.

So, We are all witnessing the decline of this incredible fish, of that there is no doubt, and the technical side of salmon fishing has exploded in recent times with rods and lines that can launch the fly extreme distances to cover more water than ever, but, a word of warning, dont take your eye off the ball and forget where these iconic fish will be and how they will react to your fly presentation early in the season.

Apart from the odd occasion when they will be hooked in shallow or clear water, or even in the most impossible dirty and high water conditions, these fish are generally nosing their way through very cold river systems on a deep track. They don't get caught on the move when they are running, they get caught when they settle. Depending on the river, the depth of water and the lies they find you generally need to be presenting your fly deep to have the best chance of a hookup. They are cold blodded and lethargic and if your fly is swinging 10ft above them in water close to freezing then 9 times out of 10 it will be ignored.

So how do you give yourself the best chance of a hookup? well, don't be afraid to tackle up with a big heavy fly, yes it is easier to cast small flies with light bodies and be impressed with your casting but it will not impress spring salmon until temps rise and they are more active. Take the Helmsdale river for instance, it is no surprise that springers get caught in the deepest parts of the classic big spring pools, Lower Caen, Salscraggie, Kilphedir, Eldrable, Upper & Lower Torrish, The Manse pool. There are many others which are equally as deep which give spring salmon sanctuary in there slow migration but the key to catching them is to get your fly in front of them as often as you can. Be aware of where you are fishing, a 6ft sinking tip with a light tube will not cut it in these pools.

Drifting back to the Helmsdale heydays where I grew up chasing springers the "go to" outfit was a full sink Wetcel line with 3" steel Brora Waddington on the end and boy did they catch early season fish. The old boys who knew the river inside out would have laughed at you if you appeared with anything less that a full sink line and 3" tube before the end of February at least! Yes there were more fish but how many in Jan & Feb? I would argue that there were not massively more fish in the river but the tactics were more suited to the cold conditions. As an aside, I have caught most of my early season salmon on Willie Gunn & alistair copper tubes with a 1.5 - 2"" copper body/3" wing and black & yellow Monkey tubes with 6" wing.

So, what can we learn from this? well we all now have many more options to fish a pool perfectly from top to bottom although I would steer away from the top end of pools until salmon get more active in higher temps. Whatever way you can do it, make sure your fly isclose to the bottom and if you are snagging occasionally then you are pretty much there. We all have the opportunity to deploy large tungsten, copper tubes and coneheads at any depth we want on the end of any sinking tip length or sinking line we need to present our fly in the magical "taking zone"

Fish deep, slow and big and you may just get that long slow tighten to your line that results in the fish of a lifetime, and yes, we have all the gear you need right here -

New Rs Alistair Superkrill 3" wing

Alistair Special tubes up to 3" wing on 2" copper tubes

RS Willie Gunn SuperKrill up to 2" copper tubes with 3" wing



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Spring salmon fishing is almost upon us again and the urge to go chasing silver will be back very soon so check out our amazing flies and discount selections which will maximise your chances of a hookup to the early season fish of a lifetime.

RS Chartreuse Baxter Babe Conehead