Apparantly Arthur Wood, the pioneer of greased line salmon fishing fished a march brown for a whole year for salmon and concluded that his catch rate didn't suffer. Got me wondering what his tying looked like. My guess is the subdued nature and natural appearance of the pattern would bear scrutiny and could be fished very slowly. Here's my attempt on a size 5 salar hook. Sorry about the bad focus.
Nice looking fly. In a smaller size it would definitely do the business for an early evening seatrout.
I'm not a competent salmon anger by any means. Have only caught a handful of times and usually while fishing for trout or seatrout. I have heard that argument put forward a few times tho - fishing the same pattern vs. changing the pattern. Makes ya wonder why so many invest in a box full of expensive salmon patterns when possible just having a handful of flies that throw a different silhouette may suffice.
Like you I have caught a few salmon as a by product of trout/seatrout fishing, mostly good sized summer salmon. Kill devil spider, black pennel, peter ross, and fiery brown were salmon catchers for me mostly in size 10. I've never really used feather winged flies much for salmon. I don't think older salmon patterns would place an angler at much disadvantage.
For a good few years I fished almost exclusively for salmon with a bann special shrimp variant (gold replacing yellow on body) on size 12 treble because it simply caught fish in all reasonable conditions including springers in April. I no longer fish with trebles because of the unavoidable damage they do to fish, especially parr. I'm not gone on the look of Irish shrimps on single hooks so I'm on the search for a new confidence fly.
there was a man who fished the moy many years ago and he only used two flies all season long. He used to catch 150+ fish a season.
The most important thing you can have in salmon fishing is a phone call!!!!
For what its worth after that I find a cascade will do the biz most of the time
I know what you mean about the look of modern Irish shrimp patterns on single hooks.
However, there are a few older, Irish dressings which work very well on single hooks. The old Clyde patterns work well too, on singles.
This is the dressing for an old Irish pattern 'Judy of the Bogs':
Tail. GP Topping
Tail Hackle: Grey Heron Feather
Body: Black Floss
Centre Veiling: GP crest tied top and bottom
Rib: Oval Gold
Wings: Jungle Cock
Front Hackle: Black Heron
Heron feathers can be difficult to come by. There's an opportunity to be creative here.
I knew a masterful angler on the Owenea in Donegal who only ever fished one fly and he would catch when no one else could.
It was a drab fly, not at all unlike your March Brown (but with a black head) - the body was well picked out fiery brown/claret seal's fur and the rib was barely visible, almost as though its colours were in harmony with the Donegal bogs and moorland, through which the Owenea flows. He swore on the deadliness of Jungle Cock, though, and always included it.
Irish patterns were always that bit more subtle and had a sort of organic feel to them.
The fashion has largely swung towards the more gaudy colours of English patterns these days.
I am in the school which believes that pattern is of less importance than size and that size matters not just in terms of the time of year or the height of the water, but in the different sizes required from pool to pool, and run to run.
I have a couple of cascades ready for next season.
I like the veilings on the older shrimp flies as they help to fluff out the body a bit and avoid the sinewey look. I'll have to experiment with some indian crow substitute on some of my favourite shrimp patterns.
Talking about using flies that blend into the environment, a favourite on the Slaney when the water was running clear was the lemon grey. I tied an updated version last night with a badger hair wing and black ice dubbing butt which I'm very happy with in appearance. Will post a pic this evening.
The blue tag is your own invention?
Here's a traditional Lemon Grey from my collection, it's possibly tied by the legendary Irish fly dresser, Michael Rogan of Ballyshannon.
Note the blending of monkey fur in the body, the married wings with the Macaw 'horns', the perfectly finished head, and the magnificent overall proportions.
worth a try on a lake?
A beautiful example of the original Slowburner. The monkey fur gives a very nice body. Tied without a vice no doubt. Looks like a limerick hook.
The ice dubbing was my own improvisation to replace the black ostrich herl butt, it's labelled as black but has a very blue sparkle.
Should be worth a try on a lake as it has similar proportions as a beltra badger. Now thats a fly that should do well for spring salmon in a river too.