Salmon in flooded rivers

Salmon in flooded rivers

Guideline Norway Ambassador Svein Tore Sætre says - "I grew up on a small island on the outer coast of Sunnmøre, Norway. There aren't many large salmon rivers here, but there are several small rivers that rely on the rain for salmon to migrate upstream. Already in my childhood, I developed a keen interest in fishing in these rivers. I learned early on that the most important tool for success was to monitor the weather and conditions. 

Equipment selection for small spate rivers

LPX Chrome SHLPX Chrome SH

Super light and strong single hand rods with a deep progressive rod action, perfectly designed for salmon, sea trout and steelhead. Built with our advanced C.A.P M4.0™ technology. Premium rod stacked full of features, rarely seen at these prices.

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LPX Chrome SH

499.99 USD

Halo Black StealthHalo Black Stealth

Guideline Halo fly reels in color Black Stealth has class leading qualities in all aspects: smooth breaking system, full rim cage and models to cover all types of fishing situations.

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Halo Black Stealth

299.99 USD


The ULS 3D+ Shooting Heads are nothing short of revolutionary. They offer a solution to target large predatory fish with light gear, much in the same way we fish for salmon and sea trout with heavier gear.

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74.99 USD

Egor+ FC Spools

This is one of the best performing Japanese Fluorocarbons on the market.

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Egor+ FC Spools

18.99 USD

What makes this type of fishing particularly exciting is that there are long periods when there's very little water in these rivers, and the salmon migration comes to a complete stance. As a result, large number of fish accumulate in the sea, waiting to enter the river when the rain arrives. Timing is crucial in this situation! The salmons typically start migrating up the river as soon as there's enough water for the fish to move. They are often very aggressive towards the fly during the initial period in the river. Smaller to medium-sized salmons are most common in such rivers, therefore light equipment is often sufficient.

It's a unique experience, once you have a hooked a 4-5 kg salmon on a light single handed rod, and I've been impressed many times by the power of a light single-handed rod. Those rods also provides me with several technical advantages in fishing and casting. Another element surrounding this type of fishing is the dense forest and tall grass along these rivers, mastering various spey and water casts is almost a prerequisite for effective fishing.

Note that the salmon can be in the most unexpected places when the water is discolored, and the fish are eager to move. So, be meticulous in bringing the fly all the way to the bank. Small streaming currants behind rocks can also be a place where the salmon can be found. By all means, vary the speed of the fly! In many cases, smaller salmon are very aggressive towards a faster retrieve. You can never pull the fly faster than the salmon can swim.I used to make short shooting heads myself to handle the tight conditions in these rivers, but fortunately, I don't have to do that anymore, as we have a good selection of short shooting heads available.

The important lines

My favorites for this type of fishing are ULS Multi Tip or 4D compact with various tips. I also carry a couple of ULS 3D+ with various sink rates in my pocket, which I can use when the current is exceptionally strong. These shooting heads are also capable of turning over large flies, which is an advantage. ULS shooting line is perfect and offers excellent control in casting. 

Fly selection

Even though I often fish with a single handed #6 rod, I like to use tube flies that are 6-7 cm long in flooded rivers. My favorite color combination are black/silver/orange colors. When the river level drops, I can switch to smaller hook flies, and a small Red Francis is a clear favorite. An extra tip is to always have some dry flies and a bit of waterproofing in your pocket for the flies. I have experienced situations where salmon become very eager to take surface flies when the river subsides after a flood. 

Favorite choice of rod

My favorite choice of rod is therefor; Chrome #5 or #6, but I always carry several rods. In case of heavy flooding, I may also go for a NT11 #7 or #8. When it comes to leader - as with all my salmon fishing, I use EGOR Fluorocarbon.

I hope these tips come in handy! Tight lines & best regards / Guideline Ambassador Norway, Svein Tore Sætre


Switch rods are the perfect tool for high water in small rivers

In our wide selection of switch rod you will find rods for all occasions and walletsCheck all our SW fly rods

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