Irish Salmon Shrimp Flies

Thebeautiful weather and the resulting drought which plagued Irish rivers for weeks is over.  The increased water levels and drop in water temperature has come just in time for the main grilse run. 

I thought it was a good time to share some of my favourite patterns.  

Irish shrimp flies original from the River Bann and were created by Coleraine fly dresser Pat Curry. (more to follow on this

Selecting a shrimp fly depends on 2 main factors. 

Factors to consider are water colour  and clarity . For example, in darker water, the brighter patterns seem to be the most productive when tied in a larger size 10 or even an 8.   Although I have found smaller sizes like 12s can be really productive in small rises of slightly silted up coloured water. 

Another factor is how fresh the fish in the pools are.  Yellows and brighter colours tend to be mostly used for very fresh fish, whereas the clarets and darker patterns work well once fish have been in a few weeks.  One of my favourite patterns is the Curry’s Red shrimp. It is a great all rounder and it has been my most successful fly. This is closely followed by the Apache ( tied by Bert Atkins, another Bann catchment fly dresser and angler in theof more recent times. These patterns can be very effective point flies.

The Silver Wilkinson seems to be the most productive dropper fly, especially for fresh fish. With its blue and magenta colouration and that bit of flash, it can often draw attention bringing fish out of their holding area. Somtimes taking the wilkinson but other times being drawen from their holding area they will end up taking your point fly.  An interesting observation I’ve made is that the Wilkinson, although not a typical autumn colours pattern, is a very good late season fly. Fished when lots of autumnal leaves are in the water, the theory being it stands out well against the orange brown and red leaves flowing in the river. The blue and pink are completely alien colours and contrast the natural colours in the river. 

Below Wilkinson Shrimp Double 

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There are many popular Irish Shrimp fly patterns but I wanted to take some time to share of my most popular patterns and talk a little about them.   

Shrimp flies, with their moving tail and pulsing hackles work very well in slower pools where movement in the fly is important.  They will also take fish at the tail of the pool or the head of a strem. However,  In the mid section of a pool, shrimp flies pulled or twitched back or simply cast across at 45 degree angle and allowed to work slowly over the fish holding areas can be very effective.

For faster streams Cascades and hairwing patterns are more popular as the wings hold a better shape in the vigorous flow and the they have a more elongated appearance that swims really well in a fast current. 

More on this in another blog to come. 

Below Red Shrimp Double 

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If you are intersted in irish shrimp flies check out our Singles Doubles and Trebles on our website SALMON FLIES – BannvalleyShop

Any Question feel free to contact me @  [email protected] 

Thanks for looking 


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