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The salmon is the preferred quarry for some Teign anglers. Unfortunately the numbers of salmon seen in the river have been diminishing in recent years with a particular decline in the spring component reflecting global trends.
At the opening of the season in February, and for the first few brief weeks, the only salmon usually caught are kelts although there is still the chance of a fresh fish by March. Usually April is a more reliable time to meet them. When they run, and how far up the river they will travel, are very much determined by the prevailing water temperatures and levels.
From May onwards it should be worthwhile looking for salmon and by the time we get to July some grilse ought to have arrived to give a bit more sport although recent trends suggest this cannot be relied on. Recent records show the bulk of our salmon tend to be taken in September but never neglect any rise in water level!
The most popular method of catching them is with the spinning rod, the flying ‘C’ proving a particularly lethal bait, although prior to that the Rapala was very effective and one or two of our most experienced anglers still prefer it.
Nevertheless there is virtually nowhere on the river that can’t be fished with the salmon rod and the salmon do respond when you get it right. Waddington’s dictum of big fly (at least three inches, overall dressing) on a sinking line when water temperatures are less than 48 degrees and a small fly on floating line for temperatures above that is a good starting point but be prepared to ring the changes.
Useful flies in the big fly category are Garry Dog, Willie Gunn and Collie Dog while any fairly nondescript fly should perform well off the floating line.The Black Dart is as good a fly on the Teign in a spate as it is on the river where it originated. Remember too, a big fly requires a big rod and a heavy line to drive it. An AFTM 9 or 10 line is the minimum in these circumstances.
We do not run monster salmon in the Teign system and normally a ten pounder is a
good fish although we do get bigger by a pound or two every year. The biggest fresh
fish I know of weighed in at over twenty-