Mastering the Art of Salmon Flies Trolling

A Follow-Up to “Tricked Out Salmon Spoons”

Hey there, angling enthusiasts! I want to extend a heartfelt thank you for your feedback on our previous article, “Tricked Out Salmon Spoons,” featured in GLA June/July 2019. We truly appreciate your tips, strategies, and pictures, and we’re excited to incorporate some of them into this new article. By sharing our knowledge and experiences, we hope to contribute to the Great Lakes Fishery and assist fellow sportsmen in reeling in more impressive trophies!

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Tip #1: Enhance Your Hookup Rates with Stinger Hooks

Have you ever experienced a trout or salmon following your bait, tantalizingly close to taking the hook, only to swing and miss? If so, our team has a solution for you. Utilize a two-hook herring rig for your trolling flies, incorporating a trailing hook as a stinger. We’ve discovered that this setup significantly improves your chances of hooking those elusive fish. Our customers have reported excellent results, and we guarantee it will increase your hookup rates!

To achieve optimal results, we recommend using the top-notch 4/0 Eagle Claw L2BU LazerSharp Octopus hooks with robust 50# Trilene BigGame leaders. If you’re curious about how to tie a two-hook herring rig, check out Go Fish Guide Service’s YouTube video: “How to Tie a Two Hook Herring Rig.” When setting up your rig for a 4″ Trolling Fly, ensure you leave space for beads between or in front of the hooks, or even both!

Discover the “Yah-Der-Hey” Fly Recipe

Let’s dive into the first fly recipe – the impressive “Yah-Der-Hey.” This forward-tied beauty features a Green Glow Bullet Head, 3/16″ UV Stick-On Eyes, a 4″ CI Cracked Ice Bandaboo in Aqua, Teal, and Clear Crinkled shades, UV Pearl Krystal Flash, and forest green thread. Complete the look with three 8mm UV chartreuse beads and a two-hook herring rig with a stinger. This recipe is sure to entice even the most discerning salmon and trout!

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Where to Find the Essential Tying Materials

Ready to unleash your fly-tying skills? Look no further! We’ve compiled a list of reputable suppliers who will provide you with everything you need. Give a big shoutout to,,,,, Seattle Marine & Fishing Supply Co.,, and These trusted sources will ensure you have all the premium materials required for your fly-tying endeavors.

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If you’re a beginner, consider purchasing a fly-tying vice and a thread bobbin. is an excellent starting point. We’ve had our Super AA Fly Tying Vice for years, and it’s still going strong. Additionally, the Fly-Tying Bobbin with Collar is a steal at just $2.95! As for clear coat, we’ve had success with Sally Hansen’s Hard As Nails. Don’t be shy about buying fishing supplies, even if you get funny looks in the Walmart aisle – it’s all for the love of fishing, right? 😉

For those interested in Bullet Heads versus Tube Flies, check out Not only do they offer fantastic Flies & Meat-Rigs, but they’ve also introduced bullet heads with standard built-in eyes – all proudly made in the USA! If you’re looking for “Tricked Out” Trolling Flies right out of the box, is worth exploring. Their ProStaff ensures each fly is extensively field-tested and fine-tuned before production. You can count on quality and effectiveness from these USA-made flies!

Tip #2: Finding the Perfect Leader Length

Choosing the right leader length is crucial for a successful trolling expedition. As a general rule, start with a leader length three times the size of your flasher. For example, if you’re running an 8″ flasher, use a 24″ leader (including the 4″ fly). This tried-and-true method, embraced by most charter captains, consistently fills their boxes and keeps customers satisfied. Running numerous lines adorned with flasher flies creates irresistible vibrations in the water column, attracting predator fish and potentially sparking a feeding frenzy. To transfer the flasher’s action to the fly effectively, opt for 40-50# leaders. Properly attaching the loop to the flasher’s swivel is crucial – feed the loop through the swivel, place the fly through the loop, lubricate, and cinch tight.

To alter the fly’s action, shorten or lengthen the leader accordingly. However, why would you want less action? Keep in mind that “big kings” sometimes prefer a slower presentation. Meat Rigs are highly effective, partly due to the additional length provided by the (3) teaser flies. Experiment by running 42-60″ leaders with your favorite 11″ paddle and fly. You might end up landing a personal best monster king!

Introducing the “Gitche Gumee Green” Fly

Let’s move on to the next fly recipe – the captivating “Gitche Gumee Green.” This reverse-tied beauty boasts a UV Green Bullet Head, UV Stick-On Eyes (WTP #3.5EY-37), a 4″ CI Bandaboo with layers of Blue Mirage, Green Pearl, and Transparent UV Extreme. Thread it together with Superior Threads Color #750 Chartreuse, add three 8mm UV Chartreuse Beads, and attach a 1/8″ Latex Flo Green Hook Tubing. Complete the ensemble with a 5mm Glass Rattle and an oversized 1/0 Owner ST-36 Treble Hook. This gem pairs perfectly with the popular 11″ Super-Series Shortbus Flasher, featuring double-serrated rotator fins and double #6 ball bearing swivels. Like our other flies, it is proudly made in the USA!

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Tip #3: Explore Tricked Out Hook-Rigs

When it comes to hook-rigs, variety is the spice of life! Let’s take a closer look at three popular options:

  • Top – Standard Treble: Give it an upgrade with an oversized, sticky sharp 1/0 Owner ST-36 Treble. Include 1/4″ Hot-Pink Latex Hook Tubing, 5-6 8mm UV Chartreuse beads, and Berkley Trilene 50# Big Game Leaders. Don’t forget the optional 5mm Rattle for added allure.
  • Center – Tournament Rig: Opt for a #1 Owner ST-36 Treble, a 4/0 Eagle Claw Lazer Sharp L2B, Hook Tubing, (2) 8mm Beads, and your choice of whether to include a 5mm Rattle.
  • Bottom – Two Hook Herring Rig: Set the trailing hook as a stinger, ensuring that the Hook Tubing incorporates an inserted Rattle. Enhance the rig with 2-3 8mm Beads.

Remember, the quality of your hooks plays a significant role in your fishing success. Always choose the sharpest, highest caliber hooks you can find. Additionally, get creative with your Latex Hook tubing, utilizing vibrant colors like Fluorescent Red, Green, and Hot Pink. Through extensive field testing, we’ve determined that the color contrast attracts the charging king salmon precisely to the target hook location. As for beads, don’t underestimate their importance. Bead color matters! We recommend UV Chartreuse, Red, and Glow beads in 8mm size. There’s a vast array of beads available, including smooth, faceted, glass, hard and soft plastic, mottled varieties resembling trout or salmon eggs, UV reactive colors, and even scented options. Check out for some intriguing soft “Blood Mottled Atomic Yellow” beads – you might want to string them along to create a scent trail behind your fly. If you prefer to buy your flies and tournament rigs directly, head over to Their products come standard with a rattle, and their tournament success on Lake Ontario’s Lady-O speaks for itself!

trolling fly flies fishing fish great lakes salmon kings chinook

Mid-Summer Deep Program: Glow and UV Reactive Baits

When it comes to summer trolling, glow and UV reactive baits have proven to be deadly effective! Picture this: you, out on the water, surrounded by darkness or the sun’s intense rays. In such conditions, a UV Blacklight Flashlight becomes your secret weapon. Illuminate your trout and salmon trolling baits, and prepare to be amazed. Watch as your favorite, most productive baits light up, showcasing their inherent glow or UV materials. These irresistible glimmers attract fish and penetrate the water column, remaining visible even in great depths. For an enlightening experiment, try trolling UV baits next to non-UV baits, comparing the catch rates. We’ve already tested this theory and can confirm that UV materials outperform the rest. Let this guide you in tricking out your trolling flies, whether it means incorporating bullet heads, beads, stick-on eyes, mylar, hook tubing, flasher tape, or more!

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The Mesmerizing “Da Tirdy Pounder” Fly

Now, let’s unveil the captivating “Da Tirdy Pounder” fly. This reverse-tied beauty features a Chartreuse Glow Bullet Head, UV Stick-On Eyes, and a 4″ CI Bandaboo with layers of Blue Mirage, Baby Blue, and Transparent UV Extreme. Weave it together using Superior Threads Color #750 Chartreuse, accentuate it with three 8mm UV Chartreuse Beads, and complete the look with a two-hook herring rig alongside a stinger. This remarkable fly is designed with a 50# Trilene Big Game Leader. As a bonus, we’ve added an image of the “Da Tirdy Pounder” – check it out!

trolling fly flies fishing fish great lakes salmon kings chinook

Unleash Your Creativity with Mirage Cracked Ice Bandaboo

To make your trolling flies even more irresistible on bright sunny days or in crystal clear water, we recommend incorporating Mirage Mylar material. Our top pick is the Mirage Cracked Ice Bandaboo in “Blue Mirage.” You can find this fantastic creation at, where you’ll receive superb service from Deb and LeRoy Dowding. When this fly glides through a massive bait ball, it magically stands out among the thousands of shiny alewives. In the depths of the water column, where other colors fade, this fly’s crazy reflective Mylar shines bright, captivating hungry kings left and right. Don’t limit yourself – add this extraordinary Mylar material to every fly you tie, and witness firsthand how it ups your fish-catching game!

trolling fly flies fishing fish great lakes salmon kings chinook

Attention to Detail: The Gill Plate Area

It’s time to pay attention to the smallest yet significant details – the gill plate area. Choosing the right thread becomes crucial in completing your fly’s design. Consider using a UV reactive thread that matches the beads, or experiment with a non-UV thread like dark red to create contrast. The latter can simulate a bleeding, wounded baitfish, driving the fish wild. Additionally, a standard white thread is highly UV reactive, as you’ll discover when inspecting it under a blacklight flashlight!

That’s all for now, my angling friends! We hope this article has equipped you with valuable insights and inspiration for your next fishing adventure. Keep honing your skills, exploring various techniques, and enjoying the thrill of hooking magnificent salmon and trout! Remember, you can always refer back to our previous article, “Tricked Out Trolling Spoons,” to expand your fishing repertoire.

Tight lines and happy trolling!

Hook’d Up Bar and Grill