Ben Bilello

CLASSIC AND MODERN ATLANTIC SALMON FLIES

 
 
 

    Over the past few years, I have presented my “Traditional Methods for Broodstock Atlantic Salmon” program to angling clubs throughout Connecticut. In some cases, I have given this well received presentation more than once at the same club. I’ve often felt like it was too exhaustive a topic to cover in any great depth given the brief amount of time I am allotted. Also, certain aspects of it need to be experienced firsthand to be fully understood.


   If there is one thing I’ve learned when it comes to Atlantic salmon fishing it is, as long as the fish are there, absolutely every cast counts. I might only have one shot in a given day and I have to fish efficiently if I want to avoid getting skunked. There are days when the fish seem to take anything thrown in front of them and there are days when nothing seems to work. Most days fall somewhere within that spectrum. However, when it comes to broodstock salmon fishing, angling pressure, dropping temperatures, and shorter days make it all the more important to fish quickly but intelligently if we want to avoid going home without even a pull (which, for most local anglers, is all too common).


    The beauty of the broodstock Atlantic salmon fishery is that it only costs as much as a Connecticut resident or non-resident fishing license. For fly anglers without much/any Atlantic salmon fishing experience, the broodstock fishery is a terrific way to work on technique at home before embarking on a wild Atlantic salmon fishing trip. The experience is especially valuable for anglers who would like to pursue wild Atlantic salmon on a modest budget. My clients learn where to look for salmon and the techniques needed to hook them.    


    There are other local guides who offer broodstock salmon fishing trips. As far as I know, I am the only one with experience chasing wild Atlantic salmon. I have caught Atlantic salmon in New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Quebec, and Russia’s Kola Peninsula. I also have experience fishing for lake run, landlocked salmon in New York and Vermont. If you’re interested in learning  some of the techniques specific to Atlantic salmon fishing around the world, I suggest you book a day with me.


Objectives:


  1. Teach local anglers techniques necessary to become a consistently successful broodstock Atlantic salmon angler

  2. Explain the differences and similarities between broodstock salmon fishing and a wild Atlantic salmon fishing

  3. Help anglers shut off their “trout brain” and think more like an Atlantic salmon angler

  4. Show local anglers how to identify reliable salmon lies and holding water

  5. Teach anglers about fly selection theory and how it pertains to environmental factors, both in broodstock salmon and wild salmon fishing

  6. Work on presenting wet flies, tube flies, dry flies, and hitched flies in the most efficient way possible, thereby maximizing one’s chance of hooking up

  7. Work on strategies for fighting and landing salmon

  8. Show local anglers how to use the local salmon fishery to prepare for Atlantic salmon fishing trips abroad

  9. Help sustain local interest in salmon fishing to ensure the Connecticut Atlantic salmon fishery is there for future generations

  10. Generate more local interest in Atlantic salmon fishing with the ultimate goal of future group trips to salmon rivers in Canada and beyond


    I will do everything I can to put you in front of as many salmon as possible. I have to be up front and tell you that not every day is a winner.  This can be a fickle fishery. It is less like trout and/or steelhead fishing than most anglers realize. Most of these fish aren’t looking for a meal and there aren’t that many of them in the river to begin with. Just because they’re stocked doesn’t mean they’re always easy to catch. That said, these techniques have proven themselves consistently effective and do not require the ability to spot salmon in the water or the use of a drift boat to be successful. All Atlantic salmon fishing is a gamble but, with enough knowledge and a good strategy, we can tip the odds in our favor.


    At the moment, I am offering guided tutorial sessions on the lower Naugatuck River (Naugatuck and Beacon Falls), though the techniques are effective on the upper Naugatuck and Shetucket Rivers. In my experience, the most exciting fishing happens when the water is warmest, so it pays to fish early in the season.


Salmon School on the Lower Naugatuck River


Weekdays and Weekends from October through December


Winter or Spring trips are possible, weather permitting


Outings can last anywhere from 6-10 hours. Early October trips are the longest, December the shortest.


Rate for 1 angler: $300.00

Rate for 2 anglers: $400.00


*50% deposit due upon booking*


Rates include: Lunch/snacks, drinks, flies, leaders, tippet material, and use of rods and reels (if necessary)


Not included: Waders, license, and gratuity


Cancellation policy: Request to reschedule no less than seven days before trip


Click here to contact Ben for information and available dates


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More information on the fishery and specific tactics can be found in this five part series:


Part I - CT Broodstock Atlantic Salmon Fishing: Some Thoughts

Part II - CT Broodstock Atlantic Salmon Fishing: Tackle and Gear

Part III - CT Broodstock Atlantic Salmon Fishing: Wet and Dry Flies

Part IV - CT Broodstock Atlantic Salmon Fishing: Tube Flies

Part V - CT Broodstock Atlantic Salmon Fishing: Miscellaneous Tips

Naugatuck River Atlantic Salmon


Top left: A tough early season salmon

Bottom left: John with a jumper

Center: Fish on!

Bottom right: Hooked for life - this young angler’s first Atlantic salmon

Connecticut Broodstock Atlantic Salmon - Guided Tutorial Sessions

 

B. Skowronski 201