As salmon anglers, it is very easy to fall into the trap of getting obsessed with fly patterns and the subtle differences in fly appearances. So much so that often the angler can spend more time changing their flies rather than keeping them in the water. Of course, this is counterproductive but there is a lot to be said for having confidence in a fly that you are using. If you are not fishing with confidence and instead, more going through the motions the chances of success can often be limited. 
When it comes to salmon fishing in Scotland during the early spring months it can often be important to not get too preoccupied with the fly pattern itself. Fresh springers (fish which have been in the river for no longer than 48 hours) are generally good takers of a fly and so often if they see a fly, they will have a go and try and take it. The subtle differences in fly pattern, therefore, does not matter so much. Instead, often the profile of the fly can hold the key to success.
The profile of a fly encompasses a number of different parameters. These include the size of the fly as well as the style of fly whether that be dressed or a tube and the depth it is moving through the water column. In addition to this other parameters when it comes to profile are the tone of the fly, whether it is bright or darker in nature which obviously depends on the pattern as well as any movement that the angler decides to impart on the fly.
When you look at these parameters individually, it quickly becomes apparent why the profile of the fly is so important especially when chasing early season spring salmon. The size of the fly is often very important. When it comes to spring salmon fishing early in the season it can often be all about finding the fish. There is no need to be subtle in your approach and so quite a bold and brightly coloured fly can often work well, especially if the water is high and cold. If the water is high a larger fly may also be more visible and so tube flies can often be the order of the day.
The depth the fly moves through the water column can also be very important especially during the early part of the season. When water temperatures are low often the fish lie close to the river bed and so the fly needs to be fishing at an adequate depth. The depth can be easily altered by either using a heavier fly or a line or polyleader with a faster sinking rate.
The tone of the fly can often be important and usually during the early spring months brighter flies seem to work well. Flies like the Willie Gunn, Posh Tosh and Cascade are all quite bright and show up well in the water column. Finally, we look at how the fly moves through the water. Often during the early part of the season, salmon are not keen on chasing a fly quickly especially if the water temperature is low. So, it is important to be able to alter the speed at which your fly is moving. This can be done by either mending the fly line or if you feel the fly needs a little more movement (if there is limited current in the pool) then slowly stripping or using the figure of eight technique. This can often result in an induced take.
So, as you can see the profile of a fly is much more than just the fly pattern itself. It encompasses many key parameters. If you have confidence in the size, tone, depth and speed at which your fly is moving through the water you stand an excellent chance of getting that elusive Scottish springer to take!