The 5 best salmon flies

Walk into any fishing store and you're soon taken hostage by the sheer choice. The fly pick-a-mix is truly overwhelming - every conceivable colour, size and creation spread out in front of you.

As the tired adage goes, patterns are designed to attract the fishers rather than the fish - and wow does it work. You know the process: you pick out a couple of trusted designs that have brought you success in seasons past, and then as you think you're done, a zingy orange number catches your eye - you must have it. And the garish fly that resembles a florid Christmas tree? It'll never meet the end of your leader and your ghillie will gasp in disgust at the mere sight of it, but obviously it's coming to. And so it continues. Soon you're whizzing up and down the rows in a crazed panic, ensuring not a single lure is missed, leaving with an extra three fly boxes and a receipt best kept hidden from your other half.

It's an addiction any salmon angler knows all too well, and as our only real source of rehab is the riverbank itself, a long-term cure to this vicious cycle looks unlikely. In amongst this intoxicating kaleidoscope, however, here are five flies that should always feature in your selection.

1. Willie Gunn

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2. Cascade

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3. Sunray Shadow

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4. Stoat's Tail

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5. Red/Black Francis Conehead

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Photos from Sportfish

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