For salmon and steelhead in good visibility I like sizes 2-8. Up to 2/0 in less than 3 feet. Style dependent on pattern but more often a Blue Heron Hook - it just works for the majority of dressings that I prefer.
I agree with all Matt said above, I really enjoy altering hooks. Things like straightening an eye to make a long Dee hook, or a cold bend in a limerick to make it more round, or even as far as annealing and changing everything about an iron.
For me it just depends on the pattern and the overall look I want, long and lean I go for an AJ or blue heron, shorter and stout, more of a standard salmon iron or an old limerick.
The Gamakatsu T10-6H has become my hook of choice for all my atlantic salmon hair and feather wing wets, sizes 2 to 8. Wish they made a 10!!!
I don't really use low-water hooks very much, but their T10-3H is nice for that purpose. I also like the Veverka hook.
Of late most of my hooks have been Blue Herons. I just wish they came in a smaller size. I mainly tie winter patterns on either the size 1 or 2 models and also have been using the 1.5 AJ blind eye version
For summer work, size 3,5 and 7 AJs in a variety of finishes.
I use a very wide variety of hooks in tying steelhead flies, from simple sproat hooks from Mustad, to Tiemco, Gamakatsu, Daiichi, Dai-Riki, Partridge and others. It would be easier for me to describe hooks I don't like than to list the ones I do like. The older, classic Mustads, on which most of the flies in my boxes were tied are honestly of mediocre quality. Some eyes aren't well closed, points are poor, and however they japanned their old hooks sucked - lots of bumps and globs of black. Still, I miss some of the styles they've discontinued, especially the 9575. Their signature hooks are a whole other matter - very well made. Some vendors have purchased large quantities of old Mustads and have been dumping them at very low prices. I recommend any of the old Mustad looped eyed hooks except the 36890. Check ebay and you could find some neat old 9002s, bronze, looped down eyed Limerick hooks. Totally old school. I prefer the Gammy T10 to Tiemco 7999, but not by much. While I do still tie flies on some old Herter's and Sealey hooks I have, they are my least favorite hook because they tend to be downright brittle. For short-shanked hooks on strung-out flies, I prefer either Owner or Gammy octopus style hooks. Perhaps the strangest hooks I use are some small Gammy spade eyed carp fishing hooks. I use them as stingers on some of my streamers. Those babies are the sharpest hooks I've ever used.
Heres my arsenal. As for size.. Its hard to say a size. The hook just above the ruler to the left is a actual 3/0, and the hook just below it is an aj 3/0. Modern hook sizes are all wacky so i go by inches, and a 1.5 to 2 inch hook is my favorite in many conditions.. Ill use a tiny double in low water, and in high dirty water use the biggest hook i can cast hehe. I like a 1/0 to size 3 double in fairly cool clear water.
The modern hooks below the ruler are sharp and fairly trustworthy, but are all ugly for classics salmon flies IMO. I do think they look amazing on glasso flies and specific steelhead flies, hair wings, and sometimes the HE2 and AJ long shanks look nice on dees. All personal preference though.
I use AJ standard irons in #1.5-7 with the #1.5's and #3's for spey flies with the #1.5 exclusively for winter fishing. I use the #5's and 7's for Irish Shrimp style flies.
I use the AJ Heavy wire in #3 for General Practitioners.
I use the AJ blind-eye #1.5 for dee flies.
I use Daiichi 2441, standard salmon iron, in #2/0 to #2 for marabou spiders, Ally's Shrimps (and Cascades), and large hairwing wets if someone wants me to tie them. I use this hook in #4-#8 for a heavier summer/fall Ally's Shrimp (or Cascade), strip-wing featherwings like the BLUE CHARM, etc., and hairwing wets.
I use Daiichi 2421 in #6-10 for Ally's Shrimp in low-water, Lemire's Grease Liner (usually I only use #6's for this fly), classic strip-wing featherwings in "normal" summer flows, and the smaller #8's and 10's for flies like the classic SUN FLIES and PIRATE or BLUE BOYNE series. I also use this hook to tie flies like Wulff's for steelhead, COMETS, and Wagner's LANTERNS and SUNDOWNER series.
I use the Daiichi 2131 (also known as the Bob Veverka Classic Salmon Hook and the Alec Jackson River Dee Low-water Hook) in all sizes for true low-water flies, and in #6 and 8 for a lighter dress dry fly.
I use the Daiichi 2161 (also known and the Alec Jackson Steelhead Iron) in #6 (Alec calls it a #9) the smallest size, for SPADE, original and variations such as Alec's GUINEA SPADE, etc.
I use Dave McNeese's Blue Heron hook in #3 for spey flies and a few classic salmon flies like the SILVER SPECTRE and other herl winged flies. I use this hook in #2 if I want a very large spey fly and in # 1 for dee flies. It is a lovely hook and I've told Dave I'd like to see it in a #4 as well for Irish Shrimp flies for summer.
I use Daiichi #2220 for WOOLLEY BUGGERS and its ilk and in #6 for BOMBERS. Although I will likely start tying BOMBERS on the Daiichi #2117 (black), or #2110 (bronze) Van Klinken Bomber Hook this summer for them because it has a wider gap and the shank length if virtually identical to the #2220.
The Daiichi #2371 (the Dick Talleur Classic Salmon Hook) makes for a lovely dee hook in #'s 2&4 and a lovely, straight shank spey hook in #/s 6 & 8.
The fly does not matter, why should the hook? The key is getting the fly to look right for the hook you are tying on. I have found no modern hook to be better than another for tying, how ever some will hold a point, some won't. I pick a hook for the style of fly I am tying, no single hook will do it all. That is why you see the lists presented above. If they make it, I buy it, you can never have enough hooks.
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