Chinook salmon flies? [Archive] - Fly Fishing Forum

: Chinook salmon flies?

07-29-2007, 11:39 PM
I fish the alsea river, and it has a decent salmon run starting right about now :D and I want to fly fish for them.. I know they are not a heavily saught after flyfishing fish, usually because of their strength, but I still want to give it a shot..

last year with my father after about 3 hours of blind casting and sight fishing to waiting salmon with home brew hairwing salmon flies I actually got a take, and one hell of a run.. lasting about an hour, and ending when the fish got tired of trailing my pathetic 6 wt line and jumped a rock cutting me off.. (go figure) lol.. I think it was like 12 pound tippit, and I was a nubbie.

anyway, suggestions for flies would be awesome I really want to catch and land a chinook.. and be the only person on the river to actually release one.. (needless to say.. meat fisherman every ten feet..)


07-30-2007, 02:10 AM
After mainly targeting targeting steelhead over the years, I'm planning on giving chinooks a shot this fall. I did give it a try some years ago and after a dozen trips or so, finally landed a 20 pounder on a two ball tomcat drifted off a float. A short time after this I had another one on but lost it. The pattern is found in one of, or maybe even both of, Rick Kustich's books on salmonids in the great lakes. All it is really is two large glo bugs side by side. I tied it on a #2 hook.

This fall, though, I want to try swinging flies. I'll probably try more realistic rather than attractor patterns and experiment with large clouser minnows. I'll take some guidelines from an Autumn 2005 issue of Fish & Fly which also gives some patterns.

Green Ghost
07-30-2007, 11:14 AM
Not an expert. BUT

I have used fly fishing equipment for these fish exclusively for many years in the SR. These fish will Hit and take Egg patterns in every color (similar to steelhead flies used on SR) with a weighted tippet for fast water (sinkers). A red or orange peice of yarn wrapped on a hook works. You will be hooking freight trains but a 9-weight with a decent reel does the job. GOOD LUCK

07-30-2007, 05:50 PM
I have done best with fushia colored flies, especially a fushia bunny leech tied with some hot pink Krystal Flash tied in at the head that is nearly as long as the fly. Hot pink has been another color that has worked for me as has hot orange combined with either hot pink or fushia.

Also, I've found that rather small flies (at least by most people's standards for chinook) of #6 worked best for me in low, clear water. I found a nearly dead drift presentation to be best. And in low, clear water, I do so with a floating line and long leader (13'-16') that has a 12#-13# tippet.

07-30-2007, 07:51 PM
Im using a 6wt, that i broke about 1 ft off the tip when I was a kiddy.. and just begining.. Its stood up to alot, and it was a cheapy to begin with so if it does break, atleast it will go down with dignaty lol..

Im more worried about my reel.. >.< I might have to actually go out and buy something :(

so egg patterns work well? any classic salmon flies?

The Thrasher
07-31-2007, 03:31 PM
Im using a 6wt, that i broke about 1 ft off the tip when I was a kiddy.. and just begining.. Its stood up to alot, and it was a cheapy to begin with so if it does break, atleast it will go down with dignaty lol..

Im more worried about my reel.. >.< I might have to actually go out and buy something :(

so egg patterns work well? any classic salmon flies?


Not to be discouraging, but this is the *Atlantic* salmon forum. Atlantic salmon are, so to speak, quite a different kettle of fish than chinooks. You might get more response if you pursued this topic in the forums "Pacific Northwest Steelhead" or "Great Lakes Steelhead and Salmon".

Best of luck,

07-31-2007, 10:58 PM
thankyou, I just assumed that because I am on the other side of the country from the great lakes, and that salmon are not steelhead.. this would be the closest possible forum to post in. but thanks for helping..

Also, seeing as this is such a low population forum, that Most people probably just click the "last 24hrs" icon at the top of the page, which at that point..It doesnt matter where the hell I post my thread..

but ya, thanks..

07-31-2007, 11:50 PM
Hey, Zim,

Re: Fly Fishing for Nookies

You're right on about posting and people hitting the "new posts" or "last 24 hours" icon to find something interesting. As Moderator, I am thinking of moving this thread over to the Pacific Northwest Steelhead Forum, but, due primarily to laziness, I haven't, yet.

I do want to make some remarks about catching Chinook in fresh water on flies. Take these remarks with some salt -- my experience is limited, but I have found some techniques that work.

In the Alsea, and similar rivers in size, one of the easiest ways to catch Chinook on flies is to locate a big holding pool with a shallow riffle above it. Chinook will run at the first hint of light in the sky at dawn, ascending the riffles with a great splash and roar. During this time they would seem very irritable and they will snap at flies drifting across their paths. They will sometimes even chase them. The patterns I used in this gloming fishing were mostly weighted comets on a nine-foot leader. Black on black was the first choice, although any dark color would probably do. The trick was to know for certain where large schools of Chinook were holding and then be there the next morning in position ready to cast the moment the watch said it is legal. It's really eerie and exciting to stand along the river in the dark and hear the fish powering their way upstream.

Make no mistake: this is not a snag fishery or an instance where the line, on its sweep, tangles in the fish's mouth. These fish do strike -- although it may be only the one in a hundred that does. On the Kalama, I've have Tule Chinook, the non-bittingest of the non-biters, swim across the riffle to scarf a black Teeny nymph. Once the fish is hooked, you're in for a long, hard pull. A good reel would be a good investment.

Under more normal conditions, riverine Chinook seem to strike most from directly behind the fly (in my experience, anyway). If you can find a pool in which large numbers of fish are resting (the more fish the better your chance, natch), try to position yourself so that your fly ends its swing just parallel to a slow current seam. A rocky point jutting out into a pool would be such a place. Cast out, with a rig that will take your fly within a foot of the bottom (sink tip, sinking line, split shot, whatever) and work the fly slowly back up along the seam through the school. Repeat two thousand times or until you hook one. These fish will ignore everything for hours, then suddenly go on a bite for twenty minutes before sinking once more into torpitude. Having your fly in the water during that unpredictable twenty minutes sure raises your odds of hooking a Chinook.

Comet patterns are good. The Dean River Lantern is a good standby, but my go-to favorite, as pointed out above by fly-tyer, is small. No. 6 or No. 4. I like all black.

But, to make this legitimate for the Classic Atlantic Forum, I did once catch a Chinook on a Green Highlander.

PS: I live on the Alsea estuary and have not seen any sign of salmon, yet, nor sea run cutthroat. The ocean is full of bait, so maybe they're in no hurry to enter fresh water.

Cheers and Good Luck,


08-01-2007, 04:50 PM
Thanks guys, thanks Eric :D

sorry bout the posting in the rong place bit.. but you guys were helpful :D

I think im going to invest in a good salmon outfit.. It'll hurt.. but I think its worth it..