Chinooks on a fly [Archive] - Fly Fishing Forum

: Chinooks on a fly

Nate Bailey
12-29-2001, 03:30 AM
Im going to try it this year and was wandering if any of you have had any sucess catching thease brutes on flys . if so what did ya use and how did ya use it , hows that for blunt :chuckle: any advice realy would be appreciated .....nate

12-30-2001, 12:13 AM
I actually never had much luck using aa fly rod for salmon. had a lot of success with steelhead though. Then I had an appifimy about 14 years ago that shot my salmon hook up rate incredibly.

Ii was born and raised a conventional gear fisherman. I was also raised in a ssomewhat poor family, so we had to build alot of our gear to save money. Hence, I can, and still do, make my own spinners, jigs, flies, etc. Wel, I take aa yearly fishing vacation with my Dad in October to ish for salmon and steelhead. We gear up for everythinng, since most species are supposed to be in the rivers when we are there. Depending on what's actually in at the timme dictates on the gear and and style we fish. Well, as I had said about 14 years ago I was fishing my favorite honey hole on the Wynoochee (it has since washed ouut and no longer holds all species lke it once did). Ii'd hiit the head of th drift for kings, nice deep slot, then it would filter back into a nice area for chums/silvers. The tailout led into a nice seam into a backedie that the steelhead would liie in. We'd hit th slot so we could have the advantage of possiblyhitting someething (which I had days I'd hit all 4 of the sppecies I liisted in one day). We were hitting the river in late October that year, and the river wasn't shong much iin way of salmon. We were hitting steelhead on our driftgear/eggs and decided we'd gear up for steelhead since we kneew they were holed up in backediie. To get proper presentation we'd cast upstream innto sot so lure would hit the seam and head into backedie. Uusualy we'd save our eggs for kings so we duug ouut our jigs. Next morning we put on our favorite pink/white marabou jigs and hit the honeyhole. Threw our bobber/jig combo into the drift and waitined for the steelies to strike. Mmy Dad lit into the fiirst steelhead of the morning. We still hadn't seen any movement in the head of the hole where the kings normaly lie. Once my Dad beached the steelhead head I cast across upstream and made mmy mend to keep tension off the jig. No sooner haad I made my mend my jig went under. I set the hook and had an instant head shake. But this fish did't run like old Ike. This fish duug in and started pumping my rod like a king would. After about a 20 minute battle I landed a 30 lb king (9to my shock). I ended up hookinng 4 more and limiting ouut on kings/steelhead. Mmy Dad did also. All on marabou jigs. CLICK! The light came on. I always carry my fly/jig tying supplices with me whenever I'm on vacation. I whipped up some marabouu fliies lickity split. Grabbed my old trusty 9wt fenwick with my sinktip fly liine and used my fliies next day. These biig buushy marabou flies we4re nailing kings AND chums. Never really got it much over to the steelhead (thouugh the marabo flies have worked quite well with steelhead too). So, that's my story. You don't always need sinking line, you can dead drift them on a floating line too. I did have a little luck with my steelhead flies, but my catch rate was incredibly diferent with marabou flies. Want the next kicker? A few years ago my Dad caame home from a trip to alaskaa. He knew I liked to fly fish still and brouuht me hoome some flies that worked well with som guys he knew up thre. They're wogs that Ii'm suure most of you have seen or have mmade. I got right to th bench and tied some up in hot pink. Made ssom to drift somewhat dry on surface and some to greaseline. Have had alot of succes with them in rivers with silvers and kings. Now, minnd you, these are all this info is meant for stricly freshwater, no tidal flux/saltwater. . For more tidal flux saltwater I use baitfish and shrimp patterns. Uusually slightly weighted flies that I can strip back to me.

Hope this helps. Ccan go on and on, but figured Ii already bored you noww.

12-30-2001, 10:34 AM
Nate the hot bug or bug's for us the past couple years .Has been a Prince # 6 or my Peacock bug , both of these in gold beads , and orange beads . As for putting it in there face do some expermitting on your own . Better find some out of the way places that you can work your Spey rod . We hit all our's out of my boat fishing for summer's , that was the bonus for the year for us I guess ?

12-30-2001, 12:49 PM
Fish-Head, Describe your Peacock Bug.

12-30-2001, 03:48 PM
Nate -

I lived within shot striking distance of the end of tidewater in a Puget Sound river and I spent years figuring this mystery out. I landed bright kings over 30# as well as many dark fish and everything in between including jacks. I also got skunked many many many times.

I was on a quest to find out the secret to this perplexing riddle, where there are so many huge fish in the water and so little action to be had, there had to be a way.... and I finally reached this conclusion:

THERE IS NO RHYME OR REASON!!! They just hit when they feel like it, plain and simple. They feel like it much less than silvers, chum and steelhead.

Seriously, I had the best success in the first hours of daylight and at dusk. Some evenings I would literally hook up on my first cast, the fish would charge the fly and inhale it on a swing that was barely under the surface. Other times I would tease a small fly in the current ahead and above their lie and one would calmly come up and take it like a giant trout. But in between these moments of ecstacy were hours of boredom. Although I caught a lot of great kings on my fly rod, I can honestly say that the only really conclusive thing I got out of it was that I had the best success in the first hours of daylight and at dusk.

Flies I had good success with:

a) orange estaz spider, yellow throat hackle and red marabou barb tail

b) bunny rat in a variety of colors, works on aggresive fish

c) black or tan biot beadhead stonefly nymph fish on dry line, long leader

and other patterns that (for some reason) go their attention one day but didn't the next.

In the saltchuck I've had much more "understandable" luck with chinook as long as they are feeding high in the water column or close to shore. The main problem is that for most of the day they are down in 90-200 feet of water out of the reach of even the fastest sinktip.

12-30-2001, 05:29 PM
We do a lot of fly fishing for kings and silvers in the great lakes rivers. Probably different than PNW kings which I have no experience with but here are some observations which track with Juros.

1. Early morning and dusk, or night are best. Unless it is a cloudy day with some rain,then it could be good all day, if they are in the mood.

2. Kings are very light sensitive fish, more so than steelhead I think. I have seen them just disappear from the river on sunny days when the day before it was cloudy and they were all over the place.

3. They love structure such as log jams and under cut banks to hide under to get out of the sun. Concentrate on those areas of the stream you fish particularly on sunny days where you think there should be fish.

4. You never know when they will hit, very unpredictable but when they do all of them will usually hit, go on the bite as we say out here.

5. Flies: Black flies, streamers, nymphs always seem to work on them. Stone fly nymphs always seem good. I have seen them hit some out landish huge streamers, that I thought would never catch a fish, but they hit it. Other times they want only natural nymphs, go figure that.

6. Leader size not a problem usually although have seen it where had to go to 8 pound leader for hits. On 20 LB leader you can really have some fun, and they will hit many times using 20lb test.

When you get them fresh out of the lake or ocean, they are an incredibly strong fish, here in the great lakes most streams are short so they are not much over 50 miles from the lake, and thus very strong. i have seen many a flyrod broken here on those beasts.

If you hit a pool, a large school is in, and have the right fly it can be just as good as Alaska fishing. Oh, another point which I could never figure out, if there is a pool of salmon and they are not hitting, pray for a canoe to come over or othe boat, which for some reason stirs them up and they can get very aggressive. Make sure your fly is in the water just after they pass. Go figure that for a fly fishing strategy ?

One memorable September day on the PM I hit a big pool of fresh kings. I had the right fly, the other fisherman were going to the sport shop for a copy of it, which they did not have. Had like twenty five of them on and landed 2, one was a 25-30 pounder. I was continually chasing them down the river, and every one was saying here comes the guy in the green hat again. They pulled a couple of my snake guides out on the 8 weight rod. Then built the ten weight just for the kings. Still were a chore to handle with that.

Good luck

hehe: :hehe:

12-30-2001, 06:08 PM
MJC . This fly I came up with 2 years ago while fishing for Summer's . Hook Daichi 1560 # 6 3/16 , 5/32 bead's in all color's . Lead optional , Small black rubber legs for the tail ,3 strands of Peacock hurl twisted into a rope , tie into half way of the hook , I rib it with what color of bead that I use . I like the big wire from Spirit River . Tie in a second set of legs , then black dubbing up to the beadhead , Then Black or Dun CDC , whole feather , Whip finish . This is my little Stone or hellgramite pattern .The reason I like the big wire , is so the trout cannot tear up the peacock .

Nate Bailey
12-30-2001, 10:37 PM
thanks for all the info I am going to fish my head off this spring (no pun intended) Fishhead Im going to try the big pool under rattlesnake I think I could cover it well with my 16' 11/12 wt, :eyecrazy: Ive noticed the early springers keg up there sometimes, dry line and a 20' leader,

oh buy the way fishhead, My ranch over on the sprage has froze up, they are getting a few local birds but nothing to drive over there for. Its a definite next year though.

have you been fishing, went today but didnt even touch a fish I guess its been slowing down.........Nate

12-31-2001, 12:01 PM
Nate , it has been a little tough up top . I have been working to get a couple per trip up top . Lot of pressure from everybody , was up yesterday , people everywhere I wanted to fish so went down low . Water way up , able to cross at the dump , hit some retreads , had to work for them though . You got a boat ? Or access to the falls ? Fish-head

12-31-2001, 01:33 PM
Fish Head, Thanks for the info on your Peacock Bug. I'll tie up a few and see if any Clearwater fish like them.

12-31-2001, 04:42 PM
MJC, Andy's (fish-head) fly is very easy to tie and VERY effective on not only steelhead but at the end of a slime line for lake fishing. Andy 'wind-drifts' the boast and the slime line pulls the fly down very nicely. A sink tip or dry line with split shot just doesn't have the effectiveness of the 'slime.'

12-31-2001, 04:44 PM
Nate, do you access this water via boat or do you have a way to 'walk in?' Have wanted to fish this streach for ages but not aware of a way to get there by foot .... save a major "trespass."

Forgot to add: Another great place for spring salmon is below the Touvelle boat ramp. Hike down stream about 1/2 mile (to the bottom of "highbanks" and you and "The Brute" will enjoy your selves. At the bottom of 'HB' the river widens out so when it hits the bottom of this run the fish are forced in to a narrower section of the river. The water through this area is 6-8 feet deep vs. 4-6 feet below. Fish will stack up here so you've got a very good shot at them with a heavy sink tip and a bright green over red heavily weighted fly.