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Old 07-31-2007, 11:50 PM
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Eric Eric is offline
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Join Date: Jan 2000
Location: Pacific Northwest
Posts: 962
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,

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