Michigan Coho - Fly Fishing Forum
Great Lakes Steelhead & Salmon Amazing "Inland ocean" fisheries

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Old 04-18-2003, 10:54 PM
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willmullis willmullis is offline
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Michigan Coho

Hey guys,

Thinking about trying my luck with some Coho this fall and am really clueless on how to fish them. What I have read about them so far it seems like their tough to catch because they are on a mission to die. Is there a way to catch them with foul hookin them? What kind of flies work best? Most importantly what river? I've been reading about the Platte, Pere Marquette (spelling ) , and the Betsie. I just want the best odds possible for a good trip up there. I was in Traverse City last year the first Weekend in September and seen some of the first Coho's heading up the stream and since then I've vowed to make it up there this year around the end of Sept or early Oct which from what I hear is the best time to go. Your guys' help would be greatly appeciated!
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Old 04-18-2003, 11:03 PM
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I like to think of them as on a mission to spawn instead

Although I don't have experience with GL coho, I have tons of pacific coho experience. I am impressed with the size they reach in freshwater seas of the G/L.

I'll defer to GL experts but in the pacific they bite most when still in the sea, then gradually less as they turn darker and closer to spawning. Best advice is to target them while as fresh as possible, don't even bother when they get dark up river. Many hit the fly when stripping for the next cast, like atlantic salmon.

There are certain dry line methods that work in holding pools as well... but I will defer to GL guys w/ experience.
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Old 04-19-2003, 07:02 AM
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I can shed a touch of light on this.

The Platte probably would be your best choice for Coho, check the DNR site to verify.

She was always the most heavily planted Coho river, that is due to one of the states Coho hatcheries being located on her.

The Big Man also has good Coho action, she is more of a boaters river but can be shore fished. Just way too many flossing yahoos for my taste. They(DNR and sport groups) are working on fixing that thru enforcement of the current game laws. So it may not be that bad.

Were I you I would avoid the Betsie, especially the Homestead area unless you really like crowds.

The PM gets some Coho but not many. In all the years I have fished there, I have only hooked and landed 2. The PM is better known for her Kings, and I mean a lot of them.

The kings start running in August. If you hook one of those silver rhinos you are in for a treat. The August fish are the most agressive ones you will find.

The Coho are fairly good biters, they seem a touch more agressive than the Kings. I have caught Coho (Indiana waters) on a ton of different flies. What seems to work for Steelhead will work for them. Caddis, nymphs,stones, ESLs, egg flies,sparrows, PM wigglers, the list goes on.

Chances are if you have a fly that works on Steel it will work on Coho. Blacks, browns, olive, purple, and Oregon Cheese(egg fly) seem to be the best colors. Had great luck one week with two tone stones in black and red.

Your whole key is finding a river that has a good run, for your best bet the Platte would be a wise choice. There also is a spot in the UP Lake Michigan side that gets a decent run, do your home work and find a Coho hatchery located in the UP on a creek. If you can't find it shoot me a PM and I'll help you along.

Last edited by mjyp; 04-19-2003 at 07:05 AM.
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Old 04-19-2003, 01:38 PM
BobK BobK is offline
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Coho....

Everybody seemed to leave out the most important part - at least, here on Lake O. tribs....

Here, anyway, they are LATE runners. We don't have many, and I'll get to the reason later..., but the best fishing for them comes LONG AFTER the chinooks have all died out. About the time fishing slows down for browns, (around Christmas - some years later into Jan.), a few start to show up.

Yeah, they are aggressive, and steelie flies work well.

I found out from a fisheries guy why they don't stock as many - the chinooks are much easier to raise and for a MUCH shorter time of care -- they don't have to tie up hatchery water for a year and a half, only several months, lots less than for trout, steelies and coho.

I guess the simple answer is more bang for the buck.

BobK
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Old 04-20-2003, 06:12 PM
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As MGYP stated Platte and Big Manistee have could Coho action, PM does not have many. Personally I would rather fish Kings bigger and badder. Big Manistee have a big run of both and steelhead. You may want to got there in October or November.

Good luck

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Old 04-20-2003, 10:46 PM
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The kings are more fun Hank, they fight like mad dogs.
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Old 04-21-2003, 09:48 AM
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Yea I've also considered the Kings, but I have always thought they were harder to catch/more scarce than Coho. I just don't wanna make the 9 hr. drive and get skunked. If you guys think a rookie can go up there a tackle a king on his first trip I just might give it a shot!
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Old 04-21-2003, 10:25 AM
BobK BobK is offline
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Do it!

Even though I am not very fond of catching what I call "dark fish", everyone should experience it at least once! Depending on the fish, though, be prepared for the fight of your life! Sort of a combination of being hooked to a freight train, and a sailfish....

I doubt, after hook-up, you will ever feel you are "in control" of the situation.

And you WILL enjoy the trip - just ignore the mobs and snaggers.

Cohos are neat - but there are a lot less of 'em - at least, here in NY. I like to catch them more than kings, but that's a matter of personal choice.

Now go do it!

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Old 04-21-2003, 02:13 PM
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If its kings you are after hit the PM late August or early September. Look to hit it after cool nights and a rain. It does not need to be a down pour just a moderate rain to rise the river a touch and stain it a bit.

The fish are silver and very eager to smack what ever you put in front of them. They have been known to destroy rods and reels so leave the 6w's at home.

PM me if you want more info.
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Old 04-21-2003, 05:13 PM
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What's the crowds like on the PM in August? I probably shouldn't even try to image how many people will be there lined up to catch a king. Is there a lot of public access/places to fish?
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Old 04-21-2003, 09:59 PM
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late August and early Sept the crowds are thin. There is a lot of public access below the flys only. Most fish will be there, some will be in the fly section. It all depends on the weather, you want some rain and cool nights.
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Old 04-23-2003, 08:20 AM
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I was reading some articles saying to park at the Green Cottage river access which is in the fly only section. So you think I should be able to get to a less crowded area by going down stream from there? The article said the Green Cottage river access can be quite crowded!
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