Swinging for Springers

Rod Wittner

Active Member
With Spring Chinook season getting underway and the fish managers predicting a strong run, I am wondering if any of you have much experience and/or success at swinging flies for the all around favorite salmon for table fare. Do you use pretty much the same tactics as for steelhead? What types of flies would be appropriate? I live in the Tri-cities and the Yakima opened this morning for a 6 week run. I think it would be a blast to hunt springers with the spey rod. Thanks for your input. And if there are any local guys who want to hook up to give it a try, I'm game. Send a pm.

Jim Ficklin

Genuine Montana Fossil
Be prepared to cast A LOT, Rod. I hooked & LDR's ONE over the course of many outings over several years. I used short leaders, a quick-sinking line, & swung unweighted herring patterns. I'd tag along, but carp give me all the action I can manage this time of year. Good luck!


Active Member
Rod, I also live in West Richland and have had no Chinook to hand fishing the Yakima for the past couple of years trying to stick a Chinook. I've fished both spring and fall below twin bridges and above the Snively launch on both sides of the river. I did land a Coho a couple of years back in the fall on a purple bunny leach with a chartreuse bead on the head. At least one can usually find a bass to take the offering. You might try the corner hole below the 240 bridge. The slow moving water at the corner down stream from the launch/take out held fish last fall, but I did not pick up anything before I started chasing them on the Columbia.


Canyon Lurker
i think trying some sort of strip retrieve may be more successful from everything ive heard/read. i live under 10 mins from the roza dam and have been after one in this section goin on 4 years now. good luck!
Instead of fishing locally for chinook, for the years it might take to catch one, work more. Work overtime. Save your money until you can afford a guided trip to B.C.'s Dean River, or perhaps a few other choice destinations.:cool:


Active Member
Spring Chinook can be aggressive but it's definitely not "automatic" like steelhead (assuming steelhead are automatic).

Here's a postulation, spring chinook are more aggressive the closer they are to the salt, but they can also be aggressive when they're stacked up in salmon pools in freshwater (also aggressive when spawning but none of us would consider casting to them on redds, it ain't nice to do that and it ain't flyfishing, it's baiting!).

I've been lucky enough to stumble into a few while steelheading but have never targeted them...this year might (will) be different. Here's my strategy. When they're present in numbers it's usually obvious and the more fish there are in a pool the more aggressive they will be.

This is skagit casting and skagit heads and all the stuff I hate about it... Heavy and long T-material for tips, get it a few feet from the bottom and use short stripping motions (as mentioned above by McNasty) with blue and white flies w/plenty of mylar, flashy and bright flies. They aren't here to feed but they still have instincts. My $.02 cents...
Rolf- We got into some Fall Chinook out your way last year. Small flies were the ticket. Springers sound like too much work though.
This time around I'm going to use one of those Airflo Skagit intermediates to help with the depth issue and to not have to work as hard...


I hope she likes whitefish
Fall chinook and springers are completely different monsters. I swung for them for several years and finally gave it up. I tip my hat to anybody who's been successful as they definitely put in their time. They are the fish of 5000 casts.

Jason Chadick

A Fish, A Fish, A Fishy, Oh...
I've caught a couple of fall kings on the spey while fishing for steelies.

Both hookups were at the hang-down, after the first strip. Not sure if Springers will be the same. I live in Naches, and also plan to hit the Yak for some kings, I'll shoot you a pm.