Got lucky! Skunk over!

Discussion in 'Saltwater' started by Roger Stephens, Jan 19, 2014.

  1. Roger Stephens Active Member

    Posts: 1,198
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    Every winter(dec. through Feb.) I looked forward to the resident coho fisheries. I have enjoyed this fisheries for over 25 years and this year it has been the worst which I have ever experienced. In Nov. there was some sporadic action. The resident coho seemed to have disappeared by mid-Dec. The last time which I went out I didn't see any resident coho or even string up my fly rod. It was a good "ole" skunking!

    I normally don't start fishing for sea-run cutthroat until late Feb./early March. This Fri. I decided to "check out" this fisheries since the resident coho fisheries has been so poor this winter. I didn't have much in the way of expectations and was pleasantly surprised to have an excellent day of sea-run cutthroat fishing. It was nice to get rid of the taste of a skunking from the resident coho fisheries.

    The strategy which I used was to fish a couple of locations within 1/4 mile of stream mouths in two estuaries during a moderate ebb tide(approx. 9 ft. exchange).

    At one location(broad shallow shelf with nice walking speed tidal current) the fishing was outstanding for about 3/4 hour with hookups every couple of minutes. A large group of sea-run cutthroat were seating in 1 to 2 feet of water within 6 to 8 feet from shore. For the first 15 minutes I used a two top water setup with the front fly being a floating sand lance pattern and the back fly being a Delia's top water squid pattern. Most of the hookups were in the squid pattern with a few strikes on the sand lance pattern. Once the top water action slowed down, I switched to an olive/white clouser minnow on a sinking line. The action continued for another 30 minutes.

    At a second location(broad shallow shelf with nice walking speed tidal current) a nice group of sea-run cutthroat were again seating in 1 to 2 feet of water within 6 to 8 feet of shore. Numerous fish were landed for 20 minutes.

    There were no strikes/hookups 1/4 mile or more away from stream mouths at other locations. The keys for success seemed to be to fish shallow shelves near stream/estuary mouths with walking speed tideal current.

    I was surprised that the fishing was so good and the size of the fish landed(13 to 18 inches) as shown in the photographs. All of the sea-run cutthroat seemed to have very bright red slashs below their jaws. My impression is that they had just returned to saltwater after maybe spawning. The first photograph shows a fish with a very bright red slash.

    Attached Files:

    Bagman, DimeBrite, Irafly and 8 others like this.
  2. bimini twist New Member

    Posts: 21
    Portland, OR
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    Roger,

    For your topwater work, you mentioned using a two fly set up, with the front fly being a floating sand lance pattern and the back fly being a Delia's top water squid pattern.

    Knowing that you fish mostly tube flies for your saltwater fishing, were these tube fly versions of those patterns?

    If so, how do you rig your two fly set up with tube flies?

    Cheers,

    Bryan
  3. skyrise Active Member

    Posts: 591
    everett, wa.
    Ratings: +51 / 0
    Roger, what is the range or area that winter coho fishing would be ? is it all south sound or can you chase them in Hood canal ? seems like i have read somewhere that its all south sound fishing ?
    thanks.
  4. DimeBrite MA-9 Beach Stalker

    Posts: 861
    Marine Area 9
    Ratings: +327 / 0
    That's a bummer about the lack of resident coho this winter. Early release from the net pens has made the winter/spring fishing medicore to poor. Nice work on the January cutthroat!
  5. Roger Stephens Active Member

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    All the top water patterns which I tie are tube flies. I use Gamakatsu SC-15 #6 hooks for all top water patterns since they are small diameter hooks and will float the patterns better.

    The first photo shows a two fly setup with floating sand lance and top water Delia's squid patterns. To attach the two patterns together use the following steps: (1) thread appox. 3 feet of leader through tube of front fly and attach leader to hook eye of front fly, (2) attach approx. 20 inches of leader to bend of hook of front fly(see second photo), (3) attach this leader to eye of hook of back fly. I have been using this setup since last Sept. and have not had the front and back flies ever tangle.

    Roger

    Attached Files:

  6. Tacoma Red Active Member

    Posts: 593
    Kitsap
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    To improve the Delia squid tie peacock herl just aft of the cone. The herl can be dyed UV colors.
  7. Roger Stephens Active Member

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    In the past I have always chased after winter/spring resident coho in Marine Area 13. In some past years there have been a lot of them in the southern and central part of that area but it has been the case for a few years. In the northern part there have always been good numbers of winter/spring resident coho since the early 1990's but not this year.

    I cannot speak about other Marine Areas since I have never fished for them during winter/spring except in Marine Area 13. IMHO I would think that areas north of Marine Area 13 might be where winter/spring resident coho might be hanging out this winter.

    You are right Dimebrite. Feb. 1, 2002 andy Appleby(WDFW resident coho manager now retired) wrote a report: Draft Analysis of Study Proposal for Resident Coho Production. He stated early release(May)of net pen fish(Squaxin Island) resulted in "apparent decrease in resident coho available to Puget Sound anglers". Later releases(June) resulted in more availability to Puget Sound anglers. Will Henderson who is the Squaxin Tribal member who runs the Sqauxin Island net pens has stated the early releases in the past/present are due to water quality and feeding issues. IMHO food sources(sand lance and amphipods) in the Marine Area 13 have not been good for the last couple of years. Resident coho are eating machines and will not hang around if there are not good food sources for them. Hopefully in the near future sand lance populations will rebound somewhat to their abundance in the 1990's.

    Roger
  8. Bagman Active Member

    Posts: 346
    Poulsbo WA
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    Roger, in the pix with the clouser there is something on the front of your fly that looks like a big sequin. Is that in fact what it is?
  9. Roger Stephens Active Member

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    You are right! It is a 10 mm. pearl sequin that can bought at Jo Ann Fabric for $2 to 3 for a bag of 300 or so. One end of short section of hook junction tubing is cut at a 45 degree angle. The junction tubing is push onto HMH tube extending beyond the front of the pattern. The 45 degree angle is rotated off to one side. When the pattern is retrieved, the sequin will snug up against the 45 degree angle. It will give the pattern 1 to 2 inches of side-to-side wiggle.

    I have been using this technique for over 8 years with great success for many subsurface tube patterns.

    Roger
    Gary Knowels likes this.
  10. freestoneangler Not to be confused with Freestone

    Posts: 3,965
    Edgewood, WA
    Ratings: +706 / 1
    I'm feeling much better about my poor saltwater performance this year :).