Swinging for upriver 'ho's...

Discussion in 'Spey Clave' started by Jason Chadick, Sep 25, 2012.

  1. I recently spent a fruitless weekend on the upper skagit trying to get a 'ho to swing. I spent the majority of my time between Marblemount and Rockport. There were definitely some fish moving through the system, I think they were mostly kings but every once and a while there were some bright cohos moving as well. I was using the skagit/t-14/intruder (black/blue, black, black/chartruese) thing. I know people mostly put some retrieve on the fly, but I was wondering if anyone has much success with the swing?


  2. I can't think of anything that would be less effective in fishing for river coho, especially bright ones. I've caught coho by-catch on the swing, but they were always spawners. The bright fish will ignore a swing in most cases from my experience.
  3. If it's anything like it is down here, you need water before the coho will open up there mouths. Even back when our early run fish came in large numbers, you usually wouldn't touch anything until after the first big rain. I've had some epic days swinging and stripping small bright flies after the river gets a good rise.
  4. True that. I did really well on river cohos up here last year, but I'm not even bothering right now. With the water low and warm, I have zero confidence. But when things do come together, I employ a strip to my tactics.
  5. caught ho's in a river before but only one on the swing...mostly got um out of very pooly water casting (single hand) small blue, pink, green deer hair bead head minnow (just pulled a blank on fly name) patterns..
    Man I can't believe that, super popular fly...

    Anyways, used a clear intermediate tip...let it sink and slowly stripped in...once upon a time you wanted to go really slow to keep um away from the other salmon in there....
  6. My best luck swinging for ho's is with a 4" purple rabbit strip leach with pink head cast mend and hold on!!
    Nooksack Mac likes this.
  7. Thanks for the replies guys. I wasn't exactly expecting to limit, but I was talking to a couple of friends who say that they like to swing for Coho and it sounded like a fun mission.

    On another note...Goddamn do we need some rain! I was just checking the 10-day forcast and there is none in sight...not that the weather forcast is reliable. Anyone know a good rain dance or prayer or do I just need to enjoy last of the sun?
  8. Don't worry about the rain. I am sure it will all come at once this Fall and make us all less then happy.

    Swinging for silvers is a bitch unless you re Flyborg and knows how to time things just right. I have only been able to swing a handful over the years and but hope to remedy that sooner or later.
  9. Word, I feel like such a sourpuss complaining about such pleasant weather. But I'm chompin' at the bit to get after some fish.


  10. I always did the best in the side channels, fishing a floater, and stripping for coho's.. red/white/black, or green/back, or white/green, were the most successful color combinations for me
  11. The timings easy--I wait 'til all you bitches head east, then it's go time!
  12. ineffective technique. Coho stack in water thats not conducive to swinging. Stripping is important.
  13. I saw someone catch a coho on the swing once.
  14. Coho stack in water that's not conducive to swinging, but they move through runs just like every other fish. When the water is low, they jack through those runs like it's the indy 500, but once you get some water in the rivers they are a lot more relaxed about it. The key for me is finding runs that are directly above buckets or deep pools; when there are a lot of fish stacked up, they will move in and out of the run, almost like they are chasing and playing with each other. Chinook will do the same thing, although the play is more obviously aggressive pre-spawn behavior.

    When the Kalama and Lewis coho come in, you can watch people stacking up in the pools fishing for silvers they can see. Unfortunately, the majority of the fish get snagged. Fly guys use heavy sinking lines, gear guys use 1/4 ounce lead and corky or yarny setups and both are basically dragging across the backs of stacked fish. They could easily catch fish legitimately by going with a slower sinking line and focusing on presentation and retrieve, but that doesn't produce the "sure thing" they get by snagging and hoping for a face hookup.

    Those of us who don't want to deal with that have learned to be patient and avoid the crowd. I've swung up my limit of coho many, many times. Often they do take on the retrieve at the end of the swing, but you can also count on them slapping the shit out of your fly throughout the swing. I've also watched gear guys drifting eggs and swinging spinners through classic runs have epic coho days.

    But none of it's going to happen if we don't get some fucking rain.
  15. That's a hell of an insight Flyborg! Very helpful indeed. I'd like to have another crack at it...(checking weather forecast)...perhaps I will plan another outing when there's some rain in the forecast.
  16. I've caught quite a few swinging over the years on one particular Chehalis river trib. Conditions were always the same, fishing a day or two after a high water event. Dropping water with the fish traveling and fishing the softer inside seams of choppy, riffly water. The main river would be chocolate colored at times, but the softer inside water offered much better clarity. Long casts weren't necessary, just enough to get the head out in the current past the seam.
    Sometimes the fish are incredibly close to shore. At times so close you really can't swing for them. We showed up one day and a couple of guys fishing gear were blasting out to the middle of the river. My buddy did a roll cast to get the head out for his first cast of the day and a silver grabbed his fly 5' off shore. That turned out to be just an incredible day of fishing.
    We fished Teeny 200's cut back to 18'. Both weighted and unweighted black, cerise and purple bunny leeches with chartreuse heads did most of the damage. Something about a chartreuse head really turns the fish on, especially in colored water.
    As Flyborg said, it is very very difficult to get them on the swing when they are stacked up in the deeper holes.
  17. I'm really getting frustrated with the lack of precip. Have had a trip planned for months for October Ho's, but am rethinking this trip because of all the warm, low water and no rain in sight...

    This is a great thread, and hope to use this information on some river coho. If not this year, then next.
  18. I hear you brother...this sunshine is breaking my heart. Until it comes I'll just tie more weighted chartreuse marabou stuff...
  19. fish dirty,swing a small dick nite with a speyrod for skagit silvers
    stilly stalker likes this.
  20. Fixed it...:D

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