am i going to be o.k. doing this......

i'm going to fish the south fork of the nooksack river this weekend, i've fished it a lot chuckin gear, well this year i'm going to try for silvers using my fly rod, the thing that concernes me is i'm going to be using a 4wt fly rod! it's the only fly rod i have right now, i have a fairly good sinking line and a fairly good floating line, i'm going to use teh sinking line and see if i can hook some silvers this weekend. my concern is am i nuts for using my 4wt? these silvers aren't very big 4 to 6 pounds? i'm looking for some opinons here any help would be appreciated, and any fly suggestions would also be appreciated, i've got some flys that look simialr to the coorkies i've been successful with in the past (not sure of any names of the flys) mainly fished for trout with a fly rod, so the salmon is going to be relatively new for me, should be interesting to say the least!:OO


Good luck with your 4wt. I believe that it is just too small for what your fishing for. Silvers usually put up a good fight if you happen to hook one. Have you caught any big fish on a 4wt. The biggest fish that I have ever caught on a 4wt was a 21" long summer run. It was a blast. My 4wt is a small one 7 1/2'. I like to use a 5wt but I think that is too small also. Jim S.
yes, i have caught a few big trout on my 4wt but those were in lakes, no river current to deal with. my 4wt is also short in only being 8ft long. i was afraid i was going to hear something like this, but i can't resist the challange!

Steve Buckner

Mother Nature's Son
Your 4 wt. is definitely small for coho. A six weight is even debateable. It would definitely be a blast with such a small rod but you have to keep in mind that with that small of a rod the fish will have to be so worn out to land it that it probably won't survive, even if you release it. If you'll be catching 90% hatchery fish then you might give it a try but with salmon stocks the way they are, one wild fish that could have survived and didn't isn't worth it. Coho put up much more of a fight than a trout of equal size.
I agree with the other posts. I was catching Pinks and a few silvers in Bellingham Bay in Sept. on a six weight, and had to step up to an eight weight because the six weight seemed way to light to handle the salmon. You will definately have a fight on your hand if you hook a silver, but you risk killing the fish, and possibly having your rod busted. At any rate i hope the rivers not blown out for you. I'm supposed to fish the Nook on Thursday, but with all the rain we had today I don't think that's gonna happen.


I've got to think that a 4 wt. is too small for silvers in the river. I've been fishing the pinks with a 6 wt. with success, BUT, they have generally been pulled from slower water. Those that I have worked in the faster water have taken my rod to the cork; a small rod would probably have failed.
OK. I can't help myself; I have to wiegh in with some of my own theories. I agree that on its face, this doesn't sound like a good idea, and you're likely going to break your rod. But If you're willing to take the chance, more power to you, and a broken rod could get you out from under some of the ethical issue involved (or at least provide some penance).

As I see it, using a 4wt for coho brings up questions re two types of ethical issue: conservation ethics, and sporting ethics.

If you're serious about catch and release as a conservation tool, using a 4wt for coho is clearly unethical. I'm sorry about that, but it's just too likely that you'll kill most of the fish you play, if you can somehow successfully land them. And don't feel better just because they swim away; those fish will not survive to spawn. Now, maybe you'll get lucky and hook only hatchery fish, or maybe you don't care about conservation, which is your right. But you should be aware that if you do kill a wild fish, even unintentionally, you could be liable for a big fine.

As for the sporting issue, using a 4wt for coho could be considered an interesting challenge, well within the traditionally acceptable "conceipts" often employed in angling, particularly flyfishing. After all, if we didn't do it partly as a "frivolous" test of ourselves, we could just use a net, or rotenone.

However, to be truly ethical, I think you'd have to take it all the way. One of the "correct" functions of a 4wt is to protect fine tippets. As you know, a 4wt WILL land a big fish, and in some trout fishing situations, it may be the ONLY WAY to land a big fish, because you need the light rod to protect the 7x tippit it took to get that big fish to rise. So to make using a 4wt on coho truly "sporting," you should use the fine tippit that the rod is designed for (not necessarily 7x, but maybe 5?), which will force you to play the fish with even more care. (This is what line-class records are about.) Otherwise, the whole thing is just an exercise in making the rod bend more.

Of course, this makes it even more unethical from a conservation standpoint, as you're even more likely to kill the fish. On the other hand, it has a better chance of escaping, possibly early on, before it becomes fatally exhausted.

Boy, it's like a conundrum inside a riddle (presented by a windbag:AA ).

PS: Please know that I don't mean to imply any value judgement; do what you want, as long as it's legal. I just like to go on.

Rob Blomquist

Formerly Tight Loops
Well, as much as I hate to dissent, I gotta.

I rather doubt that any fish will be exhausted, rods will be broken or any other foolishness if you fish with a 4 wt for silvers.

If you are foolish enough not to use a 1 or 2x tippet, then you may either break the tippet or exhaust the fish. If you play the fish wisely, remembering that you could break the rod, you won't. Don't try to horse the fish, and play it like a 16"er. If the run is strong, drop your rod tip and play the fish from the reel. Don't ever let the rod get over flexed, as it then may break.

The real big downside to fishing for salmon with a 4wt is the size of the flies that you can toss, and its inability to cast into the wind.

I recently hooked and landed a pink that I hooked in the tail with my 4 wt. I wasn't fishing for pinks, but this one got in the way. It was not a big deal to fight, and recoverd quickly. Granted that a pink is not a coho, but there are more similarities than differences.

Trey Combs in "SteelHead Fly Fishing" recommends rods as light as 2 wt for steelhead, and the 4 wt he says that "I wouldn't hesitate to fish for steelhead under 10 pounds with these rods."

I prefer a 7 wt for steelhead and salmon, but that's because I learned to fly fish for steelhead first, and that was back in the 70's. But I would not criticize the thoughtful fly fisher with a 4 wt trying for a steelie. But I would laugh if they tried to toss a a #2 lead weighted egg-sucking leech with it. The sound of an ear getting pierced on the river is so memorable....
well, i haven't looked at this for a couple of days, there are a lot of valid points here, and i would like to thank all of you for giving me your opinions, they are very helpful and i will apply them when i'm fishing. i would like to clarify a couple of things though, first of all i'm having my father bring up his seven wt. rod (after reading all these posts), so i won't really have to use my 4 wt., but the majority of this run are hatchery fish, and i do plan on keeping a couple of fish, if the fish allow me to ha..ha.., and the other thing is i'm going to use the other fly rod first, if the fish i'm catching turn out to be small, which they typically are, i'll swith to the 4wt., just for fun! the stretch of water i'm fishing is fairly slow moving water so i may have a better chance of landing fish on the 4wt, before they are totally exhausted. and i also will add that if i do catch a fish on the 4wt. and the fish is totaly exhausted i will have no problem in keeping that fish (as long as it's a hatchery), the last thing i want to do is realease a fish and have it dye! so thank all of you again for your insight, it will be applyed and i respect all of your opinions!
thanks again.