Coho - Just a basic question


Active Member
C'mon Les, don't be modest. I would like to announce that THE BOOK THAT SALMON FLY ANGLERS have been waiting for is here now. Fly-Fishing for Pacific Salmon II by Les Johnson and Bruce Ferguson with Pat Trotter ($39.95) is in the stores. For a mere forty bucks nearly everything the salmon fly fisher needs to know is readily available. This book will provide you with more solid, accurate information than you can digest in the next ten years.
Fly Fishing for Pacific Salmon II
Soft cover - $39.95
Hard cover - $59.95
Gas spent chasing around tying to figure it out for yourself - priceless!

Les Johnson
PS: carries both the hard cover and soft cover. was sold out but is now restocked with hard and soft covers.
Thanks to all of you. I guess I just need to grow thicker skin and grow a pair!

Seriously, I appreciate your input. I know my questions seem very basic but I find the hobby very intimidating. Maybe I should ease off and make it a little less complicated.

I have les's cutthroat book. Now I am going to order his new salmon book.

Tomorrow I am going to buy my waders and boots. I won't ask for recommendations as I trust a local fly shop.

Thanks again for your support.

Steven Green

Hood Canal Pirate
Everyone asks lots of questions when they start fishing. The best advice that was given to me when I started was, " It's hard to catch a fish without a fly in the water." Best way to learn is to get out there :thumb:

Mike Etgen

Not Quite A Luddite, But Can See One From Here
Catch and release searun cutthroat are not my thing. I will take what I can feed my family and no more. Rick

I'm a little late to this thread (typical) but was intrigued with this part of your opening question. If I understand correctly, you must be saying that you fish primarily (or maybe even exclusively) for the purpose of harvesting fish, thus not having any interest in cutthroat.

Just a thought, and I'm not trying to advocate a different goal for your fishing, or trying to persuade you specifically to target cutthroat, but they are are reasonably abundant recreational resource, albeit strictly catch and release, and they are a lot of fun. Additionally, they could give you fish to target that inhabits a lot of the same waters where you'll find coho at times, and the exploration you'll do searching for cutts could pay off handsomely when you're shifting to coho for harvest.

You could do worse things with your time than exploring the local beaches for cutts, even when coho aren't available. Plus, they're a lot of fun.

Did I mention they're a lot of fun? :thumb:

Yeah, I love 'em.


Active Member

Your not alone in feeling a bit uneasy about this sport. I myself have been flyfishing for over ten years. When I first got started I was on the water over 300 days a year (I was in college and had alot of extra time :thumb:). Now that I have a few adult responsibilities, like employment, I get out less than that.

My point is that I am a pretty experienced flyfisherman but I have never fished the salt (moved here about 1 and 1/2 years ago). The main reason for this is that I am addicted to fishing for trout in moving water with dry-flies but also, because of my unfamiliarity with beach fishing. My biggest "fear factor" is not the fishing part. I have been flyfishing for years and I have read quite a bit about the what, where, and when of SRC's. What concerns me the most is the etiquette of beach fishing (I have the same issue with steelheading). Nobody wants to look like a newbie.

However, like others have said, "most" flyfisherman you actually come accross on the water are very friendly and very helpful. In fact, the only thing some guys like to do more than fly-fish is talk about it (hence the popularity of this site). I am not saying you should go down to the local SRC beach and start interupting guys fishing but get out there and watch. That's what I plan on doing this year (I am taking myself out of my comfort zone of rivers and dries). I am going down to a few of the beaches to observe. I'll probably break out the rod and fish around the margins until I feel comfortable enough with the process to fish some of the more productive, popular beaches.

Get out there, get a fly wet and observe. You'll get a much more out of that than 1,000 responses to a post on an internet board.
I spend most my time lurking in the sand box here and do not post. But this subject is dear to my heart.
In the early morning when the water is calm, a small lake boat and trolling motor will do the job, later in the day one needs to be off the water before the winds pick up.
I have had good success trolling green and blue GSB's in the prop wash of my trolling motor 20-30 feet behind the boat very early in the morning. As you have already been advised, look for points where bait fish will tend to ball up along the tidal rips and coho love to ambush.
I am probabally going to get shot at for saying this, but this is what I did with my grandson (8 yrs old) when I introduced him to one of the most exciting ways in "my world" to catch coho's.
Being not so sure the little guy would be attentive enough to his rod, I bought a inexpensive spinning rod and reel ($25) that was rated up to 12lbs of line weight. I did clip a carabiner onto the rod with a short piece of rope just in case it got ripped out of the little guy's hands. I tied up some 10lb leaders with appropiate sized hooks and set them up with some green or blue GSB's. We free spoiled line out into the prop wash and I had him keep his rod tip low to the water. Knowing that he would fidgit and that rod tip would be going all over the place (and transmit action to the GSB). Some times we'll give the GSB's a shot of hearing scent.
It was a riot to see his eyes when that first coho hit that GSB - wide eyed as a hoot owl would be a good discription.
He has now "graduated" to using a 8 weight fly rod just like grandpa when we are chasing coho's early in the morning.
What it comes down to, is how experienced your boy is with a fly rod.
It worked for me, it can work for you too.:thumb:
I am going down to a few of the beaches to observe. I'll probably break out the rod and fish around the margins until I feel comfortable enough with the process to fish some of the more productive, popular beaches.


It is always kind of odd exploring a new place and new type of fishing especially when other fishermen are casting about but when you go "observe" at a puget sound beach I recommend you have your waders on and rod strung up. There isn't that much to etiquette on the beach (or a lot of folks have been cussing me behind my back). It is not like a SH run with fly fishers cycling through on a conveyer belt. I have seen some talk about moving this way or that but most folks stay in one spot and only move because they aren't catching anything where they are standing. I think many would move if they were slamming them and those on either side were not. Others would not. I think it will take you about a minute of observing before you were in the water and doing what everyone else is doing - focusing on fishing and not on each other.

All the beach fly and gear fishermen I have talked to have been very friendly and helpful. All of them.

Go fishing.


Active Member
Thanks Jim - will do. I have been working my way through one of Les Johnson's books (FFishing for Coastal Cutthroat) and I am looking forward to my first attempt in the salt.

Thanks again to all who responded. I haven't ruled out src but, I too, have limited time. If I can fit it some src, I will go for it.

I also have a grandson who I would like to introduce to fly fishing some day. Fish or no fish, it will be his grandpa who introduced him to the experience. I hope it will be memories he will keep long after I am gone.

One more point. Some of you have suggested I go out and observe others fly fishing. HELLO!. That is exactly what I wanted to do but I got put down. I wasn't asking for favorite fishing hole secrets. I have my own ideas of where to go and I read a lot.

Just my two cents worth and thanks for responding.


Ed Call

Well-Known Member
ricklea1953, there is not much more exciting than hooking a sizable coho that is running the beach. It will boil from below and blow your fly up and your heart will begin racing. Keep the 6wt and get as much casting time in as you can afford away from the family. Use the ample time now for the sea run cutthroats employing catch and release as the regs require and this will get you primed for when the coho begin. For the most part the coho will travel in near the shoreline and wherever the beach angle drops away sharply and they will hammer most of the flies that the sea run cutts hit too. There may be some responses that don't suit your fancy, but there are lots of anglers who have added very valuable points. I've been here for about 8 years myself and have learned a hell of a lot via the school of hard knocks, watching and talking with other anglers and reading those map guides that tell you about runs, timing and catch potential. Let's hook up and I will show you what limited things I know, where I go, and how to find some peace in fly casting without burning up a ton of gas. Send me a PM, no guarantees there will be fish tightening your line, but there won't be any hassle or pressure. If you don't want to hook up with me, send a PM to one of the other anglers who has given a helpful response and I'm sure you won't be disapponted. Remeber everyone is a strapping stud online and talks as if they have balls of brass, mostly you will find that even those with barbed responses will be pretty cool to fish with if you ever run into them. If they are still a dick in person, give them a wide berth...and keep your 6wt.