salmon rod suggestions

I am going on a Salmon fishing trip to Canada with Pops this summer. He is a bait-chucker and never flyfished. I would love to give it try on the flyrod. I have only flyfished trout and am wondering what I would need to flyfish for Salmon. We are gonna be fishing for mostly Chinook, 20-30 pounds maybe some Coho if they are in season and possibly some Pinks.

Any advice would be a great help. I am looking to start saving $$$ for the equipment as soon as possible.

I am not an expert by any means but I to have been trying to put together a good salmon/steehead setup on a bugget. I think I've done pretty good so far. I bought a 9' Griggs 4 piece 8/9 rod at OE and a 7/8 Ocuma reel with a big spool at the Sportman Show. The rod came with a real nice carrying case too and was only $60. The reel was 10% off at the show for $45 normally $50. I haven't bought any line yet, working on that with a little help from my friends. I did get an extra spool ($16) but will probably get one more so I can 3 different lines to use. You can spend a lot more but I feel I've done good so far, can't wait to give it a try. I'm also trying to get a good selection of flies as I don't tie my own yet! I hope to give that a try as well.
Jim J.
Hey Flyboy,

My $0.02 worth (and you know how much that is worth today)
I think you'd best be served with a 9-ft 9-wt rod. When you shop for one, be sure you choose the one with good backbone...its not enough to be able to cast large flies good distances, you'll also need to put the muscle into those brutes. Don't know what you're budget is, but a there are several excellent choices with unconditional lifetime warranties for about $250. Yeah, I know, you'll probably get a hundred responses touting various rods at lower prices. Shop wisely.

Ooops, forgot to add: You can currently pick up great deals on a Redington AL reels if you look around.

Just my other $0.02, but if it was me, I'd set up for a shooting head system i.e. running line and 30-foot heads. Much cheaper than buying extra spools and additional lines, much more compact than carrying extra spools and additional lines and interchanging the heads is a very quick evolution. Learn to cast it and you'll add distance with only one false cast saving your arm over an entire day of hot-'n-heavy fishing.



Here's My thoughts,
I bought a relatively cheap rod for my first trout rod, a w.w.grigg with an Okuma reel. I have never gone back since. In fly fishing the amount you spend is often related to the feeling you get. I have been very happy with a pair of St. Croix Legend Ultra rods that I have since purchased(6and8weight). I will say though I have a Sage DS 2 that works wonderfully for salmon, at $225 it has been great. It is a very slow action rod. Has a decent backbone and never breaks. I don't even take my UFT998 St. Croix out when fishing for chums. For a good starter I'd recommend it. Plus it will always be a bulletproof back-up. In my opinion, the unconditional lifetime guarantee is priceless when fishing for bigger fish.

My personal setup involves 8 and 9 wt rods to start. A heavier backup is always good just in case. And the best reels for the money seem to be the FlyLogic FLP's. Killer drags for about $100, and forget about any future headaches. And for line, either shootings heads, or a Teeny T-300 or T-400 sink tip line. The best casting and rollcasting sink tip available. But those are my opinions.
Unfortunately, I think you're going to need two rods if you want to target chinook, coho, and pinks. If you can only afford one set-up, focus on the coho and pinks, as the chances of getting a chinook are much slimmer anyway.

For coho, you want a fast-action 8-weight or 9-weight (I'd go with the 8 because it's more versatile, and the 9 is still not enough rod for chinook). I don't care which rod you get, as long as it's fast. As noted above, spend wisely; cheaper is not always te best value. Get a decent reel with a good drag and room for lots of backing. The G.Loomis Adventure series (7/8 I think) is $100 and extremely well built (and handsome if that matters to you). Get an intermediate sinking running line and put some sort of loop on the business end. (If you don't know how, a flyshop can do it for you, or send me a private message and I'll give you a good formula.) Then get a few 30' shooting heads. Your work horse will be a 300-grain head. This is the line I use 99.9% of the time if I'm fishing from a boat in BC. The Rio heads are cheaper than SA's or Teeny's and they come with a loop on them. (It's a stiff loop that some guys don't like but I haven't had any problem.)

This is an excellent set-up for both coho and pinks. It also works great for rockfish, which will provide you hours of fun, if quizical looks from pop. Tie all kinds of different flies, in all kinds of different sizes, but fish a size #2 clouser minnow in chartreuse and white or pink and white. Look for structure or kelp beds that form tide rips that concentrate bait (if you have electronics to locate fish, all the better). Cast uptide and let the line sink as it swings around. You're dream situation will be to find fish holding in 15-30' of water, but coho and pinks will both hold high in the water column, even in deeper water. Whatever, you generally need to get down at least 12-to 20'. You don't need to cast a mile, but the farther you can cast, the longer you're retrieve will be in the strike zone.

When you're at depth, start your retrieve. The standard is a steady, medium-fast footlong pull, but don't be afraid to mix things up if you're not getting takes and you know fish are around, or if you're getting a lot of follows and no takes. Make sure you're wearing polaroids and watch closely; you'll get a lot of follows all the way to the boat. If you figure out a way to consistently get followers to take at the boat, publish a book.

For chinook, I'm afraid I have to recommend a 10-weight (and a coresponding reel, preferably a true salt-water w/large arbor), particularly in BC. I suppose it's probable you could land a chinook with an 8 or a 9 (unless you hook a 40-pounder!), but you won't be able to cast the flies or line you'll need to catch them. Chinook are a lot pickier than either coho or pinks, and they're generally a lot deeper. I never use anything lighter than a 400-grain head for springs (500 is better), which could break an 8-weight on the cast if you weren't REALLY careful. I cast big (6-8") articulated decievers with a conehead AND lead-eyes, which are hard to keep in the air with an 8-weight, and could knock somebody out. I want to get DOWN, and I want to be able to cast far enough (min 80') to stay down through a good portion of the retrieve. (This is also a good rig for big lings, or if you ever get to Baja.)

I'm sure there'll be plenty of guys who'll say I'm overgunning. The truth is that chinook in salt water are pretty much a new frontier, but this is my approach.

Good Luck.
Ditto to Ray's remarks. I use a 9 1/2 7 wt Sage and it works perfectly for Silvers and Pinks of all sizes and the flys to catch them with.

You will have to work really hard to catch a King, even in BC. A ten weight would not be too heavy. I hooked a king just shy of 30 pounds that took over an hour to land, and it basically just toyed with me on my 9 weight.

Personal opinion - flyfish for the silvers and pinks, they are easy and fun on the fly. Kings are not as fun. One screaming run and then a long drawn-out tug of war. They will give your forearms a good burn.

Taking a backup rod (or two) is a great idea too, if you are doing a long trip.