SRC/Salmon fly dilemma

High Flyin

Active Member
I've been able to get out a couple times a week in the last month or so. Both trolling and fly fishing but the King fishing down in 11/13 has been very poor this year so I grabbed the bug rod and went after SRC. Last night I went down to a local beech that no one else ever fishes and there was barely any water moving and it was calm. After casting for 30 minutes and I was about to head out. Looking down the beach about 25 feet away a Chinook rolls. I saw its' head and body, 100% sure. Not even a full cast away. Since I was fishing SRC I had a clouser on a size 6 hook. Generally that works well and won't destroy the SRC.
Here is the problem/dilemma. Do I change flys and put on a salmon fly with a size 1 stinger or cast the current fly to at least cast where the fish should be? Well, I put the cast right where I wanted and 3 strips and got hit. I was prepared and got a good strip set. Got one head shake and got he tail out of the water and then gone. Pretty sure my issue was too small of a hook for the size of the fish.
Now looking back. I probably should have swapped flies quickly at least that would have given me a fighting chance.
Now my question is would you cast the same fly and take chances or would you swap to a salmon fly?


Active Member
I too would cast with the fly that was on the line. Have caught lots of Chinook on smaller hooks (my life time best was taken on size 8!).

One potential issue with a larger fish like a Chinook is that they tend to be slower that the cutts were are more typically targeting. Have found that with those larger fish waiting a beat before strip setting allows the fish to turn; the result is often the fish is hooked in the corner of the jaw. At that location even the smaller hooks you'll have a reasonable chance of landing the fish. If the fish had not had the chance to turn your issue may have been that fish clamped down on the fly and after a head shake or two they open their jaws and the fly just slips away (once a adult Chinook have powerful jaws and once one clamps down on fly/lure even heavy gear may not be enough to move the lure for a good hook set).

One of the difficult things when we encounter that unusual large fish we just are not mentally prepare to deal with the fish. It is only with experience (missed and lost fish) that the angler is adequately prepared to take advantage of those rare encounters.


Bob Triggs

Stop Killing Wild Steelhead!
Many of the salmon that we have caught while fishing from the beaches were caught on trout flies, five or six weight rods, and 4X to 3X tippet. Most trout fishermen are not prepared for that kind of fight and weight, and many of them do not get landed. I would not have tried coho fishing with size # 6 Muddlers, soft hackles, bunnies, zonkers, streamers, gurglers, stimulators etc. I would have started at size #4 and larger bait fish Clousers etc, using a six or seven weight rod, and 1X to 0X tippet. But the fish will show you what they want sometimes. And they do not read the books or magazines. Maybe the biggest factor here will be tippet strength, and how you play the fish. My best coho on a trout fly was almost twelve pounds on a size #8 muddler. A very cheap hardware store muddler.


Active Member
Alright , if people are throwing in their "and there I was" hookup stories .5wt fiberglass fenwick, polar shrimp fly, strike, hook set, 2 bright coho erupt, crazy battle insured , both 8 lb coho landed.How? First fish picked up fly and ejected it out its gills ,second fish gave me the strike I felt. Disclaimer,remote Alaska 1979. Anyone landed 3 on one fly?

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