Fishing Shrimp Patterns

So, I've finally been having some success with baitfish patterns in the salt. I want to expand my horizons a little and fish some shrimp patterns. Could anyone provide some technique input for how/where/when to fish shrimp patterns? I have a few tied in pink & some in off-white...any other colors that are a must-have? Thx
CM, I had the same question a little while ago, and pulled up a thread started by R.Stephens on 04-11-2005 (search on the word "shrimp"); he has kept a journal on the matter for years and seems to have it wired. That he shared his meticulous notes and observation with all here is why you gotta love this site! Very generous.
Thx, will check it out forthwith. I was afraid of the mounds of threads I'd find under a "shrimp" search, but that'll help me narrow it down.

Edit ---Yep, found it. I actually read that thread when it was new but it didn't mean as much to me then since I hadn't yet caught the saltwater itch. It was very helpful. Thanks again & a belated thanks to Mr. Stephens.... :beer2:
I would be very interested in hearing of your results as you go up the learning curve on using shrimp. I am having a lot of fun using poppers at the moment, but when that fails, I am just starting to use a shrimp pattern on a fast sink tip.

Seems to me that if the Cutthroat are on the bite, they have no problem going from considerable horizontal distance to get at a surface lure, but I'm not to sure how high they will go in the water column if they are hanging low to begin with, which seems to occurs periodically. So, I am thinking, when SRC are not hitting surface or slightly subsurface flies, to go way deep right off the bat, as deep as I can get it so its mostly in the bottom third of the water column, and slow down the retrieve. I used to search methodically going deeper through the height of the water column, but I am changing my approach to now go from one extreme (fast /surface) then to the other (slow /bottom).

I am eager to hear thoughts/comments from anyone on this, especially as Salmon season is now not to far away, I would like to get this sorted out over the next couple of months.
Well according to R. Stephens' post, he fishes the shrimp "hatch" in protected coves. That kinda' eliminates all the places I fish for Cutts -points. Now I've gotta think of a good local spot that fits his description. I don't know much about sand shrimp habitat -or any shrimp habitat for that matter, but I'm gonna study up a little.

Old Man

Just an Old Man
They are called Sand Shrimp for a reason. If you get in a area with eel grass you should be in Sand Shrimp country. Also if you do another search on shrimp patterns you should be able to see that pattern that Mattzoid tied up. It looks just like a sand shrimp. But I don't know if he has tied them up smaller for Cutts.

Old man said:
They are called Sand Shrimp for a reason. If you get in a area with eel grass you should be in Sand Shrimp country. Also if you do another search on shrimp patterns you should be able to see that pattern that Mattzoid tied up. It looks just like a sand shrimp. But I don't know if he has tied them up smaller for Cutts.

Thanks Old Man. Yeah I've seen Mattzoid's shrimp pattern and a few others. I guess I just don't know much on what kind of shrimp are out there in PS. I know I hear about sand shrimp all the time, but is that the only shrimp out there within beach fishing range? I've only seen the "sand shrimp" that bait stores sell & they're usually dyed in orange, pink, purple, etc. Welp, I'll be tying up some shrimp soon that look better than the ones I have & I'll give'em a shot.
Salt Dog:

Your comments about fishing the surface with a popper and then the bottom 1/3 of the water column using a slowed down retrieve are the same strategies that I usually use.

I always keep two rods strung up. The first rod has a floating line with a floating fly pattern and the second rods has a extra fast full sinking line with usually a baitfish pattern. I'll skate a floating pattern first and then switch to the full sinking line.

Today I was chasing after SRC and had some excellent fishing using the slowed down retrieve which you mentioned. I was fishing on top of a gravel bar and the SRC were sitting in about 8 feet of water which had a moderate current. I would cast across the current and make a quick line mend when the fly hit the water to try and get it down near the bottom. Then I'd let it sink for a couple of seconds before using a short erratic retrieve with 1-2 second pauses thrown in. The strikes were usually soft so you had to be quick on the trigger when you felt a slight tap.

Thanks for the confirmation Roger; it is nice to get some feedback from an experienced angler.

Roger - Do you have any more pearls to cast my way??
When do you use shrimp patterns? is it because you are keying on something you see in the water(or don't see), or is the use of a bait pattern instead of a shrimp fly just dictated by the presence of bait fish in the water? Do you know if shrimp have periods when they are more available to predator fish, i.e., spring, summer, etc.?
I've been waiting for Aug 1 to get here and chase salmon with a few shrimpzoids. Most of the ones I tie are 2 1/2 inches or larger and never really thought of trying them on SRC's.

The greatest part about Mr. Stephen's post entitled "Some resident silvers feed on sand shrimp" is this line:

"A shrimp fly will out fish a baitfish pattern about 3 or 4 to 1."

Man oh man, I've only caught Silvers and SRC's on baitfish patterns. I may be able to improve my luck if I could just pull myself away from the river.

Really will be cool to see how things go for everyone out in the salt this year. I will be watching these threads with much interest. They were even talking about more combat fishing for Sockeye on Lake Washington this year again. I hope that is a good sign for all Salmon.
Frank Van Gelder has an excellent shrimp pattern called the MVP that he uses for cutthroat and resident coho salmon pretty much year around with great success. You can get a ton of information on sand shrimp by pulling it up on Google. The information includes photos in addition to text for tying imitations. Also, there are always euphausids around which some people mistakenly call "shrimp". these are usually matched by size 6 through 16 flies and can produce well at any time. Pale pink, orange or almost white work well. For non-tiers the Teeny nymph (size 6 or 8) in these colors is a good bet. I've carried some of these for years. This year with pink salmon due, euphausids will be good to have in the fly box. Pinks love 'em in the salt and all the way into the lower reaches of our rivers. The fly developed by Bruce Ferguson and me, the FJ Pink is also good for the year-around saltwater fly box.
There is ample information out there about almost every Pacific crustacean. All you have to do is dig in a bit.

Good Fishing, Les Johnson

Jim Kerr

Active Member
About this time of year I find trout feeding on shrimp with some regularity. But they are not sand shrimp, rather imature coon stripes. (I think) Its hard to tell because they are about one eigth of an inch long. I have some pics of them but only on slides, I will see if I get get them up because its kinda me any way. If you wade around at night with a flash light you will see lots of tiny pink lights in the water near your feet. These are the eyes of , mostly, coon stripe shrimp. They look alot like prawns you buy in the store only smaller, the adults are about 2 inches long. It seems to me these shrimp are about 100 times as likely to end up as cuthroat food as sand shrimp, although the cuts love sand shrimp, they just don't have nearly as much access. As for the tiny ones, a #14 pheasant tail seems to do the trick just fine.