LogIn

B.C. Boat and Sportsmen's Show
Searching for Coho on the fly
by Vic Carrao of GuideBC.com

The Fraser Valley is truly one of British Columbia's jewels when it comes to fly-fishing for Salmon. The Harrison River is a fly fishers dream, located only 2 hours east of Vancouver, BC.

There is something special about targeting salmon on this river system. The water is gin clear, fish are abundant but not always willing to bite the fly. Because this river system has returns of Chinook, Chum, Sockeye and Pink salmon, you must understand fish migration and habitat preference if you're going to target one specific species.

Coho salmon are one of those species that you really need to understand to be successful. They don't like to mix with the more aggressive species like Chum and Chinook Salmon. So where do you start looking to find them? What type of water do Coho prefer? If you can answer these two questions, your well on your way to understanding how to target them.

Coho or silver salmon prefer slow moving, slack or what we call dead water. They often lay in water as shallow as 2 feet, staying clear of the more aggressive species, especially if the water has good current speed. Side channels, backwaters and even deep holes with no current seem to be the Coho's favorite hiding spot when no other species is present.
On the Harrison system, places like Harrison Bay, Pretty Flats, Aquarium, Grave Yard, Morris slough and Chehalis confluence are favorite locations for Coho.

When you look out onto Pretty flats, all you see is acres upon acres of shallow water, often less than knee deep. If you spot a small darker looking area, that is usually a deeper hole, 3 to 5 feet deep often holding ½ a dozen or more Coho.

There are two basic strategies when targeting Coho on the Harrison River, keep in mind these strategies would apply to most large to medium sized rivers on the Pacific Coast.
Your two choices are to target: Migrating Coho or Staging Coho. Migrating Coho are moving up into the river usually from a main river system or the ocean. Staging Coho are fish that have arrived to their home waters and have know where to go, they often have several weeks or even months to wait before spawning occurs.

If you are targeting staging Coho, you will need to search for those deeper side channels, backwaters and shallow flats or large main stem runs with slow moving deeper water. If you're targeting migrating Coho, you will need to fish close to shore where current in minimal. Coho travel so close to shore, anglers are often wading out past where the fish travel. I have caught many Coho casting behind anglers waded out in 3 feet of water. On the Harrison River, Fraser River and most Fraser Valley sloughs, this is most often the case.

Understanding some of these basic migration and habitat preferences will be key to success when targeting Coho Salmon anywhere on the British Columbia Coast. The same can be said for Chinook Salmon, Sockeye, Pink and Chum Salmon. Understanding fish habitat and migratory preferences is the key to success.

Gear selection and angling techniques used for Coho vary depending on the type of water you choose to fish. When fishing the backwaters, side channels or shallow flats we prefer to use a floating line, slow sink or slow sink tip monocore line. Combine either of these lines with a long 12 to 16 foot leader and you have a great shallow water presentation. Keep in mind these fish are usually in the staging mode so they are just swimming around in circles for days and often weeks. They spook quite easily, hence the reason for using long leaders.

When targeting migrating Coho, your line selection will vary depending on depth and current speed. We like using a Versa Tip or changeable tips for easy and quick change when conditions are constantly changing. More often than not, water depth and speed can change two or even three times in a small stretch of river. Having the ability to quickly and easily change your line will often be the difference between success and failure.
Using shorter leaders with sink tips lines is usually is what is required for targeting migrating fish. Again, speed of current and depth will determine sink rate and leader length.

Fly selection for Coho salmon is broken down into two groups, minnow imitation and attractor flys. Minnow imitations include Rolled Muddlers, Sculpin, and Leech Patterns. Attractor flys would include just about anything that has flash. We like to refer them as Flash Flys. Some commercial patterns would include, Christmas Tree, Kelsey's Hope, Illusion. We prefer to tie our own using three basic colors of crystal flash. Blue, Green & Crystal.

One very important factor when choosing the right fly for water conditions is sink rate. The sink rate of the fly combined with fly line has more effect on success than the fly itself. What I mean by this is that more often than not, I see anglers striping too fast or not fast enough. This is usually because the fly is sinking too fast or not at all. Combining the right weight of fly with fly line is critical to success. I would even go as far to say that it's probably the most important factor of all, once you found the fish.


If you were to look through our fly boxes you would start to see that most if not all of our salmon flys are weighted. For Coho we like to use bead headed flys for shallow water, barbell eyes for faster deeper water. I guess the easiest way to me to describe the optimum weight of fly combined with fly line is to say that regardless of the water type, depth or speed, don't let the fly or fly line control your rate of retrieve. If your fly requires moderate retrieve action to attract a strike, then don't let the fly line or weight of fly make you retrieve too fast, or on the other hand too slow.

I guess I could go on and on about fly presentation, fly choices, lines and son on. Hopefully the information above will help you get started as you search out for that elusive Coho on the fly. If you have any comments, questions or suggestions, please feel free to contact me.

Vic Carrao
www.guidebc.com

Flyfishing All Categories
  Article Topics Date
1. Fly Spring Chicken Flyfishing, Flys Feb 2011
2. Fly Lake Rainbow Merlin Flyfishing, Flys Feb 2011
3. Fly Rainbow Trout (brown back) Flyfishing, Flys Feb 2011
4. Fly Babine Dusk Flyfishing, Flys Feb 2011
5. Fly B.C. Herring Flyfishing, Flys Feb 2011
6. Fly Cooked Prawn Flyfishing, Flys Feb 2011
7. Fly Sliver Hilton Flyfishing, Flys Feb 2011
8. Fly Serendipity Flyfishing, Flys Feb 2011
9. Fly Dubbed Eyed Egg Flyfishing, Flys Feb 2011
10. Fly Dream Squid Flyfishing, Flys Feb 2011
11. Fly Blue Thunder Flyfishing, Flys Feb 2011
12. Fly Cisco Flyfishing, Flys Feb 2011
13. Fly Kermit Poppers Flyfishing, Flys Feb 2011
14. Fly Gummy Roe Flyfishing, Flys Feb 2011
15. Fly Spaced Out Flyfishing, Flys Feb 2011
16. Fly Kitimat Red Flyfishing Feb 2011
17. Fly Casting Flyfishing, Technique Jan 2011
18. Fly The Popsicle Flyfishing Jan 2011
19. Fly The Steelhead Nightmare Flyfishing, Flys Jan 2011
20. Fly Koenig's Alevin Flyfishing Jan 2011
21. Fly The Pink Worm Flyfishing, Flys Jan 2011
22. Fly Black Egg-sukin' Conehead Leech Flyfishing, Flys Jan 2011
23. Tied Down Minnow Flyfishing Mar 2009
24. Fly Fishing for Salmon Jul 2008
25. Gravelwalker Flyfishing, Salmon, Steelhead, Tackle, Trout Jun 2008
26. Black Spey Salmon, Steelhead Jan 2008
27. Tying the Green Butt Skunk Flyfishing, Steelhead May 2007
28. Don't Forget the Little Guys Flyfishing Apr 2007
29. Six Important Fly Patterns for B.C. Success Flyfishing, Tackle Apr 2007
30. Large Central Interior Lake Rainbows on the Fly Flyfishing, Trout Apr 2007
31. Bug Eyes Apr 2007
32. Early Season Fly Patterns Flyfishing Apr 2007
33. Early Season Fly Strategies Flyfishing Apr 2007
34. Chironomid - Fly of Choice Flyfishing Apr 2007
35. Flyfishing Destinations of British Columbia Flyfishing, Salmon Apr 2007
36. The Hemoglobin Emerger Flyfishing Apr 2007
37. Early Season Stillwater Success Flyfishing, Tackle Apr 2007
38. How to tie Bug Eyes Flyfishing Apr 2007
39. Searching for Coho on the fly Flyfishing, Salmon Apr 2007
40. Tying the Chaunigan Carey of Pheasant Flyfishing Apr 2007
41. Fly Fishing Steelhead a “Spring Primer” Flyfishing, Steelhead Apr 2007
42. Tying the Purple Austrian Flyfishing Apr 2007
43. Tying a variation of the Kitimat Kombo Flyfishing, Steelhead Apr 2007
44. Tying the Green Chum and Pink Flies Flyfishing Apr 2007
45. Tying the Egg Sucking Leech Flyfishing Apr 2007
46. Tying the Christmas Tree Fly Flyfishing Apr 2007
47. Tying the Kitimat Kombo Flyfishing Apr 2007
48. Tying Manny’s Minnow Flyfishing Apr 2007
49. The Pink Solution Flyfishing Apr 2007
50. Knot Tying Flyfishing Apr 2007
51. Trolling a Fly with your Spinning Rod and Reel Flyfishing, Tackle, Trolling, Trout Feb 1999
GuideBC
http://www.bites-on.com
Aquaventures Tours
Amundson Fishing Products


[ Home | Contact Us | Advertise Here | Search Engine Optimization | Resorts Lodges | Guides Charters | Fishing Clubs | Tackle Suppliers | Gear for Sale | Product Reviews | Fly Fishing | Bass | Halibut | Kids Fishing | Salmon | Steelhead | Sturgeon | Trout | Hunting | Fishing Reports | Fishing Forum | Books | Articles | Events | BC Info | Fishing Links | Gallery ]

Copyright © 2018, GetSet! Communications All rights reserved.
Page Sponsors:

Aquaventures Tours
Amundson Fishing Products