First, welcome to the Fish You Will Encounter series. In this article we will be exploring flies that catch King Salmon. You are in the right place for everything that Got Fishing has to offer. Second, let’s get the message straight – We do fishing trips, so you may wield a Canadian-style mooching rod, or you may throw a delicate loop on a fly rod- simply depends on the adventure you choose. However, as a fly fishing guide, my knowledge base is geared towards pursuing fish on the fly.
The King (Regarded as the Pinnacle of Salmon)
Chinook salmon, aka King Salmon, are among the pinnacle of the salmon species concerning size and strength. Every genetic population of the Oncorhynchus tshawytscha has slight variations in habit, spotting, life duration, and even flesh color. For instance, Salmon that ascend the Columbia river tend to last longer, eat better late in the season and travel farther than their same relatives that ascend say, the Hoh, the Hoh being a shorter river that, like the Columbia, empties into the ocean. One stream requires a short run; the other requires a lengthy one.
King Salmon range in size from small (24″ or less) “Jacks” that are immature but returning from the salt, to the mighty and most rare century mark fish (that push well over 100lbs). The Columbia used to see fish up to 120lbs, mostly from the 1800s. The largest recorded fish caught was a commercial catch in beautiful British Columbia. It weighed an astonishing 126lbs and was caught near Rivers Inlet, just across the Queen Charlotte Sound from Sandspit!
All Pacific salmon are born in rivers, head out to either lake, then salt, or directly to the salt where they live, eat, eat, and eat. Then return to die, after depositing their fertilized eggs. Thus securing their future. The best quality of Chinook Salmon, in my opinion, they eat flies!
Flies That Catch Them
Okay, so now you may be saying, “That’s great, but what flies catch King Salmon??” My largest King, 30lbs of fish, came to the net by deep trolling a Hoochie, which is basically a little rubber squid. The flies they like are not surprisingly, very similar! I like Intruder or Tube style flies for Salmon. Like any fish, Salmon do have color preferences – flies should have chartreuse, purple and blue or black for variation. You can also use flies with marabou and ostrich herl, with a tad of flash and some UV dubbing to cover all the bases.
I could cover hundreds of flies, and your guide will know exactly which fly to use at your destination. For that reason, I will try to keep it to two. Out of fairness, I must state, we do not get any kickback from fly companies.
The first is the Solitude Guide Intruder – a soft, flowy, and action-filled fly.
This last fly is Rainy’s Jurij’s Tube Black/Green Fighter.
By Joseph Schliesman, Fishing Consultant for Got Fishing