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Thread: Red Salmon flies?

  1. #1
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    Default Red Salmon flies?

    Years ago when I was guiding for king on the Gulkana I ran across a guy fly fishing for reds. I took a few moments out of my duties to watch the show he put on. After watching him pull in about his 8th fish in 30 minutes I had to inquire. He told me that reds not eating after entering freshwater was a common misconception. He went on to explain that reds were just lazy when it came to eating and that they would readily take nymphs and such that passed them in the current. Now I wouldn't have beleived such a story if I hadn't seen his success. There was no ripping just simple wet fly fishing. Needing to get back to my clients I never got a good look at the pattern he was using. It was some sort of a green nymph though.
    Has any one else expeirenced this and if so any suggestions for a pattern. If this is some well kept secret please PM me. I would love to have some success with fooling the red runs here. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

  2. #2

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    You can share the information you receive with the F&G Bios when you get responses. They are under the impression, that the reds don't eat, and seldom strike. One of the best techniques my partner showed me, was to bend the shank of the hook at 90 degrees. Make the fly very sparse and it will cut the water better. The bent hook will impale faster, than if it was just trailing behind the leader. It also helps the hook to move around more, covering more area, increasing the number of hook ups.

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    I had always been under that impression too. I've never seen the likes of it though. Maybe this guy was just lucky that day but watching him pull reds out like they were grayling sure made me take notice. I have always wished that I had been a fly fisherman then. Now I would have done anything to see that fly up close.

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    I have used a just a plan red size 2 hook with some red yarn tied to it for reds in the Klutina. I have done really well using this set up. I have never tried it in the Gulkana but, after hearing this I might have to try it. Are there areas that I fish without a boat from shore? Are there any ATV trails or walking trails that I can take to get away from the bridge on the Rich? The last time I was there you could camp at sailors pit for free so it has been a while.

    Fish on

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    Default donkey

    Yes there are at least three ways in. There is a BLM easement on the left hand side of Sailors pit . There is another at he poplar grove put in at apx mile 137. Another at a pull off at apx 139 mile. Soudough campround is also open. There is a privately owned campround at 132 mile.

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    Member ak_powder_monkey's Avatar
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    I like flesh flies
    I choose to fly fish, not because its easy, but because its hard.

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    i've fished for sockeye in lots of different clear water streams, and to this day, i've never seen one intentionally "strike" a fly. sometimes it kinda seems as if they're striking because they head shake as soon as the fly flosses them in the current, but i have yet to see one actually go after a fly. lots of times you'll see someone catching more fish than others and think that he has a secret fly, but the reason he/she is catching them so easily is that they have their rig dialed in. the perfect leader size, amount of weight, fly characteristics, and so forth are the key to dialing in on reds. i use a specific gauge and size hook that is very sparsely tied to do the trick in most waters, but the speed, depth, and slope of the river would all cause you to tweak the system slightly. if you really get it dialed in you can get the fly to float at the perfect depth, etc so that you line em literally every time. since 90% of the run swim within 3 feet of eachother (the same distance from shore) you can really get the fly to pass by dozens of open mouths each and every drift when they're running thick. if you use a standard coho fly then trim the deer hair until it's almost completely gone, i swear you'll catch twice as many fish this way in almost any situation. another trick i use is to use a bare hook with a bead on the line (kinda like you would for trout, but a bigger hook) since a "bare" hook is illegal, and it works really well in most situations as well. one more pointer - especially if you're sight fishing, don't use a rubber core sinker because the rubber makes them sink more slowly and you get a shorter drift with your fly in the "zone." instead, use a bell sinker, or anything that won't snag too much and doesn't have rubber to slow down the sink rate. i know there are gonna be those who think i'm totally wrong here, but until someone proves me otherwise by showing my a sockeye striking at a fly or lure - this is how i see it. now when sockeye are spawning and you're using bait, the rules change a bit. i catch lots of sockeye on eggs while fishing for silvers in the fall...they actually nibble and swallow rowe, just like a silver would. but only late in the sockeye season (august). it almost never happens during july when the fish are thick and all bright fresh ones. don't know why.
    www.akfishology.com

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    I have heard the same thing that Mark was saying. I asked a lot of people last time I was fishing about the yarn that I use. I got a 100 different answers but, the one that I could believe that most is that the yarns helps the hook get caught in the mouth area. The yarn gets snagged on the teeth and presto fish on. I could see how deer hair can help the hook float a little getting a better presention for way of fishing. I will have to tie some and see which on produces more. Thanks for the info....

  9. #9

    Default Just nymph it

    You'll catch plenty of reds by simply nymphing anything. Fish a small sparse fly, I have caught several silvers on a peeking caddis. I cant seem to keep the sockeye off a bead later after they've turned a bit, I still think they hit some of them.

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    What size nymph hook do you use???

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    Default hook

    You dont have to use a nymph hook to nymph. But in reference to the peeking caddis's, they were tied pretty small, 10 maybe.

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    I use sz. 8 2x long 1x strong hooks
    I choose to fly fish, not because its easy, but because its hard.

  13. #13

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    Are you sure it was flying?


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    i've had the same experience, trying to keep reds off my bead during august/september. as i said, when they're beginning to spawn, the rules all change. but who wants to fish for those green headed slimy spawners?
    www.akfishology.com

    fishing isn't about life or death... it's more important than that.

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    Default markw3

    Are you willing to show me a picture of what you use. I am not very knowledgable when it comes to specifics. Flyfishing has become my favorite outdooor activity second only to sheep hunting. I just find myself limited in all the aspects and techniques that are acquired with experience.
    Thanks again for all the responses.

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    Member Rick P's Avatar
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    The closer the reds get to spawning the easier it is to piss them off. Thats what is happening here I dont beleive they are activly feeding. I've had verey productive days on nymphs, streamers and flesh flies. But streamers that mimic small fish seem to work best. Late in the run reds just plain get in a mood and will strick at anything that gets to close. Weird thing is this dose'nt hold true in areas with alot of fishing pressure.

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    Default specifics

    specifics are all conditional upon when, where, what, and so forth.... if i were going to generalize, i'd start with a 6-7 foot leader of 20# test - tie a 3 way swivel with an arm's length leader off the other end. the sinker you attach to the swivel is determined by the water you are fishing...just don't use rubber core if sight fishing cause it sinks too slow. experiment with different sizes and types to find what is right for the conditions. the easiest and most efficient "fly" would be a bare hook with a small amount of yarn on it... the yarn may help a bit as it has the potential to stick in the fish's teeth, but there are other "flies" that work as well. i probably haven't told you anything you don't know yet; that's because the real secret is tuning into the specific conditions, as said before - because a rig that works well in one scenario may not produce the same way in another. this is why you see people come back to the same spot over and over again... they've got that specific spot figured out. there is also a lot to be said about experience and "touch." sockeye fishing doesn't look like it takes much touch, but believe it or not, there's a subtle technique to it that all experienced sockeye fishermen understand.
    www.akfishology.com

    fishing isn't about life or death... it's more important than that.

  18. #18
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    When we're catching reds, remember that unlike the other salmonids, they are not fish-eaters. They feed on plankton. If we are able to elicit a strike response from them it will because of aggression - not from a food stimulus. Which is why they seem to strike flies as they arein the river longer - they get territorial during spawning. In the clear waters of the Russian and other places like Big River Lake, I have NEVER seen a red move to take a fly. I get a kick out of some of the outdoor writers who've written in their books chronicling their fishing and talking about reds "hitting" their fly .

    On the other hand, I've seen a red taken on a kwikfish while fishing for silvers . .

    Essentially, markw3 is correct - the setup is the key for putting the fly where the fish's mouth is. It's forced feeding, and it's not politically correct to call it what it is - snagging them in the mouth .

    Tight lines,

    SH

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sierra Hotel View Post
    In the clear waters of the Russian and other places like Big River Lake, I have NEVER seen a red move to take a fly. I get a kick out of some of the outdoor writers who've written in their books chronicling their fishing and talking about reds "hitting" their fly .


    I have never in the russian seen them take a "russian fly" but I have caught plenty of dime bright sockeye fishing for trout with flesh flies and there is no way they didn't come and hit it. Granted when I'm meat fishing I usually just line my limit I can do that pretty dang fast nowadays (if I spot em I got em ) then its back on the rainbow fishing (and catching stupid reds)
    I choose to fly fish, not because its easy, but because its hard.

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