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Thread: Kenai Coho (Fly) Line and Lure Advice?

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    Default Kenai Coho (Fly) Line and Lure Advice?

    I'm a total novice when it comes to fly fishing. I'm planning on doing some fly fishing for Silvers on the Middle Kenai later this month into early October and need some (brand specific) advice on line, leader, leader connectors and lures.

    I have an inexpensive Reddington Crosswater 9', 8 wt. fly rod/reel combo that I will be using. It is currently rigged with whatever (orange) fly line that it came with when I bought it as a combo two years ago.

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    Sheep hunting...... the pain goes away, but the stupidity remains...!!!

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    Some good fly suggestions there, thanks.

    How about some advice on line set-up? Should I just use the floating line that came with the reel or is there an alternative that will make casting easier? Should I switch to a sink tip? What leader do you suggest?

    I really am coming into this endeavor blind as the only 'fly fishing' I have done on the kenai didn't involve any casting, just drifting down the middle of the river for rainbows. The last fly casting I did was about 20 years ago bass fishing in Minnesota, lol. I'm going to watch, "A River Runs Through It" for a tune up before I head up

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    If you go with the floating line you will get some practice with line handling, which is always helpful. You want your leader to be at least as long as your 9' rod in order to get down deep. Take a little time to tie on some more tippet and you'll save a bunch of time swinging the fly over the fish's heads. You will most likely end up with 3 split shot on for the Kenai, but you should try to see how deep you can get without them first. Look up "stack mending" and practice that too. If you go with a sinking line you will need to experiment with different casts and leader lengths to get just the right swing, as line mending won't be an option.

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    Also look in to poly leaders or versi leaders. they are 7-15 feet long of sink tip that you can loop to loop on to your fly line. This is what i use over having to have multiple spools of line. Having a large selection of flies can make a difference to. Having many of the same type tied in different weights makes targeting fish a lot easier.

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    Quote Originally Posted by calebsb View Post
    If you go with the floating line you will get some practice with line handling, which is always helpful. You want your leader to be at least as long as your 9' rod in order to get down deep. Take a little time to tie on some more tippet and you'll save a bunch of time swinging the fly over the fish's heads. You will most likely end up with 3 split shot on for the Kenai, but you should try to see how deep you can get without them first. Look up "stack mending" and practice that too. If you go with a sinking line you will need to experiment with different casts and leader lengths to get just the right swing, as line mending won't be an option.
    I appreciate the advice very much even if some of it is Greek to me I don't understand the idea of line mending or stack mending when casting cross current and stripping a fly. Like I said, I'm a total rookie when it comes to fly fishing. I'm very experienced with conventional tackle but fly fishing is still new to me.

    Do you add weight (split shot?) even with weighted flies? How might you know if you are swinging over top of the fish? Do silvers rise up in the water column to hit a lure like most fish or do you need to stick it right in their face?

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    You may occasionally see an aggressive coho rise or go out of its way to hit something, but for the most part you want to put it right in front of them. If you feel it bouncing along the gravel bottom then you're in the strike zone. Mending is changing the way the line lays on the water, so as to resist drag (when gaining depth or dead drifting) or initiate drag (when starting a swing). Sticking with the old cast and strip will seriously limit your chances in moving water. The time to strip line is at the end of a swing. There should be plenty of videos online that show how to do a broadside swing in salmon streams. Just observe what the line and fly are doing with different casts and narrow it down until it starts working.

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    Ok, now I'm totally lost? I have seen a couple videos showing a cast and swing method in a typical shallow trout stream, just letting the fly drift in the current without any action added. But I can't find anything on how one might go about fly fishing for silvers on a bigger river like the main stem (middle) Kenai? The only Kenai video I saw had a couple guys drifting something (didn't show the lure) below a strike indicator right beside the boat. Similar to how you might trout fish, only closer to the bank?

    I was envisioning something more along the lines of making a long cast from a drifting boat toward the bank with a floating fly line and about 10' of 0X tapered leader and stripping a big sinking coho fly back toward the boat as the lure and boat drift downstream together. Making the fly drop down near the bottom and rise toward the surface a little with each strip of the line, similar to a jigging action. Or, if fishing from at anchor or standing on the bank, using a cast and swing method while stripping the fly in a little more slowly to cause a similar jigging action. Am I thinking about this all wrong?

    Maybe I need to start from square one and just ask, "assuming a guy knows absolutely nothing except where silvers may be holding, how would you recommend he get started fly fishing for them?"

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    If you really have no idea what to do, you might want to start in a smaller stream where you can see what's going on, and your line doesn't get whisked downstream faster than you can do anything with it. I am fond of this subject and could go on and on, but it won't help help much until you have put the line in the water and felt the way the current tugs at it and seen the difference between drift and drag. When a day on the water has addled your brain and you can't close your eyes without seeing currents and ripples on the insides of your eyelids, this stuff may start to make a little more sense. I am guessing that your outfit comes with a floating line as I haven't seen a lot of bright orange sink lines, but it's easy enough to find out. Rather than spend more money on something you may or may not enjoy, just go with what you have and concentrate on finding ways to get it down deep. There are many different ways to get this done. When you start losing flies (under water that is) you'll know you're making progress.

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    Quote Originally Posted by calebsb View Post
    When you start losing flies (under water that is) you'll know you're making progress.
    Where there are snags there are fish. Practice tying knots!

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    Ok, so far I have gotten advice to fish a different river and learn to tie knots, lol. J/K, I appreciate all of the advice so far and will be sure to buy a bunch of the suggested flies. I will be fishing the middle section of the Kenai as that is where our house and boat sits. I know that stretch of river fairly well, having spent about 200 hours on it over last few years.

    Lets try this a different way, one question at a time.

    1) What (specific) fly line should I use for this type of fishing? I have a Reddington Crosswater 9', 8 wt. fly rod/reel combo that I will be using. It is currently rigged with whatever (orange) fly line that it came with when I bought it as a combo two years ago. What is on there currently I assume to be a level taper, full floating (cheap) line.

    2) What leader should I use with this fly line and how should I attach the two?

    I plan on spending two weeks slinging this thing around so I want to buy the correct line that will give me the best shot at casting well and presenting the flies properly.

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    The line you have will work fine as long as it's the right line weight for the rod. This is not the time for further complications; the rod will cast far when it is properly loaded, not that you need a lot of long casts around here. A standard taper leader will be fine also, but you'll tying a lot of mono-to-mono knots (I like the blood knot myself, but the surgeon's knot is easier) to lengthen it as you keep replacing flies. I use a 14.5 lb 0X leader for all salmon, so I only need to grab the salmon rod and I automatically know what's on it. The nail knot is standard for tying leader to fly line.

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    If your familiarlity with the river includes where the fish will be and you've caught silvers in the past with other tackle (spin or bait cast) and you've fished for them by casting (as opposed to back trolling), all you have to do is get your flies to the same depth as your spinner runs. Its a simple concept and as long as you're not trying to fish deep water, the simplest way is to use weight about 18" above the fly. Whether you'll need to add weight to weighted flies depends on: water depth, water speed and amount of weight built onto the fly. In most cases, plan on adding weight. Sometimes you can get away with less weight by lengthing the leader, but I'd figure on adding weight. Casting & stripping will almost always result in the fly ridding too high in the water (over the silver's heads). As said before, you need to bounce bottom to put the fly in line with the fish. For tippets, try using florocarbon, it sinks better than mono.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gary View Post
    If your familiarlity with the river includes where the fish will be and you've caught silvers in the past with other tackle (spin or bait cast) and you've fished for them by casting (as opposed to back trolling), all you have to do is get your flies to the same depth as your spinner runs.
    Yes, I would guess that I have caught well over 100 silvers in this stretch casting hardware. All during the early August run but I would imagine many of the spots will hold late fish as well.

    I didn't realize that you could still cast a fly line after you add split shot? I would guess that very small, relatively light shot is in order?

    You mention flouro tippet. Would you add tippet to a 10', 0X tapered leader? If yes, how much and why?

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    Quote Originally Posted by KenaiKeys View Post
    Yes, I would guess that I have caught well over 100 silvers in this stretch casting hardware. All during the early August run but I would imagine many of the spots will hold late fish as well.

    I didn't realize that you could still cast a fly line after you add split shot? I would guess that very small, relatively light shot is in order?

    You mention flouro tippet. Would you add tippet to a 10', 0X tapered leader? If yes, how much and why?
    Again - it depends on depth of water, strength of current - so the answer is "Maybe, maybe not." Only YOU can determine when (& how much) weight needs to be added. Different water conditions will require different weights. With an 8 wt outfit, I would expect you to be able to cast with at least 2 or 3 #5 split shot (they're pretty large - probably total weight is 1/4 - 3/8 oz). Remember to allow for sinking time & place your casts well upstream from where you think the fish will lie - flies don't sink as quickly (even with extra weight) as spinners/spoons do. Floro sinks better than mono - that's why I suggested it. Add or not, the choice is yours. You should have no problems going to a 12-15 foot leader, if needed.
    With your knowledge of the river and access to a boat, you might want to extend an invitation to some member that has fly fishing knowledge to accompany you early on your vacation & show you the fly fishing ropes. You'd learn quicker than going thru all the Q&A. Some stuff is just easier to teach visually than thru printed word.

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