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Thread: "Sockeye are good biters"

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    Default "Sockeye are good biters"

    Every year we go to Alaska and love slamming the sockeye on the kenai. I love getting to know the good people of Alaska and fishing next to them. I especially love saying "the sockeyes are really biting today" and seeing their reactions. Guys will insist that I take it back and admit that sockeye will not bite. Every year I enjoy the same conversation and for the most part I agree that sockeye do not bite but are flossed in the mouth (or snagged and ripped through the dorsal fin or some other body part by our snagger friends).

    The question I have for all of you guys is do have any video of sockeye biting or being flossed? I think it would be really interesting to see. I would think on the russian we could get some good underwater video. If not, I am going to make that my mission this summer. I am sure that both happens (flossing much more) but I would still love to see it happen underwater. Thanks!

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    Member kenaibow fan's Avatar
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    sockeye do bite, i have seen it plenty, but since every one and their grandmother floggs the water they get gun shy. Show them some thing natural they eat and the ocean and they might take a second look or even hit it. They still have the instinct to feed. It also seems that there is a study floating around here suggesting that some salmon do feed in rivers (in a thread).

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    Quote Originally Posted by kenaibow fan View Post
    sockeye do bite, i have seen it plenty, but since every one and their grandmother floggs the water they get gun shy. Show them some thing natural they eat and the ocean and they might take a second look or even hit it. They still have the instinct to feed. It also seems that there is a study floating around here suggesting that some salmon do feed in rivers (in a thread).
    ^^ Rep Sent ^^



    I invited one of the Upper Kenai guides to come out and lend a hand on the Alagnak a couple of years ago during the sockeye run. He was astounded at watching the salmon charge at flies and not only bite, but explode on em.

    Unharrassed chromers will inhale a wide variety of flies, and it surely beats flossing em.
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    Member sayak's Avatar
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    I have noted multiple sockeye hookups which were incidental to fishing for other species. They were not lined.

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    Ive caught quite a few on vibrax while fishing for other species. The first one I thought was a fluke but then I caught at least half a dozen more like that last year. I also had a few slam some flies while fishing the kenai as well. I know they where hitting it because I left the fly kinda dangling just below the surface of the water while digging through my box and on 2 separate occasions saw the fish move toward the fly for a strike.

    I think Kenaibow has it right. They just get spooked or frenzied from all the activity thats around them. Get em in the early morning before people start going nuts on the water and I bet you get some real strikes instead of just flossing em.
    Makin fur fins and feathers fly.

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    Member kenaibow fan's Avatar
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    perfect example……….the russian river, if you were a fish would you even think about feeding seeing all that crap thrown at you in the water?!
    Fish reds on the Big Su and they are totally different as I am sure they are every where else.

    Hippie thanks for the rep!

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    I agree that it depends on the body of water, fishing presures, etc. Down here in WA we troll for them on Lake Washington with a bare red hook behind a dodger and they hammer it. On the rare occasion we get to fish them in a river, no one is flipping/flossing around here, they are getting them on jigs, spinners, etc. I have also had a few occasions on the Russian/Kenai where they move to take a fly, but it wasn't the typical monster coho fly on a size 2 hook. It was something much more subtle and natural. And it was also on a "slow" day as far away the crowds as I could get.

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    Get away from the crowds and find relaxed fish, and they'll surprise you. Often better biters than steelhead. My favorite is to wake flies like Steelhead Caddis over the top of them and watch them come up to smack them on the surface. It's fun because often their aim isn't so good, so they'll make three or four passes at it before finally connecting.

    If you're not a fly fisherman, try suspending a decent size ball of cured roe under a bobber so it drifts along at the same depth as holding fish (rather than moving fish). They'll hit with the enthusiasm of Dollies sometimes. But again, only when they're not running from everything that gets near them in the water.

    The hardest thing to find these days is a relaxed red that's not running from the flossers. To me it's kind of like the speed limit. Everyone goes over the speed limit because everyone else is doing it. On the river everyone is flossing because everyone else is doing it.

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    Member fishNphysician's Avatar
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    Biters is biters.

    And reds ain't.

    Sure they will occasionally strike an offering, and I have taken my share... even with king gear in Kenai tidewater. But the overwhelming majority.... by 2-3 orders of magnitude... are NON-biters.

    When you catch a biter red, there are schitloadz of 'em swimming by.... think multiple hundreds of fish zipping by for each biter.



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    Now compare that to a a school of pinks running the tidewater gauntlet.

    If 100 of 'em came along, you could probably catch 25-30 if you could get that much gear in the water.

    Biters....
    "Let every angler who loves to fish think what it would mean to him to find the fish were gone." Zane Grey
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    For those of you that claim sockeye bite, what water types are you finding these "biters"?

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    Well George, I'm STATING (not "claiming") that I've caught sockeye that where biters (no need for quotation marks) in differing water conditions. From the Russian, Goodnews, Alagnak, Togiak and others. Generally water with a bit of depth and clarity. Tho' as previously mentioned, the lack of people seems to be more of a determining factor than the type of water.
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    Member kenaibow fan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by George Riddle View Post
    For those of you that claim sockeye bite, what water types are you finding these "biters"?
    George I have two words for you, Crazy Charlie! Toss one of those on the end of your line and see how long it lasts!

    Doc, I am not saying they bite more then other fish, I am saying they do in fact bite. And the precent that bite would be a lot higher with less pressure if you weren't fishing the Kenai. Fish shut down when they flogged and given the fact they are not noted for being the most predatory salmonid any way.

  14. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by fishNphysician View Post
    Biters is biters.

    And reds ain't.

    Sure they will occasionally strike an offering, and I have taken my share... even with king gear in Kenai tidewater. But the overwhelming majority.... by 2-3 orders of magnitude... are NON-biters.
    Sounds to me like limited experience with reds other than the meat lines. Get away from the crowds and it's like meeting a new species of fish. Stay with the crowds and flog, telling folks they don't bite, and you're making the rest of us happy. Limits the crowding on relaxed fish in small waters who really do bite.

  15. #15

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    For those of you fising for reds, I'd like to hear more on it! Are you making your lure presentations smaller? For those using eggs, are you fishing the same sections of the river as you would for kings or are you looking for slower sections? Other thoughts/ideas on river fishing reds outside of getting away from people? Flogging the water gets old in a hurry and I would rather enjoy the fishing of them!

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    Hmmmmm.....this is interesting. Because I've always "heard" that reds are plankton eaters, it's led me to believe that they wouldn't have the aggression needed to actually go after and strike a lure. Then I read this:

    Sockeye salmon, unlike other species of Pacific salmon, feed extensively on zooplankton during both freshwater and saltwater life stages.[9] Their numerous gill rakers strain the plankton from the water. This diet may be the reason for the striking hue of their flesh, as well as their very low concentration of methylmercury. They also tend to feed on small aquatic organisms such as shrimp. Insects are part their diets at the juvenile stage.

    I didn't know that they would go after shrimp, and actually ate bugs when they were young. So now I can see how there could still be that instinctive urge to strike something that looked liked that. All of this talk about a red going after a lure or fly when they are more placid makes sense, just like most critters, us included, don't care to eat when stressed. And I would think running up a river like they do would be a fairly stressful thing to do.

    Personally I've never watched a red go after and strike a lure. But one time I did catch one with a spinner. I thought I had just snagged it, but when I brought it in I found the spinner deeply in-bedded in the mouth....not on the side of the mouth, but actually quite a ways inside. This fish was really red and heavily advanced into the spawning stage. Since then I just felt that they were more aggressive at that time and chalked it up to that. But I have to say I've been puzzled about it ever since.

    I must admit, to find a place where you could actually "fish" for them by getting them to strike the right presentation would be a whole new and exciting way to go about putting a red on the bank. "Kenaibow fan".....what flavor of Crazy Charlie do you like, and do you exclusively fish for them by actually trying to get them to strike a fly?

    EDIT...!!!.....lol. I just had to edit because I just remembered another time I caught a red on the Kenai while fishing for kings. It wasn't in the tide water but believe it or not I found my spin glow AND EGGS inside the mouth of a pretty small red. Explain that one.....lol
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    Member fishNphysician's Avatar
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    A relative handful of biters encountered using....

    K16's while fishing kings.... check
    SnG and eggs while fishing kings... check
    K15's while fishing silvers/pinks... check
    Wiggle Warts while fishing silvers/pinks.... check
    Vibrax while fishing silvers/pinks
    Small sparkle shrimp fly... check

    But thousands of them encountered....

    Flossing with "coho" flies.( To think all those years as a kid believing they were actually biting that abomination!)
    Flossing with bare hooks.

    Give me a lower river bar and a circle hook any day.
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    Member 4merguide's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fishNphysician View Post
    Give me a lower river bar and a circle hook any day.
    Last year I tried circle hooks with yarn. At first I kept loosing fish as the hook would come loose. I would switch back to a regular hook and once again I would grow tired of snagging too many. Mind you I don't jerk either. So I would go back to the circle hook. Finally, it seemed that once I found the right drift the circle hooks started working very well.
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    Quote Originally Posted by 4merguide View Post
    Hmmmmm.....this is interesting. Because I've always "heard" that reds are plankton eaters, it's led me to believe that they wouldn't have the aggression needed to actually go after and strike a lure. Then I read this:

    Sockeye salmon, unlike other species of Pacific salmon, feed extensively on zooplankton during both freshwater and saltwater life stages.[9] Their numerous gill rakers strain the plankton from the water. This diet may be the reason for the striking hue of their flesh, as well as their very low concentration of methylmercury. They also tend to feed on small aquatic organisms such as shrimp. Insects are part their diets at the juvenile stage.
    That's why the Crazy Charlie works so well, it's a shrimp pattern. Variations of the Comet also work very well. A few years back I was fishing in Eyak Lake in Cordova from a one man cataraft. As I stood up on the cataraft I could see schools of 100-200 sockeye just relaxing in the lake. I got within casting range and presented a size #6 Prince Nymph. I had 3-5 sockeye follow my fly in the lake on every cast. One would break away from the school and grab my Prince nymph. That day I watched over a dozen sockeye gobble my fly. This is just one of the many times I've literally watched them smack my fly after chasing it. As mentioned before, every time I've seen this it's when 1) The fish are not spooked 2) Used a fairly small and sparse fly 3) Water clarity was good
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    Quote Originally Posted by FishGod View Post
    That's why the Crazy Charlie works so well, it's a shrimp pattern. Variations of the Comet also work very well. A few years back I was fishing in Eyak Lake in Cordova from a one man cataraft. As I stood up on the cataraft I could see schools of 100-200 sockeye just relaxing in the lake. I got within casting range and presented a size #6 Prince Nymph. I had 3-5 sockeye follow my fly in the lake on every cast. One would break away from the school and grab my Prince nymph. That day I watched over a dozen sockeye gobble my fly. This is just one of the many times I've literally watched them smack my fly after chasing it. As mentioned before, every time I've seen this it's when 1) The fish are not spooked 2) Used a fairly small and sparse fly 3) Water clarity was good
    I keep a ton of these in the box, just for sockeye...

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