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Thread: Catching Sockeye in the salt

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    Default Catching Sockeye in the salt

    I'm curious as to what would be the best way to target Sockeye while fishing salt. I have never fished for Sockeye and wonder what to use and type of water to look for. I will be fishing all around the Southeast area in July and August.

  2. #2

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    I've heard to troll with a red hook, no bait. Haven't tried it.

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    I tried it when I lived in kodiak never did very well. I tried it three times and only caught one fish. Wasn't worth the gas to be trolling around

  4. #4

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    The best would be to troll a huge gillnet
    From what I've read, they are not easy to get. I've heard of the plain red hook as well.

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    Member fish2live's Avatar
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    troll through the seafood aisle is the only way I know

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    Member moose-head's Avatar
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    They fish for them near Seattle using that http://wdfw.wa.gov/fish/sockeye/articles.htm This was one of the articles I found.

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    Quote Originally Posted by moose-head View Post
    They fish for them near Seattle using that http://wdfw.wa.gov/fish/sockeye/articles.htm This was one of the articles I found.
    Commercial trollers in SE and BC have done it for at least 30 years using a similar rig. But instead of a bare hook, they use "bugs." These are nothing more than a single leg cut from a hoochie folded in half and tied at the fold right up against the eye of the hook. Some use mono, some use dental floss for the tie job. Popular colors are orange, red, pink, blue and green. You'll be amazed how often you'll hook silvers on the same rig if they're hanging with the sockeye.

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    Member fishin 45's Avatar
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    Default snag em

    find a school and use a 2oz snagging hook. They are plankton eaters and are very hard to attract to anything.
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    a gillnet is probably the best

    for sport fishing snagging is the preffered method.
    I choose to fly fish, not because its easy, but because its hard.

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    Macushlah,
    I have caught them using a downrigger and really simple gear. First find them on the fish finder and keep your rigger in the "zone." Tie a 000 or 00 chrome/silver flasher onto your line and then follow it with a snell tied BARE 2/0 red octopus hook with a 10"-12" leader! That's not a typo, you really have to keep the leader short to the flasher/dodger and don't use any bait except for a little krill scent if you can find it. Let your gear out around 50 ft. from the boat and don't clip it off too close to the downrigger ball. The ball will spook the fish. I like the kelp cutter or Les Davis flasher the best, and keep it chrome with silver prism tape on one side... Troll as slow as possible too! It's extremely important to stay very slow, but just fast enough for the dodger to make slow revolutions, (1-11/2 mph.) If you don't have downriggers you can tie a 6 oz. banana wieght or dipsy diver around 40" above the flasher. Good luck!
    Barleydog

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    Member coho slayer's Avatar
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    I used to catch them at Eshamy casting into schools with a bare treble hook attached to a 3" ball-bearing type chain that was attached to another bare treble hook. Worked really well for us, and no, we weren't snagging. Never tried trolling...we just paddled around in a raft chasing the schools.

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    Member alaskachuck's Avatar
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    "KENAI FLY BABY" Back in the early 80's when we were chasing butts off of deep creek (pre tractor days), they would come through there by the gazillions. Yes gazillions. Throw the "kenai fly" on and grip em and rip em. Just make sure you dont grip and rip the zodiac. I have "heard" about that happening
    Grandkids, Making big tough guys hearts melt at first sight

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    Member coho slayer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by alaskachuck View Post
    "KENAI FLY BABY" Back in the early 80's when we were chasing butts off of deep creek (pre tractor days), they would come through there by the gazillions. Yes gazillions. Throw the "kenai fly" on and grip em and rip em. Just make sure you dont grip and rip the zodiac. I have "heard" about that happening
    Gazillions is the official Fish and Game number, too. That's how they measure the Kenai and Kasilof reds. Here's a quote from them determining commercial openings:

    Biologist #1: "How many gazillion reds came through today?"

    Biologist #2: "A couple gazillion."

    Biologist #1: "Well, I guess we'd better issue an Emergency Order for commercial fishing so there aren't gazillions of fish for sport fisherman to catch."

    Biologist #2: "Good call."


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    Member alaskachuck's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by coho slayer View Post
    Gazillions is the official Fish and Game number, too. That's how they measure the Kenai and Kasilof reds. Here's a quote from them determining commercial openings:

    Biologist #1: "How many gazillion reds came through today?"

    Biologist #2: "A couple gazillion."

    Biologist #1: "Well, I guess we'd better issue an Emergency Order for commercial fishing so there aren't gazillions of fish for sport fisherman to catch."

    Biologist #2: "Good call."

    Hey if I can count that way why cant AF&G


    They used to run the shore line right past deep creek. It was a grip em and rip em thing. Maybe not a gazillion but alot of bazillion
    Grandkids, Making big tough guys hearts melt at first sight

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    Member coho slayer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by alaskachuck View Post
    Hey if I can count that way why cant AF&G


    They used to run the shore line right past deep creek. It was a grip em and rip em thing. Maybe not a gazillion but alot of bazillion
    Aaaahh...that was all tongue-in-cheek since F & G in that area is mostly concerned with making sure commfisherman get the majority of the fish. I'm not a big fan of the way they manage the Kenai fisheries...

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    Member TYNMON's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fishin 45 View Post
    find a school and use a 2oz snagging hook. They are plankton eaters and are very hard to attract to anything.
    In lake Wahingtin they troll w/ a bare red Gamatzu hook....They do feed on many other small things in the ocean other then just plankton, they will often feed on large krill and small fish.

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    Member akriverrat's Avatar
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    i hand trolled in southeast for a summer and the skipper was unaware of the single red hook method. we tried all pink hootchies on the line because of some tip he heard but it did not work. if you really want to go after them find them in a bay at the mouth of a river and put on the snaggin gear

  18. #18
    Member alaskachuck's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by coho slayer View Post
    Aaaahh...that was all tongue-in-cheek since F & G in that area is mostly concerned with making sure commfisherman get the majority of the fish. I'm not a big fan of the way they manage the Kenai fisheries...

    Hence the big grin. Im just having fun. Here is my favorite way to get em in the salt

    Grandkids, Making big tough guys hearts melt at first sight

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    Default mini squid/small flasher/slow

    I've caught 3 or 4 sockeye out of Seward, 3 at Cheval and one at Pony. 3 of these 4 were caught on small, plug-cut herring and one was caught on a green and glow coyote spoon.

    That being said, I've caught many out of the Lake Washington fishery. The keys in Lake Washington were to troll with a downrigger as slow as you could go (we used a kicker AND two buckets), use a dodger (size 0) not a flasher, and we used a 14" leader--no longer. At the end of it all we used a K-14 Kwikfish(various colors--solid orange; chrome and blue; gold metallic all worked) in the early days, and later we used colored gamakatsu octopus hooks (red or green, size 3/0 I think). A depth finder really helped and we usually started fairly shallow in the mornings (40 feet of cable) and progressively went deeper as it got brighter, because that's what the fish did. By noon, we were often fishing depths between 80 and 110 feet.

    I've been thinking about both saltwater chum and sockeye a lot the last few years. Based on my limited and accidental experiences (I've caught chum in saltwater too--on point wilson darts, crippled herring jigs and plug-cut herring) one thing has been common to all of my accidental hookups of sockeye and chum. I was using relatively small lures and I was fishing them slowly. If I do decide to specifically go after them, I will start by trolling slowly with a dodger and mini-squid (small hootchie) at the depths I'm marking fish. I'll use green or purple/pink for the chums, and I'll use shads of pinks if I'm targeting sockeye. If I find 'em I'll throw a rod down with a dodger and bare hook just to see if that will work in the salt. If I find chums (they might be jumping if you're anywhere near one of the terminal fisheries) and they don't want to bite trolled gear, I'll try one of the metal jigs or a small, plug cut herring or a herring fillet strip.

    One thing's for sure--saltwater chum and sockeye fight really hard for their size. The chums actually fight sort of like kings. And although chums are often scorned for their table fair when caught in freshwater, if you catch a chromer in the salt it will be pretty good.

    I'm pretty sure a guy could have good catches out of Seward if you timed it right (earlier than silvers) and I bet the terminal fisheries out of Whittier would be good too.

  20. #20

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    I've had much the same experience with chums in saltwater. Trolling was best with those real skinny little commercial hoochies out of Canada, in tobacco brown/white/gold, with green being a distant second. Haven't made much of a try with purple/pink, but will do so after reading your post.

    On casting for chums, we get about 90% on small darts too, but usually as the dart sinks rather than while retrieving. Bonus points for quick casts right in front of jumping fish.

    And yeah, chromer chums are topnotch on the table. Probably one of the very best fish for smoking or on the weber, even if they aren't pink colored.

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