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Thread: Favorite Flys for Reds

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    Default Favorite Flys for Reds

    I'm a newbie around here. I'm planning to make my first trip to AK the last two weeks of July. I'm also new to fly fishing, I've never done it. I'm planning to bring a couple of medium spinning rods & reels, spooled with 15-20 lb mono. I understand some parts of some rivers are fly only. I've also read that Reds only take flys. So my question is: What are your favorite flys for Reds? I'm hoping to fish the Kenai, as well as some streams around Anchorage.

    Thanks in advance for any tips you can give this newbie. PMs if you don't care to post.

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    Member jakec5253's Avatar
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    Default flies for reds

    The "fly fishing only water" refers to the fly itself, not the method you fish it. I think most people use the coho or russian river fly for reds. You can fish one of these flies on with your spinning set up if you feel more comfortable with that, or you could make the leap into the world of flyfishing. Either way, you will have a great time.

    Jake

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    Member bigcox's Avatar
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    Definently a simple Coho Fly or or a piece of yarn tied to a hook with an egg loop.
    You know your not catching any fish when you start talking about the weather...


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    the key is the weight, not so much the fly. You need to have weight on the line about 3 to 5 feet above your fly. The weight should be enough that you can feel it just barely tapping the bottom during your drift. Anything longer than a tap,tap, tap, like taaaaaaaap, is a fish. Set the hook and hold on. have fun.

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    Member Alaskan Salmon Sith's Avatar
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    Here are my thoughts on Sockeye.

    Sockeye are plankton feeders while they are in the ocean. When they get in the rivers to make their way up to spawn, they are not feeding on anything. While some may tell you that you need "X fly", I will tell you that you need nothing more than a strip of yarn, a hook, and a weight 18-36 inches above the hook as most of the sockeye are caught by "lining them". I've actually done a field test where we checked all of the sockeye that were hooked in the mouth. 75% of the fish we caught were caught on the far side (outside) cheek with the hook pointing inward..ie an outside in hook set. The other 25% were caught on it inside cheek (bank side) of the mouth with an inside out hook set. This supports the lining of the fish. Basically, the fish swims into the line, you feel it and set the hook.

    Now, I've only done this on the Klutina River, but I'm quite sure that it proves to be true on other rivers when targeting Sockeye. I would venture to say that if you threw a hook out there with nothing on it, you'd get the same result.

    These are just my thoughts and my experience.

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    Member Wyatt's Avatar
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    I too believe 99% of Reds are lined, so the type of fly makes little difference on the Kenai...it's all technique. If fishing the Russian, bright colored flies makes it easier to see while sight fishing! The key is keeping your line in contact with the bottom. I like to use weight that is easy to add and remove as water conditions change. As much as I enjoy fly fishing, in the heavily congested confluence area I would forgo the fly rod and break out the steelhead/baitcaster combo with Maxima Ultra Green in the 15 -20 pound range. The Kenai is swift, so turn the fish quickly and keep them out of the current or someone will be netting your fish 200 yards downstream and the 10 lines you crossed will be attached to owners scowling at you. Anywhere else, go with a 9' 6 weight and enjoy!

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    nothing quite like when a chromer takes off with your nymph in its mouth or charges a flesh fly though

    not sure I could line a fish in the top of the jaw like that, I'm pretty good at lining fish but...


    THis is how I prefer to fish for sockeye
    I choose to fly fish, not because its easy, but because its hard.

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    I like to use a grey ghost. It is easy to keep down while fishing for reds and you can pick up incidental rainbows and dollies with it too.

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    Hope I can add something to this discussion, for once

    I fish for kokanees at least a couple/few times a year when they make their spawn runs out of lakes. Kokanee are land locked sockeyes, they eat zooplankton (if I remember correctly) and are said to NEVER eat while they are running.

    First off, my very first kokanne was a female, I watched her rise up the water column and turn over on a size #22 blue winged olive fly. There is no doubt in my mind, she ate that fly, I watched it happen.

    Normally, I don't use flies like that for the kokanee salmon though, I prefer egg patterns, san jaun worms, and bright streamers...I use those flies in red, pink, chartruse, or orange colors. The takes are extremely subtle, almost like your fly or weight bounced off the bottom. For whatever reason they take the fly and drop it almost instantly. I was told this was because they move the fly, not eat it, that might be the case but I think they do actually eat egg patterns, you know getting rid of some of the future competition for their own.

    I agree the key is weight and getting it down to them. The second key is determining that subtle strike and setting the hook in time.

    I have not yet brought in a kokanee that was hooked on the outside of the mouth.

  10. #10
    Member alaskachuck's Avatar
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    Well on the Kenai there are 2 "prefered" flies. If your on the Russian/Kenai confluenece you can only use a fly that the the hook has no more than 3/8th of an inch gap from the point to the shank. You will find almost all of the store bought Coho/russian river flies meet this requirement.

    If your not in that area you will see alot of people using a laser sharp gamagatsu with a piece of yarn on it as most of them are "flossing" for reds anyway and prefer the larger and shaper hook.

    I have had them "bite" nymphs and flesh flies when I am chasing rainbows too. In the 27 years I have been beating the water I pretty much stick with the coho fly. In the green water in the kenai it is flossing for the most part but if im in the clear water on the russian they can be "force" fed very easily
    Last edited by alaskachuck; 04-16-2009 at 20:17.
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    Member TYNMON's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alaskan Salmon Sith View Post
    Here are my thoughts on Sockeye.

    Sockeye are plankton feeders while they are in the ocean. When they get in the rivers to make their way up to spawn, they are not feeding on anything. While some may tell you that you need "X fly", I will tell you that you need nothing more than a strip of yarn, a hook, and a weight 18-36 inches above the hook as most of the sockeye are caught by "lining them". I've actually done a field test where we checked all of the sockeye that were hooked in the mouth. 75% of the fish we caught were caught on the far side (outside) cheek with the hook pointing inward..ie an outside in hook set. The other 25% were caught on it inside cheek (bank side) of the mouth with an inside out hook set. This supports the lining of the fish. Basically, the fish swims into the line, you feel it and set the hook.

    Now, I've only done this on the Klutina River, but I'm quite sure that it proves to be true on other rivers when targeting Sockeye. I would venture to say that if you threw a hook out there with nothing on it, you'd get the same result.

    These are just my thoughts and my experience.
    My first experience fishing for sockeye was on the Alagnak and Brooks rivers in western AK... Truth be known sockeye will indeed chase down a fly and for some reason ceartain places are better to fish then others and the type of fly makes all the difference in the world...

    Sockeye in the ocean do not only eat plankton, in fact they will eat small fish and what every else they can catch. Preffered food is krill and other larval invertibrates.

    Sparce and sparkly... While most ppl will say u can only catch them lining.... Try a dead drift, light weight, good fly steelheaders approach and you will catch sockeye, they will bite... I have caught then on the Lower, Upper Kenai, and Russian and they definitly where chasing down and biting my flies and those that I take fishing.

    Another thing... if sockey don't bite in fresh water... Then why does the king fishery has such a high bycatch on eggs and kwikfish.... In fact if you fish smaller plugs and or shrimp in the Lower Kenai King fishery you will have great success w/ sockeye.... The last two summer I have had mutliple days w/ sockeye double both backtrolling and backbouncing.

  12. #12
    Member alaskachuck's Avatar
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    Default Great Info

    great Info TYNMOM Thanks for sharing too. Your one who is on the water for many many hours and see alot more than others.

    The other thing I have found with sockeyes is when the are bedding up they are NUTS. I have had my flesh flies and beads hammered over and over by them when they are getting ready to spawn. I get more perfect hooks sets in the fall it is just crazy. Floating a bead with a tiny hook, BAM right in the jaw every time. I dont know what it is about those flesh flies but holy smokes. the just pound em. Nothing like thinking you got Hogzilla bow on and see its a red. Caught some beatiful fish in full spawn colors though. Makes for great pictures.
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  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by TYNMON View Post
    Another thing... if sockey don't bite in fresh water... Then why does the king fishery has such a high bycatch on eggs and kwikfish.... In fact if you fish smaller plugs and or shrimp in the Lower Kenai King fishery you will have great success w/ sockeye.... The last two summer I have had mutliple days w/ sockeye double both backtrolling and backbouncing.
    I never once said that Sockeye do not "bite" in fresh water. They may bite for whatever reason, but they are not actively feeding in fresh water(unless they are land-locked), which is what I said.

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    Premium Member Wyo2AK's Avatar
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    Excellent posts and some good info.

    As far as what flies to use, I like small flies that are sparsely tied. Comets, sockeye orange, very sparse little bucktails. They get down quick and aren't as likely to spook pressured fish (IMO anyway). I also think flesh flies are a great choice - my favorite has a pink collar. Nymphs can be good too. I agree with garnede about using something a trout or dolly might hit as well - why not improve your "fish on!" time on the water.

    I posted a pic of my favorite red flies in another thread...
    http://forums.outdoorsdirectory.com/...5&d=1233199252

    Although most reds don't bite most of the time, I think you can definitely get them to take flies. I think your odds improve exponentially if they're holding and not pushing up-river. I also think your odds are a lot better the fresher they are from the salt or the less pressure they've received. Once reds get to the Russian and upper Kenai I think they've seen so many brightly colored coho flies come streaking by that they pretty much avoid 'em if they can. Another reason to go with something different - and something small.

    Interestingly, the first red I ever caught definitely hit my fly (flesh fly with pink) at the end of the swing.

    I agree with Sith that feeding and biting are too different things. And there's no doubt reds will bite when they're on the spawn and guarding their redds.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alaskan Salmon Sith View Post
    I never once said that Sockeye do not "bite" in fresh water. They may bite for whatever reason, but they are not actively feeding in fresh water(unless they are land-locked), which is what I said.
    Salmon nor steelhead "feed" in fresh water... While the may injest things there digestive tract inables them from digesting anything......

    So, none of the salmon "feed," but they will attack things for many different reasons and sometimes swallow things.. Lucky for us angler too or they would be very difficult to catch.

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    Quote Originally Posted by FishnPhil View Post
    Hope I can add something to this discussion, for once

    I fish for kokanees at least a couple/few times a year when they make their spawn runs out of lakes. Kokanee are land locked sockeyes, they eat zooplankton (if I remember correctly) and are said to NEVER eat while they are running.

    First off, my very first kokanne was a female, I watched her rise up the water column and turn over on a size #22 blue winged olive fly. There is no doubt in my mind, she ate that fly, I watched it happen.

    Normally, I don't use flies like that for the kokanee salmon though, I prefer egg patterns, san jaun worms, and bright streamers...I use those flies in red, pink, chartruse, or orange colors. The takes are extremely subtle, almost like your fly or weight bounced off the bottom. For whatever reason they take the fly and drop it almost instantly. I was told this was because they move the fly, not eat it, that might be the case but I think they do actually eat egg patterns, you know getting rid of some of the future competition for their own.

    I agree the key is weight and getting it down to them. The second key is determining that subtle strike and setting the hook in time.

    I have not yet brought in a kokanee that was hooked on the outside of the mouth.
    Kokanee definitely eat small fish and insects hence they will rise on their spawning run even though they aren't eating at that point
    I choose to fly fish, not because its easy, but because its hard.

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    Thanks for all of your great info. I really appreciate your sharing. Is there a good online source to purchase these recommended flies?

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    Member alaskachuck's Avatar
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    Id try www.alaskafishinggoods.com If they dont carry them stop at the Kenai Cache in cooper landing next to gwins. They are .69 a piece there but gamagatsu russian river hooks. Nice thick flies, real bucktail not synthetic. Lots of bright colors so you can see them in the clear water. I reload there every spring
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    Thanks. I can't get the link to work.

  20. #20
    Member alaskachuck's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gramps View Post
    Thanks. I can't get the link to work.

    Thats because Im a moron and gave you the wrong link.


    Try this one
    http://www.alaskaflyfishinggoods.com/


    Sorry about that
    chuck
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