Help with catching Silvers on flies?



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  • Help with catching Silvers on flies?

    Now and then I get to fish the Russian and Upper Kenai in late Sept - Oct. I'm usually trout fishing, but manage to pick up silvers on beads, esl, etc. I would like to try and target them this fall. What are some proven flies and presentations?


  • #2
    Clouser minnow- various colors- chartreuse, pink, green/silver,

    egg sucking leach- purple,black mix of colors,

    marabou flies, -Popsicle, purple, pink, black, chartreuse, orange

    Deceivers- various colors, pink, chartreuse


    See a pattern.....

    You never know day to day. Generally dark on light sunny days and light flashy on dark stormy days.

    Just like lures you have to keep trying different thing until you find the magic one.

    I have done real well on black and green and green and white - like a herring. Purple or black egg sucking leach is always a good bet.


    • #3
      Black with blue in them are my go to patterns on that ditch for silvers
      "The Tug is the Drug"


      • #4
        I think as important as the pattern, you have to get the fly down to the fish. Find "Happy" fish. Not spooked. Good luck!!


        • #5
          I have been successful swinging big olive/white streamers. My two ¢.


          • #6
            Fun thing to do is tie up Woolly Buggers in every color of marabou, chenille and hackle you have. Do a set of beadheads too. Then try them all at different times of day. You'll find some amazing fish producers on any given day. I carry a box like that always, and any time the silvers aren't hitting standard patterns I dig in. More often than not it saves the day. Sure gives you a leg up on figuring out what colors are right on a day.
            "Lay in the weeds and wait, and when you get your chance to say something, say something good."
            Merle Haggard


            • #7
              Any chance you guys could show a few pics of these personal favorites you like?

              Also, as far as "getting the fly down to the fish" sinking tip?

              I've only fished Kasilof kings and sockeyes with weight. Would like to learn more.....
              Sheep hunting...... the pain goes away, but the stupidity remains...!!!


              • #8
                consider the water you're fishing. Faster water marabou flys tend to lay flat if they don't have a chenille ball tied in behind the palmered marabou. Even than they just don't hold much of a profile, they can and will be effective at times so bring but I wouldn't start with them. Same with the low water esls (think steelhead here). Or any other low water or fly that will flatten out in current. Faster water you want bulk to hold shape if you can.

                I prefer fuschia bunny flies or chartuese bunny flies. as my go to flies Fat freddies (they royally rock to cast NOT haha!), orange and chartuese or fuschia, or fuschia/chartuese. I've never tired a straight chartuese FF. They're heck on scissors and cast like a wet sock so if you have to cast distance this is NOT your fly! LOL

                One thing about water to think about is the color of it. Most of our water is some form of glacier tinted, obviously the kenai is even on the lower end. If you could see what the fish see's you'll see that rivers like the lower gulkana, even though it looks tannin stained is more bluish green than brown. Fuschia holds its color all day long. Low light the reds come out, bright light its a darker purple to almost black looking fly in the water. I'm not a huge chartuese guy but it works well when my fuschia's are being overlooked. Tie up some bunny flies without eyes without lead and some with eyes and some with both lead and eyes. Add some Krsytal flash to the tail, keep the tail short and go hammer on them!

                I do tie up some low water esls. (single strand yarn body instead of the traditional chenille) for those slower spots when they go on an off bite. petite flies rule the roost between no bite days and picking up a few fish when no one else is.

                I prefer marabou flies in the slower waters. It has a nice pulsating movement you wont get in the main stream Kenai. I still like a ball of chenille, than palmer my hackle to form the fly. It keeps it from laying down completely flat, and makes it open right back up when between twitches. If you're fishing back water coho's this IS your fly. They get spooky plunking heavy gear, think long and fairly light leaders, at least lighter the last foot or 3.

                As for lines, a t400 works wonders if you have the rod to shoot it, you don't cast it!!!! Any fast sink tip. YOu can buy the Cortland lead core and make up some heads to add to what you have to get down. 1' 3' 5' etc. Than you wont need as much weight on the line or fly.

                With the heavy lines, get rid of the idea of casting and learn to shoot line. You have a pile of weight in a short amount of line loading that road, it WILL go if you have enough out which is a LOT less than most guys think! if you have too much out you'll know it. Either its going to beat you up, or you're going to be exhausted trying to false cast it. SHOOT SHOOT SHOOT! I carry my 400 and a t500 along with leadcore when my type 3 or faster lines wont get down. If you're short on cash I'd get the 400 or a type 3 , and carry a wallet full of Cortland lead core pre rigged in different lengths. Keep the weight off the fly as much as you can, let the fly line do the work for you!!!

                Wish I could come down and get on the bows, I'd show you some coho stuff!!! The few times I've tried bows I've ate doughnuts LOL!


                • #9
                  @ tradbow thanks for a awesome response here, I got more info out of your response than several hours of searching the net!

                  I'm heading to soldoltna to visit a friend in sept and was planning on having a go at the silvers with the fly rod. I was there last year but only had enough time to get out once and became a instant addict after catching a couple!!!

                  i hope you don't mind me picking your brain a bit once I've digested all the info posted here?


                  • #10
                    Thanks to everyone's response. This is enough to get me headed in the right direction. I have many of the flies suggested.

                    Staying away from the crowds (spooky fish), how long should you swing a pattern before changing flies/color, if you can see the fish ignore your offering? Not wanting to move too quickly. And have you found dollies and bows will take these as well, or do you only hook up on silvers while using them? As I mentioned, my success with silvers has been while targeting trout. It's not easy to land 15 pound chrome coho in the Kenai on 8 lb. fluorocarbon tippet. What is the preferred leader weight/size when fishing silvers?

                    Thank you Tradbow, you've given me enough home work to last the rest of the year. That's going to require some research to figure out all you said, but I can see you know your stuff. I'm sure I'll have some follow up questions too.


                    • #11
                      I prefer 10 or 12 but have been known to go much lighter in some places, or heavier when the water calls for it (mainstream su in particular I'll jump up to 16 or 20, I usually start with 16 and have a spool of 20, 12, 10, and 8 all fluro when I'm after silvers)..mostly those back water sppooooooky fish that hate everything stay away from the ropes your 8 or 10 works well. I know they'll bite and I know they'll bite what I'm throwing so I stick it to them. You can change and changing can be a good thing, it may not, I change when I get bored and I know fish are off. I know they're there usually can see them and they're being a pain. Normally line changes are enough to start a bite! Coho's go off and on like a hot date on a Friday night. One minute...ok ok you get the idea. LOL One thing about changing...make sure you're really changing. Ie one fly looks and does basically the same as the next. If they don't want a color or multiple colors of the same fly..don't change to a fly that looks (profile) similar to the other one..go to something smaller. I've caught myself doing this as well....changing flies to another fly that is basically the same thing. Sometimes it work, though it rarely does. If it's really bad, let them be for awhile and come back.....if you can see them, they can see you! Sneak into a hole and be careful where you cast. a simple shadow can be the difference between spooking fish and hammering away.

                      If you're getting ignored. go lighter lines and or longer leaders! 8 is more than plenty when I'm fishing back water marabous and as you mentioned obviously too light for the kenai imho! IF that doesn't work go petite flies, or go bulky, or swap colors. I generally start with color but as you'll see I'm pretty narrow minded in this LOL. I like the marabous or low water esl's and I will throw them in current if my bunnys are getting passed on. Get rid of the bulk. Get rid of the bright, go with the shell pink head on the esl and black body on a smaller hook. A shell pink marabou or slightly darker.

                      Here's a great example, we were fishing steelies in southeast one year. I always have a GL4 7wt and a 3 or 4 wt when I travel. I like the 4 for dollys grayling cuts etc. Well I was fishing for dollies (didn't know there was even steelies in this creek at the time as we were after them in a different area), throwing a pearl scud (secret recipe LOL, scuds kill fish ALL fish!!!), I had a cheap 3wt im6 and a good system 2 56L for a reel thankfully. I kept hitting fish..>BIG< fish and couldn't figure it out. I'd jump to the 7 and nothing. I had a orange SA pike taper fly line on it, great for shooting heavy flies or bulky flies!!! Well to this day I believe they were seeing the bright orange line and turning off. I'd go back to the 3 wt and wamo fish on. Finally one jumped and I realized they weren't monster dollies but some really nice chrome steelies. Nothing I did with that 7 would enduce a strike...long light leaders, same size 12 bh scud, nothing worked. Even gave some steelie flys a go, nothing. Go back to the 3 and wamo...dang near broke the rod before putting one to hand. I still fish that SA pike taper, its a sweet line, but fish WILL turn off to it as I found out.....generally a longer and or lighter leader is a cure to that. but in this one case it wasn't. EVERYTHING else was equal right down to the exact leader and fly....I was getting desperate LOL! They bent that 3wt hard enough the cork popped, my buddies just laughed. Talk fish porn this was it!

                      If the water is slow, and I mean bath tub slow...we've had great luck with the marabous, the gamakatsu spey fly hooks, they call them salmon hooks, work extremely well for this. Its one of the best hooks to come out in recent times imho! I prefer pinks/oranges/fuschias or any combination of them. LOOOONG light leaders here. They get spooked fast. You'll see the fish move off when guys start chucking hardware or heavy gear, or just flog the water. Keep the fly light and petite and you'll be fine with it. In all honesty it really doenst matter you could likely do the same thing with a hunk of yarn in an egg loop, its the principle here. I have a spot I'll drag my big cat down just for this, it has worked in every single slow water hole I've come in so I'm sure it will likely work where you are as well. The marabous sinks SLOOOOW! Which means those off bite fish will either move or get enough interested or down right ticked to come up and take it. They usually come in slow, its mostly a visual game. More often than not they spit this rig out faster than you'll ever feel it unless your swinging it (in a slight current). When they turn on strip like a mad man, short and choppy. When they're off its long slow with a twitch every now and again. Again pinks and fuschias!!!

                      Here's the hook. One pack is likely enough for most of us. I just wish I could stop at one lol.

                      A fly I've been meaning to try and I know dang well will work well but may not last very long is a Seaducer in anything pink...did I say pink enough yet? I like a darker pink than a lighter pink when I'm first starting out....but any pink is better than no pink!! Seaducers will sit, and just baaaaarely sink! ever so slow you can keep it in front of a fish a LOOONG time! You watch they'll sneak in and grab it, game on! I use these for pike....what sucks is they don't last long on toothy fish grrr! you can counter wrap them with wire but keep it light or you'll loose the slow sink rate this fly has! This is another slow water or flat out flat calm water fly more than a main stream any river fly imho.

                      To tie the marabou, start about mid hook or 1/3rd back from the eye depending on size and how much marabou you're adding and tie in a ball of chenille. I opt for light pinks balls, I use shell pink a lot but anything pink lol. now wrap your fly per normal starting right tight to this ball wrapping forward as you would normally. You can add the red collar but its not needed the fish don't care. Its going to stand up and look like a miserable punk rocker hair job. Wet that fly down you'll see it hold the shape of a pencil maybe larger when you stroke it back. It does this in the current as well. The more current the less likely you'll get any movement with it, it'll be a needle in the water and it will still catch fish just not as good as a other flies imho. PINK PINK PINK! either dark or light rule the roost with this fly. Fuschia as normal is my go to and works almost as well. You can tie it in any color as long as it starts and ends in pink LOL! No joking aside, pink is 1, fuschia 2, orange 3. This will get those slow water tight lipped chromes when they turn up their nose to everything else.

                      A low water ESL is just a basic ESL with 1 strand of yarn for a body replacing the chenille, you can use a hole bundle, the idea is something slightly larger than the diameter of the hook shank This is where being good with a full true rotary vise is worth its weight in gold. Its simple to tie. I stay away from the flame heads but I do have a couple when nothing else seems to work. Generally shell pink is my go too. Tie a marabou tail, hackle by the tip, yarn, wrap the yarn, wrap the hackle sparsely, tie off and take a few turns of shell pink up front for the E in ESL and you're done. If you're not using a full rotary I would opt to not split up the yarn bundle just for speed of tying or you'll be cussing me out after your done with a couple of them. I've tied enough of these to make me sick if I ever see one again!!! They do work just not as well as everything else does....200-300dozen a winter for a number of years along with the rest of the orders will do it to ya LOL! I do carry a couple and on a rarity use extreeeeeme rarity. Ok ok they do work and can work well...more often than not they don't work as well as other flies. I could just go without ever tying one again! LOL.

                      I'll close with this...catching salmon isn't normally tough (hopefully I didn't jinx myself here ha). I remember my first year I had a dang fly shop on my back in flies alone. 20 years later, I carry very little and I don't go home with a doughnut very often, its pretty rare. I don't believe the profile of a fly is as important as color and size. When I say profile I'm talking looks, They really don't care if you tied up a fancy marabou spey (hint hint), or a Babine special, or its just a hunk of yarn on a hook so don't get too wrapped up in a ton of patterns or even if your tying skills lack, the fish don't care!!! For coho's you got my color hands down. it works well for chums and kings as well. though I typically go to fuschia for the other two as my first choice. I also carry plenty of splitshot and twist ons if I can find them... If I need to run split shot I'll do it. if you're not where the fish are at you're not catching fish period, get down to them! Sure a coho/chum even a king will chase a rig down....up the odds by painting their kypes and you'll up your hook up % substantially! Early on we'd stand on a river bank, hanging out with a fuschia bunny fly on the end and we'd hold them in front of chums to get a bite. Setting a hook was a pain but it worked. Moral is even lock jawed fish WILL bite if you're presistant enough...or you'll run them out of the hole, fish the outside fish first they're generally the biters. JT will throw large rocks in a hole that's 'off' to stir up fish and get bites. being different works!

                      Holler any time...I'm just a hack whose addicted to bending rods honestly. Been doing it a few days but I'm by no means an expert of any sort. I learn more from the people around me than figuring it out myself lol. if there's fish there, I'm staying until I catch them or they're far enough I cant catch them lol. Give them a break and come back, there's generally more fish to harass. I wonder if its illegal, under a wildlife harassment laws, to pester salmon into biting LOL! But officer I know he's going to bite, just ONE MORE CAST !


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by TradBow View Post
                        Holler any time...I'm just a hack whose addicted to bending rods honestly. Been doing it a few days but I'm by no means an expert of any sort. I learn more from the people around me than figuring it out myself lol. if there's fish there, I'm staying until I catch them or they're far enough I cant catch them lol. Give them a break and come back, there's generally more fish to harass. I wonder if its illegal, under a wildlife harassment laws, to pester salmon into biting LOL! But officer I know he's going to bite, just ONE MORE CAST !
                        The whole thing was a very good read...Thanks...!!! :topjob:
                        Sheep hunting...... the pain goes away, but the stupidity remains...!!!


                        • #13
                          Pink\purple squidro, hands down my favorite silver fly

                          GSmolts techno-wog, hands down the most fun a guy can have silver fishing. I like it in chartreuse.


                          • #14
                            Is a 6 wt. too light for silvers?


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Yellowstone View Post
                              Is a 6 wt. too light for silvers?
                              In lakes or calm water with no wind and no one in your way? Not at all. But add current, heavy flies or your dozen new best friends within the range the fish will run? You're not going to be completely happy, and neither will your neighbors. We use 7's most of the time in lakes and river mouths, but have to switch up to 8's when the wind is up or the fish are deep and need heavy flies. No prob with other folks close at hand, because we simply won't fish around a bunch of other folks, no matter the rod weight we're using.
                              "Lay in the weeds and wait, and when you get your chance to say something, say something good."
                              Merle Haggard


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