Selecting Pacific Salmon Flies
Pacific salmon don't feed very much after they are on their way to their spawning
grounds. They basically have one motivation during the spawning migration and
that's spawning. These fish are far more apt to take a fly when they first begin
the migration than after they have traveled a long way or arrived at their
destination. In fact, they will rarely take a fly once they get to their spawning
grounds. The best time to catch them on a fly is when they first begin the
migration. They are used to feeding on baitfish and this is what you want your
flies to imitate.
There's two primary areas or different types of water the salmon will take a fly in
during the early part of this migration. In most cases, the salmon first have to
enter the estuaries of the northern West Coast before they head upstream in the
rivers and streams to spawn. This is usually big water and most of the fishing is
done by trolling large jigs and flies that imitate baitfish. However, in certain
estuaries they can be caught on the fly from boats and by wading. The flies used
for this are usually large, ranging from a hook size 1 up to a 3/0. They should
imitate the herring and candlefish that the salmon normally feed on.
The other areas Pacific salmon can be caught are in the rivers when they first
enter them to head upstream to their spawning grounds. We can't overemphasis
the importance of timing. These Pacific Salmon are far easier to catch when they
first enter the rivers. Although they don't all enter the river at the same time, lets
just say that once a salmon does, the first five days or so offers the best
opportunity to catch it on a fly. As soon as they begin to move very far upstream,
they usually won't pay your fly much attention. It's still possible to catch them, but
it's far more difficult.
It also depends on the particular river and estuary. There's usually differences in
these waters and the information we have provided should be taken as general
information. Our stream guides for the particular river and streams usually point
out the specifics of these various northwestern coastal waters and rivers.
Copyright 2013 James Marsh
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