South sound coho?

Discussion in 'Fly Fishing Forum' started by fly15, Feb 12, 2002.

  1. Has anyone had any sucsess on resident coho in the south
    sound and if so where.I have not fly fished the salt for resident
    coho in the narrows since last january and caught a couple on a chartuse clouser minnow size 6#.Any info would be great.
  2. I fished a Tacoma Narrows beach last Saturday on an A.M. incoming tide. I used a 5-weight and sink-tip line. I saw a lot of jumping fish and assume that they were either sea-run cutts or resident silvers. I caught one coho measuring about 14" on a black woolly bugger. That was the only strike I got in 2 hours of fishing.

    The frustrating part was that fish were consistently splashing in front of me, but didn't seem too willing to take flies. I also tried a chartreuse and white clouser with no luck. In my experience fishing beaches, if you can find the fish you can usually get them to bite without much trouble. However, that didn't seem to be the case on this last outing. In fact, they seemed downright fickle.

    Can anyone offer any insight as to what techniques may have resulted in more fish to hand?

  3. archives
  4. They're probably keyed in on amphipods. Try small, shrimp-type krill imitations; all white or pale pink work well.

  5. That makes sense. Thanks for the tip. Not sure if I know exactly what these patterns look like. Large scuds? Can you point me to a photo/or tying instructions online?

    Thanks again,
  6. WoolyWorm,

    Amphipods are more “scudlike” and Euphausiids more “shrimplike.” Both are prevalent in the Sound. They are dependent on currents for any appreciable movement which is why you’ll often find good numbers of them in balled up on moving tides in small coves, back eddies and off points not far from the main channels. That’s also where you’ll find the Coho dining on them. Two good sources for photos and diagrams are:



    Sometimes a dead drift works, sometimes a little action works. If you give the fly action, try to imitate the natural's movement with a short (6-8 inch)strips interspersed with a pause (e.g. strip, strip, pause; strip, strip, strip, pause; etc.) You don't need to get fancy on the patterns.

    Good Fishing!
  7. Thanks for the links. That's some excellent information. So it sounds like amphipods are rather small, and euphausiids are larger. What are the basics of a fly pattern that I would use to imitate them? I'm guessing a pinkish type scud pattern tied on a size 12 hook with some sort of shellback? Is that about right for the size?

    Thanks for any information. Tight lines.
  8. I use size 10 , 12 and 14 scud hooks to immitate the krill , a
    year or two ago i caught a south sound resident coho in july
    that was abou 4 or 5 pounds and about 22 to 24 inches in length i kept the fish for the barbacue and when i cleaned it
    it had hundreds of transparent and white krill in about a size
    12 or 14 scud hook.I have a stomach pump so next time i
    catch a coho i think i might pump him since most of the food they eat are small enough to fit in the pump.That way it will be
    easier to match the hatch.since i catch and release almost all
    of my fish the stomach pump is the only way to know what
    they are eating.GOOD LUCK.C&R. :THUMBSUP
  9. Where does one find a stomach pump?
  10. I'm curious. What's the deal exactly with the "resident" silvers. Are they just juveniles that remain in the sound for a few seasons before migrating to the open sea. Or does a certain percentage of the population never leave the Sound?

    Also, is this time of year the best time to catch them?

  11. Morning hatch sells stomach pumps and i am sure a few other
    fly shops do , i got mine from morning hatch.Resident coho i
    believe either stay in the sound there whole lives or at least the bigger ones ( 20" to 30'') migrate from the ocean to the sound earlier than most coho , my dad and i have caught quite
    a few 18" to 28" inch coho in june thru august in the south sound ,When most coho don't return until septenber or october,
    the smaller ones we catch january thru march the 12" to 16" inchers are either coho that stay in the sound an extra year after they exit the river and leave for the ocean when they
    reach there 2nd year or they stay in the sound there whole life
    or maybe a mix of both.The Esturary Fly Fisher talks about
    resident coho in puget sound.I am going for some silvers tonight from about 3:00pm til 5:30pm out of a boat in the narrows i will let you nkow how my dad and i do. :THUMBSUP
  12. dont be using the stomach pump on salmon and cuttroat you intend to release, they go thru enough mortality as it is to have someone holding them then shoving some tube down there gut and I bet those tackle shops will talk new flyfishermen into those saying you need to match the hatch, its all a bunch of bull s**t. its pretty simple to know what there biting on in the saltwater, frshwater theres a need, but I dont fish for trout that much and I sure wouldn't pump a trout then let it go. thats like using a net on a shaker.
  13. WW,

    Patterns for Amphipods and Euphausiids can be as simple or as complicated as you want to make them and there’s plenty of individual creativity designing them. Any freshwater Scud pattern is very easily adapted as an effective saltwater Amphipod imitation. Any shrimp pattern can also easily be adapted as a Euphausiid pattern. If you use freshwater scud hooks be aware they’ll rust in short order after exposure to saltwater so don’t return them to the box with unused flies until rinsed thoroughly in fresh water. I’ve had good success with patterns tied in size #12. Ok, you asked for some suggestions on patterns, so:

    Down ‘n Dirty Quick & Easy:
    Antron Dubbing, Fine Copper Wire, Thread to match the Dubbing. Attach wire to hook beyond the bend. Wind dubbing material onto hook from bend toward eye and anchor it. Wind wire around body toward eye and tie off at eye. Tease material with Bodkin on the underside to imitate legs and at hook bend to imitate antennae. Run a bead of Head Cement along the top to imitate a carapace. Ba-da-bing, Ba-da-boom – tie a dozen of these in twenty minutes or less. They work as well as any complicated zooplankton type pattern. Someone recently told me they were using white Angel Hair instead of dubbing material on a pattern tied as above with great success. White, pale pink or light grey are good colors for me.

    More Complex:
    Dubbing or Chenille, Back Material (Piece of Cellophane or Latex), Badger or Ginger Hackle, Fine Copper Wire, Thread to match Dubbing.
    Attach Wire, then back material then Hackle to hook beyond the bend. Wind dubbing material onto hook from bend toward eye and anchor. Wind Hackle forward from bend to eye and anchor. Bring back material over the top pushing hackle fibres down and anchor at the eye. Wind the wire toward the eye to create body segments and tie off at the eye. Head cement over the top and at the whip finish.

    The book Fly Fishing For Pacific Salmon by Ferguson, Johnson & Trotter contains photos and tying instructions for nearly two dozen saltwater zooplankton patterns, any of which will be effective.

    If you’re familiar with Roderick Haig-Brown, you may know that besides his well known Steelheading experiences on Deer Creek, he also enjoyed trying to “crack the code” in flyfishing estuaries. His Mysid pattern was developed as a Euphausiid imitation and still works well in the Sound. If you don’t have Fisherman’s Fall and want the pattern email me.

    Popovic's Ultra-Shrimp is a very effective pattern in the Sound in all sizes, large as well as small wherever a shrimp pattern is called for.

    Hope some of this helps put the odds in your favor. Let me know how you did.

  14. greg do you use feelers at the rear for your patterns or do you have them in a little have circle thats it. I bet tin foil would catch them anyway that small. little shiny piece of tin foil all reflecting in the current, Ben
  15. Ben,

    Regarding "Feelers" - usually yes.

    Regarding "tin foil" - I like Krystal Flash but,like I said to WW above, there's a lot of individual creativity in developing saltwater patterns. Maybe you could create the Alcoa Foil Fly or perhaps Ben's Alum-Asellus (Asellus being an isopod genus and another Roderick Haig-Brown estuary pattern.) ;)

  16. Thanks for the info. The book you mention sounds interesting. What other books would make good references for the Puget Sound fly angler?cheers,
  17. WW,

    I’ve found these be most useful to me. Others may have differing opinions or other recommendations.

    The Estuary Flyfisher by Steve Raymond, 1996, Frank Amato Publications
    Perhaps the single-most useful book for anyone flyfishing the Sound. Excellent work. A definite “Must Have.”

    Fly Fishing For Pacific Salmon by Bruce Ferguson, Les Johnson & Pat Trotter, 1985, Frank Amato Publications
    Excellent. The chapters on Salmon Life Histories and Salmon Feed are absolutely outstanding and extremely valuable for learning about and understanding our Pacific Salmon. Excellent Fly Types and Patterns chapter. When I bumped into Bruce Ferguson at Doc’s several months ago, he said an updated version was soon to be published. Hard to imagine how this work can be improved upon.

    Saltwater Fly Fishing for Pacific Salmon by, Barry Thornton, 1995, Hancock House
    Contains excellent information on locating salmon which will be most useful to the boating flyfisher in the Sound. Although his focus is on British Columbia, the tactics and techniques he presents are equally applicable to the Sound. He also has several excellent articles and info online at

    Salmon to a Fly: Fishing for Pacific Salmon in the Open Ocean by Jim Crawford, 1995, Frank Amato Publications
    Focus is on British Columbia but generally good info if you can’t do enough reading about flyfishing for Pacific Salmon.

    Fly Fishing Afoot in the Surf Zone by Ken Hanley, 2nd publishing 1999, Frank Amato Publications. Originally written in 1994.
    Short, sweet and right to the point. Doesn’t get into flyfishing the Sound at all, but has good, useful info should you take your fly rod with you on your next trip to the coast.

    Saltwater Flies: Over 700 of the Best by Deke Meyer, 1995, Frank Amato Publications
    Though not strictly dedicated to the PNW waters, its still an excellent collection of the most productive saltwater patterns with recipes. Great for getting new ideas.

    Tube Flies – A Tying, Fishing & Historical Guide by Mark Mandell & Les Johnson, 1995, Frank Amato Publications
    Great book for learning just about everything you ever wanted to know about tube flies. Many saltwater flyfishers on every coast are turning to them because of their effectiveness and increased number of solid hookups. Silvers don’t take flies head on; tube flies move the hook farther back behind the fly. Enough said?

  18. in response to tin foil flies i made 6 up in green, pink, and white and a tin foil shell, and you know what, brings em in from a distanse. had 1 hr to test my flies and caught 4 silvers a little north of gig harber, south of olalla. gonna try the eel grass flat between pilot point and point no point tomorrow for a breather of bait/gear chuckin for blackmouth. tight lines, Ben

    (baby silvers)
  19. Any luck up on the eelgrass flats? Were you targetting cutts, silvers up there or blackmouth?

  20. I was targeting blackmouth and seeing if theres any resident silvers in the area but caught one flounder and a rough ride back. little or no bait there at point no point, only seen a couple of fish caught at pnp and area. pretty slow blackmouth opener. Ben

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