Welcome to the forum, this is the first of your posts that I have seen so I'm saying hi. As for your question......... different things for different species, I haven't used eggs for a long time. The transition to a fly was simple, the reason; because the fish seem to respond well to traditional type salmon flies. Color matters, and where I fish the AK. Assasin, Max Canyon, Thor, Skykomish, are all good for kings while the other fish sometimes respond to more subdued color schemes. Even when I fished the Great Lakes streams & rivers I found that the fish grabbed an unweighted fly swung past quite regularly and the eggs were way too much like nymph fishing. However, you use what works for you and that is the norm all over the world when it comes to salmon. I would suggest that a person not become caught in a mindset whereas you believe that a salmon will not attack a fly swinging through the current. Don't get me wrong, I've caught them using a Glo-Yarn egg and a weight and by using the swinging salmon fly both. Having both experiences to draw from I find the fly to be more fun, more rewarding, and a whole lot more like what I always believed 'fly fishing for salmon' should be like.
When I first went fishing for Great Lakes salmon I followed the herd, I did what the people who wrote articles said to do. I did what the guys at fishing shops said to do. In essence I did what everybody else who were using fly rods was doing. This lasted a few seasons and one day I became tired of running with the herd. I guess I still had a streak of that teenage independence in my blood because I didn't want to be like everyone else, I wanted to be different. The crux of the whole thing was that being different was why I chose the fly rod and traditional flies for fishing and not a 'Noodle rod' and a sack of roe to get it done. I know that this thread was just a simple question and I've taken off on a philosophical flight of fancy but that's what I do when I talk fishing and when I fish.
Almost everyone up here swears that egg style flies are the only things that will work up here on Lake Superior or if your not fly fishing, eggs in a little nylon sack. B.S., Ard has it right. Play around with what your using and you will be surprised w ith what salmon are taking. The same holds for the rivers that salmon run in.
Last Salmon trip was the end of October. Caught a bunch of fish and didn't use an egg! Got them on big stonefly Nymphs got them on swinging streamers even got one on a saltwater baitfish imitation on the swing! That thing about eggs being the only way to go I'd a bunch of hooey! Have caught them in the past on a piece of black sponge swinging throuh a lie!
And the same goes for Steelhead that so many people insist on the egg thing. Tell that to the 20 or so guys in the fly area I was fishing . Glys 20 egg patterns zero! I'm not saying eggs don't work , cause they do but so does many other systems and flys . And nothing beats getting them on the swing the hit is awesome!
---------- Post added at 12:48 AM ---------- Previous post was at 12:46 AM ----------
With Salmon depth control and speed are the most important factors.
"I was born to fish" Lee Wulff
"There's more B.S. in fly fishing then there is in a Kansas feedlot." Lefty Kreh
" It ain't over till it's over." Yogi Berra
"Your not old,you've simply acquired a patina." Swirlchaser
For King salmon I have had the most luck with a large black leech. Swung with the current, the let it dangle below you and give it short strips in. They always seem to hit on the strips. I know lots of guys get them on eggs and nymphs. I fish eggs and nymphs for steelhead the most when the kings are at their peak. I have never caught a king that way. Must its just be me.
For cohos I would definitely say a stripped in streamer is the way to go. They are much more aggressive. As a bonus you may get a steelhead or Brown at the same time. For streamers I use a olive, white or black leech/bunny tail pattern, about 4 inches long. I don't think color matters a lot. They seem to hit anyone of the colors I mentioned.
As far as getting fish on the swing, stripping streamers in or drifting eggs/nymphs. I don't think one is more addictive than the other. I part company with most people at this point. I think swinging is the easiest and most boring. You don't have to concentrate as much. When a fish hits he hooks himself more often than not. You just need to be hanging on to the rod. I'd say stripping is more fun than swinging, its a more interactive fishing method. You can vary the retrieve and "work" the fly more. I'd say drifting eggs/nymphs is the hardest, more mending, requires the most concentration. Have to be on your game, when the take comes you better hit it or your chance will be gone.
I use what ever method seems to be the most productive at the time. Earlier in the year eggs/nymphs seem to work best, the streamers latter in the year. If its a slow day I'll switch around alot, different methods, different colors until something hits. I don't care if they want eggs or streamers, its all fly fishing to me, not one method is better than the others, they all have their day.
Timing, persistence, patience and presentation are key for Chinook aka King Salmon.
The best patterns are streamers, early on in the run. I have had better luck with darker streamers, but that doesn't mean much. Most colors seem to produce well.
Another top producer is an egg pattern. I use a pattern I tie that mimics a small clump of roe, using lighter colors of mcflyfoam.
It will be easier to catch them during the early part of the run or fresher fish pushing upstream.
I agree with klunker, swinging is easy but boring. Stripping large meat for king salmon can be really fun though. To feel an aggressive take is something not to be missed.
Drifting egg patterns under an indicator is my personal favorite. I like to raise up on them hard after a take. The best part is, you can also find any other salmonid mixed in (the same applies with streamers). Coho, Lake-Run Browns, Steelhead and even Pinks.
If you can land a 20+ pounder right out of the lake, on a fly rod, in heavy current and on light tippet, you possess some skill for sure.