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  1. #1

    Default Salmon River rig.

    So, I usually try to figure everything out on my own, but time's getting short, so I'll open myself to some mockery and ridicule and ask some questions.

    I'll be heading to Pulaski to fish the Salmon River in a week and a half. I haven't fished there since I was a teenager, too many years ago, and I don't remember having a terrific amount of success with a spinning rod setup. This time around, I'm a fairly experienced fly fisherman, but mostly for trout and bass and mostly on lakes and small streams.

    So, what kind of setup does someone use on a river like the Salmon? I have an interchangeable tip line on my reel now, of which the heaviest sinks at 6ips. That was my original plan to fish whatever egg patterns, nymphs, and buggers the Google recommended. However, I've read about the "duck and chuck" method as well, and I just watched my non-fly-fishing father put 300 yards of mono on a fly reel. He hasn't fished at all since the legal-snagging years, but I believe he knows what he's doing.

    I may be in the throes of an information overload here, which is why I'm asking. I have a set up for my fly line, but I'm trying to decide whether I should make a running line set up as well. The consensus on duck-and-chuck seems to be that it's effective, but a perversion of fly fishing (haha).

    The way that I look at it, I'd like to have a bit of success before I get snobby, so any advice would be appreciated.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Wasilla / Skwentna, Alaska
    Blog Entries

    Default Re: Salmon River rig.

    The method known as Duck & Chuck can be effective but is as far from fly casting for salmon or steelhead as a fellow can get. It can result in many snagged rigs on the bottom and foul hooked fish as well. I've been able to get it done with standard sink tips or level mono leaders with a weighted fly attached.

    I could expand on the topic but would guess that you will receive more replies from members currently fishing that river.


    Anywhere can be the land of great expectations, broken dreams, or paradise found, it's all up to you.

    Life On The Line - Alaska Fishing with Ard
    Ard's Forum blog, Alaska Outdoors

  3. Thanks chuckwalters01 thanked for this post
  4. #3

    Default Re: Salmon River rig.

    Chuck..... there are many different ways to fish on the salmon river in NY. It's up to the angler's preference, skill level, who taught them, you name it....

    These option include (I'm attaching some Youtube videos on the fly fishing options for reference as I'd take up 5 pages to explain all of these):

    1) bottom bounce worms/skein/beads/flies/jigs w/ a spinning rod
    2) float fish with a spinning rod w/ above offerings
    3) use spoons, spinners, or micro plugs w/ spinning rod (single hooks of course)
    4) float fish w/ a centerpin reel and longer rod w/ skein/bead/flies
    5) a seldom seen method is using a side planer with a spinning rod and plugs -
    5) chuck and duck w/ a fly rod..... running line or mono, mucho weight and flies/beads/or skein -
    6) high stick nymph the deep and swift runs w/ heavy flies (stoneflys/caddis/egg sucking leaches/egg paterns/etc) w/ a WF fly line a couple line weights up from your rod rating and a couple split shot - . I wouldn't consider this chuck and duck as the amount of weight and fly line you're using is completely different.
    7) indy fishing with a 9' fly rod and a WF line -
    8) swinging spey/streamers/intruders/larger nymphs (swymphs) with spey/switch rod and Scandi/Spey/Skagit head/line and sink tip -

    I personally swing for steelhead with a 11' 6" 8 WT switch rod using a level (non-tapered) running line/520 grain Skagit short head/10' T-8->T20 sinktips, micro barrel swivel, 4' 10lb fluoro tippet and an intruder/streamer/Spey fly or jumbo Stonefly patterns.

    It's where I'm at and what I enjoy doing..... is it the best for slaying steelhead? No... it's a lot of work and casting. Plus you're limited on the best water for this technique...... (it takes a lot of time to find this water if you haven't a clue what it looks like).

    I would suggest for a novice fly angler wanting to get started.... to stick with high sticking and indy fishing w/ a fly rod to start out...... 9' 8 wt rod, 10 WT WF floating fly line, 9' mono tapered leader, micro barrel swivel and 4' 8 lb fluoro tippet w/ some Kauffman stoneflys, jumbo johns, egg sucking leaches, flash back pheasant tails, and bead head estaz egg patterns. And a 3/4 and 1" thingamabober in white..... you're in action and it's your best chance for success. Oh... some lead alternative shot or tungssten putty soft weight is necessary as well. I'd say lead splitshot... but it's not for sale in NYS and we should look at more eco-friendly options......

    Stay away from chuck and ducking... it's not fly fishing. It's a pain to cast.... you need tons of weight and you're going to lose tons of rigs...... that river is loaded with tons on rocks, 30# braid, tree roots, etc that will eat your lunch and empty your fly box in short order......

    I'd suggest these fly shops to help you get geared up....

    - Allseasons Sports
    - Fat Nancy's Sport Shop
    - Pineville Sports Shop

    These guys can rig you up with any method you want to explore. Yeah Melinda's and Whitakers are good too... but caters more to Spey guys ... but all are super friendly and in business to put you onto fish.

    Good luck and be sure to yell...... "FISH ON!".....


    “If I fished only to capture fish, my fishing trips would have ended long ago.”
    ~Zane Grey

    " . . . shouldn't a man stand on his own two feet and catch his own steelhead? Maybe put out some effort and find his own fish just for the fun of it?"
    ~Syd Glasso

  5. Thanks chuckwalters01 thanked for this post
  6. #4

    Default Re: Salmon River rig.

    Thanks for the replies!

    I guess my main problem is being unfamiliar with the river and not knowing what to expect. Once I get out there I'm sure it'll be obvious that I was overthinking things.

    It's nice to hear that I'll be fine with standard fly techniques. The way my old man was talking, its sounded like no fish had ever been taken from that river on standard fly tackle in it's history hahaha.

    One more though, a 9' 8wt rod was mentioned. I have a nice 8wt that I really enjoy fishing with, but I'd read that it would most likely be too light if I happened upon a Chinook. I do have a 10wt as well but, frankly, it's cheap and not much fun to fish.


  7. #5

    Default Re: Salmon River rig.

    I've used a 9' 8 WT to catch countless Kings and Cohos with for Salmon.

    There are a few fighting tips:

    - Have a decent reel w/ a good disc drag
    - Don't set the drag to tight. Set it to where the reel won't backlash when you peel line out by hand. Adjust a little more as needed during the fight. Don't lock it down all the way or you'll be in for trouble. Don't be afraid to pinch the line between the rod with your finger or palm the reel spool for a little extra...... this takes some practice but is a handy technique.
    - Keep your hand off the rod above the cork during a fight..... again you're setting yourself up for a rod explosion in doing so....
    - These fish aren't steelhead. They may not even think anything about it when they're hooked and keep on with their business. But when they feel pressure...... off they will run. You're not going to see splashy jumps.... they bull dog their way as far away from you as they can. It could be up-river... it could be down river..... you never know. You might have to chase them.....
    - If he's foul hooked..... break him off. Hold the rod where it's pointed right at the fish and yank it back at you. The hook will pop out. This respects the fish and others that are waiting for you to clear out for them to start fishing again.
    - 12# fluoro tippet is more than enough to tackle a king.
    - Pick out your landing spot before you even hook a fish. That's where you try to get them too..... It's clear, no trees, and someone can scoop a net under him easy. If he goes past that point and is still running.... then let him go on......
    - In rare instances..... you can back off your reel drag and let slack form in the line. Sometimes they will turn around..... Give them a couple seconds then reel like crazy... you might get lucky and have them head back towards you.
    - Upriver run - you got this!...... Downriver run - the fish is winning and you need to take action quick. Something, anything....
    - Other anglers will help you net him so don't worry about carrying one around with you. More to worry about losing.
    - Have good boots w/ Korkers or studs for traction when chasing
    - The rod is a lever... use it to it's full capability. Hand on top grip and the butt buried in your hip with your other hand on the reel.
    - Keep side pressure on the fish.... don't keep the rod straight up. If water is shallow and there are a lot of rocks..... he will try to use them to pop the hook.... in thise scenario you want to keep the rod up so he can't dig his mouth in them.
    -Don't sight fish and stay away from the the conga line of anglers. This will increase your chances of a hook up.

    Salmon will bite......are they hungry? Most likely no.... but they may be curious, bored or angry and nail your offering.

    Right now..... the fish are spread through out the river. The fish in the lower river are more apt to bite a fly as they've not been through the gauntlet yet. But I find the fish up river to be more concentrated.

    Oh yeah.... yell FISH ON!


    “If I fished only to capture fish, my fishing trips would have ended long ago.”
    ~Zane Grey

    " . . . shouldn't a man stand on his own two feet and catch his own steelhead? Maybe put out some effort and find his own fish just for the fun of it?"
    ~Syd Glasso

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  9. #6

    Default Re: Salmon River rig.

    This is great, thanks again so much!

  10. #7

    Default Re: Salmon River rig.

    I feel compelled to ask, as someone reminded me that I even posted this..... Did you have any luck? It would be nice to see a pic or two. Did you get skunked? Did you slay them? Did you succumb to the calling of the bead?

    All too many times guys come on here looking for help with this, that or the share some juicy intel....and poof......Houdini act.

    Completing the loop and sharing your experiences isn't too much to ask. Is it?

    “If I fished only to capture fish, my fishing trips would have ended long ago.”
    ~Zane Grey

    " . . . shouldn't a man stand on his own two feet and catch his own steelhead? Maybe put out some effort and find his own fish just for the fun of it?"
    ~Syd Glasso

  11. #8

    Default Re: Salmon River rig.

    I am surprised no one asked him if he was planning to fish low water or high water after the daily release. I have not fished the salmon river in almost 40 years but there is a huge difference in technique based on water flow. I used to wait for a snowstorm and snowshoe in! fishing the Trestle hole with NO ONE else there all day was heaven! Much better than when I had big rocks thrown at me from above when I shamed some snaggers/lifters out of the hole.

  12. #9

    Default Re: Salmon River rig.

    It has been a while for you okaloosa....they no longer do a daily release where you chase the dropping water downstream. Or you have to run for the bank while it comes up unexpectedly. The are now a series of minimum flows that tries to preserve natural reproduction and the water release is scheduled by 5 pm the day prior.

    The river is very special to me.........regardless of it's flaws.

    There are some amazing opportunities to catch trophy fish. And with the advancements in technology make it waaaaayyyyy easier than it used to be. It is what you make of it.

    “If I fished only to capture fish, my fishing trips would have ended long ago.”
    ~Zane Grey

    " . . . shouldn't a man stand on his own two feet and catch his own steelhead? Maybe put out some effort and find his own fish just for the fun of it?"
    ~Syd Glasso

  13. #10

    Default Re: Salmon River rig.

    Good info shared here.

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