Salmon season 2021

tcorfey

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Back in the old days they're were some that got rid of snaggers with one of these.
IMG_2128.jpg

Yep that's a razor blade either epoxied or welded across the hook gap.
To use it you cast across the offending parties line, lower your rod tip, start to slowly retrieve it and the snagger does the rest.:devilish:
When they feel the tap-tap on their line they rear back to snag the fish and unfortunately their rig gets cut off.:cry:
Not that I am advocating this behavior, as it has been known to result in some confrontations.;)
It is also frowned upon by the wardens.
 

flytie09

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I’ve been up to the Black River before….. but it was in no way swing worthy at the time and I’d be shocked if it ever is.

I grew up 30 miles from Altmar and know every rock, branch and snag along the length of the Salmon River (it seems like). There aren’t many places I haven’t wetted a line up there. However…… there are some more preferred than others of course that I now target….. especially with a two handed rod and swinging flies being my sole method now.

Salmon season can be fun. The excitement and adrenaline with seeing and connecting with Kings and Cohos is great. But then I am quickly reminded of the crowds and the things that one sees that is classified as sport. It’s appalling and I choose not to participate any more. I can’t take it.

I would I guess if someone wanted to catch their first or see what it’s all about…… I’d take them. But I wait for November when the crowds have thinned, the Salmon are all but gone and Steelhead have arrived. This is when the magic of the Salmon River happens.

It’s hard to describe it. I’ve caught countless Salmon and Steelhead the past almost 40 years now up there. And I hope for another 40 more.

Let the run begin! Fish on!

I’ve read of the infamous “poacher fly” invented by Bill Schaadt he used on the Eel River in CA I believe…..it looked much like the one pictured with bit of fuzz and feathers wrapped on it. Used to clear a hole of poachers. Takes some serious cogliones to use something like that. Big ones. 🏀
 
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jjcm

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Here is the next round of flies. The top 3 are a pattern that I came up with a couple years ago. They do work for Salmon. I am going back to the river Wednesday evening. We will see what happens.View attachment 40677
These look like they would fish really good where I am at for salmon or steelhead.

Which hooks did you use? I've been trying to find an ideal hook for salmon flies, a hook that is strong enough to put pressure on the fish without bending or breaking.
 

Davitticus Maximus

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These look like they would fish really good where I am at for salmon or steelhead.

Which hooks did you use? I've been trying to find an ideal hook for salmon flies, a hook that is strong enough to put pressure on the fish without bending or breaking.
The stoneflies I use streamer hooks but I don't remember what size I will look when I get home. The others I used size 4 scud hooks. I did have a stonefly hook straighten out after two fish on the same fly. I have been experimenting with different brands but I think it was a fluke.
 

jjcm

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I used Daiichi 1510 and some Mustad nymph hooks (I forget the model number) last year. Too many of the Daiichis broke, a few of the Mustads bent. I've been wondering if I just got a bad pack of Daiichis. I have been trying to settle on some reliable hooks to tie on, the usual flies: caddis, stones, hex, and some eggs patterns.
 

Davitticus Maximus

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I used Daiichi 1510 and some Mustad nymph hooks (I forget the model number) last year. Too many of the Daiichis broke, a few of the Mustads bent. I've been wondering if I just got a bad pack of Daiichis. I have been trying to settle on some reliable hooks to tie on, the usual flies: caddis, stones, hex, and some eggs patterns.
Stoneflies, egg patterns, and wooly buggers, have caught me the most fish at SR. Of course you have to have different sizes and color variations but those 3 things should get you into fish. Egg sucking leeches work good to. The first year I started I was catching lots of steelhead on a size 12 beadhead stonefly pattern made up mostly with copper wire. Hooking up with Salmon with those too. Where do you fish?
 

tcorfey

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Since the flys above were pretty small I would look for something in a 2x heavy wire.
Something like the Tiemco TMC 3769 Nymph & Wet Fly Hook it is a Sproat bend, down eye, 2X heavy wire, bronze hook and comes in sizes from 6 - 18. or if you want a curved shank the TMC 2488H Heavy Nymph Fly Hook is a Straight eye, 2X heavy, 3X wide, 2X short, curved shank, forged, bronze hook comes in sizes 12 - 22.
 

Lamarsh

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Cool flies. I hope you plan on swinging them! I just love blue for our Michigan steelhead, and that shade of blue (I think many call it kingfisher blue), is just awesome.
 

jjcm

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Stoneflies, egg patterns, and wooly buggers, have caught me the most fish at SR. Of course you have to have different sizes and color variations but those 3 things should get you into fish. Egg sucking leeches work good to. The first year I started I was catching lots of steelhead on a size 12 beadhead stonefly pattern made up mostly with copper wire. Hooking up with Salmon with those too. Where do you fish?
I fish mostly in Michigan. For nymphs, I agree, where I'm at hex, stones, caddis, and egg patterns are all good. Wooly buggers dead drifted or presented on the swing are killer too.

I went to look for a wooly bugger variation I tied last year to share here. Cannot find it, I think it's still in storage maybe. I don't know why, but one day I hooked a pretty good mixed bag of salmon -kings and coho- with it. I tied it on a shank with a trailer hook. Fished it through a few runs using a single hand 890 and an OPST head and they kept taking it.
 

Lamarsh

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I fish mostly in Michigan. For nymphs, I agree, where I'm at hex, stones, caddis, and egg patterns are all good. Wooly buggers dead drifted or presented on the swing are killer too.

I went to look for a wooly bugger variation I tied last year to share here. Cannot find it, I think it's still in storage maybe. I don't know why, but one day I hooked a pretty good mixed bag of salmon -kings and coho- with it. I tied it on a shank with a trailer hook. Fished it through a few runs using a single hand 890 and an OPST head and they kept taking it.
I'm here in Michigan as well. I usually nymph with an egg, along with a stone, caddis, or wooly bugger as my bottom fly. Been playing with tightline / euro presentations for steelhead and salmon, still can decide whether it's better than the good ole indy rig. Definitely lose more flies....

Here are a 3 stoneflies that I just whipped up. Experimenting with different colors is fun! I like to use different color beadheads too. It is hard to tell from the pic, but the purple and blue flies both have a pink bead.
These look similar to some stones I tied last season. Solid pattern. Also like these mop stones I tied, which in my opinion can resemble our michigan hex nymphs, which steelies and salmon seem to like. I love that bead color you used, "light pink" beads (really closer to a rose gold color) has been a recent favorite of mine. Trout seem to take a liking to them.

black jack stone.jpg

mop stone.jpg
 
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jjcm

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I go back and forth between the different styles -indy, tightline, and also swinging- when fishing. Sometimes I end up doing all three on a given day. It depends on the run…if I'm fishing probable water with no takes, I'll try different flies or a different presentation method.

I've been going back and forth on the best line system too. Between the standard WF lines and micro Skagit systems, I am feeling that the micro Skagit system is a pretty good jack knife for steelheading in MI. It swings well, a floating tip can turn it into an indy nymph set up, and the running line works to tightline.

Hex nymphs can really produce. A pattern I've done well on over the past few years is Bear's Crossdresser.
 

Lamarsh

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I go back and forth between the different styles -indy, tightline, and also swinging- when fishing.
Same thinking for me, but my execution isn't great, as I'll get to the water and generally stick to whatever I started with. I bought that T&T 6wt Contact 2 ESN rod last year, so I wanted to use that a lot, so I mostly euro nymphed the few days I went steelhead/salmon fishing last season. Didn't come up with any steelies, but got 2 nice atlantics tightlining a purple egg sucker tied ESN style (slim, heavy bead). My confidence level goes in and out with indicator fishing. I have a few new indicator rig styles I want to try this year, so maybe I'll get back to it more. I used to use a normal 9' 8wt for indictor rigs, but recently got a 10'6" 7wt switch that throws a big indy rig nicely.

I've been going back and forth on the best line system too. Between the standard WF lines and micro Skagit systems, I am feeling that the micro Skagit system is a pretty good jack knife for steelheading in MI. It swings well, a floating tip can turn it into an indy nymph set up, and the running line works to tightline.
Really glad you mentioned this. I had been wondering whether I could use my OPST commander head (floating) for an indy rig, and whether it would work better than my normal WF floating nymping line.... Curious what your experience on that has been.

Also curious what rigs you like to use in tight quarters such as the flies only stretch of the PM. It's such small water, I am wondering how spey casting could work there and how you do it, if you have tried. Such a small river up there, and the holding lies represent such a small portion of an already small stream section, I've mostly focused on tightline and indy setups there, but have got a few salmon to chase and eat stripped streamers in the earlier season, which is of course very exciting. Thought they were cohos because of the way they chased and ate, but they were in fact kings.

Feel free to PM responses so we don't hijack the thread with a mitten discussion.
 

Davitticus Maximus

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I went up to SR today, after work, with 2 of my co-workers. Started at the Trestle Pool. Saw quite a few fish surfacing. I tried my black and chartreuse stonefly pattern but it was a no go. There was maybe 15 guys there and only a couple hook-ups, none landed. We decided to go farther downstream into town. That was a mistake as there was much less fish action. I saw 1 fish surface but no other movement. I will be tying more flies the next couple days. Hoping to get back up there, Saturday morning.
 

jjcm

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Really glad you mentioned this. I had been wondering whether I could use my OPST commander head (floating) for an indy rig, and whether it would work better than my normal WF floating nymping line.... Curious what your experience on that has been.
I like how the OPST line system works with an indy rig. I have used both OPST and Airflo Skagit Scout lines for nymphing on 9' 8wt, 10' 7wt, and 10' 8wt single handers as well as switch rods. I made floating tips out of spare fly line and have also used OPST's floating tips.

I like it but I don't feel that nymphing with a skagit head and floating tip is better than a dedicated nymph line. In my opinion, there is a little bit of a tradeoff. One place that a skagit line with an indicator suffers is mending and control at distance; lines like Rio Switch, Rio Steelhead Indicator, or SA Anadro Nymph have longer heads that help with mending. I fished for skamania on the Lower Man this year. It was not productive as the few fish around seemed to be active at night. I was dedicating my nights to hex at the time, I would go fish the Lower Man after waking up in the afternoon and then head out to other spots for the late-night hatches from there. I went there with my Sage Igniter 7100 paired with SA Anadro Nymph. For whatever reason, no one really fly fishes above the coffer. This spot is like one long run. Nowadays, most guys fish it with centerpins.

I was happy with how far out I could go with the setup; I was pleasantly surprised by how long my drifts were and how much control I had. To me, it seemed that the Igniter could set a hook solidly into a steelhead's mouth at distance. I still felt connected to the nymph rig with a fair amount of line out. The drifts went far down from me while still maintaining a decent presentation. If the fish were in, I think I might have caught some. I would say that I like Rio Switch best for a dedicated nymph line. It feels like it rollcasts and turns over with more authority. For mending, I didn't perceive an advantage between these lines, they are all good. And what I said about Rio Switch having more oomph, it might be a personal preference or style thing. I'm using the coffer as an example because it felt like a place I could test and observe the effectiveness of fishing the nymph line. Even with no fish moving, I kept going back to tinker around with the setup to see what it could do.

I've used this spot to test skagit heads with indicators before too. The skagit head/floating tip is functional for indy nymphing. Fishing at closer distances might mitigate the shortcomings found in mending and control. If one already has the skagit head, it is easy to experiment with it because all it requires is a floating tip. In my opinion, using this setup for indy nymphing is a part of it being like a multitool. The shooting head system opens a lot of possibilities.

Along with nymphing and swinging in the rivers, I've been exploring using lines like Rio Outbound to cast into the harbors and off the piers. I wanted to diversify my strategy and tactics and recently added these shooting heads. My reels are set up the same, I just switch the heads out. I used to cast spoons off the pierheads when I was younger and enjoyed spending that time on the lake. I've been trying to dial in lines for this habitat and thinking about using alewife and gobi patterns. I have not seen many people fly fishing these spots, but it seems like people do fish this way. I contacted Sage for grain weight suggestions for my Igniter and Method, the gentleman who responded was very helpful and said he was originally from Michigan and understood exactly what I wanted to do.

The skagit head setup is proficient at indy nymphing. I think it excels at swinging and throwing shooting heads. It is also very good for tightline nymphing, but perhaps not as good as a dedicated steelhead euro nymph setup. I think your Contact II must be superb. I took one off the rod rack at the M-55 Fly Shop and gave it a shake. My pocket money was lacking at the time, I really wanted to buy one but couldn't. It is the most beautiful production rod I have ever seen; I am sure it has the performance to match too.

If this was language proficiency, I would say that with the shooting head setup, swinging and streamer fishing, is like a native speaker. With tightline nymphing, it's close to near-native. And with indy, it's fluent or proficient.
 

Lamarsh

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Sage Igniter 7100 paired with SA Anadro Nymph
The SA Anadro nymph is the line I use for indy fishing for steelhead and salmon. I have that line in 8wt for my 10'6" 7wt switch rod.

What you mention about mending at a distance with a skagit setup makes sense, and I would only imagine it is worse if the shooting portion of the skagit system is an unintegrated mono line like Lazar Line, as opposed to a coated running line and integrated setup, recognizing that the biggest hinderance though is the shorter more compact head.

I would default to indy fishing with my anadro line, but I am interested in just trying it out on a skagit setup.

I have not tried an indy rig on my 6wt Contact 2 yet, but I personally had a discussion with Joe Goodspeed (designer of the rod) about it, and he said it would be great for it (many euro rods are also great for indy rigs), but him and I also discussed the prospect of using a skagit head on it. He said he had never tried it, and the tip may be a bit soft for it (but it shouldnt' break it), and said he expects it to be able to use a grain weight of 300-350. I have an SA integrated skagit lite line for my 10'6" 4/5wt that might be perfect to give this a shot.... Might also be a great line to try the indy rig on the contact 2.

I'm curious where you meant when you referenced the coffer, were you talking about tippy? I've been wanting to pin down some good spots to practice two handed casting. I'm really a novice at it still. I fish the flies only portion of the PM a good amount, and it's really not big enough to practice this IMO.

If that stretch of river is frequented by the centerpin guys, I'm wondering if the "manistee indy rig" would be something worth trying there. I've never tried it, but it's been explained to me and I wrote down a sketch of it. It is for indy fishing in slower deep water. Sort of blends centerpin shot placement techniques into an indy rig you can use on a conventional fly line. Curious what your thoughts are there. Sorry to the OP for sort of hijacking with this Michigan stuff, but maybe some people will find these discussions interesting.

manistee float rig.jpg
 
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