When do Kings stop striking flies during the run?

Northcountryman

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Three weeks ago , I was up at the Oswego fishing for Kings and, although there weren’t many fish around , the few that were eager to strike a fly . Now , the situation is the opposite : loads of Kings in the water but no takers on the fly ( or spinning lures/ bait from what I saw , for that matter ) . What changed in this 3 week span? I’ve read before that king salmon Gradually Begin to deteriorate Upon entering freshwater rivers ; this includes , most notably , their digestive tract . But this starts to happen almost immediately upon entering , correct? Why Then, will they strike flies early In the run but not later ??
 

MichaelCPA

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Energy? Focus on the spawn?

Even earlier in the season I sometimes wonder if a strike is just a swipe of aggression and an accidental hook in the face/jaw.
 

Upstate08

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ddb

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Kings hit steamer flies well into the spawn when they are in que behind females on the redds waiting to do their thing -- even as their fins and sides start to fade into the off white that signals their imminent demise.

Both males and hens on/near redds slam steamers and live fish that come through the territory they have staked out w/o any intent to feed per se. Once done with the spawn a few actually return to the big lake on a bee line to replace the weight lost but most are exhausted, no longer feed, and soon die off. Late into the spawn fish are depleted and if they do hit a fly are not much as fighters and are way past eating.

Kings fresh from the big lake do hit flies but when they settle in holding waters on their migration to spawning areas they are less aggressive.
 

flytie09

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They will strike through out their life cycle. From aggressively when they're swimming around the lake to much less so as they progress throughout their spawning process to almost zero post spawn. It switches from a response to hunger to that of aggression from reproductive competition. They have more pressing items on their minds like making little Kings.

When fish are spawned out and you see them kind of listless in a back eddy or slow moving water..........it'll be next to impossible to get them to strike.

You are 100% correct....as they enter the river....their digestive system begins to shutdown as does the rest of their bodily systems. This is known in nature as rapid senescence. With this, they simply lose the desire to eat and shift all energies towards reaching their spawning grounds and reproduction.

For a long time...I held the theory that Kings did not bite once they hit the River. I've since changed my viewpoint....they will and do....but it's more out of aggression and competition than hunger.
 
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Northcountryman

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I agree that it will happen on occasion , but when you look at % of hookups and theirs a marked difference , then I would say that Chance/ accidental hookups in the mouth is probably not the cause . In September , nearly every King I saw was landed / hooked was fair hooked in the mouth , whereas yesterday , none of them were . The only fish I saw that were being taken that were fair hooked were some Steelhead and a huge Atlantic Salmon ( that was a beautiful fish , btw , wish the guy had released it ).
 

Northcountryman

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They will strike through out their life cycle. From aggressively when they're swimming around the lake to much less so as they progress throughout their spawning process to almost zero post spawn. It switches from a response to hunger to that of aggression from reproductive competition. They have more pressing items on their minds like making little Kings.

When fish are spawned out and you see them kind of listless in a back eddy or slow moving water..........it'll be next to impossible to get them to strike.

You are 100% correct....as they enter the river....their digestive system begins to shutdown as does the rest of their bodily systems. This is known in nature as rapid senescence. With this, they simply lose the desire to eat and shift all energies towards reaching their spawning grounds and reproduction.

For a long time...I held the theory that Kings did not bite once they hit the River. I've since changed my viewpoint....they will and do....but it's more out of aggression and competition than hunger.
 

Northcountryman

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Yes , I agree , they definitely do as I’ve personally seen it having landed a few of them myself , but I agree that the inclination to strike ( for whatever reason ) diminishes the longer they’re in the river . I’m pretty sure that the guys I observed foul hooking weren’t intentionally doing so ( maybe they were and are pros at it ) but , I don’t think so . I believe they were just feeling a strike , just like always and reacting with a hook set , but as it so happened , turned out to be Just a King swimming by and not actually taking their bait . And , due to the sheer volume of Kings in the water , these swim by accidental hook sets happened with great frequency, and if all you’re after is salmon in the Freezer, then , it’s quite successful. Me , I don’t consider that fishing , so I quit and waded back ashore . If all I was after was Lots of fish on my stringer, I guess I’d bring out a harpoon gun 😂
 
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