Fly Fishing for Coho in Freshwater 101
Coho fly fishing fanatics know that Fall is the primetime for targeting these fish in our local rivers.
We will look first at pursuing Coho in freshwater with a fly rod. Not into fly fishing for Coho? No problem! Check out the Coho gear fishing blog post.
Fly rods for salmon fishing in freshwater are typically 9-10 ft long in the single handed variety, 10’6-11’6 in the switch and 12’6-13’6 in a Spey rod. Reels should be chosen to balance the type of rod being used. We want to try and select a reel of reasonable quality as we can have both chinook and chum salmon potentially grabbing our flies while Coho fly fishing.
Fly Rods for Coho Fishing
Equipped with a high-performance blank (Graphite IIIe), the FOUNDATION has a fast action providing excellent casting power and effortless control. It's the very foundation of what defines Sage rod performance and taking your game to another level.
The Dragonfly Kamloops fly rod offers high performance without a high price tag. These rods offer a nice action and cast very well. This rod is available in 4wt-8wt and in a 9' or 10' length and comes with a hard nylon rod tube.
Redington Vice Fly Rod
The VICE is a classically styled, fast-action fly rod that is designed to be affordable. The multi-modulus carbon fiber blanks offer increased levels of recovery for casting with greater accuracy and control. The subtle design touches like black anodized snake guides, laser-etched reel seats and saltwater-grade components all work together to create a fly rod that anglers can't resist.
Fly Reels for Coho Fishing
Galvan Torque Fly Reel
Torque Series reels are saltwater safe and will perform flawlessly under the harshest conditions, from remote alpine lakes to the saltwater flats. The highly ventilated spool and frame balance nicely with the lightest of today's fly rods yet still compliment a modern big-game saltwater fly rod. The Torque is tough as nails and skillfully marries the technology of the future with the tradition of the past.
Lamson Remix HD Fly Reel
This is a heavy-duty version of the Remix. The HD reel has a full-cage design to capture line without failure. This makes a great option for an entry-level switch, spey, boat or all-around, ready-for-anything reel. A nice fusion between the free-form structures of a cast spool and the mechanical integrity of a CNC-machined case. The Remix is the ultimate hybrid fly reel.
Redington Behemoth Fly Reel
The Behemoth fly reel combines the most powerful drag in its class with stunning aesthetics that push the limits of fly reel design. The unique, die-cast construction is coupled with a durable, interlocking, large-arbor spool design that looks and functions like a premium reel.
Generally speaking, our most productive Coho fly fishing water is the slower moving “frog” water. Not to say flowing, walking speed type water won’t produce fish for the fly fisher, but that slower moving water is a better focus for us.
This type of water allows us to cast a fly and retrieve it at varying speeds to try and elicit a strike from a Coho. In this type of setup our fly line selection should be a clear slow sinking fly line, whether it is a traditional line-weight-forward line or a shooting head such as the RIO Outbound.
We want a long clear section of fly line as Coho in freshwater can be spooky, moody and difficult little devils. We should be using fluorocarbon leaders or a long fluorocarbon tippet like Seaguar Blue Label. The invisibility of this type of line is unbeatable when Coho fly fishing.
The nice thing about using fluorocarbon line is that it disappears in the water. It has a thinner diameter than your standard monofilament. This will allow us to use a bit heavier line. We recommend going with a 10lb-15lb tippet.
The last piece of equipment necessary is the ammo, of course!! You pretty much can’t have enough flies when chasing Coho. They can turn on or off a particular fly pattern like a light switch. Once a couple of fish have been caught on a certain fly, the recipe for another fish on is just a fly change away.
Flies should be fairly sparse and sleek with a variety of sizes to cover different types of situations. An early morning, late evening or a low light day may require a “flashier” and larger fly than low clear water and a bright sunny day would. Good Coho colours can be chartreuse, red, yellow, purple, blue, pink, gold, silver and copper. These colours can be combined to create all sorts of fly variations. The use of UV materials and flash can also be very useful for enticing a bite.
Coho can be spooky creatures, so approaching fish should always be done in a stealthy manner, whether you are on foot or in a watercraft of some kind.
Once you’re ready to fire at some fish, throw out a cast and start your retrieve slow and work your way to fast always keeping your rod down low to the water. This low rod position gives you the best hook set and the best presentation of the fly. Vary your retrieve if fish are not cooperating. With every day and every cast fish can have a different attitude. Changing speed and lengths of your strip can be the difference in getting a bite or not getting a bite.
Good luck on the water and pop by the shop or give us a call at 604-931-5044 for any other coho fishing help. Check out our Gear Fishing for Coho in Freshwater 101 blog post!
P.S. Learn how to tie some of Andrews’ highly effective Coho fly patterns!