Gazette Article - How To Properly Handle Trout!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Indian Summer and Kokanee Salmon

Im a Colorado Springs native and this has been one of the craziest most drawn out summers and warm falls I've ever seen. Now that we have had some consistently cooler temps (especially during night fall) word is out that the kokanee salmon have finally moved up from 11mile reservoir and into the South Platte river below Spinney Reservoir as far up as right below the dam. These fish fight hard and are incredible fun when they first enter a river system, and they are what I call “fresh”. Fresh meaning that they are just starting to spawn and they are still energetic and havent been in the river system long enough to be harrassed by anglers.

However the regulations for the South Platte river below Spinney are flies and lures catch and release only. Flies of choice are streamers such as Slumpbusters and Meatwhistles in black, purple or red. Apricot egg patterns and red sanjuan worms and red Copper Johns will work great as well, and don't be surprised if you pull a few fish on trout flies that match the hatch such as pheasant tails and small black midge emergers. Use 4x-5x tippet because as I said before these fish put up an insane acrobatic fight the first 2-3 weeks they are in the river. After that they start to slow down from a combination of fighting anglers and each other while spawning.

The current flows are sitting around 90 cubic feet per second which is a great flow for this time of the year below Spinney. At these flow rates you want to set your indicator around 4-5 feet for fishing the deeper pools. A good rule of thumb is to fish close to the bottom so that your fly rig is rolling off the bottom without actually dragging on the bottom. The salmon aren't feeding during the spawn which means that any strikes you get are out of sheer aggression.

When the salmon have made their mind up they have seen enough of whatever it is your throwing at them and they strike typically they hit hard, and because they aren't leader shy they tend to hold on to your flies longer. Wait for you indicator to pull under and then do a down stream and up lift set and then hold on tight. Most of your hookups should be in the mouth not anywhere else on the fishes body. They do die after they spawn but since your releasing the fish its still the proper thing to do by hooking the fish fair and not playing it to complete exhaustion. Granted the fish do school up in big numbers in the deeper runs which makes it hard to work a run without foul hooking a fish or two but if 85 percent or more of your hookups are not fair and square in the jaw then you should rethink your strategy.

One thing that I like to do even when Im sight fishing which is what your doing most of the time is to still wait for the indicator to dip even if I think I got a strike. Its important to play with your indicator and split shot depth because the sink rate or your flies and your presentation will determine if you are going to get that reaction strike your looking for from the fish. Remember your staying close to the bottom where the fish spawn without dragging on it. If you have any more questions or need to pick up some flies or anything else listed above to have a blast hooking into tail walking salmon on the Dream Stream stop by Anglers Covey fly shop or check us out online at Tight Lines!

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