Alaska Katmai Lodge

Fly Fishing friendly Salmon

Fly Fishing Friendly Salmon

There are five species of Pacific and one Atlantic salmon. The King, Coho, Sockeye, Pink and Chum salmon. The biggest difference between Atlantic and Pacific salmon are Pacific salmon are semelparous, meaning they die after they spawn. Atlantic salmon are iteroparous which means they may recover, return to the sea, and repeat the migration and spawning pattern. Spawning takes a huge physiological toll on a salmon, though, and most Atlantic salmon do not survive to spawn a second or third time.

All six of these species offer quality sport for fly anglers but they are not all created equal. Of the six, three are fly fishing friendly salmon.  The three best fly rod salmon are the Atlantic, Coho and Pink salmon. I make this statement based on their willingness to take a fly after entering freshwater and the fight that they put up when hooked. Luckily for us Hawkins Outfitters has a venue for all three. All three are truly fly fishing friendly salmon!

Pink Salmon

Hawkins Outfitters has the best Pink Salmon fishing available in the Great Lakes, the Garden River! This river is a tributary to pink salmonthe St Mary’s River in Canada. Located on the Garden River First Nation, we’ve had an agreement with the band of natives to bring anglers to fish on their private water. With a run numbering in the tens of thousands and private water within 4 miles of the mouth of the river, the Garden River with Hawkins Outfitters is something every fly angler should experience.

Pinks are best fished with a five weight rod and either floating line nymphing or using a light sink tip and small streamers. Pink salmon are attracted to brighter colored flies especially pink, chartreuse and white. These are a great fish to introduce beginners to fly fishing!

Atlantic Salmon

The Michigan DNR has responded to the collapse in the King Salmon fishery in Lake Huron by planting Atlantic Salmon in the AuSable River. While the DNR has had good success with Atlantics in Torch Lake this latest effort is the first time we’ve seen decent numbers of fish return to spawn. That occurs in the fall.Atlantic Salmon AuSable River

Atlantics take flies both dead drifted and swung or stripped. They fight like a jumping brown trout, bull dog and are a prized game fish. Hawkins Outfitters has the necessary federal permits to guide on the AuSable and a talented guide in Steve Pels. Give the AuSable Atlantics a try. You will be happy you did.

Coho Salmon

Coho or silver salmon are arguably the best Pacific Salmon. They will take dead drifted, swung and stripped fly and at times will even eat on the surface! While we can get cohos in Michigan on the Manistee River, Platte River, and Pere Marquette River  the best destination we have for cohos is Angry Eagle lodge in Alaska. Catching cohos almost within sight of the ocean. Fresh run cohos will race each other to a well presented fly!

Hawkins Outfitters is hosting a trip to Angry Eagle in late August, you can join us then or we can book you at Angry Eagle Lodge anytime.

The bottom line is that not all salmon are created equal. These three fly fishing friendly salmon are the best for fly anglers and Hawkins Outfitters can guide you in great locations to pursue them.

Tight lines,

Capt. Chuck Hawkins

2 replies
  1. Jeff
    Jeff says:

    I have been fortunate to have guided for two of the three fly friendly salmon. And I totally agree. Pinks and silvers are a very aggressive to the fly. At times eating them off the surface! The Coho or silver salmon is my favorite fly rod salmon hands down. Very aggressive and extreamly acrobatic! A fresh from the ocean Coho on a dry line is what dreams of fishing in Alaska are made of!
    Capt. Jeff Topp

    Reply
  2. Steve Pels
    Steve Pels says:

    Nice post Chuck!!! Ample salmon on the fly opportunities in Michigan. Despite being in the midst of dry fly season I am already starting to tie some fall swing flies for the AuSable Atlatics! Bright colors against muted bodies have been best historically-big flies not always better either. Look forward to pursuing these magnificent fish this fall!!!

    Reply

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