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Coho on the Coast

 

Septembers on the coast are truly fantastic because this is coho time. Coho flood the ocean waters all up and down the coast as the summer progresses. They grow tremendously fast in these herring rich waters and by the time September rolls around there are plenty of robust, 8 to 14 pound eating machines out and about.

Anglers call them northerns, a reverence bestowed upon them for being the biggest of the big. And while land based anglers wait patiently for fall rains to bring them into the rivers, those with a boat get to go out and meet them; and get into some of the best salmon fishing of the year.

Coho are wonderful because they can bite all day long and on many occasions they do. That said, mornings, evenings, tide lines and tide changes have given me my best fishing. The fishing is often great off shore because the coho are on the heavy feed before their fall run up the rivers. I’ve cleaned coho that had six or more supersized herring in them, yet they’re still looking for more. This all out feeding behavior is unmistakable. I’ve had them crush lures skipping on the water’s surface as I was trying to clip the line onto the downrigger cable. I’ve seen them chase downrigger balls right to the surface.

We had one downrigger weight that was shaped like a fish and there were all kinds of times I watched coho come right to the surface and take a smack at it. These fish were aggressive and I swear if I had put a hook on that downrigger weight, I would have stuck a few, which brings me to the subject of catching them.

The beauty of coho fishing is that they are a shallow water salmon. In many places you don’t have to fish more than 60 feet down and oftentimes they’re a lot shallower. While downriggers are handy, they’re not always necessary for coho. Attaching a four to six ounce weight to the line will do the trick. I like to use those banana weights with the swivels on both sides.

For those that flyfish, trolling a fast sinking line with a bucktail fly is super effective; just snap the fly forward every now and then for added action. When it comes to my lure of choice, it would be trolling an anchovy behind a teaser head. Without fail this has caught me coho everywhere. With a built in action, I can simply tie on a four ounce banana weight, attached the anchovy and be fishing.

Another lure that has caught me a ton of coho is trolling the Apex Hotspot. I like to use the smaller sizes in green or black and troll them in tight to the boat. Some people call this a prop wash technique, as the lure is clearly visible wiggling for all its worth maybe twenty, twenty five feet back. That way I can actually watch the coho come up, chase down the lure and hammer it. As funny as it sounds, this is an effective technique and some have told me that the coho are there because they like to follow in the boat’s disturbance, then lock on to the lure. Whatever the reason, it’s a winner and it’s a lot of fun.

There are many days I hit the ocean and forgo trolling in favor of hunting fish. What I’m looking for are fish jumping or better yet swirling on the surface. When I find them, it’s off with the motor, out with my pike rod and reel and on with a spoon like the koho or kitimat. I run 14lb Fireline and I cast to the feeding fish. A fairly quick paced twitch retrieve gets a lot of them to bite. The takes are hard and there have been many times the fish jump so high I’m practically eye to eye with them.

Regardless of technique, going after coho with pike gear is a real workout for the tackle and a whole new level of fun for the angler. Don’t be surprised to catch the odd other fish to. I was slow trolling an anchovy with my pike rod and picked up a big fish. I got it close enough to see what I was attached to; it was about a 6 foot shark. I didn’t catch him, but I have enjoyed the bonus of a Chinook on several occasions while fishing for coho.

September is a fun time of year. The coho are in, they’re big, they’re plentiful and they’re biting. That same fish filleted and cooked on the barbeque is a real treat, which is why I venture west from the prairies nearly every chance I get.


Previous Fishing Articles

(1) Fly Selection for Beginners

(2) Fly Fisher's Christmas

(3) New Waters

(4) Big Bad Burbot

(5) Looking Back

(6) Out of Africa

(7) Finding Success on Crowded Trout Streams

(8) Mountain Peaks, Fast Streams, Fall Colours And Rocky Mountain Whitefish

(9) The Browns of Autumn

(10) Fly-Fishing Pike Through The Seasons

(11) Walleye Town

(12) River Fun - One Bite At A Time

(13) Fly Fishing Larger Rivers

(14) Going With The Flow

(15) Becoming A Better Fly Fisherman

(16) Swinging The Fences

(17) A View From The Aerie

(18) Dixieland Delight

(19) Atlantic Salmon - The Fish of 1000 Casts

(20) Do It Yourself Pink Salmon

(21) Montana's Cool Missouri

(22) Pretty Is As Pretty Does

(23) Toothy Critters

(24) Hard Water Lakers at Cold Lake

(25) Top Ten Flies

(26) Northern Exposure

(27) Home Water Lessons

(28) Chicken Of The Sea

(29) Sealing the Deal – How to Ensure You Land More Fish

(30) Deep In The Heart Of Texas

(31) Keep It Up!

(32) River Fishing for Fall Walleye

(33) After the Flood - A look at Southern Alberta rivers and streams one year after the flood

(34) Reindeer Lake - A Diversity of Opportunity

(35) Hawg Holes

(36) Saltwater Salmon

(37) Early Season Dry Fly Fishing

(38) Down a Lazy River –
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(39) The Fly Fishing Season Ahead

(40) IN SEARCH OF SPECKLED FOOTBALLS

(41) FISHING CANADA'S PRAIRIE CITIES

(42) Bright Fish from the Land of Silver

(43) Canada's "Other" Salmon

(44) Fall Walleye

(45) Wet Flies

(46) Versatility the Key to Success

(47) Grayling of the Boreal

(48) Teaching Kids To Fly Fish

(49) Size Matters

(50) Fly Fishing Small Streams

(51) Chasing Winter Whites One Lake At A Time

(52) Manitoba's Fishing Jewel

(53) The Twelve Gifts Of Christmas

(54) The Point Of It All

(55) Fishing With Friends-Big Weather Seizing The Day

(56) Fall Fly Fishing

(57) Personal Pontoon Boats 101

(58) Big River, Big Fish

(59) Bottom Bonanza

(60) Fishing Small Flies

(61) So Many Choices, So Little Time

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(63) Favourite Lakes - Some Like it Hot

(64) GEARING UP FOR SMALL STREAM TROUT

(65) Trout Hunting - New Zealand-style

(66) Don’t Leave Home Without Them –
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(68) FLY FISHING STRATEGIES FOR HIGH WATER

(69) Smallmouth Bass – An Oft Overlooked Challenge

(70) Four Corners – Four Waters

(71) Chasing Pothole Trout

(72) Springtime Stoneflies

(73) The Torrents of Spring

(74) Drift Boat Fly Fishing

(75) Bust Them With Bait

(76) Cure the Winter Blues with a Good Book

(77) Hot Strategies for the Cold Months

(78) Cutthroat: The Angler's Trout

(79) Terrestrials

(80) Fly In For Fishing Fun

(81) Rocky Mountain High

(82) Reading the clues

(83) Where the Trout Are
The art of locating feeding trout
in rivers and streams.

(84) K.I.S.S. and Tell Fly-fishin

(85) Fly Fishing 101

(86) To Catch a Big Halibut, or Ling Cod

(87) The Bountiful Bones of Ascension Bay

(88) Grayling in the Eye of the Beholder

(89) Fly Fishing for South Fork Clearwater Steelhead

(90) Manitoba's Red River - North America's Catfish Capital

(91) Eliminating the Spook Factor

(92) Trust Your Electronics

(93) The Most Important Hatch of the Year

(94) Early Season Nymph Fishing for Trout

(95) Finding Success for Ice Trout

(96) Walleye can be Humbling

(97) The Secret to Landing the Big One Finally Revealed

(98) Winter Flyfishing

(99) North Saskatchewan River - An Underutilized Gem

(100) Hot Fall Pike Action

(101) Tips and Tricks to Save the Summer Slow Down

(102) Reading Trout Stream Waters

(103) Frequently Asked Questions

(104) Streamer Fishing for Larger Trout

(105) The Lure of Big Walleye at Last Ice

(106) Deep Water Perch

(107) Post Spawn Brookies

(108) A Fisher's Life

(109) The River's Last Stand

(110) The Big Ones Come out at Night

(111) Coho on the Coast

(112) Chasing and Catching Halibut

(113) Summer in the Mountains

(114) Peak Walleye Season

(115) Slow and Steady Wins the Race

(116) Last Ice Rainbows

(117) The Burbot Event

(118) Tackle Matching

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(120) Ice Fishing Strategy #1 - Location

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(122) The Shallow Water Hunt is On

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(129) Good Fishing at Last Ice

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