Coho Salmon are notoriously hard to catch, but those silver bullets are absolutely delightful on a dinner plate! When I first started fishing I used to struggle to find Coho and once I did, I would lose 50% of the coho salmon that I would hook into.
Here are the top 10 secrets to catching more COHO Salmon on the Vedder river!
Keep On Moving
Coho Salmon are always on the move! One day they will be occupying one pool or run and another day they will be stacked in a completely different place. If you are fishing a hole or a run and there is no action or signs of coho (rolling fishing on the water) then it is time to move. Sometimes the hardest part of a day of Coho is finding the fish. You can wait all day in a run praying that a huge school of fish will move through. Although there are always a few fish moving through a pool/run and a massive school shooting through is always a possibility and rocks when it happens, you’ll have more fun in the long run finding the fish. When I fish the Vedder I’ll attack a hole or run pretty hard for 15-20 minutes and get on the move if the fishermen around me or myself are having no luck. The great thing about the Vedder is truly its accessibility. It’s dead easy to walk or pop into the car and drive up or down the river to access a new stretch of water.
One of the most common mistakes I see fisherman making when targeting coho is fishing way too DEEP. Unlike Chinook salmon coho are often hanging out in just a few feet of water. In my go-to coho spot last season I would run my float 1 ½ feet above my weight and catch loads of coho salmon in just 3 feet of water, IT WAS MENTAL. Don’t be afraid to cast into that slow moving shallow water, fish are nearly impossible to spot even at the best of times so I guarantee you’ll be surprised what you find when you start playing around in some new and shallow slots.
Focus On The Tail Outs
Coho are the laziest salmon around and love hanging out in slow water to conserve energy. Often the majority of coho salmon will choose to occupy the tail out of a run (furthest point of the run downriver). Tail out water that is walking speed and a few feet deep is the ideal spot to find lazy coho hunkering down for the day looking for a snack. I always like to test my luck floating a bead through all sections of a tail out at a few different depths. Once I’ve exhausted float fishing I’ll flip to twitching jigs and hucking gear to see if I can get them to react to something a little more obnoxious.
Change Up Gear
When in doubt switch it out! Changing your presentation is one of the biggest secrets to slaying Coho on the Vedder River. Coho can be very picky and temperamental and sometimes you really have to piss them off to entice a bite. If you know the fish are in a run try everything in your arsenal from roe and soft beads to colourful wool and oversized jigs. I’ve had coho bite the weirdest of colors and oddest looking hunks of pink and lime green wool in my bait loop. You need to remember that fish in the Vedder are constantly being harassed by the thousands of fisherman on a daily basis and have seen it all. If you can differentiate your presentation from the others you may have a chance in catching a chromers attention.
Hunt For Shade
When the sun comes out coho’s will hunker down and try and find shady spots or will jet down a bit deeper. Look for shady spots on the river or spots that may be a bit deeper so you can hunt down those chromers that are hiking out from the sun.
Watch For Subtle Bites
Coho will sometimes hit your bait ever so slightly and you need to be ready for these kind of takes. If you are drift fishing watch your float closely for any abrupt taps or movements or sinks. Sometimes you float will just slightly bob to the left and its time to set the hook. I’ve had lights out coho fishing where my float only drops one out of the three times I set my hook into the fish. The moral of the story is to stay focused, treat each cast like it’s your first and if you think something weird is going on then set the hook! It’s better to set the hook and not have a fish than miss a biting fish!
Sneak Up To The Run/Hole
Coho spook very easily and when you’re fishing them in shallow river water it’s important you approach the hole quietly and cautiously. If you scare the fish before you even cast than they might be unwilling to bite anything you present to them. If you’re the first to a run or hole and have it to yourself, walk up quietly to the zone and leave some distance between you and the shoreline. Cast above where you know/think the fishing are sitting the the splash of the line doesn’t freak them out. Nothing beats presenting your bait, bead or jig to a school of unsespecting fish who are willing to pounce.
Use Light Tackle
Coho aren’t Chinook Salmon and they sure as hell aren’t sturgeon. Since they get spooked easily you don’t want to be chucking heavy braided or monofilament line at their faces. The lighter the tackle the better when it comes to Coho. I’d recommend a 10-12lb fluorocarbon leader and 15-17lb fluorocarbon or monofilament mainline. The name of the game is making your presentation look realistic to the fish, if they can see thick fishing line they are not going to be a inticed to hit. I always find I get way more bites when running light tackle on the vedder for all species. If you are hucking metal spoons or twitching jigs you can get away with braided mainline on your spinning rod because gear is supposed to irritate fish to bit not to look realistic.
Fish The Frog Water
Coho are the laziest fish of all and they love to rest in the calmest of water. Frog water is water on the side or in the river that has little to no current at all. These areas are typically not fishable using floats but can be fished perfectly with spoons, spinners and twitching jigs.
Try Twitching Jig’s
When I’m hunting for Coho I always love to chuck a twitching jig into the water immediately after the soft bead doesn’t work. The big ugly movement and color really pisses coho off. Also if you fishing extremely deep spots instead of shallow tail-outs then twitching jigs are the ideal tool to tick off a coho that’s sitting deep under the water.
Hopefully these tips improve your catch rate this season.