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Fly Rod Coho Salmon

SE WI Coho Salmon - The most AGGRESSIVE of our Tributary Fish!

I'm standing on a sandy shore, sightfishing to a pair of fish just a few yards away. With each cast of my bugger, there's more and more activity as it swings by. I start planning my next presentation when a good sized fish moves off the redds...have I spooked them?

I'm bringing my line upstream for another cast when I notice this fish is now immediately downstream of my fly. As I lift my rod tip, the fly comes towards me and the fish is now following. He's now in 6" of water, plowing a huge wake. I dare not cast as I know what is going to happen...I need to keep that fly coming upstream. Less than 2 feet from where I stand, a gaping maw appears at the front of the fish - it collapses on my fly and the fight is on!

Our fall Coho season is all too short and small for my liking. Cohos tend to show up on the heels of our largest King Salmon push - Early to Mid October is a great time to encounter silver, fresh Cohos while chasing Kings. As the King run winds down, the Coho come into their own. While considerably smaller than our King Salmon (Cohos average 3-6 lb, maxing out around 10), they make up for it with their eagerness to simply destroy your flies.

Our Coho runs can be spotty at times, i.e. in 2003 we pretty much missed them altogether! Generally, an average return on the Root River is between 1,000 and 2,000 fish. Charter harvest plays a large role in returns of this species.

As a general rule, Late October through Mid November is the prime time to target Cohos. As the fish ready for spawning, males begin a color transformation that can really knock your socks off. I remember one weekend on the stream, an angler walked by and said "Have you seen any of those red fish"? By far the most stunning fish in our tribs, perhaps only rivaled by a chrome steelhead in my opinion, male Coho Salmon don a spawning dress that can range from green with pink slashes to a solid red remeniscent of Sockeye Salmon.

As with the King Salmon, the Coho run winds down all too soon. By late November Brown Trout are making their run. However, landing a Coho is a possibility right until ice-up in December - there always seem to be some late runners that linger. My latest "late season" Coho was an unspawned hen that was coaxed out from under an ice shelf on December 27th!

SE WI Coho Salmon Clients - what do clients need to provide?

Transportation - You gotta get there. When tributary fishing, we may opt to fish more than one stream per day. You should be prepared to make a 15 or 20 minute drive from one location to the next.

Equipment - Rods, Reels, lines, leaders, tippets and flies are all provided at no additional cost.

Apparel and Wading Gear - Dress appropriately for conditions - layers work great for 'heat control' throughout an outing. Gloves and a warm hat are essential. Be prepared for rain - rainy days can be some of the best on the river. Check out the weather forecasts before your trip - you don't want to be miserable and have to cut an outing short. Do not forget WARM SOCKS!

I do not provide wading gear, which is only required for Tributary Fishing. Hip boots will work in most situations, although chest waders are preferable. Polarized Sunglasses are essential; you'll need to bring some. The $10 kind work just fine...it's not uncommon to lose them.

Food - Meals are not included; we have a variety of options. By no way am I the shore lunch guru, I'm the guru of keeping things SIMPLE. I am however happy to discuss all of our meal options.

Lodging - If you are coming up from out of town and could use some help with lodging, just ask. There's a variety of good places to stay in SE WI.

Waivers & Agreements - Prior to your trip, you will be required to sign a liability waiver, as well as photo release form and equipment rental agreement (if necessary).

Deposits - A nonrefundable deposit of 50% of your trip cost is required to hold your dates.

SE WI Great Lakes Steelhead Rates

  • 4 Hour Tributary Pro Guide Trips - $300 for 1 or 2 anglers, up to 4 hours.

  • 8 Hour Tributary Pro Guide Trips - $450 for 1 or 2 anglers, up to 8 hours.

  • Tributary Trips for 3 or more Anglers? - inquire for special rates - multiple guides are available to handle your larger fishing parties.

  • Team Fish Rates - subtract 30% from the above rates.

  • Tributary Bamboo Experience - add $50 per rod rental per day. Limit 2 maximum anglers.

  • Gratuities are solely at the discretion of the client.

Rambling Reports Great Lakes Coho Salmon Guiding Season

Cohos tend to start showing up in fair numbers by mid October. However, Early November is by far the best time to target Cohos.

Book your Coho Salmon Trip Today! - email matt@cichlidrecipe.com or call my 24/7 cell at 847-732-7333.

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