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    Salmon River - Anyone ever have success with Kings on the swing?

    Trying to decide whether or not to take a trip to visit family this weekend and swing some streamers on the Salmon River this weekend, before the crowds get insane. I've seen some steel has been caught with an atlantic or two in the last week or two, but certainly early for that.

    This is my first year with the switch rod and want to get more practice in before steel season heats up. It would be more of a weekend to fine tune my casting/swinging, knowing that I likely wont get any tugs. But I was curious as to whether or not many people have swung flies for Kings...and what type of success you've had. Im aware it is likely a bad bet, but if some of you have had success - any tips on water type/fly type? Ive tied up some black/char and pink/orange intruder styles on shanks while pondering if I should make the trip for the weekend - Or just go to the west branch and swing for browns. Whatcha guys think?

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    Re: Salmon River - Anyone ever have success with Kings on the swing?

    Looks like I have my answer. And regardless, everyone and their mother is on facebook letting their buddies know that a couple of salmon have been caught - so it'll be elbow to elbow this weekend anyway. Looks like the crowds on the west branch on saturday it is. Anyone wanna float?


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    Re: Salmon River - Anyone ever have success with Kings on the swing?

    Well i dont swing flies for salmon. Usually just high stick nymph for them. Hey, if you have family up there why not do it and see for yourself. Last two years have been poor as far as a run goes but maybe things will pick up

    To look good is to fish good

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    cms829 (09-21-2016)

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    Re: Salmon River - Anyone ever have success with Kings on the swing?

    I don't swing flies for salmon too much either, but I do know of a few guys who are dialed in to it and do fairly well. In some cooler / rainy years there would be small-medium pushes (and sometimes even major runs) early on, like late August - early September, and before it got crowded you’d get good shots at fishing to some undisturbed fish. With it approaching peak time and the run just starting up this year, the crowds will be much more of an issue, but it can still be done. I would definitely fish the DSR, there is lots of secondary pocket water you can hit, especially if you’re willing to walk - chances are you’ll stumble across a pod somewhere in between the more crowded areas.

    Another option is to fish just above town, typically fish will leave the estuary as night falls and sometimes pass through the DSR completely by the next morning, ending up in the area of the Ballpark and on up through the 81 area to the Papermill and above. So if you hit this area at first light you also sometimes have a shot at some relatively undisturbed fish. There have been years when the DSR blanked day in, day out for practically the whole month of September, as the fish ran each night and passed through the area. They were reporting slow fishing while areas upstream did better.

    You have the right idea with contrasting colors, I feel this is very important in getting kings to actually strike. I think it has something to do with the fish’s eyesight deteriorating (along with the rest of the fish since it’s no longer feeding as it approaches spawning). In addition to chartreuse and black, I think chartreuse and dark green is even better. If there are cohos running, pink/red or pink/purple works really well in addition to chartreuse. For sunny days switch to the reverse with mostly black or kelly green with a small amount of chartreuse or emerald green.

    One other time I really like in the DSR is right around the middle of October, say the week or so after Columbus Day - many years will see a huge run sometime in the first week of October and then it falls off dramatically in the lower river afterwards. That’s when a lot of people start following the run upriver and the pressure falls off in the DSR. But there is usually always one smaller last push of fish that comes in and if you’re there for it you can again have some really good fishing with not as many people around. Plus steelies start showing in better #s around the same time. I avoid the upper river most of the time as the fish are beat up and not nearly as fun to catch. But sometimes there will be high water for a while after a big storm and the fish will charge right up to the top, and if you’re there as the water recedes it can be really good as well.

    One other tip – in my experience, fish that have been laying in the estuary for days/weeks and getting pummeled waiting to run the river won’t be nearly as likely to take a fly as fish that get drawn in to the river right from the lake after a storm. So if there’s been just a steady base flow out of the dam for a while but all of a sudden a storm comes through and raises the water, call out sick from work and get up there, that’s your absolute best chance of getting a fish to take on the swing.


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    Re: Salmon River - Anyone ever have success with Kings on the swing?

    Kings need to be real fresh to strike so I second the DSR and fast rising water. Another suggestion might be to try one of the Sandies. They don't have estuaries and the kings come in quicker. On the down side, they are smaller and can be mobbed with locals.


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    Re: Salmon River - Anyone ever have success with Kings on the swing?

    As far as water type goes, for swinging it will often be different water than someone would typically fish when high sticking. A good place would be a spot where a fish would rest after working its way up through a stretch of fast water. For example, in the DSR, the small (unnamed as far as I know) pool just below the Wall Hole and upstream from the island would be a good spot to swing a fly through - if there's room. Fish will scoot up through the rapids on either side of the island and drop in over the lip at the very tail of the pool and hold there for a while. If you stood near the top of the pool you could swing a fly down to the tail and get it right in their face at the end of the swing, giving the fish the opportunity to take.

    Another thing to keep in mind is that kings won't often chase down a fly like a steelie would. The best presentation is a little different than the one you would make for steelhead. There are plenty of articles out there on the best way to swing a fly for kings.


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    Re: Salmon River - Anyone ever have success with Kings on the swing?

    Thanks for the info/tips guys! I would def be fishing the lower DSR, but think I am going to put off the drive up for a couple more weeks as I have some stuff I need to get done at home before the cold weather moves in. So this weekend I am going to swing the west branch/main stem on saturday most likely and get some things done at home Sunday. DSR and others are reporting the first decent push of fish, and along with it is going to come the hordes of people. I've done my time up there over the last 15 years during the thick of it...and I just dont feel the need to deal with that anymore. Especially since I have family in town and can fish it all late fall/winter whenever I want.

    I did some private casting instruction with Andrew Moy recently and learned a lot and think I drastically progressed since. Now along with fine tuning my spey casts, I need to learn the art of actually swinging larger flies properly. I actually caught a couple small mouth swinging the below woolly bugger in a local river the other evening. Figured since the water was up again (if it stays up anyway), it would be a good time to get some more practice on the WBD.

    Heres a "spey" bugger I tied up that proved successful on the smallies, and a shank intruder type fly I tied up for kings/steelhead. I think its pretty fishy.

    Click image for larger version. 

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ID:	12420Click image for larger version. 

Name:	intruder.jpg 
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Size:	157.2 KB 
ID:	12421


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    Re: Salmon River - Anyone ever have success with Kings on the swing?

    word of advice when i first got heavy into swinging i would fish the SR hard w skagit/tips/big flies since thats what i was taught in the books/vids - learned quickly it wasn't the best method up there especially with low returns/low water/heavy pressure the last couple years. dont get me wrong there is a time and place for that not to mention its fun as heck - that said things really took a turn for me once i started throwing lighter tips/no tips longer leader smaller more natural flies (buggers, speys/dees, sparse/buggy), scandi in lieu of skagit, ie overall more stealth/finesse. just my .02 to each his own i love fishing big flies more than any thing but you cant beat consistent hook ups!!. best of luck


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    Re: Salmon River - Anyone ever have success with Kings on the swing?

    Quote Originally Posted by sneelhead View Post
    word of advice when i first got heavy into swinging i would fish the SR hard w skagit/tips/big flies since thats what i was taught in the books/vids - learned quickly it wasn't the best method up there especially with low returns/low water/heavy pressure the last couple years. dont get me wrong there is a time and place for that not to mention its fun as heck - that said things really took a turn for me once i started throwing lighter tips/no tips longer leader smaller more natural flies (buggers, speys/dees, sparse/buggy), scandi in lieu of skagit, ie overall more stealth/finesse. just my .02 to each his own i love fishing big flies more than any thing but you cant beat consistent hook ups!!. best of luck
    Thanks Sneelhead! I actually plan on getting a scandi head and will be tying up some spey/dee flies for November.


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    Re: Salmon River - Anyone ever have success with Kings on the swing?

    Was up with the zoo this weekend - unfortunately have to take time when I get it right now. Theres fish, but WAY too many people. Been fishing the Salmon fall and winter for 15 years now, and this was def the worst I ever saw it.

    Anyway - Had a tiny steelie or a small resident trout on for a minute in some faster water above pineville on an egg pattern but pretty sure the fly was way too big for his mouth. Water was too broken up to swing (At least I havent figured out the best way to swing broken water - I feel like I cant control it with mends). Too many people elsewhere. Back to the house for a few hours. Waited until around 430 pm and headed up to Altmar and found a 200 yard stretch to myself to swing between the bridge and ellis cove. Decent water, although obviously low. Figured it was good casting practice. No takers but it was nice to have the room to completely work the run on such a crowded weekend. Fished the DSR Sunday. That place certainly isnt what it used to be either. They allow WAY more people in now. Guides and clients who get in earlier took up the entire meadow run all morning. Had a few on eggs in the flats, but that type of "fishing" lost its luster many years ago for me. Left early. Couldn't find any decent water to swing that didnt have guys every 10 feet on both sides - so I left. Feeling disappointed to be honest... Unless a friend or family wants to experience it, I think Im officially done with going up there while the salmon are present.

    Is it late November yet? Pray for rain.

    PS- Sneelhead - Would the Scandi Versi-tip be a decent scandi to start with? Shop has it on clearance.


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    Re: Salmon River - Anyone ever have success with Kings on the swing?

    Quote Originally Posted by cms829 View Post
    PS- Sneelhead - Would the Scandi Versi-tip be a decent scandi to start with? Shop has it on clearance.
    I haven't fished it but given that the last 1/3 of head is interchangeable I suspect it's a good bet especially if u need to throw a tip and if fishing in the wind (the longer standard 35' scandis + xtra tip/leader can be tricky in wind )

    Shoot me a PM w rod details and I can make some suggestions


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