Thursday, October 20, 2011

wisconsin's late running king salmon

check out the eggs pouring out of her
Not all of the kings enter the rivers at the same time. They come in waves that are spurred on by the rain and increased stream flows. On a good wet year numerous waves of kings will be pushed up into the rivers all at different times. What that means for anglers is that you have a lot longer time frame to find fresh fish that are eager to bite.

fair hooked with the green estaz egg
King fishing is very easy in some regards but in others it could be some of the toughest fishing around. Keep in mind these fish are not in the rivers to feed, they are on a spawning mission. Yes, you can normally see the fish in the shallows or if your fishing a deeper pool frequently these giants will tend to surface which should give you confidence that your in the right place. What makes them difficult is it could take 100's of casts with a few different fly changes to get them to strike. I have found the best way to avoid snagging and getting fair hooked fish is to fight the temptation of watching your fly and focus your sights solely on your indicator. This method isn't fool proof but so far this fall I've only accidently fouled one fish that I couldn't shake the hook off and had to land.

neal's big male sheboygan river salmon
On our recent trip to the Sheboygan river we had our hopes set on catching a ton of coho but instead we found some eager late running king salmon. Neal's largest king of the trip wasn't ready to be landed even after a near ten minute fight. That fish was just heavy enough to not be able to move even though the fish was done fighting. Its own weight sitting in the current was almost enough to max out the eight pound test fishing line we use. With a little luck, he put enough pressure on the fish to turn its head. With the last burst of energy the fish had, it bolted out of the deep pool downstream and right into a shallow patch of gravel. What a great fight!

fighting a nice king on the sheboygan river
All our kings were caught on egg patterns and the estaz eggs reigned supreme. The estaz were tied in green, pink, and orange. My best king came from shallow gravel drifting a size 17 small trout egg. I'm shocked to say that the hook came back intact. I thought for sure it would have been straightened out of at least a little bit bent but light line and small hooks will force you to play a big fish pretty soft. Now that's what king trib fishing is all about.

sheboygan river salmon on a tiny #17 trout egg


  1. I can't believe I missed all that, but then I was a kid. What did I know.


  2. Looks like a ton of fun...great post and great photos!

  3. I'm definitely hooked from the last two weekends! It's definitely worth the drive to catch some huge fish like those!

  4. Good stuff Blake. You guys sure had their number! I don't even bother trying anything other than estaz egg patterns and frequently can get away with just a couple hot pink flies for the whole day.

  5. Looks like the big ones came out to play.

  6. You guys really put the hammer down! The rust and olive colors are unreal, beautiful fish!

  7. Great job. I would not hesitate fishing that river if given the opportunity. Neal's male is so evil looking I love it. Even with 8lb test I see teeth big enough to break your line?