How to Fish for Coho Salmon

How to Fish for Coho SalmonCoho, also known as silver salmon, are a popular gamefish found across the northern rim of the Pacific Ocean, roaming as far south as Monterey, California, along the west coast of North America, and have been successfully introduced into all the Great Lakes. Coho make up nearly 5 percent of the annual salmon harvest in Alaska, according to the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute. Sockeye and pink salmon are by far harvested in the greatest numbers in Alaska, but the coho is prized by anglers for its fighting ability and savage strikes on baited hooks and lures.


Difficulty: Moderate

How to:

Things You’ll Need:
  • Flyfishing rod and reel or
  • Medium-duty baitcasting or spincasting rod and reel
  • Charter boat or a vessel of your own
  • Tackle, lures and bait
  • Alaska fishing license
  • Salmon permit stamp
Step 1
Bait a double-hook rig with chunks of herring or live candlefish (available at the local baitshop) and troll 75-100 feet behind a boat in saltwater. Peak season is August through October in the Pacific Northwest and Alaska.
Step 2
Try skipping bucktail streamers across the ocean surface from a boat for fly fishing excitement. Coho make spectacular leaps when striking a bucktail. Pink, purple and chartreuse (yellow-green) are perennially effective colors for coho fly fishing, but don;t forget to consult the old salts back at the dock for their advice in case the salmon are being finicky and want a different color. Clouser minnows (wet flies) are another secret weapon in the fly angler's arsenal when pursuing coho.
Step 3
Go jigging for coho in rivers by dropping the jig in holes, pools and breaks in the current, such as behind a boulder in the water. Be ready for a strike as the jig falls. Coho are likely to attack before your lure hits the riverbed.
Step 4
Get a tide chart and visit the shoreline where you plan to fish from the beach. Make a note of the high and low water marks during the changing tides, then fish the area between them. Coho swim into this intertidal zone looking for batifish that pursue plankton and vegetation stirred up by the changing tide.

Article Written By James Clark

James Clark began his career in 1985. He has written about electronics, appliance repair and outdoor topics for a variety of publications and websites. He has more than four years of experience in appliance and electrical repairs. Clark holds a bachelor's degree in political science.

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