Oregon Salmon Fly Fishing Tackle Prep

Salmon fishing is heating up on the Southern Oregon Coast and we are fielding a lot of enquiries at the Caddis Fly Shop from folks who want to gear-up for this specialized fly fishing niche.  Soooooo, I went back to our blog archive and retrieved a post by Jay Nicholas last fall.  The following is a bare-bones abstract version of his chatty post.

Here you go. . . . .

Oregon Salmon Fly fishing Tackle Recommendations: as Jay noted and I agree – these ideas involve a lot of of personal opinion, but they represent a heck of a good place to start.

Oregon Salmon Fly Rods:

The all-waters single hand Chinook rod would be a 9 ft, 9 wt fly rod.  You can fish an 8 wt rod if you must, and a 10 wt is really best if you are likely to encounter salmon in the 30 Lb and higher class.  But if you expect to be “blind casting” for hours and fishing over salmon in the sub-thirty class, the 9 wt fly rod is perfect for most people.

The Caddis Fly shop offer rods that cover the price point range like the high-end Sage ONE , and the extremely modestly priced Echo ION . The more expensive fly rods are truly lighter in hand, throw tighter loops, and cast more easily.   All of these fly rods perform well and great many of our clients regularly select an Echo 3 Saltwater  fly rod for their salmon fishing.

Salmon fly reels:

Top end salmon fly reel recommendations: Hatch, Nautilus, Tibor, Bauer.
Mid range salmon fly reel recommendations: Ross , Lamson
Economy salmon fly reel recommendation: Echo Ion.

All of these fly reels will get the job done. You pay more for closer manufacturing spool tolerances, higher grade metals, better saltwater protection, smoother drag mechanisms, and longer life-expectancy (for the fly reels, that is).  Go ahead and take the plunge, it will feel good when that Chinook takes a smoking run.

Fly lines. Two options provide a clean way to start.

The simplest choice would be to start with an integrated shooting head fly line like the Rio Outbound or the Airflo 40+ . Both of these lines are easy to cast, and eliminate the need for a loop-to-loop connection that goes clackety-clack through the guides. If   a person must choose one of these fly lines, it would be the type 3 sink tip which is roughly a sink rate of 3-4 inches per second. If a person has the ability to get two lines, the second would be a clear Intermediate tip line. These two fly lines will cover a lot of the Oregon Salmon fishing conditions.

A traditional salmon fly line is a 30′ shooting head fly line looped to a shooting or running line. Riomax II Shooting Heads lines are looped at both ends.  Intermediate running lines are offered by both Rio and Airflo Intermediate Running Line. Rio Slickshooter is an oval mono running line that many shooting head anglers prefer.

Salmon leader recommendation. Start with a 9′ leader. A Rio Steelhead & Salmon Tapered Leader in #16 and #20lbs is a good choice. Alternatively, Grab a few spools of 10#, 12#, and 15# Maxima Ultragreen leader, with a spool of 20# for the butt section and tie your self a few tapered leaders of 9′.

Traditional 15 ft sink tip fly lines, in the 15′ type 3 or 6 sink rates are still useful and if purchasing a new fly line is standing between you and going salmon fishing, just load up your old 15′ sink tip fly line an your heaviest steelhead rod and go fishing.

Salmon flies for Oregon destinations. Comet , Boss , and Clouser type flies are on the “A” list day in and day out.  Choose hot orange, chartreuse, blue, pink, purple, and black.  Egg sucking leeches work well too.  I recently suggested that a casual salmon angler just tie on a Green Butt Skunk, because he had only an afternoon to fish.  Yes, you guessed it, he hooked a Chinook on what is thought to as a traditional and perhaps outdated steelhead fly.

Hope this helps. Jay proofed my revisions of his post to ensure its authenticity and rationale.


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