Three Must-Have flies for Elk River……..

Anyone who is planning on fishing Elk River should have the three flies pictured above: non negotiable.

By the way, if you haven’t heard, the Elk is “lit up” as you read this. Might be the best fishing in the last decade there. Just sayin’. Might be a hundred anglers at the estuary, but lots of Chinook too. Lots and lots.

Numerous variations of these flies are just fine, and the Chinook will take to them all. The key issues here are a few patterns that are in the Comet or Boss style, and a fly that is in the Comet Deep Minnow style.

Fundamental characteristics of the Comet/Boss flies are a longish tail and either an orange or chartreuse hackle, with or without bead-chain eyes, and the Clouser could start with Chartreuse, and range into purple, blue, and grey color hues.

What fly sizes to choose? Low clear water fishes best with small flies – the #6-8 range. Dirty or high water fishes better with larger flies, say the #2-4 range.

Don’t over-think fly selection for the Elk, just get yurself some orange and green flies and chuck ’em in the Elk. If there are chinook there, and if they are in a grabby mood, you will get a yank or two. Keep in mind, though, I and other self-proclaimed “expert” salmon fishers have been humbled on the Elk on many occasions. So many times that it hurts. This dispute our having carried two dozen or more fly styles stuffed into our vests and hip packs. It just happens that way sometime. But if you are there when the Elk is “on” with a selection of orange and green Comet/Bosses, plus a few Clousers, you will be in the game just like the “experts.”

Jay Nicholas
Late October 2011

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4 Responses to Three Must-Have flies for Elk River……..

  1. David Swart says:

    Agree with the selection to many people think you need a box of flies to catch salmon,just a few Bosses or Comets in different colors/sizes works great,my favorite fly for salmon is a Orange Admiral # 6 TMC 5262,hot orange marabou tail & wing with silver krystal flash high lights,hot orage cattus chenille body,& silver bead chain eyes.

  2. Scott says:

    sore arms and shoulders,line burns on the fingers and completly exhausted-PRICELESS

  3. jason taylor says:

    salmon have been feeding on needlefish or candlefish this year. this report comes from a commercial boat at dockside, when the fish are being cleaned out. no other species of fish have been reported in their stomaches. so if you really want to catch kings consecutively this year i would recommend using a chartreuse and white or kelly green and white clouser. tight lines…..

  4. Jason Taylor says:

    O god! I’m foaming at the mouth. My hair has a wild look, something between Cramer and Eisenstein. My fly box is full, and I have a hot date that wants to catch a salmon on a fly. I haven’t caught a elk river fish in a while. Low and clear is my language. Fish on!!!!

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