Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Dead Drifting Trout Beads Behind Spawning Spring Chinook Produces Large Rainbows on McKenzie River

One of the first landed rainbows that hit the 18" mark caught on a 6mm trout bead
 Last Wednesday, I was booked with two regular clients that are always game for a good fly fishing opportunity. Well during late September and into early October, the spring Chinook salmon do their spawning on the shallow cobbles of many of the river's edges and tailouts. Not many people think of fishing egg pattens behind the redds, but I have seen large rainbows holding around spawning salmon for years now.

Rainbows feeding on salmon spawn have really good food energy for good health
 In the past, I have dead drifted trout beads on the McKenzie behind spawning salmon, and I have had some success doing it. I have not tried it too much beyond some sampling though; so I decided to give it an honest go for a few days on the river. It was working well, and I had seen some huge rainbows here and there, and wanted to see them on the end of the line now that I knew the fish were keyed into spawn.
This McKenzie River "Redside" has some really beautiful colors......
 This past Wednesday, Rose and Dave were totally game to see how the "trout beads" would work; so we decided to do a float where there are lots of spawning redds to give it a whirl. Right off the bat, Rose got into a slab of a rainbow that tore off almost a whole fly line, before she brought in the over-sized rainbow. It was of course on the "trout bead".
Another fine McKenzie Rainbow caught on a 6mm trout bead (natural roe)
We ended up catching fish at every salmon redd, and they were all rather nice sized fish. We also caught every single fish on a 6mm trout bead while fishing around the spawning redds, and we did not catch any trout on any standard trout flies until we were significantly down river from any spawning redds. It was rather amazing to see how keyed in the big wild trout were on drifting eggs, and how much they really like to hang out around the redds when the salmon are actively spawning. 
Rose proudly displaying one of her several large McKenzie River rainbows
What is really amazing is that now it is basically too late to do this anymore for this season. The spring Chinook have basically completed their spawning, and are mostly dead now. Like many fly fishing opportunities, it is something that only lasts for a few days, and then it is over. If you want to try dead drifting egg patterns for trout on the McKenzie, it is too late, and you will have to try it out next year. Who says you cannot apply this technique to some other fisheries like sea run cutthroats, or other places that will have spawning fish soon. Enjoy your fall fishing, and remember to think outside of the box when it comes to fly fishing and success.

Tight Lines......
A nice healthy salmon egg fed McKenzie River rainbow trout
Enjoy the video from this past Wednesday:

1 comment:

  1. Bead fishing can be extremely effective year round even when salmon are not spawning. Eggs can be disloged from the redds months after they are layed. I fish beads in the spring breakup after all the ice is gone and do very well. One reason for this is Silver Salmon can spawn throughout the winter under the ice giving trout a suplemental food source in the winter on some of the larger rivers. Check out "The Great Alaskan Bead Company" on Facebook for more information about bead fishing in Alaska.