I really gave my Spey rod a good workout on the Vedder River this fall! This year the rains came early in September and by my comparison to last year, the Coho salmon arrived early as well. The DFO predicted a large pink salmon run this year and they were correct. Every second year you can expect a good pink run in the odd years on the Fraser system and this year was no exception. Pink salmon hit the Vedder in full force by late September and while I released almost all of the pinks I hooked, they were fun to catch on my Spey outfit. By early October, the Cohos were in, my favourite Vedder target along with a smaller run of spring salmon.
Fishing mainly fast water, the Coho salmon were very hard to hold and many of my hooked Coho made their escape! I did manage to land three wild, all released and also three hatchery which can be retained. Of the 100 or so salmon that I hooked, a few were block buster spring salmon, all lost except for a smaller 15 pound spring and several jacks that I released. Even though I had a float rod in my vehicle, I did use my Spey almost 100 percent of the time and enjoyed it thoroughly. As such, I would like to share a fly that seemed to have the best Coho results this year. It is a simple fly that I call the Vedder Cerise.
It is easy to slide the large bead around to the hook eye when you use barbless hooks. Next I thread about a three foot leader through the hook eye, then along the tight space between the bead and hook shank. Once the leader is past the bead, I tie a barrel knot directly to the hook shank for better retention compared to tying the leader to the hook eye. Mind you, even using a 20 pound leader, several of those wild Coho managed to snap my hook off! Now comes the tricky part because if you cover the barrel knot and some of the hook shank at this point with the silver tinsel, you will not be able to push the leader to make a loop just past the bead to hold the cerise yarn wing. I therefore slip the barrel knot to the hook bend, make a leader loop, and place a short piece of cerise yarn centered in the loop. Then pull the leader snug against the bead to hold the yarn firmly in place. Note that different coloured yarns can be used such as bright orange and peach which are also popular. Just keep the yarn wing short! The final step is to cover the barrel knot and part of the hook shank with the holographic tinsel by pushing the wing ahead and using many wraps with frequent half hitches of your invisible thread! You will find that the leader past the hook eye tends to get in the way of making thread turns so patient is required to keep the leader and thread separate!
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