What equipment is needed for fly fishing for sockeye salmon May through August is the time of year when sockeye salmon are abundant and summer is the season for fly fishing. So when do we fly fish for sockeye salmon? What equipment should we prepare? Al


May through August is the time of year when sockeye salmon are abundant and summer is the season for fly fishing. So when do we fly fish for sockeye salmon? What equipment should we prepare?

Although sockeye salmon are not the main category of fly fishing, fly fishing for sockeye salmon is more fun because of their high energy level and the whole process is more fun when catching sockeye salmon.

Fly fishing is a hobby and a preference, so what should we do to prepare for fly fishing for sockeye salmon in order to better experience the fun of fly fishing?


1.Selection of fly fishing locations

Sockeye salmon can be found in all five of the Great Lakes, which are the five largest fishing waters in the United States.

  • Angle Lake, Washington
  • Lake Chelan, Washington
  • Places in Colorado (PDF with over 30 Places)
  • Lake Pleasant, Washington
  • Lake Coeur d’Alene, Idaho
  • Lucky Peak Reservoir, Idaho

Sockeye salmon are found in all of these Great Lakes, as well as in Montana's Tobacco River.

2.Fly fishing time selection

Although May-August is the sockeye salmon fishing season, I personally prefer to fly fish August through September when the migration route of the sockeye salmon is just beginning. Sockeye salmon start moving up river in August and most will start entering the river in September. Their migration will last about eight weeks. During this time, they will gather in large numbers. The best time to fly fish for sockeye salmon is late September.

You can find them near the shallows of migratory rivers because of the unique drop-off platform from the shallows to deeper waters. Sockeye salmon spend most of their time in reservoirs and large lakes, where they feed on plankton and occasionally on aquatic insects.

For lure selection, you can also observe the color of insects in the shallows where sockeye salmon gather and choose your lure according to the size and color of the insects.


As they head upstream to spawn, they tend to linger and rest in some of the slower currents. If you can find such waters, you can find very large numbers of sockeye salmon in such waters and then not see another gathering of such fish for more than 2 miles.

When migrating, they tend to feed on many brightly colored insects. Therefore, paying close attention to insects and their young is another sure way to spot this fish.

The best way to observe insects is to watch where the birds fly down to catch these brightly colored insects. If this happens, you can go to that spot and cast your line, trolling with brightly colored simulated bug baits.

  1. Selection of rods for sockeye salmon fishing

Based on past experience, once fly fishing for sockeye salmon, they desperately increase their ties and are still very strong, so a reliable fly fishing rod, tuning line, and fly reel are needed. An experienced sockeye salmon angler will choose a 9-foot, 7 to 9-pound rod.

  1. Fly fishing for sockeye salmon lures

Experienced anglers mostly choose traditional wakame lures of stoneflies, pheasant tails, San Juan worms and eggs

 While fly fishing for sockeye salmon is similar to fly fishing for rainbow trout, it is not exactly the same, as sockeye salmon are relatively more timid. An experienced sockeye salmon fly fisherman will observe the terrain and look for an area where the current slowly merges into deeper water.

Be sure to avoid areas with complex currents such as backwaters, undertows, eddies, etc., which tend to cause a lot of false hookups. Therefore, you want to look for an area that is suitable for relatively flat water so that the fly fishing action can be articulated once the sockeye salmon are caught.


  1. Concluding remarks

 The key to fly fishing for sockeye salmon is patience, and learning how to land and hold the lure exactly within the fishing area is important. What works today for this species may not work tomorrow or on a different fly fishing spot. Once you have cracked the code of dealing with sockeye salmon, you will be able to enjoy fly fishing for sockeye salmon.


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