Salmon on Keiryu

Does anyone have some tips for catching salmon on a Keiryu rod?

Its been my goal this fall to catch a salmon on this Keiryu rod I bought.

I’ve had decent luck locating areas where my rod has enough reach, but I’m having less luck getting a bite. I’ve tried salmon eggs and spoons on a standard Keiryu rig so far. I was also wondering if the salmon stop biting after a certain amount of time swimming upstream.

For reference, I’m fishing in Western Washington, and I’m not an experienced salmon fisherman,

Hello! I am not much of a salmon angler and haven’t fished for salmon in freshwater for ~40 years. However I believe that salmon are in the rivers to spawn, not eat. I also believe that certain species of salmon are stimulated to strike by specific colors. For example Pink Salmon; aka Humpies are known to be attracted to… pink :bulb:!

Chum (Dog) Salmon are said to be attracted to green-chartreuse, but when I Google “chum salmon fly pattern” I see a lot of the color pink.

Coho Salmon (Silvers) Alaska Silver Salmon Flies – Our Favorites (Updated) | Best Coho Flies
Chinook Salmon (Kings - ummm, good luck keeping your rod in one piece and landing it!) Selecting Flies for King Salmon | Choosing Fly Color for Chinook

A couple of years ago I thought the action of a chartreuse Sakasa - inspired fly

if stripped in close enough to its mug with an 8 weight fly rod & reel might irritate a Chum Salmon enough to strike and hooked this 9-pounder as it was about 100 yards from entering the mouth of its small natal creek.

I think you might try some conventional weighted Pacific Salmon fly patterns. If you tie flies, it was fun to have a “Tenkara” inspired variation of a conventional weighted salmon fly tied on a #6 Gamakatsu saltwater hook work. Fish them on a swing in current that’s a casual to earnest walking speed.

Best of luck!

Who would have guessed that pink is the color that makes a salmon mad. Well, I guess its time to get some pink fly supplies. I’m not the best at fly tying, but I bet I can come up with something… obnoxious.

I found a decent spot along the Green river, and with a big storm on the horizon, I bet there’s going to be plenty of salmon coming upstream in the next few days.

Oh, and by the way, my inspiration is this awesomeness. There are quite a few videos like this if you poke around.

My first year at it, I hooked about four and landed exactly one. I think why they strike is a bit of a mystery.

A theory that a friend shared with me about why fishing bait (skein in particular, not unlike the large egg sacks in the video linked above) is popular has something to do with “destroying the genetic competition of sorts”. So big pink/red blobs might just be that trigger.

I’ve seen some kings in our local great lakes tributaries for the last few weeks, a couple swam by me last night. I don’t target them but definitely take advantage of the other fish following these egg wagons around.

Good luck and please share your results!

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Big fish on fixed lined rods is pure adrenaline. Big Salmon on a big river would be something special. I have seen big 30’ rods designed for such a battle. I’ve caught browns up to 27” and that was total excitement. Can’t imagine monster fish.

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In physics torque is force * distance. I’m thinking with a 30ft lever, and a few lbs of salmon, It’ll be quite the fight.

White works too. Snow white. Look for areas where the salmon are traveling not stacked up, those are the ones who’ll get irritated and hit your lure, which should be moving (jerking around like) a lot and usually pretty deep.
Good luck with this, big fish on a fixed line is very doable but you’ll need to be very patient in wearing one down… very patient.


ON FIGHTING BIG STRONG FISH: This may be of some help -

And take a look at the landing of a bone fish as well on a T-Rod

Bonefish landing on the Zen Kyojin Tenkara fly rod. Quick and fun.

By using side pressure to the right, Karin steered the fish to the left, bring the line in close enough that she was able to reach out, grab the line and hand line the fish in to land it pretty quickly.

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Can a low rod tip also lower a fish’s tendency to jump out of the water while fighting lessening the chances of it throwing the hook?

Progress update:

I created some neon pink friends, and set off to the river.

After hours on the river and a few different techniques, I caught nothing. Keiryu has superb control and presentation, which let me present my fly well to visible salmon. I was able to get some interest, but not a bite.

(waiting out a squall under a bridge)


Bryan, the answer to your question is Yes, a low rod tip position encourages the fish to conduct its fight in the mid water level positions. Please see the 2 links I put up above. If Karin had used a Tip Up, vertical rod position, she would not have been able to grab the line to hand-line the fish in to land it as quickly as she did! She had a 30 Bone Fish Day, that day.

Guenther, FL-materials are Double Edged Seward, too much FL over whelms the fishes color cone vision cells and the fish will often reject the fly at the last instant. FL materials really excite fish, causing attacks, slapping at the fly with their tails, jumping out of the water and landing on the fly, but it isn’t always something they really want to eat. Better results will be realized by limiting the FLs to Hot Spots that make up less than 30% of the total surface area of the fly being fished, and veiling it with non-fluorescent materials, which has a similar appeal to a naked lady in an almost shear nightgown.


I see what you’re getting at. I’ll tie up a less radioactive-looking fly and see if the salmon respond differently.

Gunther, I think you might be interested in seeing these:

Of course Intruders to be cast on Fixed-line rods would need to be greatly simplified to be practical, but it can be done. Here is a Materials List for A Friendly Tenkara Intruder Pattern:

Hook: U555 Streamer Jig Hook- # 12
Bead: Black 1/8" Slotted Tungsten
Thread: UTC 70D Black
Tag: Chrome Yellow (# 9) Glo-Brite Floss, or # 7 FL-Orange Go-Brite Floss
No. 1 Bump: 4 Turns of Black Ostrich Herl
No. 1 Hackle: Natural Guinea, stripped away on the inside curve
Body: UTC FL-Yellow Sparkle Braid, or FL-Pearl/Orange Braid on the orange model
No. 2 Bump: 4 turns of Black Ostrich herl
No. 2 Hackle: Natural Guinae, stripped away on the inside curve
Head/Collar: Black Thread behind the bead head/eye

These flies are designed to catch the fish’s eye, push a lot of water for pressure wave lateral line stimulation. The Chrome Yellow Tag turns FL-Green in some lighting and water colors and has caught fish in both overcast and bright sunny conditions, it is also good in turbid waters. The FL-Orange Tag is better in clear and green colored waters, as are the two different Braid Body Colors. The 2 Guinea hackles provide high contrast in any water color and lighting condition, while the White Spots Reflect UV Light between the Flash of the Body Braids, and vales the FL-Tags, that have marabou-like action in the water.The Black Bumps create Focal Points and keep the Hackles from compressing flat in current and in stripping the fly in. On Pre-Spawning Brook Trout, both patterns generated more excitement and strike responses than any other patterns I tried.

Those flies really are pretty, and I can see how they might be a good mix of flash and bulk. I should have the materials on hand to make something similar, but I don’t think I’m at the level of skill (or fly tying materials) to tie these exactly.

Guenther, tying Intruder Style patterns is really not all that complicated or beyond your tying skills, I’m Sure. Take a look at this tying video and I believe you can easily see, that once the Trailing Hook Wire, Waddington Shanks and Tube Fly Tubes are eliminated, these flies are pretty simple and straight forward to tie. And, in my opinion, most of the patterns in the above video were grossly over dressed. And you can add as many or few materials as you like to get the results you and the fish are looking for. Tying the whole fly on 1 hook really simplifies things, so keep that in mind as you watch the video.

Using some ideas from karl as well as a tour of the local fly shop, I concocted a slightly more subdued salmon fly. Instead of adding articulation, I went for a more familiar soft hackel to add flapping motion.

I’m planning to get some river time in this week. We’ll see how it works out.


Gunther, that looks like a fly pattern the fish will really go for! However, there is an old saying among Steelheaders, “ You have to make 5,000 casts to get a single strike from a steelhead”, so be patient and hang in there and you will, eventually, succeed…Karl.

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On the pattern you have created: Beautiful tie, by the way. The Pink is relatively Dark compared to the White Tail and will compress and move in the water. The Black Hackle’s Movement will be highly visible against the Pink Under Body/hackle and be there for the Black Hackle support. The Black Bead Chain Eyes may introduce some side-to-side wobble to the pattern, cause the hook to ride Point Up, and will give the fly a Jigging Motion in the water that may cause the Tail to Flip Up and Down, depending on how mobile the material the tail is tied with is. If the fly is cast to be Swung, the current and line motion will provide all the movement needed to activate the Fly’s motion qualities. With Fixed-Line Tackle, stripping the line in motion isn’t available that you get with Western Fly Fishing Tackle but, by placing your rod tip just above the water and drawing small Ovals with the Tip just above the water, you can make the fly jump forward and fall back an inch at a time like a line stripping in motion does. Just something new and different for you to think about and try, and Please, let us know how it goes in your fishing.

And 1 more thing I forgot, a No-Slip Loop Knot Fly to Tippet Connection will greatly enhance fly and materials movement in the water…Karl.


Progress update:

Sadly no fish yet. The only thing I have hooked is the bottom. However, I am learning to read this larger river better simply through exposure/observation. I’m starting to have some guesses as to where the salmon might be in a given stretch of water, as well as some ability to predict where hidden fly-stealing structure might be.

I’ve also been trying out spawn sacks as bait. (It’s not quite so red in person)

Gus there, I do not know if this will help you catch any salmon, but give Jig Hooks a try. They should cut down on your rig loss considerably. Also, I concentrate my angling efforts on where I can see fish. If there is just empty water, I have No Confidence in fishing it…Karl.

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