Best Trolling Lures for Coho Salmon
Coho Salmon, also known in some regions as Silver Salmon, are known for their aggressive feeding nature, abundance, and put up one great battle at the end of your line. Sometimes they seem to bite at any fishing lure you put in front of them, and other times it seems that we have to test and try out everything in the tackle box before we find out what they want that day. Here are a few of my favorite Coho Salmon lures, these have become my full arsenal for Silvers over the years of fishing for them in Washington, Oregon, British Columbia and Alaska.
Grand Slam Bucktail
The Grand Slam Bucktail has been a must-have trolling fly for decades. The original term “bucktailing” originated from using hand-tied deer hair trolling flies on the surface for salmon. The Grand Slam Bucktails are tied with Krystal Flash material that offers much better attraction and is one of the go-to flies on the market. Troll this with a salmon flasher on a downrigger or behind a small mooching sinker in the propwash.
Ace Hi Fly
Silver Horde’s Ace Hi Fly offers some amazing color combinations in both UV and Glow. Like the Grand Slam, the Ace Hi Fly produces a large amount of flash that seems to trigger the aggression and appetite of Coho Salmon from a large distance away. I also like to troll these behind a small mooching sinker with an 8″ Pro-Troll Flasher off the stern as well as on a standard 11″ Flasher on the downriggers for Coho.
McOmie’s Custom Glow Spoon
McOmie’s Spoons have an amazing color pattern finish front and a UV brushed chrome back that has become one of my go-to salmon lures, and when Coho are moving into my home waters, these spoons always make an appearance on the starting line-up. They are rigged with a small plastic hoochie on the hook that adds to their alure. I think that the smaller 2-5/8″ and 3-1/4″ sizes make for a perfect Coho Salmon trolling lure.
Gold Star Yamashita Octopus Hoochie
In my opinion, the Gold Star Octopus Hoochie is a must-have for Coho Salmon fishing. It is by far one of my best producers for both our smaller Puget Sound Resident Coho as well as the Ocean Coho that migrate back in late August through September. Seattle Fishing Company offers a Pre-Tied Salmon Trolling Rig using these hoochies and come highly recommended.
Silver Horde Kingfisher Spoon
Silver Horde’s Kingfisher Spoons are a traditional salmon trolling spoon that Coho really eat up. I prefer the Kingfisher 3.0 and Kingfisher 3.5 sizes for Coho in our inland marine waters as well as the ocean.
Simon Cut Plug
The Simon Cut Plug is a hit on the Coho Salmon fishing grounds. This small cut-plug herring imitation comes in a bunch of great flashy colors, and spins like a drill bit. Rig them with a standard hoochie leader and a couple 5mm beads. I like to tie the end of a leader to a Sampo Ball Bearing Swivel to eliminate the risk of line twist. You can fish these off the stern in the propwash behind a mooching sinker, or fish them off the downriggers behind an 11″ Flasher with 26″ to 36″ of leader.
My Favorite Trolling Flashers for Coho Salmon Fishing
Here are some great Coho Salmon trolling flashers. An 11″ Flasher is the most mainstream choice, but in some situations, switching to a smaller 8″ Flasher can be the big producer.
Pro-Troll Lighted Flasher
Coho Salmon fishing can be really good at first light. Here in the Seattle area, the fish tend to go deeper as the sun rises in the late morning. It is common for a motivated Coho angler to start fishing before first light. That’s where the Pro-Troll Lighted Flasher comes into play. Aside from having all those great glow finishes, a small water-activated blinking light creates another layer of attraction. We have seen first hand that the “Blinky Flasher” will outfish our standard flashers during low-light conditions, or when trolling super deep.
Pro-Troll Finned Lighted Flasher
Pro-Troll’s Finned Lighed Flasher offers the same appeal as their standard “Blinky” but with a molded fin that allows for a wider rotation. We use this to our advantage in different ways. If we are looking to troll fast in one direction, the finned version gives us a much more erratic action to our lures and really whips them around. I’ll often fish a standard flasher on one side, and a finned on the second side as a test to see what the Coho Salmon best react to for that day.
Pro-Troll HotChip Flasher
Pro-Troll’s HotChip Flasher is our workhorse during Coho Salmon season. Offered in a good variety of great salmon patterns, both in Glow and UV, this affordable flasher has caught us plenty of salmon.
Gibbs Fishing’s Highliner Flasher series is one of my favorites for Coho Salmon trolling. They offer some of the most classic and revolutionary salmon trolling patterns on the market, are made and painted in the Pacific Northwest (British Columbia), and are tried-and true on my boat.
Best Trolling Setups That Don’t Require Downriggers
Downriggers have become a standard piece of equipment for salmon trolling in many areas that have good Coho Salmon fishing, but if you don’t own them you can still get out and have some great fishing days! Here area a couple of our favorite setups. Often we will run these in addition to our downrigger lines and they catch!
Flat-lined Flasher Setup
You can troll this setup behind the boat anywhere from 25′ to 100′ back. This setup will usually make it anywhere from 10′ to 25′ below the surface, so we consider this a pretty shallow trolling rig. Use a 4 to 8 Ounce Mooching Sinker, 24″ of 40 pound test to an 8″ Flasher, and a trolling fly, pre-rigged hoochie or a spoon. You want a 26″ to 30″ leader between your flasher and your lure.
Diver & Flasher Trolling Setup
A diver will get your setup to a deeper trolling depth than a mooching sinker. Expect that this will be fishing 15′ to 40′ deep depending on the size of your diver, how fast you troll and how much line you let out. We use a Deep Six Diver, 24″ of 40 pound leader to our 8″ flasher. Behind the flasher, use a pre-tied hoochie rig, trolling fly or spoon, all of these should have a 26″ to 30″ leader behind your flasher.
Best Saltwater Lures for Casting & Jigging for Coho
P-Line Laser Minnow is a metal jig with a super reflective foil finish, it flashes and really does a good job at catching the attention of nearby feeding salmon. We usually fish 1 ounce or 2 ounce from shore, and 2 ounce to 3 ounce from the boat.
Buzz Bombs are the most well-known beach casting lure for Coho Salmon, their original colors still catch plenty of fish to this day, and their newer holographic series are extremely effective.
Both these lures come standard with a treble hook, if you are fishing in an area (like all of Washington’s saltwater areas), that legally require single-point hooks, rig them with an open eye siwash or big river open eye hook and pinch your barbs.
Best Mooching Setup for Coho Salmon Fishing
This mooching setup is one of the most simple yet effective ways to catch Coho Salmon without the use of a downrigger. We will use the traditional drift-mooching technique, where we let the boat drift with the current and drop and retrieve our baits. If you want to troll, this setup is extremely effective as well. We use 3 ounce to 5 ounce mooching sinkers, a 4′ mooching leader and a well brined cut-plug herring (Pro-Cure Brine n Bite is my favorite). Start your troll path, cut your bait, rig it, make sure it spins, and send it back 25′ to 100′ behind the boat. One tip that I suggest is to pre-cut your baits the evening before and brine them as cut plugs so they are more tough and durable as you drag them behind the boat.