Fall Coho

by Nick Petosa


Greetings to everyone! We are about a week into our Coho season up here on the Skagit, and things are looking very promising. Even with the record breaking dry spell we’ve had, we still have good numbers of fishable Coho on the Skagit.

The fall is a great time to come out and experience this world class Coho fishery. September marks the beginning of our run and we will continue to see an increase in numbers as the days and weeks go by.

On of the truly remarkable things about the Skagit is the length of this run. We will receive fresh Coho untill the middle of November and sometimes even into December. In case you are not familiar with these fish, they can vary in size but average about 8-10 pounds. The Skagit will be open from the mouth up to Gilligan Creek untill September 16th, when it then opens up from the mouth to the Cascade River.

When I fish for Coho on the Skagit, I like to use hands on techniques. First I start out with my Fethastyx 982-2 Homewater Series rod. This 9’8” powerhouse is a great all around boat rod and bank rod. I match these up with a 2500 series spinning reel and 17lb Berkely nanofill or 12lb Izorline.

Early on in the season (like right now 9-9), the fish are not yet stacked in the holes. They are constantly moving in small pods, and therefore I have stay on the move to find fish. This early-season predicament is the reason why I love to fish for Coho with spinners.
Spinners are a great way to cover a lot of water in a short amount of time because the spinner’s attraction radius is very wide. Generaly I fish size 3 and 4 spinners—like a KND Tackle Sprocket Spinner. Kevin (KND owner) and I worked together to create this spinner and it has a lot of features that are not accustomed with the normal spinners on today’s market.

People always ask me “What’s the hosttest color?”
There is never one particular hot color when fishing for Coho. There are many based on water color and conditions. In darker, dirtier water,  flourescent colors and larger sized spinners (4-5) work best. In clear water you will want to revert to smaller spinners (size 3) and neutral tones/darker colors.

Twitching jigs is another one of my favorite techniques for Coho because they are highly effective. Whlie spinners have a large attraction radius, Jigs can fish those short, narrow, and deep spots that are typically difficult to fish is. They also work well in slow water and back eddies. One thing I especially like about jigs is their ability to sink to the river bottom quickly, and they seem to catch fish when all else fails.

Jig sizes and colors have come a long way since I first started using them 15 years ago. In the past, I used to fish with quarter ounce jigs. Thanks to Ralph’s Sea Run Special Jigs, I have made 3/8 ounce my new primary size. Just like spinners, the same color rules apply: Flourescent colors in dark water, neutral/dark colors in bright water.
The Skagit is a fantastic fishery and there is great opportunity for anglers of all ages and skill level. I hope to have you out on a trip with me so you can experience this awesome fall fishery for yourself.

I also have an upcomming seminar in November for Steehead University. See the following link for details:

For more information on my guide service, go to www.petosafishing.com