Fall Salmon Fall Off—2017

Salmon are a great fall fish in the Lake States, and they provide many hours of sport fishing for those fortunate enough to be within a day’s drive of the tributaries of the five lakes. But, the time has come, the walrus said, to speak of many things, why the sea is boiling hot and whether pigs have wings—and, oh yes, the end of the fall salmon season in the Lake States. It’s here, and the hangers-on–both fly fisher and fish—are seeing the rapid winding down of the fishing. Lately, it’s been the few remaining Cohos that are providing the action. As a quick aside, Cohos were the first exotic salmon stocked in the Great Lakes. Michigan stocked them first, in April of 1966, in the Platte River. From there it has exploded, and the fishery is certainly world-class.

My long-time fishing companion, John Beth, managed to get to the rivers on the west side of Lake Michigan, and found a couple of late Coho females. They were nasty dark color, but they fought with the energy of fresh ones. Cohos also take the fly with true zeal—that’s one of the things I love about them, whether fishing the Lake States, here in the Pacific Northwest, or Alaska.

Meanwhile, friend and bluesman, Keith Scott, was sampling the late Cohos on Michigan’s Platte River, and nailed a very nice older female.

Way to go guys—great way to close out the fall 2017 salmon season.

It’s not unusual for Cohos to get dark and nasty looking, but as you can see, this female has not even spawned yet. They are decidedly great fighters, too, and take the fly with true zeal.


Keith Scott, and another great, late season Coho female from Michigan’s Platte River (site of first Coho stocking in 1966); not the unspanned condition of this fish, too.

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