With the Salmon spawning season coming to an end, the great egg feast is well underway for all of the other fish who reside in our rivers. Bull Trout, Dolly Varden, Cutthroat Trout, and Rainbow Trout all feast heavily on the single eggs that are present after Salmon spawn.
I switch my fishing technique this time of year to lean more heavily on fishing beads under a float. Conventional wisdom would suggest matching your beads to the exact egg size and colour found in nature; however I have found this logical approach to be far from a factual, effective strategy. In fact, I have had some of my best bead fishing success while using very unnaturally large beads, in non-organic colours.
I love to catch LARGE fish, so I often target rivers that contain large Bull Trout, Salmon and Steelhead. As a bonus, these same rivers will frequently produce a nice sized Cutthroat Trout or Rainbow Trout catch. One of the keys to catching these late Fall egg biters, is to concentrate on areas with actively spawning Chum Salmon and Coho Salmon. The egg eaters will most often be found hanging just behind spawning Salmon, waiting for stray single eggs to drift free in the current.
For this type of fishing, I suggest a medium to medium light rod of 10.5’. Shorter rods are not ideal for float fishing, and hamper good line control with long/far casts. Any reel that holds ample line will be a good choice, in the event that you hook up with a larger Salmon. I personally use a Shimano Curado 200 with 20 lb braided mainline, and a leader between 8-12 lbs.
Choosing the best beads to use is a very personal decision. I favor soft beads over hard beads, but hard beads can also work very well. I like to carry an assortment of colours, in sizes ranging from 10mm-14mm. Some people find these bead sizes too large, but that has not been my experience.
The array of colours I carry for this type of fishing are generally within the peach, orange, red, pink, and chartreuse families.
As many know, I favor NOT pegging my beads.
SEE PREVIOUS ARTICLE HERE FOR MORE ON FISHING BEADS WITHOUT PEGGING.
Fishing the bead directly on the hook allows for instant colour and size change-ups, without changing your leader. It also seems that the hook placement in the fish’s mouth tends to be better with this technique. Without getting into great detail, the idea is that if you are able to change your bead size and colour frequently, you can quickly dial into exactly what the fish are most responsive to.
MORE ON WHERE TO FIND THESE EGG/BEAD EATING FISH
As mentioned, I have found the most success with targeting these fish in the areas where Salmon are actively spawning, which is typically higher in the river systems.
When choosing the zones to fish in a run or pool, consider that as eggs drift away from a spawning bed, they will flow out of that run or pool downriver. For this reason, I spend a lot of my time focused in the back half of runs, and I fish very far back into that tail out.
One important aspect of this strategy is that your bead must be bouncing bottom to be effective. This is the zone where natural eggs would be found, so keeping your weight just inches off bottom and letting your bead bounce around is where the fish will seek out your offering.
For this reason, when I was designing my soft beads, much consideration went into ensuring that the bead is an appropriate weight and density that will stay near bottom.
Keep your leaders less than 3 feet long. I like to use a 2’ leader. Using a long leader promotes the bead drifting up off bottom. Here you will find another benefit of fishing your bead directly on the hook rather than pegged, as having it placed on the hook helps to keep it bouncing enticingly along the river bottom.
As the Salmon season comes to an end, the bead eater season is in full swing!
Certainly worth mentioning as a final note, is the early Steelhead you may encounter while in joyful pursuit of the smaller, bead munching species. The odd late season Coho are also suckers for beads, and you may be surprised by how often you hook up with a super fresh, late season Coho in this bead eater venture!
Best of luck on the river! Tight lines, and Bent Rods!
Nov. 10th 2022