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Fly Rod King Salmon

SE WI King Salmon - Why go anywhere else?!

Imagine walking into the river. Hundreds of HUGE fish are visible in the water. Within your first few casts, you tie into a freight train...your drag screams...there's your backing. Several minutes later, even an HOUR later, after seeing you backing as many as a dozen times, there before you lays a mean looking fish approaching 30 lbs. It can happen, and it does, and you don't need to go to Alaska to experience it for yourself! In fact, I've heard it said more than once, our King Salmon run is called, by some, even BETTER fishing than Alaska!

Some states boast monster steelhead returns, but here, close to home, in SE WI, Chinook Salmon are King. Each year they return to our tributaries by the thousands. ON a good year, when the Root River has rain, it is common for 9,000 to 10,000 fish to be processed on this river alone. King Salmon are by far the most plentiful run of fish year in and year out. With Jacks easily matching most steelhead in size, and mature fish averaging 15-20 lbs, and the best (usually fresh females) hitting the 30lb mark, there is no better salmonid fishing anywhere in the region!

This time of year, if you're not tangling with fish, I'm really not doing my job. King Salmon season is the BEST time for a beginner to come out an learn the tribs. Have confidence, you WILL hook fish. Now, landing them, that's another story - as a fellow guide once put it, "you may hook a hundred fish in a day, but you certainly won't land nearly that many".

It all starts as early as late August. Cool rains can bring in our first small push of fresh fish. The end of August is usually a better time to be fishing the harbors or take a charter...the fish are staging. Usually, by mid September, at least one of our rivers has a good run already in progress. During the last 2 weeks of September, it's time to NIGHT FISH...that's right, nocturnal fly fishing for monsters. This is your best time to hookup frequently, as Kings bite much better at night.

By October 1, our nightfishing season has closed, and we're left with early morning and late evening as the prime time to target these fish. Also, in the first 2 weeks of October, we generally see our largest push of fish, literally thousands migrating upstream. October is THE MONTH to come King fishing if you want a sure thing....there are always fish in good numbers somewhere! Fish can be sighted and fished throughout the day, sometimes requiring small flies and lighter tippet than you'd really want to use when targeting these beasts, but that's part of the fun. Typically, we target King Salmon with 7, 8 or 9wt. 9' rods, and we got as heavy as we can with tippet....genearlly 8-15lb test flourocarbon.

Just as quickly as the action began, it starts to slow down. By November, there may still be a few fresher King Salmon around, but most will be dying or dead at this point. Right on the heals of the King Salmon run, the Coho Salmon are now the prime targets.

SE WI King Salmon Clients - what do clients need to provide?

Transportation - You gotta get there. When tributary fishing, we may opt to fish more than one stream per day. You should be prepared to make a 15 or 20 minute drive from one location to the next.

Equipment - Rods, Reels, lines, leaders, tippets and flies are all provided at no additional cost.

Apparel and Wading Gear - Dress appropriately for conditions - layers work great for 'heat control' throughout an outing. Gloves and a warm hat are essential. Be prepared for rain - rainy days can be some of the best on the river. Check out the weather forecasts before your trip - you don't want to be miserable and have to cut an outing short. Do not forget WARM SOCKS!

I do not provide wading gear, which is only required for Tributary Fishing. Hip boots will work in most situations, although chest waders are preferable. Polarized Sunglasses are essential; you'll need to bring some. The $10 kind work just's not uncommon to lose them.

Lastly, if you're coming out for a night fishin' trip, bring a headlamp and spare batteries (they run between $5-15).

Food - Meals are not included; we have a variety of options. By no way am I the shore lunch guru, I'm the guru of keeping things SIMPLE. I am however happy to discuss all of our meal options.

Lodging - If you are coming up from out of town and could use some help with lodging, just ask. There's a variety of good places to stay in SE WI.

Waivers & Agreements - Prior to your trip, you will be required to sign a liability waiver, as well as photo release form and equipment rental agreement (if necessary).

Deposits - A nonrefundable deposit of 50% of your trip cost is required to hold your dates.

SE WI Great Lakes King Salmon Rates

  • 4 Hour Tributary Pro Guide Trips - $300 for 1 or 2 anglers, up to 4 hours.

  • 8 Hour Tributary Pro Guide Trips - $450 for 1 or 2 anglers, up to 8 hours.

  • Tributary Trips for 3 or more Anglers? - inquire for special rates - multiple guides are available to handle your larger fishing parties.

  • Team Fish Rates - subtract 30% from the above rates.

  • Tributary Bamboo Experience - add $50 per rod rental per day. Limit 2 maximum anglers.

  • Gratuities are solely at the discretion of the client.

Rambling Reports Great Lakes King Salmon Guiding Season

King Salmon are a no brainer with regards to run timing, October is THE month for the Peak Run:

  • Nocturnal Fly Fishing - Last two weeks of September
  • General Daytime Fly Fishing - October
  • Mixed-Bag trips (possibility to catch 2, 3 or even all 4 general tributary species) - November

Book your King Salmon Trip Today! - email or call my 24/7 cell at 847-732-7333.


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