The big corky question

A
AK Angler
I've heard from dozens of people that Rogue river salmon do not bite Corkies. That may be so, but can someone please explain why Chinooks of all sizes in Alaska — from jacks and ≥20# adults all the way up to 50# lunkers — will pound huge Corkies, but not fish here on the Rogue?

I've attached an illustration comparing the typical Alaska Corky setup with the one used on the Upper and Middle Rogue by 80%+ of the fishermen. I have hooked hundreds of kings — inside the mouth — in Alaska with this exact same metallic blue/green setup: 30# leader, 30" in length with a dime-sized Corky stacked on a nickel-sized Corky over a 5/0 hook with a 4/0 trailer. Kings will hit this setup hard whether drift fished or plunked from the bank. Many times they hook themselves.



The Corkies I use in Alaska are huge compared to the miniscule ones used here on the Rogue. They don't even sell nickel-sized Corkies anywhere here in Southern Oregon.

I'd never heard of flossing before moving to Southern Oregon. I guess guys do it for sockeye in Alaska, but I've never seen it done ever for kings up there. It's always short leaders, big Corkies and light weights (an ounce or less).

So what's the answer? Why will Alaskan kings hit Corkies (without bait), but everyone here believes Rogue kings don't? Does it have something to do with hatchery fish? Or water temperatures? Or water levels/flow? Or maybe it's a myth and Rogue fish will bite Corkies?
 
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M
Mad dog
Rogue river chinook will hit straight corkies!!! But....probably not if you are fishing at the Hatchery hole with 75-100 boobs that are spooking the fish! I have had excellent luck on Fall Chinook in the Galice area with corkies, they usually hit it within the 1st few casts, just got to have water that the fish aren't being harrassed in!

Of course if you put some good roe or a tuft of yarn with scent you'll probably do even better!
 
Gunga
Gunga
sorry if im hijacking a little bit but when i saw that pic with the miniscule corky it make me laugh hard. :lol::lol::lol:
 
D
Drew9870
Take it from this perspective, that hook is bigger than the corky, the only reason why people add the corky is because it is illegal to fish with a bare hook for salmonids, the only thing I could think that rig imitates is a bloodworm :lol: with the red hook.

If Salmon ''pound'' blue beads in the river, don't you think they would have a little more product in their gullet when you cleaned them? I mean, in their time being in the river, I'm pretty certain they see a vast amount of different colored items pass by them, I don't recall any round natural food items that are blue, bright green, silver, purple, or pink. If they actually hit the Rogue Rig, what would be so different about using a bare hook, plain yarn, a jig, etc? Their are a ton of 'outside the box' details to be considered, nobody can really say Salmon do eat corkies unless they have personally witnessed it up close and personal, even if they did, it would be a small percentage of fish, I'd rather toss spinner if I truely want a legit bite on an artificial.

I don't believe many opinions, when it comes to fishing, taking everyones advice will sometimes only leave you dumber :(, I stick to first hand experience, lab tank tests, and video evidence. One example is the leader length that is recommended for Alaska vs Rogue, you do not base the leader length on the river you are fishing, you base it on the hole you are fishing.

Put some roe in it, if I had to live with one thing to use for river Salmon, it would be some natural looking/smelling Roe, you don't always need a lot, base the size on water conditions and depth.
 
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E
eat, sleep, fish
Drew9870 said:
If Salmon ''pound'' blue beads in the river, don't you think they would have a little more product in their gullet when you cleaned them? I mean, in their time being in the river, I'm pretty certain they see a vast amount of different colored items pass by them, I don't recall any round natural food items that are blue, bright green, silver, purple, or pink.

Fish are curious creatures, and their mouth is their "hands". Just because they bite at something doesn't mean they are trying to eat it, let alone swallow it. It's also perfectly legal to use a bare hook for salmonids, and is the go-to method for sockeye in Lake Washington.

Corkies can be an effective method to catch salmon. It's just when 20+ people line up in a spot, and start ripping 3+ times every cast, that they're very unlikely to bite anything you throw out there.

Jeff - I know we've talked about it quite a bit, and honestly the most likely reason you don't see people using the Alaskan rig is because it costs more money every time they lose a setup to all the snagged fish :rolleyes:. It also takes longer to tie up. Next time your out give it a shot for the entire day. There will be the people that think you've lost your mind, but just ignore them. They're also the ones who never land any fish in the mouth.

BTW - Good luck on Sunday. I've heard the Umpqua is kicking out quite a few fish right now.
 
A
Airs98
Humans bite a lot of things they don't eat... :)
 
D
Drew9870
Here is another perspective, it is not hard to floss a Salmon, and you do not need to be intentionally flossing them to do so, in the time I have spent Salmon fishing from the bank, I can tell you I have unintentionally flossed them with #3-6 Blue Foxes not rigged as a drifting setup, just line-reliable snap swivel-spinner. When you are fishing areas like Alaska in clouds of fish, the people regularly catching fish in the mouth are mostly the people who know how to do so in a legit way, not necessarily the people using the right setup.

I never stated that Salmon do not eat them, because I will agree with you that fish are curious creatures, Salmon are a species of fish that are very curious when their mind is set in the feeding mode, which is generally in the ocean, all fish are different, when they enter the river some of these fish may willingly feed on a wide variety of items, some may be very picky on what they will accept, most will have lockjaw, maybe they get a burst of hunger (or curiosity) during a certain hour on a certain day, Salmon are very unpredictable, so saying what they do and don't like can be both right and wrong on any given day.

There is always a lot more to consider than most think when something does or does not work.
 
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A
AK Angler
I had a guide point at my Corkies today and tell me, "You know you aren't going to catch anything with those, right? You know these fish don't bite Corkies?" I had another guy a couple days ago tell me that anyone farting around with a Corky bigger than a pea was wasting their time in the Rogue. Then there's a guy on YouTube who says anyone fishing Corkies is flossing, whether they know it or not (a suggestion that I find as insulting as I do ignorant):
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y8iz3u5_djU

Anyone fishing with a 6-foot leader might be flossing, but that's a separate discussion.

I've spent years plunking Corkies in Alaska. My favorite spot to fish up there is in this big back eddy. It's a popular spot. Guys throw out a half-ounce to an ounce — just enough to keep the setup from moving around in the current — and park their weights right on the bottom. To Drew's point, leader length will vary, anywhere between 18" and 36", but no one is trying to floss anything with a 3' leader. I'm not even sure flossing can be done with such a short leader. Indeed I'll go as far as to say it is impossible to floss a fish while plunking… period. How can you floss if the weight isn't even drifting? If you've ever plunked for salmon, you know what I'm talking about.

Now, can I explain why Alaskan kings are hitting the Corkies? No, I cannot. My understanding is that spawning salmon stop eating the second they hit fresh water, but will strike all sorts of presentations throughout their journey up river. Are salmon striking spoons and spinners out of habit, because they remind them of yummy things that they used to eat like herring and other bait fish? Or do they strike something like a Vibrax and Wiggle Wart because the flashing + audible vibration is agitating? Who knows? No one really studies this stuff with any kind of serious, academic research. It's all theories, conjecture and insights from old fishermen.

I don't think there's any correlation between a fish hitting a Corky and "hunger." What I always believed is that salmon become increasingly aggressive as they get deeper into their spawn. When I'm plunking Corkies, the fish are trying to rest in a pool or back eddy, but there's this thing in their face that's irritating the crap out of them, so they hit it. I don't think the fish has any intention of swallowing it, which should address Drew's question about why you don't find a rainbow of metallic colors in their gullets. When a fish is pissed off, the only thing it really has to express its frustration is its mouth.

I know a lot of guys think salmon are eating roe because they are "hungry," but this isn't the case with salmon that are spawning in rivers. Salmon stop eating in fresh water, and roe is no exception. The explanation that always made sense to me was that salmon (and other spawning fish) will instinctually eat any eggs they run across during their migration because they know those eggs aren't theirs. They were left by other fish at another time. So the spawning Chinooks will give their own fry the best shot at survival by eating the eggs of others, thereby reducing the number of fish competing for resources.

So to summarize, can I explain why salmon bite on Corkies? Or spoons? Or plugs, naked or wrapped with bait? Or roe? Or why scents work? Nope, I can't. But what I find very perplexing is that so many people think salmon in the Rogue don't bite, especially Corkies. It just makes no sense to me that a 20# Chinook will nail a proper Corky setup in Alaska but won't here in Oregon. What's the difference? Is it the fish, or just what the fishermen believe?

I find the pervasive line of thinking along the bank of the Rogue very discouraging: Chinooks don't bite, you can't attract them, and flossing is the only really effective way to catch them. Yeah right… if that's true, then why do guys in boats get them to bite?
 
D
Drew9870
I personally believe the flashing/wobbling lure basically rattles their insides due to their lateral line picking up the vibrations from the action, which is why I love the french blade on a Blue Fox. The Roe theory I believe is the one you stated, the whole genetic issue, but even scientists can't prove that fact unless we figured out a way to communicate with the fish, haha, but the corky theory is one that could very much be proved fact, one would just have to experiment in the right hole(s) where they could see their rig.

Flossing can actually be very much done so in the form of plunking, I call it vertical flossing, usually done in slacker water with a steady flow with one of those dime size corkies, your line, when casted, will be in the shape of a 'V', this end being your mainline > \./ < and this side your leader ( . is your weight), the fish can be flossed by either your mainline or lead line, the more experienced ''plunk-flosser'' will tell you to crank and then yank, due to the fish sometimes being flossed by your mainline, in which case you would be reeling the weight (not much) passed their jaws leading to the hook. I have attempted this in tidewater at the Salmon River just because 'everyone was doing it' and I was young, but I had no luck, I'd rather toss a spinner or eggs.

There is always a lot more to consider, I am not schooling people on how to floss, I am explaining the vast amount of possible ways, it is not a hard thing to do once well understood, I know of rivers that contain holes that get hit hard by flossers, these holes can not be flossed with more than 3ft of leader.

Now putting something in front of a fish while in its spawning zone, that can irk a fish into striking, but this is a specific matter, not ''in general''.
 
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D
Drew9870
why do guys in boats get them to bite?

The people in the boats can anchor up in the travel lane and set their eggs or agitating presentation in one spot, eventually, in most cases, a fish will make a run up through this hole and get frustrated by the action of the lure or attack the eggs, the people out there have a better selection of methods that can be productive, along with being able to cover more water.

Don't get me wrong on the whole corky situation, I probably own over 200 of the things, but I use them to not only make my yarn (for Steelhead), eggs, herring, misc bait more bouyant, but I love them for the added benefit that you can pop a toothpick (I find a random twig) into the hole and pin it onto your line, now the benefit is that you can bait loop your (let's say) eggs nice and tight and slide that locked corky down a hair above the hook eye allowing the eggs to stay locked in the loop. I prefer shades of red and orange in the smallest sizes of corky, silver and black have their place in my box for Steelhead.
 
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E
eat, sleep, fish
There are basically 3 types of corky fishermen.

The first is the guy that is out there ripping away multiple times. The large majority of his fish are going to be snagged, and he's hoping that one ends up being in the mouth. When one is in the mouth it almost certainly is flossed.

The second guy is going to be casting across the river, and slightly down stream with a rather heavy weight. His line will be sweeping back in towards shore, and his leader will be straight out at an angle. Depending on how much he jerks, a higher percentage of his fish will be in the mouth than guy number 1. The longer his leader the more water he is effectively covering, and the more fish he will hook. The majority of his fish will have the hook outside in, and be flossed due to the leader being out at an angle.

Guy number 3 fishes a very natural presentation. He casts upstream with just enough weight to tap the bottom every couple of seconds. He also reels in when his line gets to the end of its drift, and starts sweeping towards shore. His leader is going to be straight back from the weight. The large majority of his fish will be in the mouth with the hook sometimes being inside of the mouth. It doesn't matter how long his leader is, as to floss a fish, it would require that he hit the fish directly on the head with his corky at the precise moment the fish's mouth is open.

Salmon do bite corkies, but they get a bad rap because the large majority of guys fishing them are going to be either guy #1 or #2.
 
F
Fish-N-Chips
When I fished the nestucca last year for fall chinooks all we were using was the biggest corky possible and a huge glob of eggs. the fish were tearing us up. From jacks to 20+ pounders. Drift fisherman are not glorified snaggers:lol: People can say what they want about corkies. I gurantee you though if a corky is presented to the fish in the right way that fish will inhale it. I also caught a native steelhead on the trask using a huge green corkie and glob of eggs(christmas combo) No jerking required:D Just let it drift and wait for the smash:D You can also use corkies under a bobber if your glob of eggs is big enough. that's my 2 cents:clap:
 
D
Drew9870
We are mainly talking bare corkies and a hook, with or without yarn. It it pretty much just considered fishing with eggs when one runs a corky with them, and a legit way to increase your odds of getting a legit hit.
 
F
Fish-N-Chips
Ahh gotcha. well that being said the one time I did catch a nook on just a corky an old boot slammed it@ a notorious snagging/flossing hole(3 rivers):think: as soon as it hit the water that was not more than 14 inches deep. I was so pumped until I saw how dark it was and back in it went. At least I had the thrill of it biting just a corky.
 
D
Drew9870
If you are talking the hatchery hole on Three Rivers, I can assure you it was flossed, in my days of flossing, Three Rivers hatchery was hit the hardest, flossing is virtually the only way to catch them at the hatchery since the water is too fast and too shallow, unless one got lucky with a spinner or a plug, we used to sight floss them in the daytime hours.

Even if Salmon do eat bare corky's willingly, most of the fish are flossed.
 
F
Fish-N-Chips
not worth my time or energy
 
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C
capblack
Drew9870 said:
If you are talking the hatchery hole on Three Rivers, I can assure you it was flossed

Drew, this is the kind of things that get people fired up. You have given your opinion on the subject. Maybe your right, maybe your not, let it go.
 
D
Drew9870
Well, people need to get out of denial, ever thought of what gets me fired up? Ignorance, there is an endless world of possibilities out there, most only put 1/8 of the possibilities into consideration.

I continue to word my opinion (mostly facts in this thread) to broaden peoples horizons, I'd say naturally 80% of fishermen are stuck in a box.

Fish-N-Chips, don't take me the wrong way, I am not calling you a flosser (I saw your original post), I was acually trying to be rather civil.
 
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R
RunWithSasquatch
Drew, portraying your opinion is not calling out that you believe someone is ignorant. Thats dictating your beliefs are law.
 
D
Drew9870
I think you got the wrong idea of my definition, when I say ignorant, I'm talking people who refuse to believe Salmon are flossed while using a plain corky, let alone anything one would lob across the river, the possibilities of ways to floss a Salmon are endless, and the events are not rare at all.

No I do not believe people are ignorant for not taking my advice, lol, I believe the ignorant ones are the people who believe the Salmon are nailing their corky willingly most of the time, now in my postings, did I ever state the phrase "Salmon never eat.....".
 
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