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All Pacific salmon spawn in the fall. Their eggs hatch during late
winter and early spring during March and April, and sometimes even into May. Runs
of Chinooks, Chums, Pinks, Cohos, Sockeye and Kokanee salmon create egg drift and
flesh drift. But what often goes unnoticed is the super hatch of fry emergence,
which happens months later. Trout and steelhead spawn also creates fry
emergence later in the spring and early summer. So realistically, fry emergence
can occur in some rivers for up to five months each year.
Two flies that you will want to have with you when fishing for
trout in the early spring is Burman's Cradle Robber Alevin and King Alevin. The alevin
is the first stage after the egg. Young fish emerge from the egg with the yolk sack attached to their bellies. During this stage, many alevins stay down in
the aerated gravel of the redd, but others emerge prematurely where they are
helpless in the currents of the swift flowing water. Spring is also a prime
time for catastrophic floods, which can erode salmon redds thus exposing young
salmon to trout prematurely.
flies can be dead-drifted like a nymph or swung through the currents with a
sinking tip line like a streamer. Depending on the water type, one method will prove more successful than the other. In either case, a long rod will
likely prove to be more effective than a short one.
fishing your fry fly, target areas downstream from salmon redds that were used
last fall. Learn to recognize the gravel structures that these redds denote. Young
fish will often collect in softer currents downstream from these redds, and so
will predatory fish that feed on them.
Above: Thousands of Kokanee (land-locked sockeye salmon) spawn in the Metolius River each fall. You know that hungry trout are going to be waiting for the fry to emerge early in the spring.