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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2019
    Location
    Illinois
    Posts
    5

    Any help would be appreciated

    Hello Everyone,

    I live in the northwest burbs of Chicago and am trying to figure out how to increase the amount of coho salmon I catch each spring on lake michigan. I have a 17 foot deep v boat so I stay pretty shallow when I go out, like no further than a mile. Anyways the last 2 years I have gone out using dipsy divers with the typical pink dodgers/flashers and green flys. I was just basically casting blind with no depth counters and spinning reel combos (all I could afford at the time), wnt out 4-5 hours each time to only catch one coho each outing (although 2 fish got off 2nd outing). I am thinking about buying two planer boards (Church tx-22), 2 okuma convector line counter reels (size 20dxa) and 2 trolling rods 8'6 medium power. Basically, I plan on running 2 planer board setups with flashers and flys, 1 dipsy setup with flasher and fly, and then on 1 other pole maybe a crankbait. Would you guys change anything? Keep in mind, I only fish in spring for cohos In like april/may. Any help/tips would be appreciated. I have had to self teach myself how to do this kinda fishing and I cant lie its been hard! My dream is to come home after a day on the water with enough salmon to take some good pictures and feed my family (not to mention feel embrassed when I am fileting my one salmon at station while another person is fileting 15 lol) Also, I am a bit confused on line selection for planer boards. Can I just use like a 25 pound braid for success or do I need leadcore/copper?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2016
    Location
    Wayzata, MN
    Posts
    436
    Orange is usually the color they really like ( dodgers, spin doctors). Anglers avenue has the perfect selection of stuff for you to achieve what you are looking to do. Boards would be very useful and then run some Fluropoloymer out to the boards and to the lure. The rods and reels are always nice but not necessary if you didn't want to. Good luck.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2015
    Location
    Wisconsin
    Posts
    7
    Run your flies 17in behind your dodgers. (fire Red or Orange) Peanut flies in various colors. Green/gold, Blue Green Gold/ Purple Green Gold/ Ect.. Blacks are good when the bettles are out. Their are many other colors That are popular. If you go to JM Pound town tackle on facebook you can see many working colors. While I would love to sell you flies you can go buy Peanuts from your local store they all work Some are tied better than others but they all put fish In the boat.
    Planner boards work the best. 1-3 color leadcore rigs. U can use small weights and regular line also. But most coho are caught in the top 30ft of the water column.

    Run your Dipseys and Coho rigs, On setting 3-4 and let out enough line that the dipsey just disappears from sight. This works great for Coho in the top 30ft. They are not boat shy.
    If its just you in the boat I would run 2 boards and dipsey.
    2 people 4 boards and 2 dipsey
    Last edited by law651; 02-06-2019 at 04:59 PM.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Rubicon, WI
    Posts
    203
    Good advice above, I would add the following.

    To limit your investment and increase your catch, you can use your mono rods with interchangeable bead keel sinkers in weights from 1/2 oz to 2 oz by tying a small BB swivel to connect the weight, then a 5-8 ft leader to your lure (depending on rod length). This will allow you to vary your depth from the surface down to 20ft to locate the early coho bite. As stated above, run these on your boards out wide to cover a greater span of water and run a dipsy or two in tight on a 3 setting. The dodger rigs are best, but they will take plugs and spoons as well. My best colors are typically have orange and green in them, although some days either blue or purple outperform everything.

    Pay close attention to your speed and action on the dodgers. If your speed is too far off this can make for a rough day as well. Hold a dodger rig over the side and watch it for a nice even back and forth action (no constant roll).

    If you find one or two, don't be afraid to swing around and go back over the area, as they can be schooled up pretty tight at times.

    Anglers Avenue also has a nice tutorial on you tube for newbies on each species of fish to get some additional rigging tips.
    See you on the water,

    Stosh
    The Machine

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2016
    Location
    Neenah, WI
    Posts
    65
    Planner board get the Church Walleye Boards. Hands down will pull up to 10 color lead and easy to release the back pin. I picked up 6 used church walleye boards after using friends comparing with my current ones which were Opti knock off of Off Shores boards. Besides adj weight and planning to the side more the rear pin makes removal easier. I made my own Stainless Steel pins 2 weeks ago and now my buddy wants me to make him some. Reason for Stainless Steel pins is you can loop and twist the braided line then loop thru the pin. King on down can pull all they want the board isn't coming off and braid can not wear thru the plastic pin (I hate the tops of the plastic pins can break personally). 1/8 SS cut a notch for the snap ring and bend over at the top to give you a grip is all you really need to make your own (retail 7.99). I welded a 1/4 tube to the top to give a nice knob to grab, I haven't made extra to sell but prob will as my kids like polishing the bottom of the pin and grinding.

    Enough on the boards...
    I would set up 2 - 3 color lead cores or 2 color (or 2 of both and 1 full core is all you purchase), you can always use snap weights to get down deeper but lead core works good and give different action. Used Penn 309 reels are fairly cheap and solid unit to save a few bucks. Don't need line counters for just standard lead core, but if letting line out with snap weights either color braid by ft or line counter is a good addition. I would also have a mono line set-up or two as well for browns in the harbor or near shore, Steel head fishing and high coho rig too.

    Line. Power Pro 40-50 lb and use the same on your dipsy divers. Clean cut you can thread into the lead core (remove lead in that area) and I use two over hand knots called a Willis knot I believe so you can look up videos on how to tie. I use 2 overhand knots to ensure powerpro doesn't slip out (prob overkill but easy to do). That one knot on leadcore is all you need to know. Simple and strong. I don't put mono for the board. With Walleye board and the same loop/twist like using for downrigger into the rear pin of the planner board the only pressure on the front clip is the waves/board resistance to the rod. I'm keeping the board connected so I loop once around the front clip or you can modify the clip to face inward so no way it comes off. Looking at front release possible but not sold on that idea yet.

    Coho orange / red small dodger with a peanut fly is hard to beat for Coho in the spring. I run some reg King files and flashers too and catch coho as well. Color on the peanut fly get what others say is hot for the season and a few others to swap around. Change your speed around and troll parallel to the shore when you start seeing marks. Do some S curves to speed up and slow down some lines to see if that helps trigger some bites. Fish like a chase think of a ball with cats... They don't play with the ball tell it runs away.

    Not sure about your boat as far as sides and transom. Uncle and Dad use a 16' Starcraft Sportfish and going out to couple hundred feet was normal on good day. Stay in your comfort zone, watch and have a weather radio and even better a VHF radio even better. If you can see other boats that aren't charters they will help you if you run into problems. Have your safety equipment of course. I use a auto inflate vest, but even my brother I tell him if he falls out w/o a preserver no way in heck I can save him. Have a whistle on your vest as well. I upgraded to a 1850 Crestliner Sportfish SST and go out 10-12 miles now. Of course always watching weather, weather band alerts are on and being a farmer my eyes, smell seem to help detect weather. But no mater what always have a float plan with someone on shore and check in. Text messages don't always make it out at those distances keep in mind but the USCG towers are up on hills so VHF is line of site. I paid extra for GPS so kids can flip a flap and kick off distress which sends GSP location. Edmund Fitzgerald ring a bell.. We listen to the song going out to keep things in perspective.

    Tight lines and no such thing as a dumb question. Remember the fish has a brain the size of a pea and it outsmarts the best of us all the time. ;-)

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2019
    Location
    Illinois
    Posts
    5
    Guys, I really appreciate all of your posts and help. I think it will take some time and a lot of youtube videos to learn how to do this stuff but your feedback helped a lot. One part I am slightly confused about is whether or not I need line counting reels to run planner boards? I read somewhere I needed them but I must have misread this somewhere. Is it only when I am using non leadcore line like brade that I need a linecounter? I mean, I think I only need to been in like top 20 feet of water roughly so guessing if I keep the line pretty short from the planer board it will stay pretty shallow? Also, on lake Michigan using the traditional fire red 6 inch dodger with the fly can I use mini church boards? or stick to tx-22s or bigger?

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 1969
    Location
    south elgin
    Posts
    205
    Linecounters are unnecessary for leadcore setups because you should always let out the entire length of lead, plus maybe 10 feet of backing before clipping the board on. With mono or braid setups the counters are nice for repeating your stretch behind the board when you get hit. Your stretch may vary from day to day as far as productivity, but it's important to pay attention to the stretch that is working and repeat when you catch a fish and reset, or to match what's working with your other rods. You can accomplish this without linecounters by measuring how much line your particular reel lets out per pass of the levelwind and then count how many passes it takes to get your desired stretch from the board.

    I personally wouldn't go smaller than the tx22 size boards for running the small dodgers, and even those will struggle to get your bait to the side if your using leadcore. I would strongly recommend you check out the upcoming Salmon Unlimited Illinois Swap Meet on February 23rd. You can find tackle for pennies on the dollar and it's a great way to get into the game for cheap. There's also some great fishermen there that love to talk Salmon fishing and offer advice to new people. What better way to grow the sport we all love? Here's a link to our site with more info:https://www.salmonunlimitedinc.com/su-swap-meet

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2015
    Location
    New Holstein WI \ Western UP
    Posts
    232
    What do you fish the rest of the year?

    A Garcia 5600 and a 7 to 8 1/2 foot rod loaded with Power Pro Depth Hunter line 20 pound test will handle any coho that swims. The line is color coded like lead core, without the lead. No clumsy line counter needed. Dipsy, crankbait, or snap weight compatible. Wind the line on tight so it won't bury itself into the spool when a king hits.

    Take that same inland and you will be pleased.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Location
    calumet city illinois
    Posts
    3,187
    Quote Originally Posted by Jimmysalmon View Post
    Hello Everyone,

    I live in the northwest burbs of Chicago and am trying to figure out how to increase the amount of coho salmon I catch each spring on lake michigan. I have a 17 foot deep v boat so I stay pretty shallow when I go out, like no further than a mile. Anyways the last 2 years I have gone out using dipsy divers with the typical pink dodgers/flashers and green flys. I was just basically casting blind with no depth counters and spinning reel combos (all I could afford at the time), wnt out 4-5 hours each time to only catch one coho each outing (although 2 fish got off 2nd outing). I am thinking about buying two planer boards (Church tx-22), 2 okuma convector line counter reels (size 20dxa) and 2 trolling rods 8'6 medium power. Basically, I plan on running 2 planer board setups with flashers and flys, 1 dipsy setup with flasher and fly, and then on 1 other pole maybe a crankbait. Would you guys change anything? Keep in mind, I only fish in spring for cohos In like april/may. Any help/tips would be appreciated. I have had to self teach myself how to do this kinda fishing and I cant lie its been hard! My dream is to come home after a day on the water with enough salmon to take some good pictures and feed my family (not to mention feel embrassed when I am fileting my one salmon at station while another person is fileting 15 lol) Also, I am a bit confused on line selection for planer boards. Can I just use like a 25 pound braid for success or do I need leadcore/copper?
    spring in shore is all top 10 FOW for coho 5/8 or 3/4 keel sinker in front of the bait on planner boards
    orange dodgers and peanut flys 17" from hook tip to dodger remember 5 fish is you limit stick with stick baits red thin fins and fly early and all you wil have to worry about is not going over limit east Chicago Indiana wall and cal harbor wall or at cal harbor line of green cans /gap get out there early ice out its lock and load can't wait to get out there myself but be careful the fish is not the only one that gets hooked !

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Apr 2018
    Location
    muncie indiana
    Posts
    12
    have you just tried flatlining small medium and shallow diving cranks for early season coho's. i use to fish michigan city indiana and new buffalo michigan. and run cranks on flatlines with 2 larger broken backs down 20' on my riggers for kings. the coho are typically shallow. have even caught them in the prop wash off the back of the boat with shallow cranks.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Feb 2019
    Location
    Illinois
    Posts
    5
    Hey guys!

    Typically I bass fish in Illinois in summer and when I have time I go up to northern Wisconsin and fish for pike and smallmouth. I have a 17 foot deep v sc tracker 2001. I’ve been out on lake Michigan when it got really choppy and I must admit it scared me lol. So I typically stay out in the 100-150 depth range which is pry not even a mile off shore. I find it insane that I have spent so much money salmon fishing when I only get out once a year typically lol. But I love fishing, love eating fish, and really want to be successful. If my brother and law and I could catch like 2-3 salmon each we would both be quite happy. So, I ended up buying an okamu 20 convector reel, and Daiwa sealine 27, 20 pound braid line, 2 8’6 medium trolling rods, tx22 planer (still gotta by more planers and will def go with walleye boards per your recommendations) all stuff on sale. Btw Cabela’s has the Daiwa sealine 27s with linecounters on sale for 69.99 and they are literally 109 bucks most other places new and free shipping. Be quick cuz they go fast! Waited on an abu ambassador for too long and they sold out. I think I will try leadcore next year at this point. It’s expensive and I feel overwhelmed trying to learn everything as is lol. Btw I have tried using crankbaits/rattle traps but only got one bite So not much luck there. Btw the two times I’ve gone in mid/late May I fished at Winthrop harbor just over wisconsin IL border. I usually wait till May because I don’t enjoy freezing temps and icy water splashing me all day lol. I don’t have any sort of cabin or barrier in my boat so when water hits boat we get wet as well lol

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Dec 1969
    Location
    south elgin
    Posts
    205
    Jimmy, usually the end of May is the right time to fish close to shore for the Coho run up in Winthrop. The previous couple of years before last, the Coho were all out in deep water but last year they were where they typically would be that time of year. If you keep at what you're doing, you will catch more fish and soon be addicted to fishing for Salmon. You will gain tackle, experience, and confidence with every fish you catch and every fish you catch will lead to more fish. I fished out of a 16.5 Lund for many years, and still do in the colder nearshore months. You just have to know your limitations and pick your days and you will fill your freezer pretty quickly. Talking to and asking the right questions to those guys with limits at the cleaning station will serve you well.

    If the fish are there, you can catch spring Coho with spinning tackle, mono line, a few different weight sizes, and a couple crankbaits, spoons, and dodger/flies. Keeping it simple at first is your best bet so you can focus on perfecting those techniques.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Feb 2019
    Location
    Illinois
    Posts
    5
    Thank Tyeell! I guess iv been doing something right at least lol! Quick question, I have collected so much conflicting information all over the web. Do I really need leadcore when fishing shallows for cohos in spring? From what I understand, the only real benefit is that it gets line out deeper. Should I have bought higher pound test that 20 pound braid if I plan on using planer boards tx-22-tx40 size? Also, will I have any issues attaching braid to these boards?

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jun 2015
    Location
    New Holstein WI \ Western UP
    Posts
    232
    Lead core? No. Small flashers do need some weight to get them down. Lots of ways other than lead core to get them down. A few years ago, Franks outdoors in Pinnconning MI had 10 packs of the correct OR release, red with a pin, for 25 bucks per a 10 pack. I use snap weights if I need weight in the spring.

    Spring time on the GL, my rods are 7 to 8 1/2 foot ML to medium, the reels are four each Abu 6600 C-4, 2 each Abu 6500 LC, and 2 each Abu 6500 C-4. There is an antique red 6500 in reserve. 20 or 30 pound braid, 300 yards each. I have never had a spring fish come close to using that much line, sometimes I will hang up a hot bait in the rocks and need the line to clear and return to dislodge the bait.

    20 pound braid will work. I do not want my boards moving or tripping with a fish. I use offshore boards, mostly. I replaced the back with a red OR release. You can spin a loop in your hand and put the loop under the front clamp, be sure to put the line behind the pin on the rear release. I have had no problem with 20 pound braid slipping.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Dec 1969
    Location
    south elgin
    Posts
    205
    Most charter captains just use keel sinkers to keep their baits just under the surface. It's really the most simple, least expensive way to get the job done, and the sinker makes a great stopper so if you set your boards to release, they won't hit the fish in the face and knock them off. I run 4 to 6 foot leaders behind my keel sinkers, and you could probably get by with just 5/8 and 1-1/4 oz. sinkers in the spring.

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