4/12/23 Waukegan Fishing Report and Coho Catching Tips

Coho Report Out of Waukegan Harbor

This season is starting off strong with limits getting caught pretty quickly. The power-liners fishing from the piers are taking limits too. What’s that tell us? We start fishing in front of the harbor and typically will work south as that is the direction the coho migrate up from. Fish should hold in 10-30’ foot of water for the foreseeable future. However, their movement will be dictated by prevailing wind patterns, water clarity, and bait movement. The alewives are pre-spawn and loaded around the harbor. Pre-spawn alewives are large and this will come into context later in this article. We predict solid coho fishing from now until into June.

Crank-baits or Dodger/Fly Combo?

We know a lot of anglers, especially kayak anglers, like pulling crank baits and they certainly have their place. However once the surface temperature of the water reaches 42 degrees, dodger/fly combos will yield higher catch numbers. Insects start to hatch which closer resembles a fly. Dodgers have a much larger profile and can bring fish in from a distance that a crank bait cannot mimic. Coho have a definite draw toward 00 size orange/red dodgers and the fire-dot dodgers in early season.

Choosing the Right Flies

Slider vs. Tied to the hook - Both work equally well. Slider flies tend to offer more longevity than those tied to the hook as they can be slid up the line when unhooking the fish. The slider also moves while in the fishes mouth. Hence, they do not get destroyed nearly as fast as those tied to the hook. Sliders may cost more up-front, but in the long run are worth the money spent. Keep the hooks sharp!

Color - On sunny days we like to load up with light blues and greens that are mixed with mirage or pearl. The sun’s reflection off the alewife really dictates the color of the day or hour at times, but without some trial we don’t know what that is. Overcast and rainy days we tend to lean toward darker greens, blues, purple and black again mixed with mirages or holographic material. If a fly gets bit more than 2 or 3 times and others are not performing, change them out for the preferred color or something close. One staple that is a must have as the seasons progresses is blue/green/gold. We’ll get into this more in future blogs. We’ll also discuss stubby dodgers and 2” flies.

Spring Kings = Magnum Spoons

There are definitely some nice kings in the mix during the spring as the water temperature is favorable for them while its in the 40’s. Earlier we mentioned the size of the pre-spawn alewives, which is why in the spring we lean toward the magnum spoons if we are targeting a king or two. The coho salmon do not respond well to spoons until the waters warm up into the 50’s and the alewives are post-spawn. 

Hopefully these tidbits of information help fill your coolers.

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