Drifting fishing roe is one of my favorite ways to fish for coho, especially with it is a humpy year – as the humpys tend to leave the roe alone.
Rod and Reel
A typical drift fishing rod works well. A spinning rod with a sensitive tip, moderate action rated for 8-15 pound line. Matched up with a spinning reel that holds about 100-150 yards of line.
I typically drift fish with 10 pound high-vis izor line.
The terminal tackle is pretty simple, but it is a good thing to tie up your leaders at home so you can spend your time on the water rigging up for when the inventible break off occurs.
The leader is typically 3 to 4 feet long, and consists of 1 or 2 hooks – usually size 4 – and a drift bobber like a corkie or cheater. The drift bobber helps compensate for the weight of the roe. The hooks are tied on with the egg loop knot.
Between the leader and the mainline there is a snap swivel, and attached to the snap is your drift weight – usually pencil lead weight or slinkie.
When ready to fish take a piece of roe – usually about quarter size. Put the hook through the skein membrane and secure it fast with the egg loop.
The result looks like this. Detailed instructions on how to rig the egg leader and drift fishing setup can be found on the gear page.
How To Fish It
The amount of roe to use will vary based on water conditions. Let the fish tell you what size bait they prefer, but when in doubt go smaller.
Remember to do a gentle cast – otherwise that roe will be ripped off the hooks.
Cast it out across the current. Let it drift downstream – keeping the rod pointed at the line. Once it has completed the swing, then reel in and do it again.
The bite is usually indicated by a small twitch, or even just the line pausing as the fish mouths the roe. If you feel something suspicious then set the hook.
The right amount of weight is dependent on the current and depth. You should feel it tap bottom once every 1 to 2 seconds. More than that indicates to much weight. Less is too little weight.
If fishing froggy water with this setup then you may need to use a second – or larger – drift bobber. The current has a lifting effect, so you need to compensate if the current is minimal.
More information about coho fishing can be found here.