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What is the secret to catching coho's? I was down there today and didn't have any luck. I know that a waxworm is a good choice, but what do you use with it? Any advice?

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Buy some smaller size little cleos. They cast well and the coho love them, not to mention the loopers. From shore, I've always had luck with blue and silver. Smaller krock spoons work great too. BC

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A looper bug with a waxie or two works also. Cast it out under a big Looper type bobber (weighted) The bait shops will set ya up! Good luck!

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  • 'we have more fun' FishingMN Builders

I have been up there and every one catching loopers and cohos but us dumb college kids from ely could not get a bite and this old timer set us up and even gave us his special bait and everything and we still caught nothing. The old man told us well dont go to the casino.

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  • 'we have more fun' FishingMN Builders

Any one else miss those Alantics that they use to stock? They were so tasty and fought so well.

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I had one on drifting in front of the Lester with my dad in his 16 footer a loooong time ago. Came out of the water five times. About blew a gasket in the old ticker grin.gif. Alas, the fith time is yet just a memory as I watched the beauty come out and fling my spoon about a mile high in the sky. The fish won, but I will always have the memory. BC

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  • 'we have more fun' FishingMN Builders

last one i heard caught was at cascade and my grandpa and i ate em it was tasty it had to be 12 pounds and that was in 1997.

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Buck:

There is no secret to catching cohos from shore. You fish for 'loopers with floating spawn bags or floating crawlers, both fished on a slip rig off the bottom. Or you put a 'looper bug tipped with waxies under a bobber and fish it 3 to 6 feet down.

That's how I did it for three seasons. Half my catch was cohos. Loopers sure were bigger, but cohos sure tasted better. grin.gif

Here's a deal I typed up awhile back on loopers and coho. It's an oldie (only the vets here will know if it's a "goodie"), but the basics of this thing hold true over time.

********************

Here’s a quick course on loopers the way I do it. Others do things slightly differently, and there’s lots of room for difference and experimentation, but these are the basic shore angler looper techniques. Thought I’d run through the whole thing all in one post, so it’s all there instead of scattered piecemeal throughout the board.

Rods: 8 to 10 foot spinning rods, light action that’s appropriate for 4 to 8 lb line. Stiff butt and fast tip are good. You can use shorter rods, but long rods mean longer casts and more shock resistance when you’re fighting a fish. The also keep your line off the waves that break near shore, which can pull your rig into rocks if your rod’s too short. You can find affordable rods from $40 to $80.

Reels: Spinning reels. I use the inexpensive 4000 series Shimano reels, which have smooth enough drags and a big spool. Big spool also means longer casts since each revolution contains more line on a big spool compared to a small one. These reels run about $30.

Line: Maxima 6 lb, with a 6 lb fluorocarbon leader about three feet long. I use fluoro on the live bait slip rigs because it’s one more advantage against sometimes finicky trout. Whatever your main line is, whether mono or braid, it MUST be abrasion resistant. Standard soft lines will get chewed up on the rocks when a fish runs.

Rigging: There are two basic live bait rigs, the slip rig and the bobber rig. The slip rig is just like a walleye slip sinker rig, except the sinker is a slinky (how to make them later). On main line, slip on the sinker, then tie a barrel or ball-bearing swivel, then 3 feet or so of fluorocarbon, then a small strong hook, a No. 8 or 10. You bait them with floating spawn sacks (you can buy them or make them) or a night crawler hooked once or twice and injected with air so it floats. Some guys add a twist of green or red yarn as an attractor, but that’s never made a difference for me. However, it’s all what you’re confident in, and experimenting is part of fishing. You hook the spawn bag by passing the hook through the fabric gathered in a knot. It’ll never cast off the hook if properly hooked. The other rig is a slip-bobber. The bobber of choice is a custom made weighted bobber that casts a mile, is available at Duluth tackle stores and is called a Ross bobber. I don’t use fluorocarbon on this rig because I tie it like a standard slip bobber, with the knot first (no bead needed, since the bobber has one built in). Tie a looper bug on the end (small weighted jig especially made for this. Cheap and in all the Duluth tackle stores). Tip the looper bug with a couple waxies. The bobber slides all the way down to the bug before you cast, which is another reason you can cast a mile with them. I set mine from 3 to 5 feet deep. The bugs come in all colors, with black and purple being the standards and most commonly used. But some days bright colors are better. Don’t worry if the bobber drifts back in close to shore. Lots of fish come only 30 feet offshore, not just from farther out. A note on bobber color: Black is best in many situations. If the sun is out, North Shore anglers are staring into it, and it’s low in winter, so black shows up really well in silhouette. I like the blaze orange on days when color shows up easily. Get a couple of each and see which color works best for you. Some folks chuck spoons for loopers in winter/early spring and catch some, but with the water so cold I think your odds of catching them are better with the bait/bobber rigs.

Rod holders: I use 2-foot-long PVC pipe in 1.5 inch diameter and buy steel dowel from the hardware store, cutting it about 3 feet long. Using black electrical tape, wrap it around and around, fastening the rod to the outside of the PVC with about 2 feet sticking out. You can drive these into the pebble/sand beaches using a handy rock (watching out you don’t shatter the PVC), or you can use bigger stones to make a pile and anchor the shaft. With these holders and the 8.5-foot rods I use, the tip of your line stands over 10 feet off the ground, keeping it out of the close-in breakers. But standard 7-foot walleye spinning rods with the lower-capacity reels work OK. You can’t cast quite as far and it’s a bit harder to keep the line off the waves, but plenty of guys who don’t want to shell out for new rods/reels do it that way, and they catch fish too.

Slinky sinkers: I make them by buying nylon hockey laces, some shot in bulk and some big split shot sinkers, as well as some snap swivels. You’ll need a lighter, too. Cut the hockey lace into about 3-inch lengths. Burn one end with the lighter to seal it. Stuff in shot (I used No. 8 shot), as much as you think you want. Then put in a couple big split shot and work them down in, which will pack the shot nicely. Then trim and burn the open end, flattening it with your fingers when it cools a bit. Then open the snap swivel and stick it through the flattened end beyond the melt, through the lace and back out the other side. Fasten. There you go, a slinky, and way cheaper than you can buy them. Mine averaged about 2 inches long. Not sure how much weight, but you’ll lose far fewer slinky rigs than with standard sinkers.

Some other notes: Half my catch was loopers, half coho. The season picks up in January and continues to get better, especially around the rivers, right up through the April spawn. You can set the hook hard on loopers, which usually take in the whole bait right away, but cohos bite more gently, a rat-a-tat-tat kind of thing, and I’d hook them by slowly tightening up the line and reeling in. No need to set, because the hooks are sharp. If you set it on a coho bite you’ll often pull it right out of the fish’s mouth. I have one stiffer rod that I used for the spawn bag rigs (which stay on the hook no matter what) and the bobber rigs. Made for really long casts. My softer rod I used for the crawler rig, which needs the softer touch while casting. And you won’t get it out that far, but it won’t matter. At least half my fish came on the crawler. Use patience when fighting and landing these fish. A 9-pound looper on 6 lb line is a lot of fun and a lot of fight. No net needed. As the fish tires, you can ease it right up on shore, allowing the waves to help push the fish in. Of course, if you’re on a rock shelf instead of a beach you’ll probably want a net.

Good luck.

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My all time best Coho rig is a small hook and a half crawler on a slinky rig. Blow up the crawler.

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  • 'we have more fun' FishingMN Creators

Thats all good advice. I'll add, be on the ball when tending your rods. Its not often you have your rod double over with a fish run. Often your going to get a couple pecks and if your off visiting with your neighbors your not going to know you've just been bit. If your not holding your rod you should then you should be within arms reach.

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At times I've had pretty good luck fishing with a 1/32 oz. white jig like a ratso tipped with a grub. But like st said you have to be on the ball. Its not as layed back as floating a crawler or spawn bag.

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  • 'we have more fun' FishingMN Builders

Well I cant wait to get some coho's again and maybe a big looper for the wall because they are pretty fish. I heard some of the coho were running 2 -3 pounds is that right? My first landed looper any one know if this is just a redfin laker or a splake?

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http://i37.photobucket.com/albums/e93/monstermoose78/Scan0001.jpg

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Good advice... I have had bites where all you seen was a little difference in how the rod was bouncing with the wind or waves, just a little tick out of sequence. I had one like that and I pointed to the rod and told the guy next to me it was a bite and he said no way until I set the hook into a fish. He said he would never had thought that was a fish.

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It's hard to tell from your photo. If it is a splake, it will have color markings similar to a brook trout but will have a forked tail like a lake trout. If it's a brook trout, it will have a squared off tail. If you caught it in Superior it is more than likely a laker or brook trout. I don't believe they stock splake in superior so it would have to be a natural occuring splake in superior which would be a rare catch. It can be tough to id fish out of superior at times because of lack of color, but the tail is always a good identifying characteristic for these species. The first picture is a looper so I'm guessing your wondering about the fish in the second picture. Nice fish by the way!

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looks like a laker to me. they do stock splake in superior, but they tend to stick around the chequamigan bay area where they are stocked. I have not personally heard of any being caught on the north shore but i suppose it could happen. confused.gif

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Im also guessing a Laker but a hard pic to ID it from. My kneck got all kinked up. wink.gifLooks like Laker markins on the side and I dont see any coloration at all except maybe a bit on fins.

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Pretty tough to tell without being able to see the tail. A laker will be deeply forked, a brookie square, and a splake somewhere in between. I'll bet it was tasty either way though grin.gif

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  • 'we have more fun' FishingMN Builders

its tail was not a deep as the laker as the other laker i caught that day and i was just wondering. It meat was so red colored but it was very good on the table. I knew that they dont stock splake but it was the most colorful laker i have caught then. I have caught lots of splake from northern minnesota and this fish just tossed me a curve. Most of the lakers i caught while fishing the Nshore are not as color full.

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Was the color just on the fins or did it have any color "spots" on the body? I've caught 2 coaster brookies both near the mouth of the cascade. At first glance I was thinking a lake trout. Then when I looked closer they had faint red spots with the blue ring and a sqaure tail. If yours had a forked tail then it is a laker unless it had the colored spots on the main body then it is probably a rare splake. The meat on the splake that I've eaten is much more like a brook trout than a laker. I don't know what the meat looked or tasted like on the coasters I caught because I released them.

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  • 'we have more fun' FishingMN Builders

I have also caught those wonderful coasters brookies but just not one over the 20 inch mark. Lots of 17-19 inchers in the rivers while tryin for chinook. This fish was just different then any other laker and the colors in a picture did not come out as well.

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Yeah, I hear ya. The ones I caught were also in that 17" - 19" range. Cool fish for sure.

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stfcatfish - thank you for the great post, that was really informative. I caught a nice looper the first time I tried a number of years back, but haven't tried it again since. My buddy who talked me into it hadn't caught one in years, and still hasn't (clearly a sore spot for him...of course I remind whenever I can) I didn't know much about what I was doing then, but see I was pretty much right on with the bobber/looper bug method (got the quick lesson at Marine General). I can't even remember where we fished...I think it was the Lester. Seems like it was a little later than this in the year, but I do remember there was ice hanging from my jacket, and later when the water went over my wader tops when I decided to venture out a little for the REALLY BIG CAST, I was done. But I remember it was a fun, new fishing experience. Thanks for the lesson!

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  • Your Responses - Share & Have Fun :)

    • redlabguy
      Mark, Glad your crew had another great outing. It’s always good to read your reports. Just wish there were more of them like the old days. Sorry you hit the storm. One of the worst in our 14 years. We’ll be dealing with dock issues for a long time but nothing like the good folks in Cook have.  The fishing has come around a little since the storm. Definitely nightcrawler now. I don’t get far out of Frazer but the reefs are where the action is. Looking forward to hearing from you in September.  My best to you and Linda, RLG p.s. Our good old red lab, Ole, cashed it in last summer, but we have a 6 month old lab now who is learning the ropes up here (and teaching us we’re older than we think we are!)
    • Mike89
    • leech~~
      No can see?  
    • smurfy
      yeppers......nuttin more aggravating the boat motor issues!!!!!!!   what was the problem the first time???????
    • Hookmaster
      Nice fish Kettle. Hope it's really "fixed" next time.
    • Rivergroup
      Our group will be returning in September as well. Wish we were able to be there now to lend a hand.
    • smurfy
      dang...tough to hear..........hope the good people up there recover soon!!!!!!!!!
    • MarkB
      We just returned this afternoon from 6 days on Vermilion. We arrived Saturday and enjoyed 3 fantastic days of walleye fishing. My cousin, our friend Greg, and myself fished several of our spring spots and found fish on all of them. Water temperatures were pretty much 65-67 degrees everywhere we fished. The wind was variable and made boat control a challenge at times. Bait was not an issue and we had success on crawlers(Tim), leeches(Greg), and minnows(me). If I had to pick one of those as catching the most fish, it would be crawlers. Our best day totalled 48 walleyes, 4 smallmouth, and 2 big JUMBOS. We ended up with over a hundred walleyes, 12 jumbos 11"-13", and 10 smallmouth to 18". Our biggest walleye was 24.5" and the balance went from 13"-22". There are lots of 14"-16" walleyes this year which are perfect eaters. The mayfly hatch was in full bloom in some areas but we found very few mayflies in the water column over rock reefs. We caught our fish in depths ranging from 10' to 32'. I didn't fish in any area where I could see mayflies top to bottom in the water column. Slow trolling in the .3mph to .6mph worked and we caught nothing using slip bobbers. Terminal tackle was a 3'-4' 10# flurocarbon leader, 2 lime colored beads, and a plain #6 Gamakatsu walleye hook . Snags are always an issue when fishing in and around the rocks and when the fish are biting they are acceptable. NOW, for the bad news.......Tuesday was a day I won't soon forget. The area suffered devastating torrential rainfall. Lightning was non-stop for several hours and when things settled down, flood damage was everywhere. We checked our rain guage on the side of the cabin and we got 7 3/4 " in a little over 4 hours! Breezy Point road washed out, Mud Creek road washed out as did several others in the area. Cooke business area was completely covered with flood water. I would consider it a disaster area and should be declared as such. We couldn't find a dock anywhere that wasn't covered with water. People were stranded behind flood covered and washed out roads. Dock decking, limbs and such were floating everywhere in the big water. My group sends our prayers to the people of that beautiful country that lost their businesses, homes, and suffered damage to their lake properties. The people of that north country are resilient and we have confidence that they will recover. We stayed our final 3 days but didn't fish at all Tuesday. Our last 2 days showed the effects of the storm. Water temps dropped to 64 degrees and our premo fishing became 10 walleye days. We did manage to catch a dozen really nice jumbos. We plan on returning in September and we pray the area will have returned to normal by then. I haven't figured out how to transfer photos from my phone to my computer yet so no pictures at this time. Good Fishing and God be with you. MarkB
    • SkunkedAgain
      Word is that the river has peaked and therefore the town can start the process of recovering sooner.
    • smurfy
      Heard that too. Also heard 38 was closed for a but north of rapids due to flooding.    I know the water really came up when I was up last week compared to when I was there in April. 
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