Hello and welcome to the Windycitysalmon Online Store where you can purchase a variety of different coho salmon and steelhead trolling flies.
I hand-tie all of the coho flies you see pictured below and primarily employ these exact flies you see here when taking clients out fishing for coho salmon and steelhead during the spring months. In other words, I don’t have a set of flies that I sell and another set that I fish with. I don’t skimp on material or speed-tie; your flies are my flies. All coho flies are tied on X – Strong, VMC round bend hooks. Standard size is #4 hook for spring fish. Select patterns are also available on larger #2 hooks for bigger, late-spring and summer coho and steelhead. All flies are carefully finished with reinforcing Loon Hard Head gloss cement. Under most circumstances, an 18-inch leader (40 or 50# monofilament) from the tip of the loop to the back of the hook will perform the best when run behind 6″ or similar size (red/orange or firedot) dodgers or flashers. I prefer 6″ Jensen dodgers however the same size Alderton Action flashers can work very well when teamed-up with select patterns.
The southwest corner of Lake Michigan where Waukegan is located, is the most productive area of Lake Michigan each spring-season for coho salmon. This legendary coho fishery yields huge hauls of fish for our charter clients as well as private sport fisherman, from April to July. Charter operations from all over the lake descend on Waukegan waters each spring to capitalize on the schools of coho that mass-up and go on spring-long feeding frenzies. Trust a captain and fisherman who knows coho, grew up with and now makes his living, fishing for coho salmon with these same flies.
If you have any questions about the flies, feel free to call or email me. Good luck and good fishing!
– Captain Rick Bentley –
All coho flies are $4.75 each (+ $0.50 for #2 hooks). You can increase quantities at checkout. FREE SHIPPING on all fly orders, twelve flies minimum. Orders of eleven or less flies will carry a flat $5 shipping fee.
Junebug Coho Flies – I began tying the Junebug coho fly for the 2012 season and these were a TOP producer, often occupying half or more of my standard 16 rod spring-spread. Usually works best when fishing a little further offshore over the second half of the coho season. The Junebug coho fly has remained a solid producer now among all of my trolling flies. Available on #4 or #2 hooks
Lime Ricky Coho Flies – I began tying the Lime Ricky coho fly for the 2011 season, this unique pattern shined that year and has done well ever since. It seems to do particularly well in the more stained, shallower water which we often experience in the spring after high wind/waves stir up shoreline sediment. But don’t overlook it for offshore either.
Blue Liz Coho Flies – One of the best patterns ever tied for coho flies but not an original of mine. For my version, I shrunk it down to ‘peanut size’, put it on a red hook and this still is often among my best trolling flies. This fly works well under any light condition in clearer, unstained and further offshore waters during the second half of coho season.
Aqua Mirage Coho Flies – A top producing trolling fly every season. Sometimes called the ‘improved’ or ‘revised’ or teal and mirage, this fly becomes a go-to pattern and works under a variety of light conditions and water clarity. This coho fly can also work very well at times when run behind a 6″ Jensen Firedot (yellow and red dot) dodger or the Adlerton Action flasher.
Two-tone, lime-aqua Coho Flies – This is a legacy, stand-bye pattern among our spring coho flies, known as ‘two-tone’ in Waukegan. It continues to perform well every season. But especially early in the season and in shallow, stirred-up water. But has also been a recent star when run down deep (60-90′) for offshore schools of coho, in other recent seasons.
Bleu Cheese – One of the best trolling flies you can run to try and target steelhead up on the surface. Dark blue and copper. There is something about the color copper that the steelhead can see well and they like. This is a trolling fly that does well with steelhead if they are around and they catch coho too. I prefer to run this fly when fishing further offshore, in clearer water, on an outside planer board.
Purple Liz – Purple Liz Coho Flies – Similar to the blue liz but with purple flashabou instead. Sometimes coho seem to prefer these trolling flies a little more when they are more finicky with other colors. I do particularly well on this fly later in the coho season when running it in clearer, offshore water, on my inside dipsies, closest to the boat, 12-25 feet out. I remember many days when, ‘this was the one’.
Rainier Coho Flies – I tied the Rainier pattern for the 2013 season, when we discovered that our coho were feeding heavily on what looked like common house flies. There hadn’t been anything else out there like it and there still isn’t. I was very excited to run it in 201, it did not disappoint, and catches its share of coho every season
Oasis Coho Flies – New for the 2013 season, these mirage and powder blue-aqua trolling flies are a big up-and-comer and are sometimes my best fly when fishing under a bright sun. This coho fly has done well in both clear or stained/stirred water. However, the fish seem to like it the most when further offshore in clearer water. At times it had best when running it behind the Jensen 6′ Firedot (yellow and red dot) dodger.
Black/Blue/Purple Coho Flies – A classic, three-tone standbye legacy pattern. It is one of those patterns that works well under any light condition and is often a pattern that you load up your spread with when the coho indicate their preference.
The Rocky Fly – New Platinum Series – Coho Flies – New for the 2020 Season wass the Rocky Fly. I call it that because like Rocky, is bruised purple and blue but ends up shining thru in the end with its segment of mirage. It’s a variation of the Black/Blue/Purple above but omits the black while adding the mirage. Adding some kind of extra shine in recent seasons had really added to my catches. This pattern goes along with that theme and performed well during it’s first season.
The Drago Fly – New Platinum Series – Coho Flies – New for the 2020 Season was the Drago Fly. If you have Rocky, you have to have Drago. And the red in this fly of course is its name influence. It’s a new twist on the discontinued RBS (Red/Black/Silver) fly I used to tie. But replacing silver with mirage as extra shine in recent seasons had improved my catches. The Drago Fly performed well in its first season. Especially when the bite seemed a little off and one or two Drago Flies in the spread stood out and contrasted among other patterns the fish were not seeing.
The Lime Hornet Fly – New Platinum Series – Coho Flies – New for the 2020 Season was the Lime Hornet Fly. I call it that because the black segment, hook, and head contrasts with the segment of shiny mirage, like a bald-faced hornet, while keeping it true to coho tastes of liking the lime color. Adding some kind of extra shine in recent seasons had really added to my catches. This pattern goes along with that theme as well as offering multiple, different color contrasts, which our fish have liked recently too. The Lime Hornet caught fish, as predicted, in the Covid shortened 2020 Season. And will continue to be tested thoroughly in the seasons to come.
Ricky’s 3-Tone Fly – New Platinum Series – Coho Flies – New for the 2020 Season was the Ricky’s 3-Tone fly. A Windycitysalmon original, this is the marriage of three, top-producing coho fly patterns; Two-tone, Aqua mirage, and Lime Ricky. Encapsulating the features of all three flies in one; lime, aqua, and mirage. I was excited to try it in 2020 and it proved to be the best fly on the boat on numerous occasions. Even though we had a late start to fishing due to Covid, I suspect it will be a top performer in the seasons to come, over the months of April, May, and June.
Mardi Gras Coho Fly – New for the 2021 season but not an original Windycitysalmon design, the Mardi Gras was originally tied by a now retired Captain, ‘Punch’. According to Punch, he intended to tie blue/green/gold but was out of blue and had plenty of purple. So he tied it with purple and it worked. It’s a proven winner but has been overlooked for a few years now. So I decided to resurrect it with a glossy, red head to further boost the color contrast and plan to weave it back into my coho spread. No explanation needed in regards to why it’s called the Mardi Gras. As they say in New Orleans: Laissez Les Bon Temps Rouler