Tip #26 Trick or Treat - Candy for Muddy Water Silvers!
OK, we get enough requests for fishing tips....I'll let this one out of the bag. The recent rains on the Peninsula brought this one to mind as I looked out the back door at the slowly changing conditions on the Kenai River. Levels are rising and an increase in silt from the Killey River is decreasing visibility as each hour passes.
Fortunately for the silver salmon angler, their quarry is a versatile opponent who will slash out at a passing lure in clear water or root out a tempting bait in silt laden streams or muddy tide waters. Their keen sense of smell is uncanny as I once observed one afternoon while fishing for silvers from a favorite sandbar. I had an old skein of eggs in the boat which were sunbaked and dried out too much to use. I figured the young salmon and trout would enjoy an extra treat so I cut the skein into about a dozen half inch cubes and tossed them in the fast flowing current. About an hour later I tied into a nice silver of 12 pounds and proceeded to clean the fish.
I noticed there was a bulge in the fish's stomach...highly unusual for a species that doesn't normally eat once it enters fresh water. But there in its stomach was almost every single small piece of roe I had tossed into the drink. And the bottom of this run is strewn with 12 inch and larger rocks. I can only visualize that coho rooting out every one of those hard little cubes from between the gaps in the rocks on the bottom. From then on I realized silvers key on scent much more than I ever imagined.
Salmon roe itself provides great scent in muddy water when fishing for silvers. And it has a large following among freshwater anglers across Alaska. But the next time you find the fish a bit reluctant to bite, try doping up your eggs with a drop or two of anise oil. You can buy it in the spice section of any grocery store for a couple bucks a bottle. Anise, for those in the dark, is a licorice scent used in candies. It is VERY powerful and a little goes a LONG way. You can even try dabbing some on your favorite silver lure or troll herring and see if it might change your luck. Its worth tossing a bottle in your tackle box and do a little experimenting when the going get tough. Just don't let the "competition" see what you are using!
Save a few for spawning,
One Note of Caution: Anise oil is also used quite successfully as a lure for hunting bears over bait in areas where this is allowed. For those anglers who may be fishing the bush in bear country, or camping out, it might be best to leave the anise at home and stick with your regular bait. No sense in inviting trouble!
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