Racine Coho salmon

Water Body

First outing of the year and typically more fish around Racine than Milwaukee so the extra time on the road usually worth it. Friends had been doing well near the mouth of the Root or a bit north or south in <30fow. This time of year sometimes we can also find Coho in deeper water and have a better chance at a mixed bag. Two to four pound Coho for me the best table fare of the five species we troll for. However this time in the season not the most challenging on our typical salmon gear.

There were no reports available in part because who wants to spend all that gas when you are into fish before the big engine gets warmed up? I decided to head SE of the harbor because they migrate north and late AM winds were to switch to the SE. When setting lines in 65fow excited to see a bunch of marks on the screen 10-25’down. By the time we had all our lines in the screen was blank. Marked a couple of fish on the bottom in 90fow then headed south at 100fow to skirt the edge of the third hill. Occasional mark on the bottom, no bait and 43.1 surface temp. We only gave that area about 1/2hr and I moved the cursor to where I thought we started trolling and put in a waypoint. Headed due west to get to shallower water and the contour we marked fish. No bites and once we got to the way point no marks so headed west from there. We didn’t get far and mono board back 50’ Brad’s Thin Fish Red/black squiggles fired for first fish of the year at 8AM.

We had 4 more bites in next 20 min so called a buddy to let him know. Once he got there he called to say he had a 9# king on a spoon scraping the bottom. Sounded like a good idea so put on a reg Dirty Oz on SWR setting the rigger 10’ of the bottom and < 10min pulled an 11 pounder. There were lots of marks from 48-60 fow and big hay stacks of bait on the bottom that never came up but must have kept the fish there. Hot ticket for the day was Brad’s ThinFish solid brass color back 30’ on mono board taking 4 of our six bows. Told my buddy and had 2 in that color so he copied and took a nice bow. Good ol Brad’s Spotted Cow was in it’s center rigger position down 42 behind a white flasher going 2 for 3 including the 10.5# LT. We had really steady action and sitting on 14 at 10AM but things really slowed despite lots and lots of hooks albeit small. It was a beautiful day with a little chop and nothing to do but wait for a few more dumb ones and agreed we’d pull at 1PM. Last bite 103.

Water temp 45.5 and 43 down 30. A little current from the north so kept running our nw to se course. Ran out of marks >60fow or <45fow. Pushed the speed for coho at 2.6-2.8 on the Depth Raider(subtract 0.4mph for older version). Hook up rate pretty good for Coho going 20-24 with 1 king, 1 LT, 6 bows and 12 Coho getting out mixed bag but not where we expected to.

Mono board Brad’s Brass ThinFish back 30’ 4 for 4

Mono board Brad’s Red/black ThinFish back 50’ 1-1 then Brass model 1-1

2 color red dodger/dbl aqua fly 2-3

2colors red dodger/purple fly 0-0 the dbl aqua 1-2

2 colors red dodger/LBB fly 2-2

3 colors red dodger/pwdr blue fly 1-1

Dipsy 3 set 30loc red dodger/LBB 0-1

Dipsy 1.5 set 25loc 8” orange Bechhold/Blue longtail 0-0 then red dodger/dbl aqua 2-2

Dipsy 1.5set 28loc Orange Opti/Cross Dresser0-0 then red dodger/dbl aqua 2-2

Rigger 42 down Spotted Cow/White flasher 2-3

Rigger SWR 20-50 Brad’s NBK 0-0 then reg dirty Oz 2-2
Rigger 20-40 Big Al’s Flasher silver/Brad’s Seahawk 0-0 then NBK spoon 0-0

Interesting that my typical 8” flasher dipsy go to setups didn’t work. Maybe the Coho are not big enough yet. They should get bigger because lots of 6” alewife in their stomachs.

Grey Beard



  1. Nice report! I stopped down to South Pier while I was in Racine on Tuesday afternoon/evening. With the howling east/northeast winds, I was surprised to see so many alewives stacked up. Seagulls & Cohos were on the feed. Pearl Fluke on a 1/2oz darter head was hard to beat. With the 3-5foot waves, the fish were hugging the bottom right along the mud line from the river.

  2. Nice first trip of the year Michael!

    Great to see such a good report. Hopefully its an indicator of the success we will see out there this summer.

  3. We went Saturday morning 5/10 out of Racine and got 8 coho, 1 steelhead (pictured) Trolled from the harbor down to the filtration plant usually in 25-30 fow. Fun day and tasty bunch of fish to bring home!

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