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The Top Fly Colors for Pacific Northwest Species

Fly fishing in the Pacific Northwest is a thrilling adventure, offering anglers the opportunity to target a diverse range of species such as coho salmon, black rockfish, chum salmon, sea run cutthroat trout, and steelhead. While skillful casting and presentation are essential, choosing the right fly color CAN make all the difference. In this guide, we'll delve into the top fly colors for each of these exciting species to help you maximize your success on the water. Follow along as we highlight our favorites!

  1. Coho Salmon - Purple, Black, Pink and Blue are our favorites! Coho salmon, known for their aggressive nature, demand attention-grabbing flies. Purple, black, pink and blue flies are proven winners when targeting these powerful fighters. The bold contrast of blue and black patterns can trigger aggressive strikes, while the purple and pink entice even the most finicky coho in various water conditions into taking a bite. Whether fishing in clear or murky waters, having a selection of these colors in your fly box is a recipe for coho success.
  2. Black Rockfish - White, Chartreuse, and Peach stand out as our favorites. Black Rockfish, found along the rocky coastal structures, are opportunistic feeders. White, chartreuse, and peach flies mimic the baitfish and crustaceans that these fish commonly prey upon. The reflective properties of white imitate small baitfish, while chartreuse adds visibility in murky waters. Peach, resembling the coloration of shrimp and other crustaceans, can be particularly effective when fishing near the ocean floor.
  3. Chum Salmon - Pink, Purple, and Chartreuse stand out as our top 3. Chum salmon, with their unique spawning colors and voracious appetite, respond well to vibrant and flashy flies. Pink, purple, and chartreuse are top choices when targeting chum. The flashy nature of these colors can trigger aggressive strikes, especially when these fish are actively moving into the rivers. Be sure to incorporate these attention-grabbing colors into your chum salmon fly arsenal.
  4. Sea Run Cutthroat - Peach, White, and Shrimp Orange: Sea run cutthroat trout, known for their elusive and challenging nature, are one of our favorite species to target. For us if we had to fish one color for the rest of our lives for cutthroat it would be peach, you simply cannot target this species without it! Peach, white, and shrimp orange patterns closely imitate the small baitfish and shrimp that sea run cutthroat prey upon. These subtle colors work well in both clear and slightly stained waters, providing a realistic presentation that can entice even the most wary sea run cutthroat.
  5. Steelhead - Black, Peach, and Pink stand out as our favorite. For us a steelhead is a lot like a cat; it either loves the ball of feathers you stick in front of it or it couldn’t care less. Steelhead, the ultimate prize for many fly anglers, demand versatile and enticing flies. Black, peach, and pink are standout colors for these elusive and powerful fish. The timeless effectiveness of black patterns, the subtle allure of peach, and the vibrancy of pink all have their place in enticing steelhead to strike. Having a well-rounded selection of these colors for different water clarities will increase your chances of connecting with a majestic steelhead.

As you embark on your Pacific Northwest fly fishing adventures, remember that adapting to the preferences of each species is key. Experimenting with different fly colors and observing how fish respond in various conditions will ultimately refine your approach. These colors are our favorite but by no means are the only colors that work! Armed with the knowledge of our top fly colors for coho, black rockfish, chum, sea run cutthroat, and steelhead, you'll be well-equipped to tackle the diverse and rewarding fisheries of the Pacific Northwest!

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