Salmon fishing in the rivers has seen a lot of new possibilities in the realm of fish attractors. In-line flashers or no-drag flashers have become very popular in the last few years and for good reason, they work to bring the fish into your bait.
Two companies in particular are on the forefront of innovation with color choices and finishes, Yakima Bait Company (Big Als) and Short Bus Flashers. From black to clear backgrounds and more color/ size choices coming out regularly, you might never fish them all.
But, when do some colors work better than others and why? Sometimes the water is clear or green, or brown and mixes of.
This last fall a dredge was working the mouth of the river stirring up a lot of sand, upriver there was a red algae bloom and between them was a mix of clear ocean water, brown (tannic) river water, and murky, sandy water.
Last spring we had low clear water and a post rain event muddy water. The visibility can vary from 5 ft to 6 inches.
These variables impact my color choice and leader length. It is a well know fact: the clearer the water, the longer the leader and vise versa.
As a general rule my leader length from the flasher is no more than a foot and a half longer than the visibility. If you can see your flasher 1 ft or less under water the leader should be about 2.5 ft long. If you can see your flasher 4 ft. under water 5.5 ft. leader length. These are approximates and should be used as guidelines.
Another factor that needs to be considered is size of flasher. The clearer water the smaller 6” flashers have worked well for me and the 8” flashers in medium visibility. I like to stay away from UV finishes in very clear water as well such as the Pole Dancer and really like the more subtle colors such as half red/ half green.
I also switch over and use no flasher at all if a large amount of eel grass is in clear ocean water that I am trolling during large tide swings in the fall. But when the water is murky, with two feet or less of visibility these UV finishes are my go to. With 2-4 ft of visibility I like to run the very popular chartreuse and variations of it. I also like to run flashers together, one color on the front two rods, one color on the back two rods, or all rods with the same color.
As you can see the variety of water conditions and variety of flashers leaves you with a myriad of possibilities. I hope this gives you a baseline to work with. These are general guidelines and not absolutes.
I have seen some strange tackle and techniques work, but to increase my hookups I like to follow this regiment. Experiment on your own, but, remember that confidence in your setup is the most important and good luck!