Atommik trolling flies for staging kings is perhaps the most deadliest technique for capturing chinook salmon getting ready to run the rivers and spawn. Typically, found in water depths of 150 ft or less during the later part of August, on into September, both kings and cohos fall prey to attractor fly combinations presented to them. We will discuss what we use and how we use them.

Atommik troling flies for staging kings like these in the picture

Temperature Can Still Be Key

Targeting the prefered temperature of kings still comes into play this time of year. Staging kings like to be in their comfort zone of 44-48 degree water. This is why after an east, northeast or southern blow causing ice out conditions, kings are found closer to shore and staging. But, don’t be afraid to fish the targets up in the warmer water, as well. Kings do become more tollerant of warmer water as the spawning urge increases. Perhaps one of the larger adult king salmon achille’s heel, is attacking solo spoons or attractor flies up out of temperature and further behind the spread of the other items!

Our Best Atommik Flies

Using Atommik trolling flies for staging kings tis past season, we had six different Atommik flies that shined for us here at Ace Charters. They were the K41, Stud Glow, and Ace Fly Glow fly patterns behind various glow attractors, such as spin doctors and echips, during low light conditions. As it got brighter out and when the glows quit working, we switched to UV 190’s, Live Lime Mirage, and Ace Flies(non glow) with chrome attractors. That was our spread that worked and continued to work over a 10 day period, both during am and pm trips.


Most days when targeting staging kings, we only ran two riggers. One was usually tighter to the ball, and the other stretched back. Riggers are typically 7-10 ft apart in depth to start. As soon as one rigger fires, we set the other rigger to that depth in hopes of doubling up, which happened quite often when we did this. Depending on the depth of water determined our dipsey diver settings. In shallow water, such as fifty feet or less, we set our size 107 Dreamweaver divers on 3.5 to allow for more line out. This got them farther away from the boat. When traffic allowed, we ran Otter Boats tight to the boat with segmented coppers. Chute copper presentations were also deployed! Most all of our rods had attractor flies on them. We also ran J-plugs on coppers or lead core from time to time during low light.

Honorable Mentions

The nice thing about running flies is the endless combinations that are possible both in fly patterns and attractor types. Talking with other fellow charters and mates, its typical for them to be running totally different patterns than we were. Some of the other Atommik flies mentioned included Hammer flies in glow and non, green crinkle, bam, b-fly and mirage! Atommik has a huge selection of color variations, too many, to mention here. This in itself, lends to experimentation, especially when things slow down, and becomes part of the fun of fishing flies!

Speed Is Key

Adult kings seem to prefer slower speeds when staging. Our best speed this past season was 2.2mph on the fishhawk when we could achieve it. There also were directional influences on which way the fish would bite. Several mornings we could only get bit trolling east. Currents were brutal on several outings dictating what trolling direction would produce best!

If you have any questions , feel free to contact us at 413-346-7675 or via our contact form with any of the questions you may have . We will be happy to answer them. If you would like to book a trip please call 413-346-7675 or feel free to use our contact form as well!