Kings! They're big. They're mysterious. And yes they taste really good, but we like to release them. Although they have unfortunately declined to a mere sliver of their former abundance, king salmon are still accessible to fly fishermen from California north to Alaska. Only the steelhead compares in terms of mythical reputation, fighting power and ability to release adrenaline.
They have a well-deserved reputation for hugging the far bank and lurking in the deepest hole. For this reason they are the hardest salmon to reach with a fly. There are some fisheries, however, such as the Sandy, Hoodoo, and Kanektok Rivers in Alaska, and the Skeena and Dean Rivers in British Columbia, among many others, where kings are very accessible to a swung fly and where they will take a fly well. We have been lucky to fish some of these places, and we have come up with some OPST gear recommendations for these bruisers
Rod: 8 to 9 weight switch to full two handed rod, 11-14 feet. We also fish 9 foot 10 weight rods, which are especially useful (and deadly) for fishing out of anchored boats.
Running Line: OPST Lazar Line, 40 pound or 50 pound
Skagit Head: OPST Commando Heads, 400-475 grains. (Call 206-858-8476 for specific recommendations)
Sink Tips: OPST Commando Tips in Riffle, Run and Bucket Sink Rates. It is advantageous to have a few different sink tips so that you can adjust for different depths and current speeds.
Flies: medium to large (3-5 inch) streamer flies incorporating ostrich, marabou, rabbit, and flash, oftentimes in a composite loop. Most of the flies we use have heavy dumbbell eyes or at least a beadhead or a conehead to get the fly down. However, you should bring some lighter flies too, for slow water and for high water periods when fish may be running line close to the bank.
Hook: We prefer to use our OPST Swing Hooks, in size 1, for our king salmon fishing. In fishing in rivers like the Skeena, where 100 pound fish are a real possibility, we would recommend a size 1 Swing Hook.