Does size matter? Well, yes. In nature, it often seems that size is the greatest single factor when it comes to success -- bigger, stronger, faster are the dictum of the day. I hate to state the obvious, but size also plays a role in fishing.
Thirty inches is the Holy Grail for large trout, 80 pounds for a humongous salmon, 300 for a big halibut. Hardly a brow is raised unless one lands a whopper in the aforementioned scale.
We measure everything in fishing: lures, flies, plugs, river temp and height. Well, guess what? Size and measure has a lot to do with catching trout this time of year.
In the fall, trout gorge on eggs and old salmon carcasses and some invertebrates (bugs without spines), storing fat for the long winter ahead. Millions of eggs are dropped in the Kenai from the runs of chinook and sockeye salmon.
There are small, medium and larger eggs swirling and rolling in the river as I write. Anglers should carry a minimum of three sizes of beads and three color variations of those beads to be successful in imitating the majority of eggs that are in the river.
Colors should range from the ruby reds of fresh dropped eggs to pale pink to whitish eggs that have oxidized and lightened in color. Six-, eight-, and 10-millimeter beads are a good start.
Flesh flies in size six and larger sizes and extruder style (string bodies) flies are also a good choice for flesh flies. Colors for flesh flies should cover the gamut from dark oranges and reds to pinks, cream and white for later on in the fall when salmon flesh has decomposed a bit.
When fishing beads or flesh, a drag-free float is important. Although trout will move for a bead or a flesh fly while the fly is under tension and swinging faster than the current, most feeding trout will not chase a fly when vast amounts of food are rolling by their noses. Trout normally will not expend any more energy than necessary to consume food. Imagine thousands of eggs rolling down the river and stationary fish eating those protein pills all day and you get the picture.
When fishing either a bead or flesh fly, remember to fish different runs and lies. Traditional deep lies and undercut banks normally do not have the spawning gravel and good feeding areas for trout that are on the egg- and flesh-feeding frenzy. Try fishing over areas that are known spawning areas and the immediately downstream water. Log jams, obstructions and back- current eddies are good places for flesh flies, because they are natural conduits for floating flesh, eggs and bugs.
Finally, get out and fish often. Areas change and the river dynamic changes daily, Chinook that are spawning in the main channel one day won’t be there the next, Sockeye that are on gravel will be in different spots daily, so put in your time prospecting.
Ask someone be who has fished the river in the last couple of days for specific information. You can get good information from your local fly shop or guides who are fishing every day.
Does size matter? You bet it does. A 30-inch rainbow is worth bragging about.