Sunday, November 28, 2010

Still a few fish around

Simon and I decided to stay close to home this weekend instead of chasing a chance at an early winter fish. Lots of rain had come down, levels were not good, and temps were cold. My mind was telling me if we got 1 fish to move to the swung fly in 40 degree water, our day was complete. As per usual, I was wrong.

We both hooked up with fish early and confidence was high. Around the corner was one of the river's "known" steelhead runs. Most of the time during the summer, drift fisherman are parked there, making it difficult to work a swung fly.

Well, being November 27th, the gear dudes weren't there. I started up top and Simon took the bottom. I hook and land a fish about 5 casts in. I go back, work out my line to the same spot and I get grabbed again. Fish to the beach again. Simon has seen enough. He wants my spot. I gladly switch places with him. The homeowner with the riverfront property makes his way down to river and starts chatting with me. Yep, I hook up again, but lose the fish mid battle. The homeowner is frustrated with me losing the fish. We share a laugh, I keep casting and the line comes under tension again. This time I put the fish on the beach. The homeowner looks at me like a begging puppy. I barely finished asking him if he wanted the fish before he responded. I tagged the fish and handed it over to him. He had the thing cleaned out and on the smoker before we left the run! Simon also learned his lesson about switching spots.

We both ended up getting another fish and our day was complete. Simon cleared his schedule to go back for round 2 this morning. Fishing was solid again.

On a funny note: As we took out today at the ramp, another boat was dropping off their trailer. They asked how we did and responded with "we got a few". They wanted to know what was working and we went with "swinging leech patterns". This prompted the long stare and this comment: "Huh, so you were like flossing them then?"

Yeah pal, we were flossing them....................

This small fish was bright and spunky.

Getting the mojo warmed up for winter.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

A few nice winter fly links

As we get closer to winter, I start to think about the flies I want to fish this year. Color combo's, sink rates, materials, tube's vs. shanks, etc.

There is some really good info out there on tying different stuff. One of my favorites was put together by Rob Russell for the Caddis Blog.

If you've met Rob, you know he's passionate about wild fish. He also a fine fisherman and detail oriented fly tyer. Rob cracks me up ever time I cross paths with him down at the Caddisfly.

For a quicker, no-nonsense look at the intruder, Scott Howell's YouTube video from the upcoming Skagit Master 2 is worth a look.

Another good piece of information can be found via Tom Larimer's outfitter website. He gives a good rundown on a reverse marabou tied on a tube. Very nice.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

The Best Time to be Sick

I went out fishing 9 days ago and I haven't been back since. I was attacked by a severe cold/flu that left me with no desire to fish for steelhead. Co-workers, friends, and family all knew it was serious, because I missed 2 wide open chances to be on the river(Veteran's Day/Saturday).

I'm turning it into a positive, however, as the best time to be sick is in between steelhead seasons. The summer fish are getting weak and the winters have yet to arrive on our coastal streams.

The last fish landed before the sickness hit.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Sometimes I'm lucky

I've been trying to use the single spey exclusively from both sides of the river lately. The single my favorite cast when done right. Of course, I don't hit it all the time, and I guess it doesn't always matter. As I stepped into the run, my 5th cast lost power and my fly sloppily fell upstream and short of the end of my scandi head. I stripped back in my running line and picked up the line with the rod for another cast. My line suddenly stuck in the water and the unmistakable steelhead boil appeared on the surface.

Unreal. I landed the thing and just laughed to myself. My fly couldn't have been in the water for more than 3-4 seconds. Sometimes you just win some.

I ended up getting another a bit later on the 3rd strip in. Not exactly a textbook way of taking steelhead, but I won't complain.

Love this dude's cheek and bottom jaw.......

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

The excitement builds for Winter

I'd prefer to fish for summer steelhead on a dry line, but there is something exciting about catching a fresh wild winter that gets me going as well.

Winter steelheading is crazy by itself. Add in the fly rod and the fact that you won't be nymphing, it appears futile. That is part of what makes winter steelhead so great. The chance to feel that large wild winter on the other end of the line is what brings me back every time. Even if that "chance" almost never materializes.

Being a NW Winter Steelheader seperates you from a regular resident is many ways. Here's a few I've thought about:

- You don't complain about cloud cover and a little rain
- You don't mind 2 1/2 hour drives on a wet Saturday to get skunked
- Your "river levels" internet page is the first and last thing you check every day
- A missed grab from a fish will haunt you for at least a month
- Holidays are perfect for getting away from river crowds as opposed to spending time with family
- Your idea of a great winter weekend is spending time in the most rundown, depressing coastal towns the state has to offer. You might even consider a night in the local motel if the fishing is good.

In about a month, it will be time to let go of the floater and pick up the tip. Let's hope that big winter pull happens a lot this year.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Head fakes from local steel on Halloween

It's getting to that time of year where the takes get soft and the bites get sneaky. I landed 4 fish yesterday afternoon and everyone of them took my fly ever so slightly. The last fish I hooked came back to 4 different swings......on the last one I said "screw it" and just set the hook.

It is on to November. I'm sticking with the floating line until steelhead tell me different.