Monday, September 23, 2019

Equinox Winterish, and #dozenfordorian

Leland latches onto an autumn coho. 

    The annual October weather shift seems to have come a few weeks earlier around western Washington this year. Our lovely stint of balmy days and cool nights has given way to a full-on cold and wet reminder that it's time to break out the wool sweaters, heavy socks and rain jackets. The rivers have been getting a good soaking, with many smaller waters running high and dirty weeks ahead of the usual first punch of rain we ordinarily expect. Our Olympic Peninsula rivers were running almost dry, so no one is complaining about this much needed life sustaining watery reprieve. And the salmon are taking advantage of these freshets to move up into the rivers to spawn. Reading Dr Cliff Mass' weather blog today was surprising. The forecast for the week to ten days ahead is looking more like early winter than the first day of fall. It will be interesting to see how this affects our fishing. I don't have a serious expectation either way. But these crisp days often bring us some of the best fishing of the season. So what of it feels more like December. And I'm still getting some ripe tomatoes from my little bucket garden. I am loving that sweet pungent air of autumn.
A sweet autumn sea-run.

    Coho fishing from the beaches here in Marine Area #9 has been uneventful most of the season. Even the cut-plug herring fishermen were lamenting the long wait between too few fish. We barely saw any pink salmon. The big winds and rains that hit here in the last few weeks seems to have stirred the salmon up a bit though, And the catch rate went back up to its more usual disappointing level right away. We've got 8 days of season left here. So there's always a chance to get out there one last time. Hot thermos, Whiskey and cigars optional. And I am going to get out to the rivers for some fall dry-line cutthroat trout fishing. The October Caddis will be hatching now, so it's time for the Muddlers, Steelhead Caddis, Yak Caddis, and Hornbergs again. The colder mountain weather should help moderate river flows over the next week or more too. I'm liking it already!


A Helping hand.
     Most of you know that the Bahamas region was devastated by Hurricane Dorian a few weeks ago, The impacts have been catastrophic for most of the residents. And many of them are employed by the lodge and guiding industry there. Some of them have been completely wiped out of homes, boats, clothing and personal belongings, etc. They are threadbare. Some have lost family members. Many have been injured. The tragedy is widespread. Among many relief efforts is the Yellow Dog Community & Conservation Foundation. And there is a widespread effort coming from the fly fishing community worldwide to support this cause. All of this is inspiring to see.

    For my own part, I picked up on Josh Mills admirable offer to tie and auction off a few dozen flies for the Yellow Dog fundraiser. I have also donated a few fly fishing trips to the auctions. All of that was snapped up quickly. The widespread  response by fly tiers, guides, outfitters, shops etc., to Josh's simple and direct project, has been wonderful to witness and participate in. And it is still growing. Just look up the hashtag and see for yourself: #dozenfordorian

 And here's a little more background news:
https://www.spokesman.com/stories/2019/sep/12/spokane-fly-fisherman-ties-flies-sparks-
national-m/
https://www.theflyfishjournal.com/2019/09/dozenfordorian/ 

Today Josh Mills ( @millsfly on Instagram ) announced a kind of final call for donations of flies etc for the cause. (I for one do not believe that this will close any time soon. Were having too much fun!) And I still have  some time to give for this effort. We're trying to eclipse the $40,000 threshold. Saturday 9/28 update. Today #dozenfordorian broke through the $40,000.00 goal for this relief fundraiser. And we're still pushing. I still have hooks and feathers, and my arms haven't fallen off yet. So I am just going to keep it up here.


This is a sweet ride.

   
So, for readers of my blog I am going to repeat my offer: 


    I am offering a full day of personally guided catch & release fly fishing on the saltchuck for sea-run coastal cutthroat trout. We'll spend the day in my beautifully restored classic wooden Swampscott Dory, casting along the shorelines for these beautiful wild trout. Some of our day will be spent walk and wade fishing too in some locations. Your day will also include receiving a selection of a dozen or more of my own hand tied sea-run cutthroat flies. I will provide a personalized picnic lunch and soft beverages. I'll even give you a nice cigar. This offer is for one angler only. Washington saltwater fishing license required. Weather permitting. (Cancellations will be re-booked for another available date.) Advance reservation required.  This autumn season is ripe for this fishing. lets get together and have  great time while we're supporting some good people in dire and immediate need. 

Auction update as of 9/30 6:00 p.m.

Congratulations to auction winner Jeff Norman!!!
He won with a top bid of $300.00

Thank you Jeff!

Sunday, September 1, 2019

Autumn is whispering in our ear.

Evening row on Kilisut Harbor.

Read all about the Kilisut Harbor salmon restoration project here:

https://www.fisheries.noaa.gov/feature-story/road-replacement-project-opens-pathway-salmon-recovery-washington 
 
    There's been some sweet relief from the summer heat around here, as we have gotten a few cooler and wetter days mixed in lately. It's feeling more like the end of September than the 1st of September. And somehow, despite our being some 6 inches behind for rainfall this water year here, we did not get the heavy, acrid forest fire smoke that we have had in  recent seasons. The rivers were low all summer, and they're still pitifully low. Hopefully we'll get some more rain before the October Caddis hatches begin in a few weeks. It's kind'a hard to skate big dry flies across bare rocks and gravel. But you can still find a few sweet spots with cooler water to play with. You'll do better out here hiking and wading this time of year too. Otherwise you'll be dragging your boat or raft across one dry exposed gravel bar after another all day.

   Right now I think you'll have your best opportunities for fly fishing success on the saltchuck. I have a few friends who have been catching some nice sea-run cutthroat out there. And there's a few coho and pink salmon reported being caught around here too now. (You guys are killing me with these pictures!!)  It is not surprising that it's been slow for salmon. But September has always been way better around here for coho and pink salmon fishing anyway. If we let them spawn we will have more fish. That's not the only factor affecting abundance. But it is the final factor - after everything else that we do know, and don't know about what is happening to them.  



Marty Leith's beautiful sea-run cutthroat.


   It hasn't been a very busy fishing season for me personally, as I have been sidetracked with an nagging arm injury from last spring, which made it impossible to row the dory or fly cast for over eight weeks. It's only in the last few weeks that I have been gingerly getting back to it. Taking a long healing break from fly fishing and casting, once you do go back to it- you feel like you're starting all over again. So I am working back into it all carefully. I never really planned on being this old, much less being this beat up, so it's all a lesson. Yogi Berra once said: "If you don't know where you're going, you won't know when you get there."  So now that I am almost dead, I'm trying to take better care of myself. This long break from guiding has been strange indeed.

   I am still offering fly casting instruction. I do this in two-hour sessions.  Offering instruction for beginners through advanced casters, one or two students at a time generally. Though I do sometimes offer group classes and presentations. I have over 20 years of fly casting teaching experience. I was certified by the original F.F.F. Certified Casting Instructor program in 2000. And I also trained under Joan Wulff, and I was certified by Joan at her Casting Instructor School in 1999. You can contact me for booking details.

   
I also offer public presentations on fly fishing, fly tying, fly casting, and related conservation topics, for groups, fly clubs, educational programs, civic groups, etc. I am also offering public readings of my personal writings, essays, poetry etc., on the fly fishing life. These presentations are perfect for fly fishing club gatherings, outings, dinner meetings etc. We can adapt the readings duration to accommodate any reasonable schedule.

     I am wishing you a great end of summer season!

Bob Triggs
Little Stone Flyfisher
littlestoneflyfisher@mail.com
360-385-9618 

Friday, November 2, 2018

The First Big Wet Slap!


Your Olympic Peninsula Fly Fishing Guide.
Catch & Release, Fly Fishing Only!

"Red sky in morning, sailors take warning!"
photo credit: Walter Hodges/Jetta Productions 

    After so much mild summerish autumn weather, it was only a matter of time before the first big push of rain and wind would come funneling up the coast and slap us with a doozey. The rivers are up, the trees are down, the lights are off. But today the saltchuck here was beautiful. Between spates this is often the case.  The rivers have been lower than I wanted to fish over, for way too long. But  after this weather system passes through, (after the weekend), and the rivers are once again dropping into good shape, which may take a while, it will be time to get back on the rivers to swing flies for the hatchery run steelhead. In terms of average size, fighting abilities, and a fierce will to live, they hardly compare to their wild progenitors. But there's lots of them. they are relatively easy to catch, and we should do that. Just say'n.

The forecast is looking grim for the rivers right now though:

http://cliffmass.blogspot.com/2018/10/a-strong-atmospheric-river-should-hit.html

    These storms and rising waters do move the fish around. On the saltchuck too. And it is amazing how quickly the beaches can come back into good fishing shape after a big gnarly blow like the one we had here last night. These waters will often be clearly fish-able while the rivers will remain high and dirty for days, or even weeks. And we can expect to catch some heroic wild trout here now too. It never fails to amaze me how uniquely magical it is to be catching wild trout in the saltwater. It helps that we are situated in the Olympic Mountains Rainshadow too. this makes most storms much less severe for us, compared to the western slopes of the mountains. I have had some sublime, mild days over here on the salt, while the west-end was howling. Don't pay any attention to the weather man: Call me for the details.

Sea-run cutthroat fishing in style. Slow, stealthy and quiet.
One angler, one guide, one beautiful day.


Your Olympic Peninsula Fly Fishing Guide and Instructor

     I am guiding fly fishers on the Olympic Peninsula beaches, rivers and streams. We walk and wade, fly fishing for sea-run Coastal Cutthroat trout in freshwater and saltwater, and in the rivers for Cutthroat trout and summer steelhead. This is strictly catch and release, traditional fly fishing only. Lunch, snacks, soft beverages, and use of some equipment is included. I also offer personalized and private fly fishing and fly casting instruction for beginners through advanced casters.  I would be happy to help you plan your Olympic Peninsula fly fishing adventure, for all levels of ability. Public presentations, Naturalist Guide, rowboat picnics, tide pool and  river trail day trips. Please call, write or email for booking details. Now booking through autumn and beyond. Please call or write for details.

Bob Triggs
Little Stone Flyfisher
P.O. Box 261
Port Townsend, WA
98368

Licensed Washington State Guide 
Certified Fly Casting Instructor / Joan Wulff Method 
Trout Unlimited Aquatic Educator Award
W.S.U.Beach Watcher
U.S.C.G First Aid/CPR/BLS/AED/BBP/HIV Certified

Phone: 360-385-9618


Tuesday, October 23, 2018

October's end.


Your Olympic Peninsula Fly Fishing Guide.
Catch & Release, Fly Fishing Only!

The weather is changing.

   We have had an uncommonly mild, warm, dry and pleasant autumn here on the Olympic Peninsula so far. And the rivers are running low now, well below normal flows, as we have had very little rain. Not so good for trout fishing, especially with all of the leaves in the water on some breezy days. As October draws to a close, all of this is changing. For the next ten days, the forecast looks like light to moderate rainfall across western Washington. The southwest wind pattern, carrying Pacific Ocean warm moist air, is beginning to set up. The rivers should be on the rise over the next week or so. A hint of things to come as winter edges near.  We've had great sea-run cutthroat trout fishing on the beaches all along. And if the rains don't get too intense, we may have really good river flows for some more trout and summer steelhead fishing. There's some big sea-runs getting into our coastal rivers this time of year. The winter-run hatchery steelhead are coming too. And we owe it to them to go catch them. The rains will help.


Madrone in fall berries 


Does this dory make my ass look fat?
    
   What I love about autumn fishing here is how beautiful the forests and rivers are when the moisture, fog and rains are seeping into the parched soils. Everything comes back to life, dripping wet. The rain forest gets that deep, earthy fragrance back  It's like living in a Sierra Club calendar. By late, dark, cold winter, that will get a little old. But for now, I am digging it. Lots of good fishing ahead! We'll be beach and river fishing all fall, and through December. 

 
Fly fishing for sea-run Cutthroat from a classic Swampscott Dory.
For one angler. By appointment only.


Your Olympic Peninsula Fly Fishing Guide and Instructor

     I am guiding fly fishers on the Olympic Peninsula beaches, rivers and streams. We walk and wade, fly fishing for sea-run Coastal Cutthroat trout in freshwater and saltwater, and in the rivers for Cutthroat trout and summer steelhead. This is strictly catch and release, traditional fly fishing only. Lunch, snacks, soft beverages, and use of some equipment is included. I also offer personalized and private fly fishing and fly casting instruction for beginners through advanced casters.  I would be happy to help you plan your Olympic Peninsula fly fishing adventure, for all levels of ability. Public presentations, Naturalist Guide, rowboat picnics, tide pool and  river trail day trips. Please call, write or email for booking details. Now booking through October and beyond. Please call or write for details.

Bob Triggs
Little Stone Flyfisher
P.O. Box 261
Port Townsend, WA
98368

Licensed Washington State Guide 
Certified Fly Casting Instructor
Trout Unlimited Aquatic Educator Award
W.S.U.Beach Watcher
U.S.C.G First Aid/CPR/BLS/AED/BBP/HIV Certified

Phone: 360-385-9618






Saturday, October 6, 2018

October Turning

Your Olympic Peninsula Fly Fishing Guide.
Catch & Release, Fly Fishing Only!


Fresh October flies for sea-run cutthroat trout and summer run steelhead.

    We have been getting an extended "Indian Summer" here, with some very mild, sunny days on the water. After weeks of blustery conditions, and several cancellations, I finally got to fish with Leland again, for a day on the beaches, chasing cutthroat trout. We tried a few new spots, covered some beautiful water, and had a great lunch break. Sadly, I did not get any pictures of Leland napping on the beaches this time. Leland got into some aggressive cutthroat after lunch, and he seemed to be surrounded by trout chasing his popper. That action lasted for over an hour, and it was a hoot to watch. There's nothing quite like having wild trout attacking your fly, in shallow fast water. Coho season closed here last Sunday, after a seriously slow season on our beaches. Swinging  a #6 trout fly, on a five weight rod, with a 4X tippett, I got a nasty slashing hit from a slab of a coho, that immediately cut off my fly, and headed south like a streak. That the fish was on the surface, made it all the more spectacular. And I didn't mind it a bit. We just take it as it comes. 


Variations on the October Caddis. All boxed up and ready to go.

    The Olympic Peninsula rivers have been getting some rain and much improved flows for the last few weeks or more. Each cycle of rain seems to be brief enough to allow for some good fishing as the river levels drop. This has been an ideal set-up for some great fall fishing. We have not gotten any great flooding events as of yet, so things are fairly stable. The saltchuck has been busy with feeding sea-runs, lots of bait around this fall, and some of the biggest fish of the year. This has always been my favorite time of year. The refreshing cool air, the subtle changes of the fall foliage, wood smoke in the air. And the fall harvest of so many good things. The changeable weather keeps things stirred up and changing in the waters too. I like fishing in the hours and days after a storm or high water event. This keeps the fish moving. And that can really help the fishing,  as long as they aren't moving too darned much. These beautiful autumn days are not to be missed. I'll bring the lunch, with hot coffee or tea! 



My biggest autumn sea-run cutthroat trout, 
 at over 24-1/2 inches.



Fly fishing for sea-run Cutthroat from a classic Swampscott Dory.
For one angler. By appointment only.


Your Olympic Peninsula Fly Fishing Guide and Instructor

     I am guiding fly fishers on the Olympic Peninsula beaches, rivers and streams. We walk and wade, fly fishing for sea-run Coastal Cutthroat trout in freshwater and saltwater, and in the rivers for Cutthroat trout and summer steelhead. This is strictly catch and release, traditional fly fishing only. Lunch, snacks, soft beverages, and use of some equipment is included. I also offer personalized and private fly fishing and fly casting instruction for beginners through advanced casters.  I would be happy to help you plan your Olympic Peninsula fly fishing adventure, for all levels of ability. Public presentations, Naturalist Guide, rowboat picnics, tide pool and  river trail day trips. Please call, write or email for booking details. Now booking through October and beyond. Please call or write for details.

Bob Triggs
Little Stone Flyfisher
P.O. Box 261
Port Townsend, WA
98368

Licensed Washington State Guide 
Certified Fly Casting Instructor
Trout Unlimited Aquatic Educator Award
W.S.U.Beach Watcher
U.S.C.G First Aid/CPR/BLS/AED/BBP/HIV Certified

Phone: 360-385-9618


Thursday, September 27, 2018

Autumnal Equinox Reprieve

Your Olympic Peninsula Fly Fishing Guide,
Catch & Release, Fly Fishing Only!

"Indian Summer"

     In this last week or so of September, since the autumnal equinox, we have been enjoying some remarkably fine conditions here on the Olympic Peninsula. And the tides have been perfect.  I will be fishing into the sunset high tides through this weekend. Then we'll be seeing some good early morning high tides to come. This is the best sea-run coastal cutthroat trout fishing season we could possibly hope for.


Coho fishing.
  
      Much of the earlier month of September was blustery, and cold, wet, cloudy . . .
And after so many summer weeks of hot days, and the acrid, wildfire smoke,  burning our eyes and spoiling many days on the water, this autumn comes as a welcome relief. And truth be told, autumn is probably the best fishing season of all anyway. The cutthroat are feeding heavily on bait here, mostly sandlance and herring. The punch of rain we got a few times, especially last weekend, has perked up the west-end Olympic Peninsula rivers, and moved the salmon, trout and summer steelhead upriver on the freshet. If you want to skate big fluffy dry flies, or drift soft hackle flies, for trout and summer runs in the rivers, this is the time to do it. The October Caddis hatch will be ongoing through late fall. The water has cooled off, and the fish have turned on. The only real problem with this time of year is that you can't be in more than one place at a time, and the fishing will be good just about everywhere. In my perfect world, I will be fishing on the beaches every chance I get. Except for when I am fishing a river . . .


Fish On!
Leland Miyawaki 's Beach Poppers work!

Fly fishing for sea-run Cutthroat from a classic Swampscott Dory.
For one angler. By appointment only.


Your Olympic Peninsula Fly Fishing Guide and Instructor

     I am guiding fly fishers on the Olympic Peninsula beaches, rivers and streams. We walk and wade, fly fishing for sea-run Coastal Cutthroat trout in freshwater and saltwater, and in the rivers for Cutthroat trout and summer steelhead. This is strictly catch and release, traditional fly fishing only. Lunch, snacks, soft beverages, and use of some equipment is included. I also offer personalized and private fly fishing and fly casting instruction for beginners through advanced casters.  I would be happy to help you plan your Olympic Peninsula fly fishing adventure, for all levels of ability. Public presentations, Naturalist Guide, rowboat picnics, tide pool and  river trail day trips. Please call, write or email for booking details. Now booking through October and beyond. Please call or write for details.

Bob Triggs
Little Stone Flyfisher
P.O. Box 261
Port Townsend, WA
98368

Licensed Washington State Guide 
Certified Fly Casting Instructor
Trout Unlimited Aquatic Educator Award
W.S.U.Beach Watcher
U.S.C.G First Aid/CPR/BLS/AED/BBP/HIV Certified

Phone: 360-385-9618

Sunday, August 26, 2018

Ahhhh . . . September!


Your Olympic Peninsula Fly Fishing Guide.
Catch & Release, Fly Fishing Only!

Image may contain: outdoor
A late summer sea-run coastal cutthroat trout. Just under 20 inches.
Angler / Photo credit: Mauro Regio

    As I write this, in the last week of August, we are enjoying a  respite from the heat and smoke filled air that has plagued so many weeks of our summer. There are forest fires burning in every corner of the Pacific Northwest right now. Luckily, there are none burning nearby us. But we do get quite a bit of smoke at times. With the end of summer approaching, we begin to get some cooler days and, shifting breezes bring cooler onshore flow. And we have longer nights. The  air and water is cooling. The coho and chum salmon are running. And the trout are on the feed. I am focusing on fishing the saltchuck for now. We see some of the biggest sea-runs of the year, From right about now, and through October, I expect a few big bruisers on any day of fishing  Last Friday was no exception to this pattern, as we fished our way along the shoreline, rowing the dory, casting to the shallows, hitting some nice trout everywhere we went. And we caught a few really nice ones too. And it was sunny blue skies and cool breezes all day. That's an harbinger of autumn to hang onto. 


Image may contain: outdoor and water
A mother seal with her newborn pup.
Photo credit: Mauro Regio


Image may contain: outdoor and water
Another view of the same sea-run cutthroat trout.Photo credit: Mauro Regio

   
   Through the month of September
our Marine Area 9 coho salmon fishery is scheduled to remain open. So far there are a few fish being caught every day on our area beaches. The coho are not seemingly plentiful this season, but they are robust. It's been a few years since we have seen them this fat and healthy. Ocean conditions are improving.

    September and October may well be my favorite time of year here on the Olympic Peninsula waters. As the waters cool, and the rains return, and the fish begin feeding more, and the big October Caddis hatches begin around the autumn Solstice, so many more options for our fishing return. It will be time to return to the rivers. Summer run steelhead and sea-run cutthroat will be active in the rivers. Autumn dry line fishing at its best. And there's still sea-runs in the saltchuck . . .


Fly fishing for sea-run Cutthroat from a classic Swampscott Dory.
For one angler. By appointment only.


Your Olympic Peninsula Fly Fishing Guide and Instructor

     I am guiding fly fishers on the Olympic Peninsula beaches, rivers and streams. We walk and wade, fly fishing for sea-run Coastal Cutthroat trout in freshwater and saltwater, and in the rivers for Cutthroat trout and summer steelhead. This is strictly catch and release, traditional fly fishing only. Lunch, snacks, soft beverages, and use of some equipment is included. I also offer personalized and private fly fishing and fly casting instruction for beginners through advanced casters.  I would be happy to help you plan your Olympic Peninsula fly fishing adventure, for all levels of ability. Public presentations, Naturalist Guide, rowboat picnics, tide pool and  river trail day trips. Please call, write or email for booking details. Now booking through October and beyond. Please call or write for details.

Bob Triggs
Little Stone Flyfisher
P.O. Box 261
Port Townsend, WA
98368

Licensed Washington State Guide 
Certified Fly Casting Instructor
Trout Unlimited Aquatic Educator Award
W.S.U.Beach Watcher
U.S.C.G First Aid/CPR/BLS/AED/BBP/HIV Certified

Phone: 360-385-9618