Wednesday, June 24, 2015

A few thoughts on dry fly fishing



Your Olympic Peninsula fly fishing guide.
Catch & Release, Fly fishing only!

A few thoughts on dry fly fishing.


Guiding on the Kamchatka Peninsula, Russia.
We had 100 fish days on dry flies.
 Dry fly fishing has to be my favorite of all of the ways to catch trout. Beginning my fly fishing life on the east coast, I fished for mostly stocked trout in those waters. You really had to go hunting in the boonies for any true, wild trout. They were actually char, the eastern brook trout. And the wild ones were small, but very quick to take any dry fly most of the time. It didn't take long to realize that most of what people were writing and talking about, when it came to "selective" trout and dry fly fishing, was due to the fact that the fish were getting heavily pressured by the fishermen. And of course it does not take many encounters with being hooked and released etc., for a trout to learn to avoid a fly, leader, line, drag etc. And what fly you are using in that situation is really going to matter most of the time. So at the early end of my dry fly fishing career, it was often vexing to riddle out what would work. 

 One reference that helped me was "Hatches II", by Al Caucci (  http://www.mayfly.com/albio.htm  ) and Bob Nastasi. That book is so good that most aquatic entomologists get into it as undergraduates. They did their mayfly research so well, traveling and collecting samples across North America for several years, and running aquariums in Al's enclosed front porch all winter, with flies hatching all over the place, that they ended up discovering a few species of mayfly that no one else had seen before. After a few years of that book being in circulation you couldn't fish with a guide on the upper Delaware River without speaking Latin. Al Caucci also came up with some very good fly patterns, mainly the Comparadun fly. He set that fly up to have more body in the water, riding level and deeper, and it worked. But after a while those fish figured that one out too.

 Just a few miles downriver from Al Caucci's Delaware River Club there was another lodge, run by a guy named Pat. He was old school cool, and he had been guiding there for years. And he had a nice old lodge with plenty of regular fishermen coming every season. Out on the water he was a keen observer of the hatches. And when he was sure of what was happening. with trout rising splashily all around them, he would recommend that you "use one of those little brown ones". And he caught lot of fish too. Pat did not speak Latin. Ever. Back then it was nice to find myself with a fly box that seemed equally divided between carefully selected patterns, that closely resembled the indigenous family, genus and species, by size, color and profile, and a nice little batch of "those little brown ones".

 Once I had the chance to go to southwest Alaska, and fly fish for those wild trout, that was a whole new game. None of those Rainbow trout had ever read a book on hatches or flies. If you get there early in the season, through June anyway, you will get slammed by voracious, predatory assassins. Almost with no care to what fly you are using. But by early July two major things have happened: 1) The rainbows have figured out that something is wrong with some of their meals, and they are paying much closer attention to every bite they take. 2) The sockeye salmon are showing up by the millions and the trout are a bit more scattered. And once again one has to begin riddling out the right fly in the right situation. And sometimes it has to be an egg fly or you simply won't be catching anything. Once the salmon start falling apart, you need to match the salmon meat hatch with flesh flies too. And so it goes.

 For the sheer numbers and stupid fun of dry fly fishing for trout, my best day, my best three hours straight, was on the San Juan River in New Mexico. I had driven down there with a guide friend, after our Alaska season at Iliaska Lodge, on Lake Iliamna, had ended. We red-eyed it down from Boulder at night, blowing past the warning signs for "Open Range Livestock On Road", in a decrepit, post-collegiate, Honda sedan. He had the speedometer needle buried. It was almost October and the fishing was fantastic, with cool nights and warm clear days. We walked into a fly shop/gas station/motel/cafe and looked over the flies. "Jeff, I am going to need a God damned microscope to tie one of these thing on to my tippet!" They had Blue Winged Olives down to size 26. "Trust me", Jeff said, as he scooped up a few dozen of the tiny things, and a spool of 7X tippet. And so we headed off to the river. After poking around for a while, taking long lunches and scouting the various bars and shops between our lazy fishing efforts each day, and catching fish after fish, it was almost time to head back north. On our last morning we scarfed down hot oatmeal and instant coffee and got on the water at dawn. There were already twenty people on the water. And six drift boats were lined up in the queu at the Texas Hole, drifting solemnly downriver, with several dudes per boat, all hunched intently toward the bright little bobbers . . . "Screw this". We headed off for breakfast at a diner. This was followed by yet more browsing and lunch, beer, naps etc. By 3 p.m. we decided to give it one more shot. We weren't disappointed at all at this point. We had each been catching fish every day, on dry flies. Jeff headed upriver, and I headed downriver. We planned to meet at 6 by the car.

 Walking down the river, mostly in an effort to get away from everyone else, I noticed one stretch where the only noticeable feature worth considering was a little riffle, way out in the middle of the river, where trout were obviously feeding, snapping up small flies on the surface. Really damned small flies. A solid 70 foot cast at least. I tied on one of the little, teeny, tiny green things, and I gave it a shot. Bang! Just as the fly hit the water. At that distance I could not actually see the fly, way out there on the water, but I could see the take. And so it went. cast after cast, one fish per cast, for hours. It was the Disneyland of fly fishing for me. Stupid fun. We drove home happy and tired.

 Back when we could still fish the Elwha River, I would take a hike up the Whiskey Bend trail in the fall, after Labor day, usually early to mid September. That time of year it can be wet up there at night. And by morning everything seems soaked. But by mid day, and early afternoon, it can be as dry as a parched desert again. There would always be a few people out in the chilly damp dawn, working down the river, nymphing and streamer fishing. Rumors of big Bull trout stealing the rainbow trout off of their hooks circulated. But it was slow. I was waiting for the sun to hit the water, and for the bugs to show. Hiking, reading, watching the bears eating berries, it was never disappointing up there. By late afternoon, when the sun begins to duck past the ridges, up there at Elkhorn Camp, the bugs begin to swarm over the water and the trout come out to play. You can wait all day for that. You won't be disappointed. I usually throw together a simple box of mixed dry flies for stuff like that. I like the old stand by flies, the Adams, B.W.O., the Autumn Sedge and Caddis, P.M.D. etc. The last time I was up there I had a few of those small flies from New Mexico in my box too. The Elwha trout loved them. I forget what color they were.

 Now that we are in a time of really low water out here on the Olympic Peninsula rivers, we need flies that will work mostly on the surface if we are dry line steelhead fishing. One great book about this is "Dry Line Steelhead and other subjects", by Bill McMillan. Here is a pattern that I created a few years ago, inspired by Bill McMillan's Steelhead Caddis. This is a fly that I tie for summer steelhead, and I also use it for sea-run coastal cuttroat trout in freshwater and saltwater. The hook is aGamakatsu T10-6H / size #6 or #8. The Elk hair was from some shed hair, from the Canyon Creek herd on the Hoh River valley one spring. There were bushels of the stuff laying around back then. The dubbing is Arizona Sparkle Nymph / Skip's October Caddis. I will fish this with a dry line and long leader. at least 9 feet long. If I tie it sparsely it will get just beneath the surface. Or I can build up the elk hair wing, and get it to stay on top, sometimeswith a little Gink or other grease. This is a great fly for the October Caddis hatch here in the fall too. What we're after here are gullible wild trout.




Little Stone's Steelhead Caddis

Your Olympic Peninsula Fly Fishing Guide and Instructor

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

     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 for April 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, June 21, 2015

Summer Solstice Hopes



Your Olympic Peninsula fly fishing guide.
Catch & release, fly fishing only!

Summer Solstice hopes.

Walking the Island beach trail.

   When I talk about beach fishing with people who are unfamiliar with the Olympic Peninsula and our saltwater fishing, they always think only of summer. It is hard to convince people that we have year-round fly fishing on these beaches, even in the winter. People have a picture in their minds of sun washed sandy beaches, blue skies, and bluebird weather. And of course we all enjoy the fishing during these typically fair and sunny summer days. Especially with a light onshore breeze coming down from the northwest most of the time. Our air conditioning provided by the cooling influence of the Pacific Ocean waters. The weather gets calmer now, and we rarely see any significant winds or stormy waves. Brisk mornings, Warm, dry sunny days, cooling evenings. It will usually be like this right through September. 


Releasing a wild sea-run Cutthroat trout.

   We have had an unexpectedly mild June here this year. With only a few blasts of wind, and very little rain. This is hardly the "June-u-ary" weather that we have grown to expect and to endure annually here. No one is complaining. With the solstice here today, and the summer conditions we are already enjoying, it's full-on summer here now. The beaches are in beautiful shape now. And with the new moon on the 16th, and the waxing first quarter moon approaching, the tides are running good and cold here this coming week. Looks like the afternoons and evenings will be really nice for flooding tides. By the end of the month the tide ranges will be deeper and stronger with the full  moon approaching. You can't beat fishing into twilight this time of year, on a rising tide, and a full moon.


Juvenile Herring, Photo Jack Devlin

   Recently I was talking with my friend Jack Devlin after a local sea-run cutthroat fishing day here. At one point on the outgoing tide he saw a large, dark mass of small fish, moving along slowly in the ebb. It took him a moment to focus on what he was seeing- many thousands of juvenile herring, from 2-1/2 to 3-1/2 inches long, all bunched up together in a "ball", right at the edges of the beach. Just down-current of the herring were some resident coho salmon, and, surprised, he caught and released a few of them right then and there. And we have been seeing plenty of "bait ball" activity, with all of the the attendant wheeling and diving birds etc., along our beaches, and well out into the open waters of north Puget Sound and Admiralty Inlet now. The marine biologists who work here locally are telling me that many of these bait balls are actually large schools of sandlance. So there's two important fly patterns for you to be using this time of year- herring and sandlance, from to 2 to 4 inches in length. Everything, including the sea-run Cutthroat, feeds on these important forage species all year.


Fly fishing for sea-run Cutthroat from a classic Swampscott Dory.
One angler only. 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 for April 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


Monday, June 8, 2015

Low water and high expectations



Your Olympic Peninsula fly fishing guide.
Catch & release, Fly Fishing only!


Low water and high expectations.

Truth in advertising.
   With the lack of snow pack in the Olympic Mountains this year, many of our streams are down to mid-summer low flows already. And the forecast is beginning to look more like July than June. Our rivers are on average shorter and steeper than most of the rest of the western North American region. So they drain quickly. In a normal "water year", one when we would have 100% or more of expected snow pack, and one with about twice the water in our rivers as we do right now, we would be encouraged to fly fish for summer run steelhead in our rivers all summer. Ordinarily, in May and June, and even through early July sometimes, there is enough water to really cover some serious ground. But by mid to later July it gets a bit more challenging. That is an early morning and later afternoon game, with dusk and dawn being my favorite times to fish for them. We pick a river and start hiking. 

Summer-run steelhead fly fishing.

   It's not like we can't do that now. There's still some good water, and a few bright and willing fish out there. But by July, and into later summer, I am pretty sure that it won't be so good for that. Unless we get some rain. You can expect summer steelhead to be parked in deeper cooler flows now, and tucked into the pocket water, holding under the foliage, between rocks, under the foam etc. If you see a steelhead out in the open, lying in the tail-outs below a pool, in these conditions it will likely be at first light. In shallow water you will often be able to see them more clearly. But they will also be able to see you more clearly. It will take stealth, lighter presentations, and smaller flies, down to size 8 and 10 at times. And a little hiking. Bring your six weight and a dry line. 


Morning on the bay.

   Fortunately for us trout nuts, the sea-run Coastal Cutthroat trout are out in the saltwaters in good numbers around here now.  We can fish for them from dawn to dusk, and throughout the sunny summer days. We have miles of public access beaches, and with the dory we can go places that you can't get to on foot. The incoming tides are cool and refreshing, and always a little too cold for wet-wading here. But that's just right for sea-run trout fishing. They are always on the feed, somewhere. It's still spring here, as far as this fishing goes. And so we're using some of the smaller spring flies, like small herring, sandlance, smelt etc. Up to a few inches long at most. I try to keep some smaller flies in my box now too, like shrimp, rolled muddlers, scuds, euphasids, krill etc., down to size 12 and 14. I will have a few larger flies as well, over two inches long, but still tied on size # 6 hooks. Big long hooks are bad for Cutthroat. 


I tie the Clouser Minnow sparsly, in more natural colors usually, with just a little fine flash. 
On size #6 and #8 hooks for Cutthroat. 



The sea-run Coastal Cutthroat trout have spread out farther from the creeks by now. And their focus is not so much on smaller salmon fry as it was over the past few months. So I encourage you to try a wider range of flies, including beach poppers, big fluffy dry flies, ants, hoppers etc. Try to get your fly to drop on the water under some overhanging foliage, at the top of the tide. I just let it sit there quietly, for a few seconds, before I give it a good twitch! This kind of dry fly fishing will ruin you for a drag free drift ethic. Sometimes you have to fish outside of the box. Sea-run Cutthroat are not interested in a prey that is not lively looking.
A nice way to get around for sea-run Cutthroat fishing.
If this ride doesn't reduce your blood pressure, nothing will.
I restored this classic Swampscott Dory myself.
Photo credit to my friend Roger Mosley.

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.  I would be happy to help you plan your Olympic Peninsula fly fishing adventure, for beginners through expert anglers. Public presentations, Naturalist Guide, rowboat picnics, tide pool and  river trail day trips. Please call, write or email for booking details. Now booking for April 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





Tuesday, May 26, 2015

A little summer in the spring


Your Olympic Peninsula fly fishing guide,
Catch and Release fly fishing only.

A little summer in the spring.


First year in the salt. A two-year-old sea-run Coastal Cutthroat trout.
Our spring beach fishing has been uncommonly pleasant this year. And we are still enjoying summer like conditions this month, with more fair weather in the forecast for at least the next week. You would think that all of this sunshine and blue bird weather would slow the fish down, and keep them off of the surface. But this has hardly been the case as we have encountered so many bright wild and willing trout under sunny skies, in shallow clear water, often at the edges of the beach. This may be due to the cold waters flowing in on the incoming tides, and the movement of forage species on those currents. But one thing that I know is that these trout don't mind a sunny day one bit. If we were river fishing we wouldn't likely find these fish holding in shallow, brightly lit waters this way.This time of year we can get cool, dark mornings, fog, and almost no wind until late morning. 
By lunchtime if can be 70 to 80 degrees and sunny.

Under cooler skies, Jon Tobey searches the currents for a wild sea-run. 

 
   My salty fly fishing Tip-of-the-week: Fish the shallows first, no matter what the tide is doing. Almost every visiting angler, new to these waters, will wade out into hip deep water and haul off the longest cast that they can make right away. Often they will miss the fish that were right at their feet. Sometimes they will be feeding so close to the edges that you can see their dorsal fins on the surface of the water. Don't be in a hurry. Hang back, take it all in, study the edges. And don't hesitate to try a dry fly!


There's some pretty nice sea-run trout hanging around in shallow water

Yes, dry flies work in saltwater too! Try some Muddlers, Caddis, Stimulators, and poppers. You can work into just inches of water with these flies. And there is nothing better than a slashing hard take on the surface in shallow water. Just be sure to give those flies plenty of action. Don't worry about "drag", those flies have to look alive!


Shallow water sea-run Coastal Cutthroat trout.

   With these moderate tidal exchanges during the day right now we can approach things more lightly. Shallower, slower water often requires gentler, quieter presentations of the fly. And if there isn't any wind, then we should probably be using smaller flies too. Especially when fishing in close to shore. In these instances I will be using fluorocarbon leaders. Sometimes I won't wade at all for the first half hour or more of my fishing. You can learn a lot from fishing the edges of things. Occasionally I will make a day of it, just to see if the fish are there. Then all I need is knee boots and a greased Muddler. Don't miss the world at your feet.



Celebrating 35 years of fly fishing adventures! 
In celebration of my over 35 years of fly fishing experience, I am going to be extending a $35.00 discount to every returning angler date this season. From April through October, if you come fishing with me, and you or a partner have been a fishing guest in the past, you will receive the $35 discount. Must be booked in advance. 

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.  I would be happy to help you plan your Olympic Peninsula fly fishing adventure, for beginners through expert anglers. Public presentations, Naturalist Guide, rowboat picnics, tide pool and  river trail day trips. Please call, write or email for booking details. Now booking for April 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


Monday, May 11, 2015

Riddling The Tides


Your Olympic Peninsula fly fishing guide
Catch & Release, fly fishing only!

Riddling The Tides


Sometimes the best thing that you can do is to begin at the beginning.

   One of the most commonly asked questions about sea-run Cutthroat trout fishing is: "What tide should I fish?" Of course the answer is complicated, because it will depend mostly on where you want to go fishing. Some places will fish better on an incoming tide, or some part of the flood will be better than another part of the flood. And it is a kind of dogma in beach fishing that the best time will be the two hours before high tide, and the first few hours of the ebb. Still other locations may fish best in the last part of the outgoing tides. And as if that was not confusing enough for you, in some locations we have caught a lot of fish at low slack. On dry flies!!! Sea run Cutthroat are one of the more adventurous trout, and they move along the beaches frequently, they don't "live there", they just feed there. So you have to be willing to go hunting for them too. 



What a difference six to eight hours can make.

   If you are going to be fishing some place new to you, try getting there at the bottom of the tide, at low slack or just before that. If you have the time to do that, you will learn a lot. One of the first things you will see is the bottom structure, and how water moves across that area on the outgoing tides. You will find holes and cuts, rocky areas, soft sand and mud areas, and places where the tidal currents have scoured the bottom clean of all but the cobble and stone rocky areas, that look so much like a river bottom. That usually indicates strong current at some point in the tides. And you may begin to  get a sense of where the bait might be at the bottom of the tides there. Look for eel grass beds, drop of ledges, channel edges, kelp etc.


You can learn a lot about how the bait and fish move on the tides
 from a good current atlas like this one. 

   By fishing an entire incoming tide, and paying as much attention to how the water flows, and how it moves into an area along the shores, how water fills the low places and runs over the bars etc, you can begin to get a sense of how the bait might move on that tide too. How they might get pushed by the stronger flows, into small back eddy areas, shallow lagoons and tide pools, where they might hide in an eel grass bed along the shore etc. This is something that the trout already understand. They depend upon these situations to sustain them. But if you want to catch those trout, you will need to become a student of their habitats and forage species too. It's all about the movement of the tides. The more time that you spend on the beaches, the more that you study a situation and location, from every tidal circumstance, the more you will see and learn. 
   
Cutthroat trout love to move in on flats like this as they flood with the incoming tide.


   Fishing an entire incoming tide can be exciting, as you watch things come alive around you. Why wait to fish only the last hour or two of that?  That's my basic approach to learning a new location to fish. But I won't wait for low tide, or for high tide, if I don't have the time. If there is one moment in saltwater fly fishing in this region that I will be attuned to it is any change in tidal flow, and current, direction or speed etc. Fishing at the edges of one tide moving into another can be propitious. Don't get stuck in the high tide mentality. And just because there is a full or new moon, with way more water moving on the tides during those days, does not mean that your fishing will always be better in every location. Sometimes those stronger flows, of greater velocity and duration, will simply flush all of the bait away from your favorite spot, carrying it miles away, perhaps for days. A softer tidal exchange, with less altitude, and weaker velocity of current, might keep the game in front of you all day. And of course, it all depends upon where you are fishing. There is more to this, much more. But you need to get out there on the water and put in your time to learn it. 



Celebrating 35 years of fly fishing adventures! 
In celebration of my over 35 years of fly fishing experience, I am going to be extending a $35.00 discount to every returning angler date this season. From April through October, if you come fishing with me, and you or a partner have been a fishing guest in the past, you will receive the $35 discount. Must be booked in advance. 

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.  I would be happy to help you plan your Olympic Peninsula fly fishing adventure, for beginners through expert anglers. Public presentations, Naturalist Guide, rowboat picnics, tide pool and  river trail day trips. Please call, write or email for booking details. Now booking for April 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




Friday, April 24, 2015

Wind





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



Wind

Some spring days are better than others. Have a cup of coffee.
Force 5

   We got down to the beach a little after sunrise. The water was flat and calm. But I knew that the marine forecast was predicting building winds, and wind waves, all day, with small craft warnings expected by late afternoon or evening. That is not unusual from autumn through spring here on the Olympic Peninsula, though we can usually see it in the forecasts ahead of time. By the time we got rigged up and headed down the beach you could feel the cold wind puffing up,  metallic grey low clouds schooning along, and in the distant horizon on the water you could see the surface turning black. My fishing guest that day was oblivious to my quiet sense of foreboding. I had previously warned him that we might get too much wind at some point, that at best we had a 50:50 chance of a decent full day on the water. He decided to come out anyway. Fine with me. I would always be willing to reschedule the day if it went bad for us. It only happens a few times each year.


Low tide and wind scalloped sand on a lee shore.


   At first it was fine, really. There was just a light breeze out of the south, maybe 5 to 10 knots, but with hints of more to come. And the tide was running with the wind, the water still flat. As we got to work fishing we positioned ourselves downwind of a high sand bar and some trees, where there was a seam of current eddying along the edge of quieter water behind the bar. As my guest began to make his first casts of the day I noticed right away that he was going to need a little coaching. And the wind was pushing in from his casting hand side. So we worked on that a little, an impromptu casting lesson. 

Just the facts: 

Keep the rod tip tilted slightly away from you, into the wind. 

Use enough hand speed and a sufficient enough stroke to overcome the wind blowing on the line. 

Use a crisp enough stop, straight toward your target, to direct all of the casting energy to the target. 

Immediately follow through after the stop, to follow the line down to the water with the rod tip, and to help keep the line out of the wind. 

And if it gets too windy, cast on your downwind side."  

   Some people handle this better than others, and this guy was a gem- eminently teachable, athletic, and he learned quickly. If you can't cast in the wind you are going to miss a lot of fishing days. And even though the wind was building, and the waves were picking up out there, with white caps forming, he had a decent cast going and we were covering the water out to forty feet in front of us with very little difficulty. And then the wind really came on. By lunch time we were feeling gusts strong enough to make us stagger. Easily Force 4 on the Beaufort Scale. But under the darkening sky there were ominous gusts to well over Force 6. my guest did not mind a bit. No one had told him that he couldn't cast in the wind. So he just kept a positive attitude, ignoring the wind, and went right on casting. And from where we were, we had several hundred yards of "protected water" that was still fairly quiet, clean, and fishable. 


Force 4 on the Beaufort Wind Scale.


It got windy.




And for our efforts, we were rewarded with one bright sea-run Cutthroat trout. And then the day blew out with spume strewn waves, silt and marl colored water along the shore, and casting was not realistic. And though it was not impossible to cast, it was no fun. We had to lean into it as we walked back up the beach. They say that if the wind were to stop blowing in Tierra del Fuego, all of the fishing guides would fall down. We were barely able to eat lunch as the wind increased. Hunkered in between some big beach logs, finishing our sandwiches and coffee, we called it a day. Well, a half day anyway. We went out to the cafe for some hot coffee. And I invited my guest to come back again someday, for a full "make-up day." We have over seven to ten months of good fishing ahead of us on these beaches, so I expect to see this man again this season. The promise of one bright, wild trout can do that to you.




Our reward.

You should come fly fishing with me here this spring. I will keep an eye on the weather for you!

Celebrating 35 years of fly fishing adventures! 
In celebration of my over 35 years of fly fishing experience, I am going to be extending a $35.00 discount to every returning angler date this season. From April through October, if you come fishing with me, and you or a partner have been a fishing guest in the past, you will receive the $35 discount. Must be booked in advance. 

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.  I would be happy to help you plan your Olympic Peninsula fly fishing adventure, for beginners through expert anglers. Public presentations, Naturalist Guide, rowboat picnics, tide pool and  river trail day trips. Please call, write or email for booking details. Now booking for April 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