Saturday, April 23, 2016

Full Cry For Sea-Run Cutthroat Trout!



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

Full Cry!


They posted these all over the place last week.
  When I was a young teenager I discovered the magical world of horses. Every chance that I got to ride a horse, or just be around horses, helping out at the farm and stables, etc., I was there. By the time I was sixteen years old I had left school, left home, and I was working with horses. I was in "full cry." That's an old foxhunting term, for the baying of the hounds, when the hounds have scented the fox, and they are hot on the trail, running hard and chasing down the fox. They won't give up, and nothing can stop them. It is an electrifying sight.You would never forget the sight of thirty or forty big hounds, racing across the countryside, spilling over the hills and leaping the fences and stonewall, filling the air with their mad, blood lusting, saliva slinging baying. 

   Right now our sea-run cutthroat trout fishing season is in jeopardy, due to being mixed up in the permitting process between the tribes, the state, and the federal government. And so far the co-managers have not been able to come to an agreement about the seasons, etc. Our salty cutthroat fishing is stuck in there somewhere, between the coho, and chinook, and the endangered species act, and a few centuries of hate between negotiating parties. Despite the fact that almost no one ever catches endangered or listed salmon species while they are sea-run cutthroat trout fly fishing, there are concerns about encountering those fish with our barbless hook flies. One thing that I have heard mentioned is that cutthroat fishermen may be hooking juvenile salmon on trout flies. I have seen that! 

  In my 15 + years of guiding on the saltwaters here, maybe six times we have caught salmon smolt. That's six smolt, total. I have a rule: If you catch a salmon or steelhead smolt. Stop fishing and move! Do not continue fishing when you know that there are smolt moving through an area. It's that simple. In the thousands of days of fishing that we have put in cutthroat fishing here, in the tens of thousands of hours, in the hundreds of thousands of casts, we have seen only a half dozen or so of real, ocean run salmon, caught on trout flies from the beaches. They all swam away handily, keeping the fly, after snapping off our four pound test tippets. One or two were easier to get into shallow water, in a minute or two at most, for an easy release. That's the threat?!
   
Here's a few notes on this:

Background:

http://wdfw.wa.gov/news/apr1916c/

http://www.seattletimes.com/sports/state-and-tribal-fishery-managers-at-an-impasse-on-puget-sound-salmon-fishing-season/

This one is being updated frequently: 
http://nwsportsmanmag.com/editors-blog/puget-sound-salmon-talks-back-on/


   So here's what I think we need to do. We need to show our support for our Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife managers, who have stuck their neck out in this process, refusing to sign off on stopping our catch and release cutthroat fishing in the saltwater. This time they have been working to protect our fishery, and our fishing.

    If ever there were an opportunity to demonstrate to our state fisheries managers what the significance and extent of the sea-run cutthroat trout fishery is here, the importance it holds for our community of conservation anglers, and the financial importance it holds for our state, this is the time to do it. They have been working to keep our catch and release game fish season open, for sea-run cutthroat trout, through this mess. They have continued to negotiate with the tribal co-managers. They have stood up for us. We need to make sure that they know that we stand in solidarity with them.
    I am contact info for our Governor and WDFW managers. Please let them know what sea-run cutthroat trout fishing means to you, and what it would mean for you to lose it. If they can't come to an agreement, that could happen. They need to know how much you want to see them manage the gamefish season separately from this salmon war.

Let loose the hounds!! 



   Please write in support of our WDFW managers, thank them for their efforts on behalf of the angling community, and request that they keep our catch and release sea-run cutthroat trout fishing season open!

Governor Jay Inslee 
https://fortress.wa.gov/es/governor

WDFW Director James Unsworth 
jim.unsworth@dfw.wa.gov

Ron Warren Assistant Director Fish Program 


John Long WDFW Salmon Policy
john.long@dfw.wa.gov

P.S. I am optimistic that this is going to work out. So far we are having a great spring season for cutthroat on the beaches. Give me a call, or drop me a note, and I will tell you all about it.

This is probably the most relaxing way to fish for sea-run cutthroat.
One angler, maybe two, one day. Call or write for details.



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, or row along the shorelines in the dory, fly fishing for sea-run Coastal Cutthroat trout in freshwater and saltwater, and in the rivers for Cutthroat trout and summer steelhead. This is all strictly catch and release, traditional, barbless single hook, 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, beginner to expert. 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. 


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
2006 W.S.U.Beach Watcher / Water Watcher graduate
U.S.C.G First Aid/CPR/BLS/AED/BBP/HIV Certified

Phone: 360-385-9618


Saturday, April 9, 2016

A Sea-Run Spring


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


A Sea-Run Spring


I have been waiting for this all winter . . .
    Ever since the spring equinox I have been feeling that itch to get back to the beaches again for the spring cutthroat fishing.  I managed to get on the water with friends a few times this winter, and it was always hit-or-miss as far as the catching went. And one develops a kind of stoic mindset when doing this fishing, much like winter steelheading, that it may be a while before the next tug. So you pace yourself, to get through the long dark winter, one swing at a time. There's just enough action to keep you coming back for more, though you may have to wait between storms. And then the spring equinox comes along, and the sun has been returning to noticeably warm the northern latitudes for a few months already, the little buds and blossoms are opening up, the storms are fewer, farther between. You are gaining strength and hope for the spring fishing again. 



Back in early March we headed down south for a little early spring fishing . . .

    The chum salmon and pink salmon fry have been emerging from their river gravel incubation, since around early to mid February depending upon where you are on these waters, and they are entering the estuaries all over the Puget Sound and Olympic Peninsula region. So it will pay to have some juvenile salmon fly patterns in your fly box. These fry will range in size from one inch to over several inches long by now. The larger ones will be in the southern waters, while up here in the North Sound region they will be around 1 to 2 inches long. The longer that the season goes on, the faster they will grow. And they are all migrating northward, toward the sea. So, being up here in the northern area, you can see some chum fry that are an inch and a half long, drifting by on the tides, and then you'll see some fry go by that are almost three inches or longer, all in the same day. I tie my salmon fry imitations from one to three inches long in the spring. 


Chum Baby flies. A very successful pattern in Puget Sound country.
You can find them at:

 Orvis Bellevue Store, Peninsula Outfitters Fly Shop,
The Confluence Fly Shop 

  But it's not just about salmon fry. Sea-run coastal cutthroat trout feed on a variety of forage year round. In contrast to the focus on smaller flies that we use in the spring, like shrimp, squid, juvenile bait fish, fry etc., here's a look at a few flies that work all year in these waters, for trout and for salmon:  


Classic flatwing streamer, by Jack Devlin
Clouser Minnows, bait fish style.
    I went into greater detail on spring and  summer sea-run flies HERE.

   
This is probably the most relaxing way to fish for sea-run cutthroat.
Call or write for details.



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, or row along the shorelines in the dory, fly fishing for sea-run Coastal Cutthroat trout in freshwater and saltwater, and in the rivers for Cutthroat trout and summer steelhead. This is all strictly catch and release, traditional, barbless single hook, 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, beginner to expert. 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. 


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
2006 W.S.U.Beach Watcher / Water Watcher graduate
U.S.C.G First Aid/CPR/BLS/AED/BBP/HIV Certified

Phone: 360-385-9618


Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Finding simplicity



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

Finding simplicity

    
Keeping it simple.

   One of the things that keeps most people from trying out fly fishing is the common impression that it is too complicated, and too expensive. And if we look at the range of options in equipment and techniques, and considering all of the possible locations and species there are to fish for around the world, it's easy to see why people might feel that way. You can readily spend thousands of dollars just to get outfitted with basic equipment. And some of the top shelf, worldly, destination fly fishing trips, all expenses considered, could easily eclipse some people's annual salaries. Yet according to one study, shared here by the American Fly Fishing Trade Association, there are almost 4 million fly anglers in America today. They can't all be millionaires! 

   When I got into fly fishing it wasn't as complicated as it is today. I borrowed an old "Browning" fiberglass fly rod and Pflueger reel from a friend of mine, and I got a handful of flies and a few factory tapered leaders down at the fly shop, and I was all set. I was already a fisherman, I had been fishing all of my life by then, with bait and lures, spinning, trolling, etc. Up until my twenties, though, I had avoided fly fishing because, aside from the intimidation factors of casting, confusing flies etc., I didn't believe that I could afford it. I was just a carpenter. As a bait fishing friend once dryly observed, as a few fully appointed fly fishermen walked silently past us, on their way upstream on one opening day: "Were just ham and eggers, man."


Casting lessons with "Pete".

   I guess that the curiosity just got the best of me at some point. Probably because I had seen plenty of fly fishermen on the New England and Catskill trout streams by the time I was in my 20's. I will admit that it was annoying to see that there were days when no manner of bait would turn a trout to feed, while the fellow who was dry fly fishing nearby was landing fish after fish. Often releasing the fish. All of that was intriguing, especially the fly casting. I just knew I had to do that, somehow. So I stumbled into it all, without much instruction or support. Backyard casting instructions at Pete's house would have to do. I guess it was good enough, as we had 20 years of opening days together after that. And even with a beginners cast, and a million lost flies and tangled leaders, we caught a lot of trout back then. They were hatchery Brown trout, and we ate most of them. Back then there were fewer kinds of rods available, mostly fiberglass or cane. Many of them were fairly affordable. Some were impossibly expensive. And only a few fly line designs were on the market, made by a handful of companies. Reels were anywhere from dirt cheap factory stamped, to jewel-like, hand crafted collectibles of unparalleled precision. (None of those were what anyone would call "affordable"). There were far fewer fly shops, and almost no bigger outlets at all, except for firms like OrvisL.L. Bean, Eddie Bauer and Abercrombie & Fitch. Sometimes you had to wait a long time for your flies, or anything else. Mostly because there was often a lot of hand work involved. The whole game was considerably smaller and simpler in many ways. 


A few summer steelhead flies. Sea-run cutthroat trout like these too.. 

   Fast forward to nearly forty years later, and things have changed considerably. There are hundreds of types of fly rods, reels, lines,etc. Many of the modern methods and materials used today are far superior to the older ones.Some aren't. The dizzying range of items, accessories, tools, clothing, gear, personal watercraft,  etc., thousands of fly patterns!, is staggering. Not to mention the electronics. And the prices range form dirt cheap to out of this world. And if you were to collect all of the catalogs available for the fly fishing industry offerings, you would never leave your bathroom. It can be daunting for anyone new to all of this. 


   What to buy: Asking for advice on what to buy as a beginner, on the internet fly fishing forums, could get so many widely differing responses and opinions that you might give up before you even got started. It's not that no one will have the right information. The problem is that you won't be likely to get it right. And that could cost you. So here's a few ideas of my own, after over 36 years of fly fishing, and over twenty years of guiding experience: DON'T BUY ANYTHING!My friends on the retail side of fly fishing won't appreciate this idea.) 

  But seriously, no matter what you think you can afford, if you are a "ham and egger" like me, or you are a corporate success with a plutonium credit card, don't be in a hurry. Go shopping but leave your money at home. All of the better makers of fly rods and fly fishing tackle will offer an entry level fly fishing outfit. For the first few years that is all that you will need. Most fly shops will have these outfits in stock, including a fly rod, fly reel, fly line etc., the basic stuff you need to begin with. You can expect to spend anywhere from $100 to $250 for all of that. The better outfits will come with a warranty, and they will last your lifetime if you take care of them. The next thing that you do is to take a class in basic fly casting and fly fishing, which most better fly shops will offer, often at modest or no cost. Most fly fishing clubs, and some community colleges, will offer free or inexpensive classes. And even some of the Orvis shops will offer them free, like this: Orvis Fly fishing 101   After you get an introduction to the basic skill of fly fishing, you will have a clearer idea of what you might need to get into fly fishing your local waters on a regular basis. And you will have become more aware of the available waders, boots, minimal tools, packs etc., and the price range. A little education in the beginning will help you to have a much better experience, and possibly save you many hundreds, or even thousands of dollars of needless expense. It turns out that buying the best quality stuff that you can reasonably afford will actually save you money in the long run. It's all about longevity.


The bare essentials of bliss.


   When you get to the point where you can go fly fishing with only what you need, no matter what the price tag might have been, and you can enjoy the simplicity of your time on the water, with a minimum of equipment, accessories, technology, techniques, worry etc., you will be on the right track.  This is, after all, supposed to be an escape from the complexities of the modern world. One thing that I like to do every season is to go fishing on a small mountain stream in the summer, with just a few flies, a leader and a spool of tippet, a pair of forceps to remove the hook from the fish, and line nippers, my rod and reel, and a pair of boots. I just lazily splash along in the shallows, amid the boulders and rivulets and bright foaming currents, enjoying the cool water seeping into my boots, and on my legs, the insect hatches, the stream side foliage, the cooling shadows and dappling, dancing light on the water, and the pretty little wild trout that take my tiny dry flies. A peanut butter sandwich and cold drink of water will be just right. You might forget yourself, and all of your worries and stress. If you look at your watch hours later and feel surprised that time disappeared, and that the sun is setting, then you were doing it right. 



The Chum Baby fly, for Puget Sound sea-run cutthroat.
On their way to the Orvis Bellevue fly shop this week! 


   Spring sea-run coastal cutthroat trout fishing is coming! The summer and fall chum salmon and pink salmon spawned last fall, and their progeny are beginning to emerge from their shallow gravel nests in the Puget Sound regional rivers and streams now, and for the next few months or more ahead. Of course in many of these waters the coastal cutthroat trout will be spawning too. And then they will be feeding on these chum salmon fry. And as the salmon fry move into the estuaries, and eventually find their way into the greater currents, they will be migrating north out of the Puget Sound region, on their migration to the sea. The cutthroat trout will be following them, and feeding on them. April and May are prime time for this spring fishing in the saltchuck here in the northern waters. There's nothing like fishing over aggressively feeding wild cutthroat trout, casting flies from the beaches. The take is hard and fast. The fight is electrifying. You might even forget yourself. Be there.   


Bob Triggs
www.searuns.com
littlestoneflyfisher@mail.com 

Sunday, January 31, 2016

"ADD 20 FEET TO YOUR CAST!"





"ADD 20 FEET TO YOUR CAST!"  . . . 







 I stood dumbfounded in front of the glass case at the fly shop, staring at the shiny new boxes of fly lines. I glanced up at Curly- the shop owner- he smiled back at me. He had that leering glint in his eyes. Again. Anytime they come out with something new in fly fishing, Curly makes sure to have a dozen of them in the front case. And then he just waits there for you. He knows you will be coming in soon. He knows.

  "You want to try one out, Triggsy? I have a six weight all rigged up with one. This is a super distance line!" 

 I shrugged. Going out back with Curly, to try out a new line or rod, meant casting in front of him again. My ambivalence was rooted in experience. Curly was an exquisite fly caster, and an impatiently stern teacher. I had been there with him before. The next thing I know we are out in back of the shop, rod in hand. Curly had staked out some white painted marker pins in the narrow alley between the shop and the building next door. They were spaced at intervals of ten feet, out to seventy five feet. If you cast beyond that, your line would end up laying across the sidewalk and into the street. I didn't have much concern about casting that far. I tried a few false casts with the new line. He had it rigged on a very nice, expensive, modern carbon graphite rod- one that I could never afford. It was the kind of rod that would make you a better caster, if you spent the extra few hundred dollars to begin with. I took a few casts and shoots, out to around sixty-five feet, with a fairly soft, open loop. That's about all I could do back then anyway. Not even close to the sidewalk. I wasn't convinced.

 "Let me show you how to do that". 

  I knew what was coming next. Curly took the rod back and set up a cast, and in three strokes, and a single shoot, he had it punching through the air in a tight loop, right out to the sidewalk. 

 "Let's try that again". . .

 And Curly then casts and shoots the line out again, flying in a soft hiss, down the alley between the buildings, glistening brightly in the sky, out across the sidewalk and into the street. He turned and smiled thinly at me. He was satisfied. It was easily an effortless 100 foot cast. And then a car ran over the end of the fly line lying in the road. Curly frowned, staring down the alley, He spooled in the line. The lesson was finished. 

  "Can I get a discount on that line?" I was optimistic.

 Curly stared at the floor of the shop, nodding silently. I ask him how much. It was almost $80 brand new. He gave it to me for $50.00. It still took me a week to come up with the money. I was never able to cast that line any farther than 65 feet. No farther than any of the other lines I had bought in the preceding few years. I had probably spent over one thousand dollars on fly lines up to that point. Each one had come with the promise that it would make me a better fly caster. None of them could. You can't buy that in a box.

 It took me a long time, almost fifteen years of fly fishing, before I surrendered to the fact that I would never really improve as a fly caster, until I got coached by someone who knew what they were doing and knew how to teach it. I had reached my full potential in mediocrity as a fly caster. I had struggled for years, with so many flaws in my casting technique, that I had developed my own hybridization of fly casting errors into a deeply personalized form of fly fishing survival. Some days I could get it out there, and some days I could not get the fly beyond the bushes behind me. I made the same mistakes- over and over for years- with no clue as to why it wasn't working. I went through dozens of expensive fly lines, miles of leaders, tippets, and thousands of flies. And I had begun to experience pain in my wrist, arm and shoulder, whenever I went fly fishing. I had tendinitis for six months after getting into fly fishing for Striped Bass on the salt waters of Long Island Sound with a nine weight rod. It rarely occurred to me that it didn't have to be that way. 

 I was always disturbed by the sight of someone casting beautifully, long distance tight loops, or controlling a dry fly with pin-point accuracy. It haunted me that otherwise ordinary people would do this. Going to the shows was always humbling. Standing at the casting ponds, watching Lefty Kreh, Joan Wulff, Ed Jaworowski, Gary Borger, Mel Kreiger . . . 

"But those people are the pros, of course they can cast better than anyone else!" 

  So went the reasoning for too many years. I would read their books and articles, and view their video instructions, and then go out on the lawn to practice what I had learned. Apparently I hadn't learned much, because nothing about my fly casting ever really improved that way. I could understand what the books and videos were saying, I just couldn't get my hand and arm to "do it". My unconscious lexicon of bad casting skills was deeply buried in nerves, muscle and sinew. But I could catch fish, it wasn't like I was not a fisherman. I had some good seasons, and some slow ones too. And overall I enjoyed fly fishing as much as anyone. But my "muscle memory" for casting was all wrong. And believe me, you can get really good at doing it wrong, if you are practicing wrongly to begin with, for fifteen years. 

  And then along came Joan Wulff. I was involved at the Catskill Fly Fishing Center and Museum, joining in the activities there, and volunteering to help out at events. What a great bunch of folks. After a few years of being involved there I had also begun to guide fishermen, in New York state, and in New England, walking and wading along the rivers and streams and beaches, fly fishing for trout, steelhead and salmon and striped bass, bluefish, pike, bass etc. After a few years I took a guiding job at a river camp in Alaska. In between seasons there were many opportunities to attend the Catskill Fly Fishing Center events, which usually included fly casting demonstrations by Joan Wulff, Floyd Franke and others. And they would give free coaching to anyone who wanted to line up for it. I always did. Dozens of times each season. I was beginning to learn.

  As a guide I should have been able to teach fly casting with clarity, and I wasn't. I didn't really understand the basic mechanics of the cast myself, and I was still struggling to undo years of deeply ingrained muscle memory in bad casting. At some point Joan Wulff took me seriously, (or she took pity on me- I don't really know which), and she invited me to her Wulff Casting Instructors School class. That spring I attended her class, for several days. It was a combination of fly caster's boot camp and medieval torture. Well, torture for my ego anyway. By then I had been working hard for over a year to improve my casting. And I had indeed gotten past many of my limitations. Joan is one of the greatest casters and teachers that have ever graced our game. And when you are standing there with her, rod in hand, she's all business. She does not waste any time, nor any words. And if you are willing to learn, there is no better position to be in. In just a few seasons I had progressed from my long suffering struggles in casting, into becoming a competent caster. And the funny thing is that after doing that work, it set me on a path of learning that has not stopped ever since. It turns out that fly casting is one sport that you can improve at throughout your entire fly fishing life.

  Trust me when I tell you: "if I can do it, anyone can do it!", it's true. 

 All it takes is some realistic humility and a willingness to learn. And practice, practice, practice! And a good teacher. Today there are no excuses to stay in that kind of rut. You can improve at any age in fly casting. And there are many good teachers out there to help you do it. Fly shops, Fly clubs, Guides, Lodges, all have excellent instructors available. There are many options for finding classes, and group lessons, some of them free, some of them very affordable, and some of them more expensive. I never had the money to pay a personal casting instructor, much less pay someone of the caliber of Joan Wulff. But that's how it worked out, in a way I could afford. So don't let money stop you. 

   Finding an FFF Certified Casting Instructor is a good way to go. (I was certified in 2000). You can look up instructors here:

 http://www.fedflyfishers.org/Resources/Locate/CastingInstructors.aspx

 More on the Wulff School of Flyfishing Here: http://royalwulff.com/wulff-school/

 Casting instructional books and dvd's  here: http://royalwulff.com/products/fly-casting-kit/




Happy casting!

Bob Triggs
www.searuns.com
littlestoneflyfisher@mail.com

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Winter Respite


Your Olympic Peninsula Fly fishing Guide.
Catch & Release, Fly fishing only.

Winter Respite

   It's been about a month since I last entered anything here. Between the late autumn storms with record rainfall in the first half of December, and the rivers jumping up and down for the last two months, I have not had much to report here. I can say that in between the wind blown tides, the river floods, and the Winter Solstice King Tides, we have had some beautiful interludes of mild days, with good fishing on the beaches for sea-run Cutthroat. And wasn't that Christmas full moon just wonderful! Of course the rivers have been fishing on and off all along. And except for that moon, and the 200% of normal rainfall in early December, none of this is particularly unusual for this time of year here.

 Sportfishing Rule Changes   


    Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife has adopted some new rules for fishing on our Olympic Peninsula waters, to protect wild winter run steelhead, and rainbow trout. You can read about them here: http://wdfw.wa.gov/news/dec1415a/


    I believe that anything we can do to reduce our damaging impacts on these wild winter-run steelhead and trout is a good thing. But I also feel that these last runs of wild steelhead should have been listed, under the Endangered Species Act, a long time ago, and they should have been protected the same way that the Puget Sound river runs were, just like the Skagit and Sauk runs, (which, without fishing pressures or harvest are recovering.),  http://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/puget-sound-steelhead-declared-threatened/


    The trouble with having the fishermen manage the fish should be obvious by now. The runs here are so low in number now that they are at precarious risk. And when you cant get enough fish to spawn, with the spawning escapement goals ridiculously low to begin with, and with runs failing for years- I don't think that we should be continuing to fish for them, much less running guided trips of any kind for them. 

    I have not fished for wild winter-run steelhead here, nor have I guided for them, for the last few seasons. Catch and release fishing does have mortality impacts and physiological consequences for these fish. Not to mention repeatedly catching and releasing most of these fish on their spawning runs. And not enough is understood about the consequences of this. We cannot afford to further damage these runs. While these new regulations seem worthy, they are just another in a series of extensions of the irresponsible, selfish, short-sighted exploitation of the last wild steelhead here. Too little, and too late. It's time to stop fishing and get real about this. Turning down people for these trips pains me, and it costs me dearly as well. I am disgusted with the lack of leadership coming from WDF&W, and from the sport fishing industry too, with regard to all of this. 


   A great writer, Thomas McGuane, once said: "If the trout are gone, bash the state." 

   I would only add to that: We are "the state". It is our responsibility as citizen anglers to demand that our fisheries managers protect these last runs of wild steelhead. It has been said that "we get the government that we deserve." How much are we really doing to preserve and restore the wild steelhead and salmon of our region? How involved have we really been? Were we only thinking of the fishing opportunity?

     The weather and conditions here will be improving dramatically over the next week to ten days. And the big annual King tides are subsiding now. If you want to try your hand at winter sea-run Cutthroat fly fishing on the saltwater beaches, this respite from the rain, winds, and heavy waves, will be much appreciated. With sunny days predicted ahead, that should get some feeding action going again. In the winter I normally like to fish deep and slow for these trout. But if it's going to be as mild as they are predicting, I will be using a floating line and some top water flies. You can't beat a greased Muddler or beach popper at a time like this. 



    There's a New Year coming. Lets find ways to do our best for the benefit of wild fish and rivers. Not just for our own entertainment. Look up your local WDFW Regional Fisheries Enhancement Group and see how you can get involved to make a positive impact on our wild fish. 
It's not just about "salmon"  http://wdfw.wa.gov/about/volunteer/rfeg/ 


     Sincerely,


     Bob Triggs

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




Tuesday, November 24, 2015

November's Wild Moon.



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

November's Wild Moon



A pretty, late season, Yakima River rainbow trout.


  As I write this tonight I am sitting beneath the bright moon of November. Sometimes called the "Mourning moon", the "Beaver moon", or the "Frost Moon". I haven't seen any beavers around here lately. But it has been getting stormy, wet and wild, and frosty over the last few weeks. And this really is the harbinger of winter. We have just one month before the winter Solstice. But it already feels like winter to me. Our Olympic Peninsula rivers and forests have been getting plenty of rain, and some snow too. We can only mourn a little for autumn, as this is just what we needed. Today we also had howling winds out of the northeast, coming down the Fraser River Valley, blasting across the Strait of Juan de Fuca, blowing 30 to 40 knots, with gusts above 50 knots just north of here. More trees down, power outages, storm damages.We just narrowly escaped getting slammed with heavy rain and snow too. Just another November in the Pacific Northwest. 

 Hoh River Closed. For now. 

 WDFW FISHING RULE CHANGE   
Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife
600 Capitol Way North, Olympia, WA 98501-1091
http://wdfw.wa.gov
November 23, 2015
Hoh River closes to fishing until Dec. 1
Action:   Close the Hoh River to fishing.
Effective date:   Nov. 24 through Nov. 30, 2015.
Species affected:  All species. 
Location:  The Hoh River outside Olympic National Park.
Reason for action:  Wild coho in the Hoh River require additional protection. The daily limit was reduced preseason for these rivers in anticipation of a weak return of wild coho, but indicators are pointing to the run returning at a still lower level than forecast preseason.  The Hoh Tribe has closed their fishery until the end of November, and in combination with this sport closure, these actions will result in additional wild coho spawning.
Other information:  The Hoh River will open back up for steelhead and other gamefish on Dec. 1, 2015.
Information contact: Mike Gross, District 16 fish biologist, (360) 249-1210.


  Just as the rivers were coming back into good shape, and with the Thanksgiving weekend holiday upon us, Washington Dept. of Fish & Wildlife and the Hoh Tribe agreed to a closure on the Hoh River, to protect the tail end of the wild coho salmon run there. No one will be fishing on the Hoh River until it reopens in December.I am disappointed. I wanted to fish this week ahead. And even with no serious hatchery steelhead program on the river, we still get some good numbers of hatchery strain winter steelhead in the Hoh River every winter. They will be there in December too . . . And I am glad to see the effort to protect the coho salmon too.

 I have watched the weather carefully, and the next five or six days ahead look very good, for river flows, and fishing out on the Rainforest rivers. I had my heart set on spey casting on the upper Hoh. But that's alright. We still have miles of good water to fish on the other rivers. I'm going anyway. From now until January 1st I will be fishing for winter (hatchery run) steelhead on the rivers out here.  Then I won't fish out there after that, until the spring trout season, as I had already decided a few years back not to bother the last, later winter, wild Olympic Peninsula steelhead. We shouldn't be fishing for them any more.

   
  Ice on the beaches. We get many mild breaks in the winter weather, here in the Rainshadow of the Olympic Mountain range. And we have been successful at catching wild sea-run Coastal Cutthroat trout here during these warmer breaks all winter. So I just might be sticking closer to home this weekend, avoiding the river crowds, and plying the saltchuck with some new Cutthroat flies I have been working on. With this warmer forecast for the few days or week or so ahead of us, I bet there's going to be some nice fish cruising the beaches. I will likely dust off the dory and get out for a row.

  But then again, gas is cheap right now . . . 

  Oh, and then, there's a few lakes open here all winter . . .

  Gratitude. I don't know where to begin, as I count my blessings. Most of all I am grateful for my many friends, and for the beauty of the wilderness life, wild fish and bright waters that we share in common. I am blessed beyond measure. I think we all are, most of the time. It pays to reflect on that. 

  Give me a yell if you want to come fishing this winter.  Happy Thanksgiving!

  
Your Olympic Peninsula Fly Fishing Guide and Instructor
                
Fly fishing for sea-run Coastal Cutthroat trout
 from a traditional Swampscott beach dory.
Guided trips, Rowboat picnics, Bird watching.
 

     
  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. And we fish for Pacific salmon on the beaches. This is all strictly catch and release, traditional, barbless single hook, 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. 



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
2006 W.S.U.Beach Watcher / Water Watcher graduate
U.S.C.G First Aid/CPR/BLS/AED/BBP/HIV Certified

Phone: 360-385-9618