Wednesday, February 21, 2018

It's that time of year.



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

A well used beach dory gets a much deserved bit of annual restoration in the boat shop. By the time that I get done, I will have to burn my work clothes. Spring sea-run coastal cutthroat trout fly fishing is coming!

Scrape, scrape, scrape, spend $, patch, sand, patch, spend $, sand, sand, sand, spend $, paint, sand, paint, spend $ sand, paint, and a little bit of varnish . . .  
Until your fingers bleed. Then, put some band aids on your bloody fingers and and let the paint dry.

Photo credit gratitude to Kaci Cronkite

https://www.kacicronkhite.com/





 It's Chum Baby Time!


The whole point! 
Photo credit U.S.F.W.S.
  
     March on the north Olympic Peninsula coastal rivers is peak spring spawning time for most of our sea-run Coastal Cutthroat trout. So it's no surprise that we don't see very many of them on the beaches right now. With the milder winter we have had this year it is likely that many of them have already spawned, and some are well on their way to the salt. Maybe this explains why we see some robust, fat cutthroat in the saltchuck now too. But by mid to later April they will be showing up in greater numbers up here, chasing the juvenile Chum salmon all over the place, and fattening up. And it doesn't hurt a bit that we have had some very strong runs of these salmon returning to our watersheds to spawn. For the next few months or more, the regional fisheries biologists and technicians, using smolt traps, will be counting the out-migrating fry as they move out of the gravel redds and down to the estuaries. This will continue for many weeks to come here. And just about the time that the post spawning Cutthroat, and some of their younger brethren, have dropped out of the rivers and streams, and down to the estuaries and shorelines, the Chum salmon juveniles will be well distributed in the same places. And soon the Cutthroat will be feeding with reckless zeal.

    These fish, both predator and prey alike, have evolved through this dance over many tens of thousands of years here. As fly fishers it behooves us to learn about these things. Now is the time! The Chum Baby fly is also doing well up in Alaska, on the early season Lake Iliamna tributaries and Katmai National Park region Rainbows and Char, Grayling etc., that are feeding on fry and smolt in the rivers. And now some of my whacko smallmouth bass fishing buddies are cleaning up with the Chum Baby fly on the rivers and lakes too. So we are discovering that this fly has some application beyond the shores of Puget Sound country. You should be using this fly anywhere that the big fish eat the little fish!
    
    This fly has become a very well known, popular and successful pattern for sea-run Coastal Cutthroat trout fly fishing on Puget Sound regional waters and beyond.  
I worked this fly up over several seasons of trial and error on my local beaches. After catching many sea runs on it from late winter through early summer, from the north Olympic Peninsula and Admiralty Inlet to the Hood Canal beaches, I knew it was a winner. I originally intended the Chum Baby as an imitation of our out migrating juvenile Chum salmon, which are plentiful here along the shallow and warmer near shore areas, pocket lagoons and estuaries in early spring, and the trout eat them aggressively.

     What has come as a happy surprise is how well this fly can work at other times of year here, even when there are no Chum salmon fry around. And I use it in our rivers and streams too. Even in the fall. Some people are using this fly on the Skagit system for Dolly Varden / Bull Trout in the spring  And now many of my fly angling friends and fellow guides are using this as an all-around fry pattern; in Alaska for Rainbow Trout, Dolly Varden, Arctic Char and Grayling, and on the Atlantic Coast for "Coaster" Brook Trout and Striped Bass. We are also using them on Snook, Redfish and Sea trout down south. This has been a very fun thing to watch evolving. And sometimes we need to remember that this whole fly fishing thing is supposed to be fun.

 The Chum Baby fly can be presented using a wet fly swing, dead drift, cast and strip, fast, slow, shallow or deep- as needed. One thing that you will notice about it is that the wing really lights up under water with even a small amount of sunlight. And the sparser you tie them the better this works. Juvenile salmon and other forage fish are not opaque underwater, they are semi transparent. The distinct dark peacock herl collar on this fly is meant to emulate the eye of  a chum fry. The glittering tinsel body is to imitate the gut and the two crystal flash strips represent the lateral line. The barring of the natural Fox Squirrel tail wing seems to work very well, even though most of the Chum salmon fry and older juveniles you see will be subtler in color, spotted, and usually more on the green, olive brown side. The peacock herl topping is simply because I am old fashioned, and I try to include some of the more traditional features of old world patterns in my flies. All in an impressionistic effort. Strictly speaking we can call this fly an "attractor" pattern.

 I tie them sparsely in the early spring, March and April, at under two inches long overall. By May and June I tie them much longer, and with a larger bead. They can be tied with a smaller hook, size # 8 or #10, and with a much smaller wing etc. But if I am tying it larger I do not increase the hook size above #6 as we are trying to avoid injury to these precious wild trout. I like these medium shank length hooks as we tend to get good hook ups, with only very rarely any deep hooking or tongue injuries this way.

    
Invasion!

    Dozens of Chum Baby flies are once again migrating across Puget Sound, over the I-405 Bridge, and all of the way upstream to the Orvis Bellevue Fly Shop!


If you are in the Seattle area, drop in to the Belevue Orvis Shop!

   
Tie your own Chum Baby flies!

   If you would like to tie your own Chum Baby flies, from my original pattern and written instructions, I will be happy to provide two sample tying model flies, tied by myself, with the written instructions. 

   Just send $5.00 and a self addressed legal sized return envelope to:

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


       We will be back on the water this spring! Just in time for the beginning of another beautiful season of wild sea run Coastal Cutthroat trout fly fishing on the saltwaters and rivers of the Olympic Peninsula, Hood Canal and Puget Sound. Drop me a note or give me a call for details. All trips, casting instruction sessions, public and fly fishing club presentations, and rowboat picnics, 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 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, May, and beyond! 

     
This is the way to go fly fishing for sea-run Cutthroat!
SSShhh!!!  Listen to the quiet . . .
                                 
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. Water Watchers and Beach Watchers Graduate
U.S.C.G First Aid/CPR/BLS/AED/BBP/HIV Certified

Phone: 360-385-9618



Monday, December 4, 2017

A Gift From The Gods!*


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


A Gift From The Gods!*


Image may contain: sky, night and cloud
Last moon of the year- "The Cold Moon"
Photo credit: Chuck Rondeau

(*The weather gods, that is.)  

    Last Friday, Pacific Northwest weather Guru Cliff Mass posted this astonishing forecast for the week or more ahead:


    And on Sunday he followed up with this even more inscrutably good forecast:



     After all of the wind and high dirty water the beaches, estuaries and rivers have been getting over the last month, and after too many fishless days, this weather.com forecast looks like some kind of Karmic reward for doing something really good in a past life: 

(Trust me here, Nothing that I have ever done in this lifetime has ever warranted this kind of payout. And who knows how many lifetimes it is going to take to ever get this close to Bliss again!?)


Note the wind forecasts! 
If you want to fish for sea-run coastal cutthroat trout on the Puget sound regional beaches, this will be the sweetest winter news you've ever seen!
        
     The west-end Olympic Peninsula river flows too are falling into sweet walking, wading and fly swinging shape, just in time for the winter-run hatchery steelhead slugfest. 

Also, WDFW sent us an early holiday present, with this brief extension on the hatchery coho fishing in the Sol Duc River: 


Have flies, will travel!

     So, I am looking forward to getting out on the saltchuck in the dory this week. Maybe even for the next few weeks! With all of that dirty runoff water the local streams have been getting, many of the cutthroat have moved back out on the beaches to feed. And there's plenty of bait around now too. With the wind forecasts looking so good, I can row just about anywhere. Oh sweet!  Catch me if you can! 

    Winter sea-run cutthroat fishing tip: Use squid flies!!! 



This is a classic wooden Swampscott Dory. Fully restored. We row the beaches, casting for sea-runs. This is the most traditional, salty and relaxing way to fly fish for sea-run coastal cutthroat trout. One angler only. 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 the 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, October 28, 2017

Ya Snooze, Ya Lose!


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

    I will keep this one short and sweet. It's not like I didn't try to warn you. You have had ample time and notice to stop cleaning your gutters, stop washing your windows, stop waxing your cars, and get your selves out on the water now.  We almost never see weather and fishing conditions this good this late in the year, on the western Washington rivers, and on the Puget Sound saltchuck.  All I can say is that if you don't get it, and you aren't fishing now, you can't be helped. In a few days, everything is going to change. Here's the upcoming weather "radical change" forecast: 



Dude, Kill your lawn mower!


P.S. You are on your own. I am unavailable until further notice. 

 
This is some of the best sea-run cutthroat trout fishing on the Olympic Peninsula- the summer "tourons" are gone, and the fish are on the feed.




This is a classic wooden Swampscott Dory. Fully restored. We row the beaches, casting for sea-runs. This is the most traditional, salty and relaxing way to fly fish for sea-run coastal cutthroat trout. 
One angler only.  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 the 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

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Fishing Through "The Window."


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

A fair weather window is opening up here now!

   If you have been paying attention this past week, you know that the west-end Olympic Peninsula rivers are getting a series of warm fronts, and rains that have the flows spiking up and up.  And the entire region has gotten some heavy winds on and off most of the week. Yet here on the east side of the mountains, near Port Townsend, and down into Hood Canal country, in the Olympic Mountains Rain Shadow we are  seeing some beautiful sunny breaks, less rain and wind, and even some nice mornings, and a few afternoons too, when the water was beautiful and the fishing was great. Good enough for some solid outings. It is amazing how fast the water cleans up here after the winds lie down, and the bait comes back into the shallow waters, with the trout right behind them. After a rough weather week, those trout are going to feed again, in close. 

   After this stormy weekend is over, Starting today, (Sunday 10/22), and through the entire week ahead, and even into next weekend, there is an inscrutably nice weather window opening up here, with fair light winds, milder temperatures, and no rain. An entire WEEK! How sweet it is! This is what makes October so refreshing and fun. These brief storms really get things moving, the rivers come back to life. even if they do get high and dirty. And it is still my favorite season for fly fishing sea-run coastal cutthroat trout on the saltchuck. And now is the time that we see some of the biggest sea-runs of the year.

  Speaking of catching bigger trout. The Cortland Line Company has come out with a new tippet material that I have been trying out in a variety of situations: Cortland "Top Secret" Ultra Premium fluorocarbon. So far this stuff has been remarkable. In situations where I have been using 3X mono tippet, and the fish have been refusing the fly, All we did was change over to this new fluoro tippet, (same 3X designation), and the fish took the fly. No hesitation. With all of these rocks and barnacles and shells, eel grass etc., we need strong tippets that we can count on. And all of my knots are working well with this new stuff, even when I'm tying it into mono leaders.This represents a significant development in tippet materials manufacturing technology, and the chemistry of diameter and strength ratios. Great for us fishermen. Sucks if you're a trout, though.


Cortland "Top Secret Ultra Premium" fluorocarbon tippet material comes in sizes 0X through 8X, in 30 yard or 100 yard spools.

    Now go call your boss and let him know that you're too well to be working in these conditions. It's going to be that good. Give me a yell, and I will get you out in the dory. This won't happen so often this time of year. Seriously. I'm tying some flies . . . Operators are standing by . . . 


 This is some of the best sea-run cutthroat trout fishing on the Olympic Peninsula- the summer "tourons" are gone, and the fish are on the feed.




This is a classic wooden Swampscott Dory. Fully restored. We row the beaches, casting for sea-runs. This is the most traditional, salty and relaxing way to fly fish for sea-run coastal cutthroat trout. 
One angler only.  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 the 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, October 14, 2017

October Tease



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

This is Andy, taking his morning nap.


This is Andy, fishing.


This is Andy, catching a sea-run cutthroat trout.

Andy caught a lot of nice fish here last week.

Be like Andy!
    

     It has been uncommonly mild and pleasant here over the last few weeks, more like the "Indian Summer"weather of September, than a typical mid-October.  The mornings on the bay have been cool, foggy at times, even damp and drizzling. But by later morning the sun has been coming out, the winds very light, the 60 degree warmth has been a blessing, the sea-run cutthroat trout have been biting, and no one is complaining. We have had some truly stellar days of fishing this month. We have even gotten a little sunburn, in October!!! And since the coastal rivers have been running too low for weeks, and some of them have even been closed to fishing under emergency rules, here, and also here, we are enjoying the sea-run coastal cutthroat trout fishing on the saltchuck all the more this fall.

    According to the Northwest River Forecast Center 10 day forecast, The rivers will be getting some much needed rain relief soon, as heavy rains are expected to move in on the coast and Olympic Mountains next week. But if it gets really heavy, the flows may be high and dirty for a while. These saltwater beaches will clean up fast after a storm. And the cutthroat fishing will usually go well through November and December.

 This is some of the best sea-run cutthroat trout fishing on the Olympic Peninsula- the summer "tourons" are gone, and the fish are on the feed.




This is a classic wooden Swampscott Dory. Fully restored. We row the beaches, casting for sea-runs. This is the most traditional, salty and relaxing way to fly fish for sea-run coastal cutthroat trout. 
One angler only.  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 the 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, September 23, 2017

Autumn Equinox


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

Summer is officially over.
  Yesterday was the Autumnal Equinox. The end of summer and the beginning of fall. Okay, I surrender. I accept it. And there's plenty of evidence to support this decision. Not just the astronomical data, or that bit about the day and the night being equal at one precise point in time that Equinox day. It's really cooling off. We got a little rain a few days ago. The nights are coming on earlier. The mornings are crispy cool. There's wood smoke in the air, and it's not that crummy smoke from the forest fires this time.  



Dusk on the saltchuck.
  

  But aside from all of that, there's a mildness about things right now, the air is stable, no big winds or heavier rains in the short term forecast, just some sweet light soakings periodically, and the water is just a bit cooler now. I am seeing the sea-run cutthroat trout feeding more heavily in the shallows, and on the surface. The afternoons have been very mild, even sunny and warm. Warm enough to row the dory in my shirtsleeves most of the day on the saltchuck. In nine hours of fishing the other day we saw fish, and caught fish just about everywhere that we went. They were even feeding on the surface, right in front of us, while we were sitting on the beach eating our lunch. That was a good day. I would like to be fishing out on the west-end Olympic Peninsula rivers now too, but we're still waiting for some real rain to bring them back up to decent flows. And why in the world would anyone want to ignore that things in the saltwater game are beginning to seriously heat up around here?! With the waxing moon ahead, we'll see some good tides get even better, through the end of the month, and into the first week of October. 

The only hard thing about fishing this time of year here is making up my mind which direction to head out into, the beaches are going to be great for the next few months, and so are the rivers. It helps to be flexible. But I would much rather be fishing the saltchuck for sea-runs now myself. I know what can happen.



The next two months of fishing here are what we look forward to all year!


This is a classic wooden Swampscott Dory. Fully restored. We row the beaches, casting for sea-runs. This is the most traditional, salty and relaxing way to fish for sea-run coastal cutthroat trout. One angler only.  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 the 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