Saturday, May 21, 2016

Beach Bugs- "You can't catch sea-runs on dry flies"


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



"They said it couldn't be done. It was a tough job, and he knew it.
But he took that job they said couldn't be done, 
and by God, he couldn't do it!"



"You can't catch sea-runs on dry flies"

The Royal Wulff
   Once upon a time there was a big-time pro fly fisherman, you might even say that he was an "expert." And in passing one day, at the local fly shop, he asked me how the sea-run fishing was going. I told him that we were getting them on the surface, on dry flies that week. He stopped and frowned at me: 

"Don't be ridiculous, you can't catch sea-runs in the saltwater on dry flies."  

   I didn't know what to say, so I just shrugged. I knew that I had been catching sea-runs on  dry flies for a few years by that time. He walked out of the shop. I didn't think much more about it until a few weeks later, when I had a father and son out on the beaches fishing. At one point the boy asked, (in that way that only a teenager can ask): 

"When are they going to jump up into the air, like you said they would?" 

   Now, the interesting thing about fishing Karma is that sometimes things can happen that can't be explained. But by the way that they happen you get a sense that the fish, or the universe, is listening to you. Or maybe just trying to tell you something. Like the way someone will announce: 

"This is my last cast!" 

   And then, as they are winding in the fly and line, a fish will slam the fly. This is especially rewarding if they have not caught anything all day. Stuff like that. 

   Just as I was trying to come up with an answer to this boy's perfectly reasonable question, a big trout jumps up out of the water and cartwheels through the air, about fifteen feet in front of the boy. He was astonished. (So was I. But I did also feel a sense of relief as this burden of credibility had so conveniently been lifted from me in the moment.) Now this boy was a beginner and he couldn't cast much more than that short distance anyway. And to help him see the fly more easily I had tied on a Muddler Minnow for most of the day. But he had beaten most of the Muddlers that I had tied on for him into the rocks and shells and barnacles, on the beach behind him, all day. And I was out of Muddlers by the afternoon. So I had tied on a nice, fluffy #12 Royal Wulff fly, and greased it up to float. Because you just never know. And they are trout, after all. And trout eat bugs. I told him to try to drop the fly right where the fish had just jumped. And he did just that. Perfectly. There was a slow swirl around the fly, and a flash of silver and spray of water, as the big trout crashed down on the fly. Boom!  And the game was on. It took a minute or so for the boy to get it together, with a little coaching, and he got the fish into shallow water. I got the fish off of the hook, and we had a moment to look at a bright, strong, wild sea-run cutthroat that was every bit of 18 inches or more. I let the trout slide of of my hand and swim away. We were breathless. 
  
   Here's the fishing Karma part. As the trout swam away I heard a familiar voice exclaim: 

"Hey, that's a huuuuuge cutthroat!!" 

   And here, breathlessly stampeding up the beach, comes the big-time fly fishing pro! Like any fisherman would, he asked: 

   "What did you get him on?!" 

   So I held up the fly, dripping wet and still attached to the tippet, and I said: 

"A number 12 Royal Wulff." 

   And the big-time pro fly fisherman said: 

"Don't be ridiculous! You can't catch sea-runs on a dry fly in saltwater!"  

   True story.   

      Another exercise of incredulity. One afternoon I was watching an older fly angler working a fly off the beach for a while. He was fishing in close, in just a  few feet of water. He seemed to be "high-sticking" this fly through some riffles with a dead drift. Gradually raising his rod tip at the end of each drift, lifting the fly to the surface, and repeating the presentation. He had no strike indicator, but I could have sworn that he was nymph fishing in saltwater!  I watched him catch and release a few fish this way. When he walked back to the parking lot I had to ask him: 

"What did you get him on?" 

   He pulled his fly box out of his vest, (only tourist visitors wear a fly fishing vest on the beaches here), and he opened it up to reveal a few dozen black and yellow Kaufmann's Stone Fly nymphs. 

"They're taking the yellow ones today."  

   He was holding one up for me to look at, and it was still dripping wet, tied to the tippet. 


Who was I to argue with this? 

Trust yourself!  


Black Giant Stoneflies. Real ones!
photo credit @vonbeardly


One of my fly fishing heroes is Lefty Kreh. Aside from his living-legend status as a master angler, fly casting instructor, inventor, and author, he's also a great raconteur. One of Lefty's great quotes goes like this: 

"Watch out for the experts . . . 
An ex is a has-been, and a spurt is just a drip under pressure"


This is probably the most relaxing way to fish for sea-run cutthroat.
One angler, maybe two,  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, May 10, 2016

Prospecting For Sea-Run Cutthroat Trout.


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


Prospecting For Sea-Run Cutthroat Trout


There's big water here . . .
 Under big skies . . .


And smaller waters . . .
Even some really small waters . . .
And some wild waters . . .

A  little solitude . . .


A little adventure . . .

Fishing buddies . . .


And  a few nice, wild sea-run cutthroat trout . . .

























Take a break . . .

You don't need much . . .
A few good flies . . .
Chum Babys!


This is probably the most relaxing way to fish for sea-run cutthroat.
One angler, maybe two,  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 30, 2016

Puget Sound Sea-Run Cutthroat Fly Fishing Reprieve


Your Olympic Peninsula fly fishing guide.
Catch & Release, Fly Fishing Only.


Puget Sound Sea-Run Cutthroat Fly Fishing Reprieve.

   I am happy to share with you here that the Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife has updated us on our Puget Sound sea-run coastal cutthroat trout fishing season rules this year. This is what I received from them yesterday afternoon:


 
WASHINGTON DEPARTMENT OF FISH AND WILDLIFE     Print Version
NEWS RELEASE
600 Capitol Way North, Olympia, WA 98501-1091


 Tweet This!  Digg it!  StumbleUpon  Reddit
April 29, 2016
Contact: Larry Phillips, (360) 870-1889;
Ron Warren, (360) 902-2799



Several Puget Sound-area marine,
freshwater fisheries to close May 1


OLYMPIA – Five lakes and the lower sections of most rivers that flow into Puget Sound will close to all fishing beginning Sunday, May 1, when salmon and steelhead fishing also closes in the Sound.
Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) officials said today they are closing state fisheries in waters where salmon migrate while they work to secure the federal permit required to hold salmon fisheries in Puget Sound. Typically, the state and tribes jointly obtain the federal permit for the Sound, where some fish stocks are protected under the federal Endangered Species Act. The current permit expires April 30.
However, many fishing opportunities remain available in and around Puget Sound. WDFW has posted a list of rivers and sections of rivers that are open to fishing on its webpage at http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/pugetsound_salmon_update. That page also has a list of Puget Sound area lakes that are closed to all fishing.
“Since we didn’t reach an agreement with treaty tribal co-managers on this year’s Puget Sound salmon fisheries, we have to close fishing in areas where we know salmon will be,” said Ron Warren, head of WDFW’s Fish Program.
For the next few months, those areas include several Puget Sound-region lakes and the lower reaches of streams where salmon smolts will travel on their way to the Sound.
Lakes that will close May 1 to all fishing include Lake Washington and Lake Sammamish (King County), Monte Cristo Lake (Snohomish County), Lake Cushman (Mason County), and Barney Lake (Skagit County).
Examples of rivers where at least sections, if not all, are closed to fishing include the Skagit, Stillaguamish and Snohomish rivers, north of Seattle. Today’s action also applies to Puget Sound-area rivers that typically open to fishing in early June, though fishery managers will be evaluating those rivers to determine whether any can open on schedule.
All non-tribal commercial and recreational Puget Sound salmon and steelhead fisheries, including those in Marine Area 13 and year-round fishing piers around Puget Sound, will close May 1 to salmon and steelhead fishing until further notice. More detailed information about marine area closures can be found online at https://fortress.wa.gov/dfw/erules/efishrules/.
The department is working with federal authorities and doing everything possible to re-open Puget Sound marine and freshwater fisheries, Warren said.
“We regret having to close these fisheries,” Warren said. “We know this is a hardship on many communities around Puget Sound and disappoints many anglers.”
In the meantime, Warren urged anglers to consider trying new fishing waters, emphasizing that most Puget Sound area lowland lakes remain open to fishing.

Also, he said recreational fisheries in Puget Sound marine areas that are not affected by the closures include bottomfish, such as lingcod, Pacific cod and cabezon, as well as sea-run cutthroat trout and halibut. These fisheries are covered under a separate permit and are open as scheduled. Anglers should check the 2015-16 Washington Sport Fishing Rules pamphlet, available online athttp://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/regulations/, for details.

Salmon fishing will continue as scheduled in the Columbia River and Washington’s ocean waters and north coastal rivers. Information on those fisheries can be found on WDFW’s webpage at http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/northfalcon/.


   I am emphasizing the last paragraph for you here:

"Also, he said recreational fisheries in Puget Sound marine areas that are not affected by the closures include bottomfish, such as lingcod, Pacific cod and cabezon, as well as sea-run cutthroat trout and halibut. These fisheries are covered under a separate permit and are open as scheduled. Anglers should check the 2015-16 Washington Sport Fishing Rules pamphlet, available online athttp://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/regulations/, for details."

   So, Until we hear differently from official sources, I think it is safe to say that our  saltwater sea-run cutthroat fishing season is secure. I don't know about you, but the last few weeks of insanity and uncertainty, propagated by the annual salmon season setting negotiations process breaking down between the tribes and the state, has had me losing sleep and stressing out. It's nice to get this reprieve. I am still waiting for the new annual / seasonal rules to be published before I stick my neck out on river fishing here this year.  If you do plan on fishing a river, make sure to check the sport fishing rules pamphlet, and the sportfishing hotline: 360-902-2500 for closures and changes, 

  One thing that I do know for sure is that w.d.f & w Law Enforcement Game Wardens will be watching anglers closely this year, to see if anyone is attempting to fish for salmon illegally, during the closures, while pretending to be sea-run cutthroat fishing. They intend to come own hard on this behavior. We all should. 

Don't be afraid to turn in poachers. But learn how to do it correctly here: 



   Last fall, when early in the season it was becoming clear that the coho runs had failed to materialize, and rivers and marine areas were being closed under emergency rules all over the region, I had already decided to stop fishing for coho. I won't be fishing for them this year either. And I certainly won't be guiding for them on the beaches. It's going to take some years for them to recover. I think we should just give them a break for a few years. If you want a lot of fish around, you need to let them spawn. That's going to be pretty hard to do if they are hanging in a net, or dangling from a hook somewhere. 

   So let's go trout fishing, where we can. And let's not take it for granted. We don't need to catch every last living fish out there to make our days worthwhile. And remember that catch & release fishing is the reason we have any sea-run coastal cutthroat in Puget Sound at all. 


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 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 sharing 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