Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Here comes the sun.




 
Sunrise over the Cascade range.

   February is over a month after the winter solstice. Up until now I have been taking it on faith that the days were getting longer. But by now it is undeniable. And I am feeling optimistic for the progressive return of those long sunny days on the water. Even if it's only adding a few seconds of daylight to each day. I have fished on the beaches a little bit this winter, and we've had some great days. But the weather has been rough too, so timing is everything. The last week of January was superb, with mild days, lots of sun, almost 50 degrees. And some big fat trout around too. This is enough new energy to stimulate me into fixing my leaky waders, checking all of my tackle, and sorting through my fly boxes. And it's time to tie those spring sea run cutthroat trout flies. There's plenty of time. I'm even going to paint the dory again. The cutthroat will be heading into their spawning period shortly, and the fishing on the saltchuck will be slow for a while. It won't hurt to give the fish a break for a time, to allow them to recover. It's amazing what a difference a few weeks can make in the condition and fight of these wild trout. I like to get back to fishing for the sea-run cutthroat trout in mid to late April up here in the northern reaches of Puget Sound country. South Sound anglers enjoy an earlier return of the cutthroat, and the chum fry. We're a few weeks behind them. 

  This will be my 37th season as a fly fisherman. So you would think that I am kind of over the excitement and anticipation of the coming spring. But I'm not. I spend the early winter months thinking about the fishing we did earlier in the year, remembering things about the way the water was, how the tides and winds were on some days, and remembering the fish that we caught. There's always a few days that I will never forget.   And I spend some time each winter, scouting new water too; looking over marine charts, tide and current tables, and road maps. Every year I like to try some new water. I have been fishing here on the Olympic Peninsula for the last 16 years, and there's still so much to see and do here. It's a lifes work.

   I try to add some new flies to my fishing too. This is something that we can do throughout our fly fishing lives. It's amazing to contemplate the variety of trout flies that can be used for sea-run cutthroat fly fishing. Just about any trout fly will work at one time or another, not just saltwater flies. Dry fly fishing on the saltchuck is a hoot. And even though we may have our favorites, we should always be trying some new things. If you are tying your own flies, then you know how rewarding this can be. If you aren't already tying, I encourage you to get into it soon. This really rounds out your fly fishing adventure. Catching fish on your own hand tied flies is very satisfying. I just got this message from fly tying dynamo and sea-run cutthroat guru Jeffrey Delia today. This looks like a good opportunity to learn some new fly tying ideas:
Howdy Folks,
Just thought I would let you all know there are still a couple of seats left for my Steelhead/Salmon Fly Tying Class this Saturday Jan. 28
 at Peninsula Outfitters in Poulsbo. If you’re interested please call the shop at 360-394-1599.
I hope you have all been doing some Winter Cutthroat fishing, we have had some great fishing recently and you can read about it and see some of the fish pics on my Facebook page. If we are not friends on Facebook and you would like to be just type in Jeffrey Delia Facebook page and send me a friend request.
Thanks,
Jeffrey 
Jeffrey Delia http://www.oysterchannel.com Food, Fish, Fun and Fideos from the Pacific Northwest

       Spring sea-run coastal cutthroat trout fishing season is just a few months away!

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


Tuesday, December 27, 2016

The New Year


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


Winter sea-run Cutthroat fly fishing on Puget Sound.

     For the last few days around here the winds have been blowing a gale much of the time. The waters on the bay have been marl grey colored, and raging, on and off. Big waves came ashore like an invading legion, one phalanx after another came crushing onto the beaches, white foam and spume blowing up onto the rocky shores, and forty knot gusts. On days like that you wonder when you will be able to fish here again. It was like that last night, and we had trees down, power outages, etc. But by this morning is was as calm as could be, a bluebird day. The water was greenish blue, and clear as gin. The saltchuck waters clean up, sometimes within a few hours at most, after the big wind storms die down here. And we can get many mild, fishing friendly weather breaks between storms.

   This afternoon I drove down to the beach to check things out. I knew I wouldn't be fishing. I have been taking it easy after a bad cold knocked me out for a while. It was so nice out. There was a guy fishing out there, in the shallow water. He was dressed appropriately for the winter fishing game- like an Eskimo. The water is cold now. And when the winds get blowing, you'd better be dressed for it. I was feeling pangs of withdrawal, watching this fellow wading and casting, the water so flat, the sun shining. But in the distance I could see a squall, making its way down from the mountains, and I rolled up my window to shut out the cold air rushing along with it. Within minutes the rain was blowing down hard, the sky darkened. There was sleet in the mix, hammering at my windshield as I drove to town for coffee. In a few minutes it was clear and sunny again, and the waters calmed. Everything had that fresh sparkle to it. There was a nice rainbow arched over town as I drove in. That's the way it is here now. We play it by ear. But we can fish all winter. 


End of the day.

    
  Winter Sea-Run Cutthroat Fishing: 

  Here's an essay on winter sea-run cutthroat trout fishing that I originally wrote a few years ago, for a local Trout Unlimited group. I hope that you like it. 

“The Secret Season”
By Bob Triggs
 The cold gray skies of November bring many Olympic Peninsula fly fishers adventures to a gloomy ending. Most of the lakes and smaller waters have closed, Salmon season on the salt-chuck has wound down, and the fickle weather keeps our coastal rivers flows unstable enough to make any long range fishing plans tentative at best. Quite a few anglers will not fish for trout again until spring and opening day on the lowland waters. Rods and reels will be closeted, tackle stored. Some will tie flies, most will begin the annual rituals of winter-idled anglers anywhere; book and magazine reading by a warming fire, sporting show attendance, fishing club gatherings, haunting the fly shops, pontificating on the Internet fishing forums, and sundry all of the many survival strategies of the seasonally displaced fisherman. There is a kind of hum-drum predictability to it all.
 Yet perhaps there is more. No, I do not mean the mystical and obsessional Olympic Peninsula Rainforest winter Steelhead season; for which there is no cure or treatment except to stand hips deep in the numbingly icy waters, in howling wind and rain, swinging a wet fly in the turbid jade green flows with zombie-like expectancy. No; I am reminding you trout fishers that the fine art of Sea Run Coastal Cutthroat Trout fly fishing can be pursued on our area beaches, using floating lines and dry flies if you like, all winter long. Yes; November through March- all good fishing months when most anglers wouldn’t be caught dead out on an exposed Puget Sound salt-chuck beach with fly rod in hand. And you will have those beaches mostly to your self. There are enough mild, not too windy nor wet, winter days here to make beach fishing a delightfully frequent possibility. And this creates a welcome diversion from the gloominess of grey skies, short days and the waiting for river flows to return to fishable flows between storms. You might even forget that it is winter. Especially when we get a few warmer and sunnier days in February, and the termites start hatching out of the rotting logs on the beach- and a nice fluffy, ruddy brown colored Stimulator fly will fool a cruising trout in shallow water. 
 Many sea-run Coastal Cutthroat Trout spend a good deal of time in the winter months feeding adjacent to their natal streams and beyond. These fish tend to be a little heftier than the average summer fish from October onward. I have caught them on  just about every kind of trout fly that you can think of. My biggest winter Cutthroat have come on big dark flies- Streamers, Matukas, Wooly Boogers, Leeches, Bunnies, Skunkaboos etc- swung deep and slow, using an intermediate sink or dry line and a longer leader of over nine feet in length. However you approach it the point is a deep slow presentation. I never use strike indicators or floats or jigs in this fishing.  These big fish hit hard and will give your five weight and wrists a good workout. I like the simple meditation of walking along a beach in wintertime, watching the subtle shifts of light and water, the changing moods of the day, the migrating birds and waterfowl, the Seals and Porpoises and Otters. Wading a tide pool can yield lessons in discovering the winter forage for your trout, and new ideas for your fly box. Puget Sound winter beaches are surprisingly alive with wildlife activity, even on the colder days. It is not uncommon to catch a few resident Coho on some days in winter, and these scrappy fish will test your tackle too. How about this: winter Steelhead migrate along most of our beaches all winter long and you could hook the fish of a lifetime if one of them grabs your skating Muddler off of the surface. Good luck landing it on your five weight…  
 For romance and serendipity there may not be much more fun in sea-run Cutthroat Trout fly fishing than skating a big bushy dry fly or popper on the surface of a strong tidal flow. Fellow fly angler Leland Miyawaki says of fishing with his own design Beach Poppers: “It’s the most fun you can have on a beach with your clothes on”.  Skating, waking, stripping and shaking his fly can be addictive and mesmerizing; and then the water begins to bulge, as a wake forms behind and you realize that a big fish is chasing down your skittering popper; Slam!, and the game is on!. Poppers have been around in various forms and styles all over the world for many years. But Leland has reinvented the art and joy of tying and fishing these flies with his own Miyawaki’s Beach Popper. Try them and you may just might never want to fish beneath the surface again. 
 For several years I have made a foray to the beaches around Christmas day, weather permitting, armed with a few flies, and on most trips I catch one or two trout in as many hours of pleasant fishing. If you bring along  a rucksack, a newspaper or book, a lunch and a thermos, you can make a day of it. I like that kind of pace. With so many good beaches and local access, its hard to ignore. There are more miles of beach to explore here, to wade or not to wade, casting for sea-run Coastal Cutthroat Trout, than you could ever cover in a lifetime, much less an active winter of adventure. It is too easy to get stuck in a rut of fishing in the same old places in the same old ways. Get out and take  a walk someplace new, explore and experiment. You might surprise yourself with another productive fishing spot or a new way of doing things. And you might beat the winter doldrums and flab too. Sea-runs move often, they rarely stay in one spot for more than one tide cycle, neither should you. So keep moving. 
 Don’t get caught in the “high tide” mentality. We have enough structure and current here on Admiralty Inlet and around the Olympic Peninsula region beaches that you can catch sea-run Cutthroat at any time of tide on most days, if you just work at it. It won’t hurt you to learn the structures of  a beach by visiting it on a minus tide day and watching the flows as a tide comes in. One good thing is to find current flowing along a beach, on any tide, from there your fishing is just like freshwater river fishing anywhere. Having bait around helps, so be on the lookout for birds feeding, especially sea ducks and Cormorants and especially Osprey. Taking a little time to study forage fish habitats and behavior will pay off too. Look for gravel and cobblestone bottom beaches with moving water at some time of tide. Spurs of land, points and bars, ledges and humps, all indicate some current at some point of tide. Sea-run Cutthroat like an active fly so don’t be afraid to keep that fly moving and alive! Strip-Shake-Rattle-N-Roll!  Mix it up and make it look real. No bait fish with a set of trout teeth chasing it slows down or stops. Its not paranoia if they are really after you! Once you find a good spot and catch a few fish, don’t get “stuck”- keep moving. Even a few steps at a time once in a while can make a big difference. Make an adventure of it. But remember where you caught the last one!
 Don’t wade too deep; knee deep to shin deep is fine. Once you begin wading deep you can push fish away, and you will be losing your body core temperature the whole time you are fishing no matter how well you layer your clothing. Frequent breaks to warm up are a good strategy. Better yet; don’t allow yourself to get cold to begin with. Simply walking out of the water for a few minutes occasionally is usually enough to warm you, along with snacks and sipping hot thermos drinks or soup during the day. It’s supposed to be fun. Try to work your fly in the shallows before you ever actually do any wading. Standing on the dry beach at waters edge I once caught a 12 pound ocean returning Coho salmon in two feet of water right in front of me this way. Trout feed in ridiculously shallow water sometimes. Any time of year you could have a good day of catching Cutthroat right at the edges all day, and never once step in the water to do it. But only if you try.
 A nine foot five or six weight fly rod is fine. I like the medium to fast action rods, especially on a windy day or when I’m pushing big Poppers or fluffy flies. The Switch and Spey rods are gaining in popularity on the beaches these days too. A 12 foot six weight seems fine. I prefer a floating fly line all year round. But many people swear by the newer intermediate sink clear lines and sink tip lines. Using a dry line I can adjust my leader length according to the fly I am using and depth that I want to fish. In the broader, slower flows of most shallow water beach fishing situations here this is a refreshingly simple affair. A nine foot factory tapered, knotless 4X or 3X monofilament leader should cover most of it. Have extra spools of tippet and your leaders will last much longer. I use all kinds of trout and steelhead flies for this fishing but I especially like Leland’s Beach Popper and big brushy Steelhead muddlers like Bill McMillan’s Steelhead Caddis. Generally I try to avoid long shank hooks and limit my hooks to size # 4 and # 6. I also use bait fish flies like the Clouser Minnow. I opt for more natural or imitative colors and patterns overall. Larger and longer shank hooks can easily kill a Cutthroat Trout. Remember that by law we are to “release all fish without avoidable injury”, as these fish are protected from harvest on Washington’s marine waters.
 If you dress properly for winter weather, though often it is quite mild here, being aware of the colder water temperatures on Puget Sound waters, and if you come with an open mind and a positive attitude, you won’t ever be disappointed. Winter sea-run Cutthroat fly fishing on our beaches can become a new addition to your outdoors and angling life. Thankfully our regional beaches have easy access and ample parking, and much of the best fishing is right at our doorstep on the Olympic Peninsula. So what are you waiting for? Don’t let the brown muddy rivers stop you- get out and fish! 


Happy Holidays to you!

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
Catch & Release, Fly Fishing Only!

  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 and fall 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. Booking on short notice in the fall and winter is welcome.

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



Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Winter's Early!



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


Winter

     The last week of November has been colder, with lots of rain, and the mountains have gotten some much needed snow. All of autumn has been a blustery run of warm pacific storms, wind, high water and low water, and everything in between. We've had some great days on the saltchuck too, chasing sea-run cutthroat trout casting from the beaches, and in the rowing dory too. On milder winter days, especially with the rivers running high and dirty, this is a great way to get out on the water. There's some big trout out there! Winter seems to be settling in a bit early this year, as the nights grow longer and colder. No more mosquitoes! And speaking of pests, finally, now that the "Tourons" are gone, I can find a place to park downtown without having to walk ten blocks to the barber shop. (Doug Rose loved to use that term.")

     We had some special emergency fishing rules put into place out here this summer and fall, to protect the runs of wild coho salmon that had been so depressed last year. Those closures pretty much shut down my autumn summer steelhead and cutthroat trout fishing on the rivers. That was a bummer. And hard to fathom, considering how simple it would have been to write regulations for a gamefishing season that would have avoided impacting returning salmon. By the fishing reports from around the Puget Sound region, the coho runs seem to have done quite well this year, especially at the hatcheries. And many fishermen reported catching some very big, robust coho.  But we're most interested in recovering the wild salmon runs here. So we will still need to wait until the final results come in from the 2016 wild coho spawning surveys, to get a sense of the true escapement numbers of these wild salmon. It's going to take more than one year to get a clearer picture of what has happened to these fish. And there's no reason to expect that many other fish, including steelhead, are not impacted by the same things, (significantly climate and ocean conditions), that have hurt the coho runs. I did not fish for nor guide for coho on the beaches here this year, even where the season was opened.  

   You might be happy to hear that Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife announced today that you may retain Hatchery Coho, through December 15th, on the Sol Duc River. This means that the Sol Duc hatchery was able to collect their quota of hatchery coho eggs.
Check here for details: https://fortress.wa.gov/dfw/erules/efishrules/erule.jsp?id=1901 



Winter Steelhead Green.

    Many of the Olympic Peninsula steelhead rivers that we like to fly fish are reopened now, for early winter steelhead fishing. And some of the hatchery runs are already showing up, riding on the strong river flows we have seen this fall. We can expect to see those runs through December here. Don't be surprised to find plenty of tough cutthroat trout in these rivers now too. Hopefully the colder temperatures will set in, and the river flows will moderate. Of course this means that the water will be colder too. So be prepared to fish slow and deep. 

   Popular winter steelhead fly colors are usually fluorescent and rude. The higher winter flows add turbidity and color to the water, and this can reduce visibility significantly. That's okay, just get those bright or dark flies down. I could wax poetic here with the esoteric memes of proper, traditional fly selection, the history of Spey and Dee flies, and the classic Pacific Northwest steelhead fly patterns. And I love these things myself. But what you really need, especially for these hatchery fish, is something big, bright and ugly. (And some will also say that all you need is a purple and black fly.) Whatever you use, you need to get it in their face, and piss them off! This is where bait fishermen excel as fly fishers- they understand this. Heresy, I know. The next thing you know I will be telling you to use a big- ass Pink Bunny Leech!

"Winter Bright Waters".

    The great thing about the Olympic Peninsula steelhead rivers is that there's a road next to almost all of them, and plenty of trail access. So it's not like you need to fish from a drift boat to find some good runs to fish. Speaking of roads and winter driving, here's a link that you should be aware of: 

http://www.atmos.washington.edu/SNOWWATCH/
      
Select "Full Domain" for the Olympic Peninsula.


    Something that we are very aware of in the wintertime out here is Black Ice. The SnowWatch system has temperature sensors embedded in the roads, continuously feeding live, real-time data, which can help you plan for or avoid bad driving conditions. Warmer marine air and fog meeting colder road surfaces sets up this condition, and the roads here can glaze over with ice quickly, creating deadly driving conditions. Even on a day when the air is in the forty-something degree range! Make sure you have good winter tires and winter safety equipment when you come out here to fish in the winter. And remember that this SnowWatch website is just a reference, and not without error.  

    By the end of December you can expect that the hatchery steelhead runs are mostly done here. And January can be slow. If you want to fish for the later, wild winter steelhead runs on the Olympic Peninsula rivers, I can't help you. I gave up fishing and guiding for wild winter steelhead out here a few years ago. From my perspective, with over 13 seasons of winter fishing experience on these rivers, I think that they are almost gone now. And there's already too much pressure on them. Now I stop winter steelhead fishing on the rivers by January 1st. And this is one of the hardest decisions I have ever had to make as a fisherman and guide. 


    Happy Holidays to you!
   


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
Catch & Release, Fly Fishing Only!

    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 and fall 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. Booking on short notice in the fall and winter is welcome.

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


Monday, November 21, 2016

A Thanksgiving Steelhead



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

November Moon
Photo credit: Heather Gilpin

     Fall has been seeping in here one rainy day after another. And we have been fishing on the beaches, in between the wet and windy days, since mid-October. The rivers have been getting their annual autumn rainfall, with cooler, deeper flows. Just in time for the salmon and steelhead runs. The storm winds put a lot of debris, branches, logs and leaves in the rivers. The beaches have been torn up a few times too, with storm damages and higher tides. The October Hunter Moon brought the tides way up. We can expect that the November 14th Full Beaver Moon will do the same. It is remarkable how quickly the beach waters will be clear of turbidity, and the fishing will resume after a storm here. November is statistically the wettest month of the year out here. The western slopes of the Olympic Mountains can get 140-180 inches of rain annually, most of it in the winter. There have been many times in Novembers past when we couldn’t fish the rivers because of high flows and poor visibility, even though the storms had passed days previously. So we headed down to the beaches to fish for sea-run cutthroat trout instead. This is never disappointing. We are in the Olympic Mountain Rainshadow over here on the east side of the Peninsula. And we only get about 17-19 inches of rain annually. 

  “I want to catch a steelhead.
   
   A few years back my friend Jeff called me, during the week just before his birthday on Thanksgiving. He had the holiday weekend off. He and I had worked at the same fly fishing lodge in Alaska one season. And I had time open to get away with him. So we loaded up our gear in his truck and we took off for the west-end Olympic Peninsula rivers.  There are some smaller coastal streams that could have some steelhead in them around then, mostly hatchery fish. But that would be good enough for us. It was a fairly balmy day, and we got into the water after dawn. The water was low and gin-clear. We walked along the sandy edges of one pool and run after another, easily wading across the shallow tail-outs, scouting for fish as the sun got brighter. We clambered up a small waterfall, crouching on the wet slippery boulders, looking at the Coho salmon holding in the deep plunge pool below, as they waited for the flows to come up, so they could then move upriver to spawn. We stood, barely knee deep, at the edge of one pool, just above the narrowing flows, surveying the water, looking for a sign of fish. After a few minutes we noticed a faint bit of movement- a shadow, an eye, a mouth, A Fish!  And it was right there in front of us, not fifteen feet away, in the shallow fast water. A bright steelhead!
  
    If you have ever tried to cast to a fish that is holding in fast water, only a few yards away from you, you will understand the frustration of how difficult it is to get a decent presentation of the fly that way, without spooking the fish.  We stood stock still, barely moving at all, as Jeff deftly flicked and flipped one fly after another, with barely more than his leader out of the rod tip, try after try, just showing that steelhead his flies, which we changed with every few “casts.” It felt like an eternity. The fish was marvelous, so bright and fresh from the sea, it’s chrome sides reflected the gravel and sky so well, it would fade into and out of view randomly. It was almost invisible at times, except for the shadow on the gravel bottom beneath the fish.
  
   We were acting on faith. The fish that we had hoped for was right there at our feet. (It was a little more than we had hoped for actually.)  A fish like that can be very hard to catch. With some drifts of the fly the fish would veer off, avoiding the drift. And with the next cast it seemed to be chasing the fly, briefly, only to go back to its holding position in the flows.. And at other times Jeff actually bounced the fly right off of the fish’s nose. And the fish did not flinch. We tried all kinds of northwest steelhead patterns: big, small, dark, light, etc. We even skated a few greased-liners right across the bow. Nothing doing. With each successive cast, I began to feel like I was in some kind of weird karmic dream. And this whole time, cast after cast, we had not moved our feet an inch. We didn’t dare. At one point the fish was within a yard of us, seemingly taking shelter in our shadow. Probably to avoid those pesky little flies that we were incessantly drifting at it. 

   There’s an Alaska fly called the “Ice Worm.” It was originated by Ted Gerkin at Iliaska Lodge, on Lake Ilaimna. It is intended for the big rainbow trout on the Lake Iliamna and Katmai Park tributaries in the fall. I still had a few in my fly box, left over from the summer guiding season. Imagine a Woolly Booger fly, with a pink shrimp colored chenille body, pink shrimp colored body hackle, and a cream colored collar hackle and marabou tail. Spawning colors. One swing was all it took with that fly. And we went from a catatonic stupor to a shallow water brawl instantly. Both of us were kind of amazed to see the fish actually take the fly. 

    I mean, geez . . . Hundreds of swings, and a dozen flies later?!
   
    I wish that I could tell you here that the fish put up an electrifying fight, taking the line and all of the backing and going way downstream, leaping into the air, it’s bright flanks flashing in the sun, and that the fish dove downriver - "the reel drag screaming!" - and we had to run, full-tilt over the slippery rocks, leaping over mossy logs and half swimming through deep holes, heroically keeping that bruising brawler on the hook . . . 

   But it didn’t go that way.

   Inexplicablythis beautiful steelhead simply swam around in the shallow water, pulling a little here and there for a few minutes, and then it pretty much just lied down on the gravel at Jeff’s feet and it gave up. It was about 36 inches long, chrome bright, and an early wild hen. It was one of the most beautiful steelhead I have ever seen. 
  
  You don’t have to wait until Thanksgiving to come out to the Olympic Peninsula rivers to catch a steelhead. There are summer-run steelhead and cutthroat trout in most of these rivers year-round. And we often see early winter-run hatchery steelhead well before Thanksgiving. These autumn rains will get them moving, and stir them up. This year we have had some special rules put in place, to protect the wild coho spawning runs. This closed almost all of our good autumn trout fishing waters, especially the big rivers, until mid-November. Ordinarily we would be fishing for summer runs and cutthroat by September. I am guessing that the fishing this November is going to be superb out here. And if the rivers get too dirty and high again, don’t miss out on the good sea-run cutthroat trout fishing on the beaches. We do that all winter. I do not guide on the Olympic Peninsula rivers for steelhead after January 1st.


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
Catch & Release, Fly Fishing Only!

    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 and fall 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 through October, and beyond. Booking on short notice in the fall and winter is welcome.

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, October 25, 2016

The Day You Want


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



Madrona Berries

     This time of year it can be hard to get a clear forecast for our fishing days. More than a few days ahead of time and you'll probably be off by a country mile. I have had some days planned, months in advance, and gotten lucky at the last minute with a decent day of fall fishing. But most of the time in the fall here, we are watching the screens daily, sometimes hourly. It has been like that for the last few weeks here, as one huge cold front after another moved up our coast. So it's not unusual for me to be checking the forecast every day, repeatedly, and in the days ahead, late in the night before a trip, and even before dawn on the day of the trip. I was doing that last Saturday, at 2 in the morning. The wind forecasts had been all over the charts for the days leading up to our fishing day. And we had been getting very strong winds and heavy rains on and off. But there were some breaks in the lows and highs, as they passed through. And we were lucky enough to to get a nearly perfect day in every way: Very light winds, no rain, clearing all day, and almost no waves. And it had been quiet all night. The the beaches were in perfect shape. 


Heading South.
    So we headed out in the dory to fish for sea-run cutthroat trout. When we launched the boat the bay was quiet, flat and slick. The tide was coming in all morning, the air was balmy. I had a sense of apprehension, as if it was too good to be true. I have been ducking from storms, wind and rain for weeks. But these really are the conditions I pray for.  It wasn't long before we ran into some trout. And it's always great to catch that first trout of the day, first thing in the morning. And then it happened again, within a few minutes. And we then proceeded to catch one bright, willing wild cutthroat trout after another, for most of the day. We had lunch in the sun, while a seal watched us from a  few yards away. An eagle was working over the bay, sea birds feeding. There was bait everywhere. And the trout knew it.  


One after another they took our flies . . .

Full of color and fire . . .

One bright, robust sea-run cutthroat trout after another . . .

   They say that you should be careful about what you ask for.  I have always asked for the best day that we could have, no matter what happened along the way. It's pretty hard to fail when you leave yourself wide open to the experience. And I will admit that often my underlying motive is to have a truly great day, full of fish and sunshine. But it is rare that it happens that way. Saturday was our lucky day. That's how it is in the fall. You pick your days, between the raindrops and winds and waves, and you hope for the best. Honestly, it never has to get any better than this.  



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
Catch & Release, Fly Fishing Only!

    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 and fall 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 through October, and beyond. Booking on short notice in the fall and winter is welcome.

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