Wednesday, October 19, 2016

After The Storms.

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

After the storm.

    We had a wild few days of wind and rain out here last weekend on Admiralty Inlet and the north coast of the Olympic Peninsula. Thankfully the storm did not pass directly over us, as was feared. It veered out to sea, miles off of the entrance to the Strait of Juan de Fuca. There were some serious gusts of wind though, and some damages. There were only a few power outages scattered around. It could have been much worse. The beaches here get torn up pretty good during these southerly wind storms. You wouldn't want to be standing there when it's blowing 40 knots, wind waves to six feet, and logs, stumps, rocks, clams etc, flying through the air. So enters the first real, serious weather changes of autumn, heading into winter.

#6 October Caddis. A great autumn fly for sea-run cutthroat,
in freshwater or saltwater, and for summer steelhead in the rivers.

    The rivers out here are getting some much needed rains, and the Olympic Mountains have only begun to get some snow in the higher elevations. After last weekend we are seeing the first new light dustings of snow, up around 6000 to 8000 feet and above. By the end of the month the freezing levels are supposed to fall again, to down around 4000 feet in altitude. So even though we have been getting some pretty good rains on and off over the last few weeks, with some big spikes in flows too, the mountains are getting colder, and the river flows are moderating. And this should be perfect for fishing. The only problem with that is that there is almost no river fishing available out here until mid November, when the rivers reopen. If you study your wdfw annual sportsfishing regulations, you will find a few smaller waters are still open to trout fishing. And there have been some re openings of some rivers around the Puget Sound region too. The October Caddis is going to be your go-to fly for cutthroat trout and summer steelhead now. And I like those soft hackles this time of year too; The Partridge & Orange is my favorite. I use that one in the saltwater too. With all of the wind and rain we are getting, and with the leaves still on most of the trees, there's a lot of leaves and debris in the rivers and lakes now. But that will clear up fairly quickly as it gets colder.  

"Moon Shot"

    It is remarkable how quickly and well the beaches here have cleaned up, even with some wind and rain continuing on and off here, and in the forecast for all week ahead. This is a wet October so far. Last Saturday night was the Full Hunter Moon, which was an especially powerful influence on tides, and considering the storms too, it put  a lot of weeds and other debris in the water. It was another "Super Moon," too, but it was hard to see through the overcast night sky. This really brought the high tides way up around here. But the last few mornings have been eminently fishable from our beaches. The water cleans up quickly here once the wind and waves settle down.We'll be playing Cat-And-Mouse with the weather for the months ahead, as we get these nice breaks to fish here between storms. With some heavy flows in the streams right now, that will bring turbidity. Trout like clean water. Expect to find them near the beaches, where you would find them in September, still feeding, in the saltchuck. There tons of bait around here too. Last week I was out on the bay in the dory with a fisherman, and we drifted over a school of thousands of herring. The saltwater temperatures here are around 50 degrees right now. That's pretty much perfect for trout fishing anywhere. And trout love herring.

Some Clouser Minnows.
Left to right: Anchovy, Herring, and "attractor pink"

   I like fishing with some bigger streamers this time of year, some weighted flies too. And I will use sink tip lines, and sinking poly-leaders, etc., too. I do like Clouser Minnows, especially as an herring imitation. But I know two guys who like to fish all winter for sea-runs, with nothing but Woolly Boogers. And they catch a LOT of cutthroat! Try weighted and unweighted flies, like the Matuka, the Zonker, Sculpin, etc. One of the biggest sea-run cutthroat trout that I ever caught- at 23-1/2 inches- was caught on a black #6 Mike Lawson's Wool Head Muddler. One note on streamer flies in general, for sea-runs: I try to limit my fly hooks to size #6, and I avoid extra long hooks- It's too easy to hook these trout deeply, in the tongue or the heart.

   I'm loving the colder mornings and hint of frost. The big, rude power boats have all but been put away for the winter, and the waters are much quieter now. Our rowing trips are much more peaceful. And the beaches are almost abandoned. October and November is the time for big fat trout, hard hitting fighters, hot coffee in the thermos. Maybe you'll start wearing your gloves again too. Give me a call and we'll go fishing.   

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. 

Bob Triggs
Little Stone Flyfisher
P.O. Box 261
Port Townsend, WA

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

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