Thursday, July 25, 2013

Mid Summer Wanderings

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

Mid Summer Wanderings

Early summer Pink Salmon on the beach!
      It is mid summer here on the Olympic Peninsula and sometimes it is hard to decide where to go fishing first. Often the mornings can be quite refreshingly cool and foggy. And by noon we will be enjoying summer mid day temperatures in the 70's to 80's. The cooler overcast mornings can favor many options as the low light conditions offer us some stealth, even though the sun comes up so early now. If we can combine these low light mornings with decent tidal flows along our beaches, which is often the case, we can enjoy hours of morning fishing on the saltchuck without baking in the sun. By noon you will need your hats and sunscreen and long sleeved shirts though. This is a nice way to begin the day here. 

        Most of our salmon are beginning to show up now in this area, including a solid early summer run of Pink salmon headed up the Dungeness river this week. If you go over to the Dungeness River Audubon Center you can see them swimming home. No Fishing! For the most part the salmon are still feeding in the salt water and most of our rivers won't see any substantial numbers of fish returning for another month or more to begin with. There have been some very robust Chinook salmon caught around here lately though. And a few Coho too. We have months of good beach fishing ahead of us, and it is ON now. I like these late afternoon into evening high tides for low light conditions and shallow water fly fishing on the beaches.

Playing a Coho on the beach.

       With trout season open on our rivers and streams now we have some options. And one of my favorite things to do is to head down to the tidewater reaches on some lower rivers and fish for sea run Cutthroat right down to the saltwater. If we time it right we may end up fishing for upriver trout later in the day, having lunch in the cool mountain shade, and then heading off to a beach to fish the later afternoon hours, maybe into evening depending upon when we begin our day. That is a fun day of mixed streamer and wet fly fishing in an estuary in the morning, dry fly fishing on a mountain stream in the afternoon, and ending with saltwater fly fishing into the evening, maybe with the same rod and outfit all day. A very simple pleasure.

Working a shady edge in a lower tidewater reach.

     Summer Steelhead flyfishing here has slowed down a little in many of our waters as the flows have dropped to the normal summertime lows. Yet there are still some very good opportunities for the angler who is willing to work for the prize. The fish are there, and we have to find them. When we do, life is good. Typically some of the better fishing will be in low light, at dusk and dawn. But if these fish are holding in the shade, beneath whitewater, or tucked into a flow of deeper cold water somewhere, we just might be able to turn them on.

     Sea run Cutthroat are having no trouble at all finding food this summer, and much of the forage, bait fish and salmon smolt, have been maturing for months and have spread out all over the place. Now that it is often good and hot in the mid day hours here there are plenty of insects available as well, and saltwater Cutthroat will take a beetle, hopper, ant or termite fly as quickly off of a beach as they would in a stream. If I am working hard at surface fishing, especially under a hot sun, and I am not getting any takers, I will often shift to deeper presentations, with a weighted fly on a longer leader, and still using my floating line. Now is the time to include some very deep and slow presentations in your swing. Let your fly H-U-N-T down there. Some of the good stuff for this will include darker Sculpin and Muddler flys, Matukas, in natural tones of green, black, grey, brown. Just a little flash. 

Sculpin are a very common forage species for sea run Cutthroat.
A 3" long fly is not out of the question.

      It pays to be versatile in your presentations to sea run Cutthroat. Try to approach your day with an open mind, and be willing to try everything, fishing from top to bottom, to cover all of the water that you can, as creatively as you can. Your fly box should include some very small flies as well. I like the old school Partridge and Green, Partridge and Orange, Spiders, etc for the lighter fishing we may encounter. In very slow, gin-clear water, these fine old patterns are often just the thing that works. I won't hesitate to dead-drift a Chum Baby fly down through there too.

     Now booking summer fly fishing trips on the Olympic Peninsula waters. Catch & And Release, Fly Fishing Only. Celebrating over 30 years of fly fishing adventure. Please call or write for booking details. Beginners welcome, full instruction available.

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

Licensed Washington State Guide
Trout Unlimited Aquatic Educator Award
Certified Fly Casting Instructor

Telephone: 360-385-9618 / Toll Free: 866-793-3595


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