Monday, April 6, 2015

A Saltchuck Spring

Your Olympic Peninsula fly fishing guide,
Catch & Release, Fly fishing only!

A Saltchuck Spring

April sea-run Coastal Cutthroat trout.
Photo credit Richard Stoll

APRIL is the cruellest month, breeding
Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing
Memory and desire, stirring
Dull roots with spring rain.
From The Wasteland, by T.S. Eliot

   We have been getting out a few times a week, scouting our north Puget Sound region beaches for signs of life. March here was very quiet for trout, which came as no surprise. For one thing we had record rainfall this March. And we also know that many of the trout are spawning then. And we have heard that in some streams that are being monitored here they are seeing the chum salmon fry coming out  about a week or two later than normal. And this would concentrate the trout and the fry in the lower tidal reaches of many streams. (NOTE here that none of those places is open to fishing right now!) So through March we have seen "a fish here and fish there", and generally slow fishing. But things are changing now. Every single day. April magic.

Fred's porch.
April is seeping spring into life here in a gradual awakening. You begin to notice that the air is heavier with the scent of things like the soil, low tide, pollen, grasses and flowers. That earthy richness is coming back with the sun's warmth. One favorite harbinger of spring for me is the trillium blooming in late March. By April the Red Winged Black Birds are back. And they are out in fully singing force here now.

Trillium, Hoh River Valley

   The trout are moving out of the creeks, along with the salmon fry. And with each tide they will gradually spread out into the tidal currents. Soon it will seem as though they are everywhere along our shores. And of course the trout are chasing them like crazy now too.The fry that emerged from their gravel redds in streams far to the south of us, in South Sound and Hood Canal waters, will be making their way along our beaches in the coming months. And there will be a growing procession of salmon smolt coming through here all summer. This just gets better and better through the season, and this is a big reason that this region is so popular for sea-run Coastal Cutthroat trout fishermen. 

   Yes, size does matter. And smaller is better sometimes, when it comes to spring sea-run flies anyway. The fry come out of the streams at about an inch and a quarter to an inch and a half in length. So you should be tying your flies sparse and small- Size #6 to size #8, and maybe a few even a bit smaller. But don't think that you need a smaller tippet size now too. Some very big and robust trout come out into the saltchuck to play in the spring. I wouldn't fish for Cutthroat on the beaches with a tippet lighter than 4X now. Even on a size #10 fly.

   Presentation is everything. And if I can share one tip with you for spring time sea-run fishing, it is to work the shallow edges of things very thoroughly. Don't just wade out there thigh deep and bust out those long heavy casts. Try to hang back and work from shore a little too. Especially during much stronger tides and currents. Most of the action will be right at your feet, if you don't screw it up by walking into it all. It's time to get out there and fish!

Speaking of flies . . . 
It's Chum Baby time again!  

    The Chum Baby fly is one of the most important fly patterns to have in your fly box when you are sea-run Coastal Cutthroat trout fly fishing, especially in the spring. You will find that this fly works very well for smallmouth bass, char and rainbow trout too, especially in waters where those fish feed on juvenile salmon. This is an excellent  and long proven successful, general spring fry pattern. If you will be fishing in Alaska in the early season, you need this fly.

 You will soon find them at the Orvis Bellevue store! Dozens of Chum Baby flies have once again begun their migration across Puget Sound, over the I-405 Bridge, and all of the way upstream to the Orvis Bellevue Fly Shop!  

 And you'll find them at The Confluence Fly Shop in Bellingham soon too. Just wait until you try the Chum Baby fly out on spring trout and Dolly Varden. 

Celebrating 35 years of fly fishing adventures! 
In celebration of my over 35 years of fly fishing experience, I am going to be extending a $35.00 discount to every returning angler date this season. From April through October, if you come fishing with me, and you or a partner have been a fishing guest in the past, you will receive the $35 discount. 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 through October and beyond. Please call or write for details.

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
W.S.U.Beach Watcher
U.S.C.G First Aid/CPR/BLS/AED/BBP/HIV Certified

Phone: 360-385-9618


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