Thursday, August 25, 2016

A Saltchuck September

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

Closer to the Equinox

      Despite some pretty extreme heat days this summer, these late summer nights are growing ever longer and cooler.  Stepping out into the evening darkness, under the starlight, I can smell the deep scent of the cooling air and falling leaves already. Much of this is due to the recent drought that has caused some of the leaves to fall early. But it's also true that autumn is taking hold now. Without looking at the calendar you could feel it. And the fruit and vegetable crops have been way ahead all year. Some of the insect hatches here, like the termites, have been a little ahead of the normal times as well. The Autumn Equinox is less than a month away now. So even though we may get some more hot days ahead, it won't last long. That new moon coming on for the 1st of September will set the stage for some great tides and fishing this month too.

We have missed the coho fishing this year.

    Ordinarily I would be haunting the beaches from dawn to dusk at this time of year, fly fishing for the ocean-run coho that have provided me with so much good fishing for years here. 

   But perhaps no one else I know is as passionate about fly fishing for coho in Puget Sound waters as is Jimmy Lemert, owner of the famous Patricks Fly Shop in Seattle. Last year he set out to catch 51 coho in the weeks leading up to his  51st birthday. And he did it! 

Patrick's Fly Shop, Seattle.

Jimmy Lemert's 51st Birthday Coho.

   This year they closed the Puget Sound region coho runs to fishing before the runs even showed up. And last fall they closed all of the runs early, once it was obvious that the runs had collapsed. I appreciate the effort. But I have to wonder if it couldn't have been avoided by instituting some more conservative measures to begin with, years ago. Yes, we know that poor ocean conditions, and the persistent El Nino we had for a few years, have played a major role in the diminished runs here. But a big problem is also that we don't have great enough numbers of fish to survive these events to begin with. It is axiomatic that if you want a lot of fish, you need a lot of fish. And once you lose them, it is very slow going to get them back. I am really missing the beach fishing for coho. There have been enough optimistic fishing reports in other areas around the region this year to give me the impression that these fish can rebound, given time. I don't think that we should be fishing for them right now at all. Think of it as an investment in the future, rather than as a sacrifice.

Coho on a Miyawaki Beach Popper.
This is something worth protecting.

     We can be grateful for the cooing weather ahead, as it will improve the fishing on the lakes and streams, and even on the saltchuck. Most of our rivers are still running low and warm, but this autumn cooling will help all of that too. Even so, we need those first good autumn rains to get things moving on the rivers again. Check the fishing regulations before you head to the coastal rivers this year, as some of the waters will close early to protect returning coho salmon. Even with the closures, you will find coastal cutthroat trout and summer-run steehead out here on the Olympic Peninsula rivers.

    One thing that I am grateful for is our wonderful, wild sea-run coastal cutthroat trout. And autumn is prime-time for these truly tough fish.

At over 24 inches this is the biggest autumn sea-run cutthroat I have ever caught here.
But I have seen two others caught, also in the fall, that were bigger.
  The next two months of fishing here are what we look forward to all year!

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

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


Unknown said...

Thanks for the blog. Its nice to read your perspective and benefit from your knowledge.

Bob Triggs said...

I thank you for your kind words.