Thursday, May 10, 2018

Spring! As it should be.

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


As it should be . . . 

  After a  week of on and off bright sun and record-breaking high and low temperatures,  the next week to ten days ahead looks like almost perfect weather for beach fishing!  
  Up here on the Olympic Peninsula, just ninety minutes travel from Seattle, we enjoy more moderate temperatures and less rain and clouds than the Seattle and Olympia areas. Now we are back to a seasonably "normal" May springtime weather cycle- with daytime temperatures in the 60's, 70's and 80's, nighttime temperatures in the 40's to 50's, and an unpredictable mix of clouds, rain, wind, and searing sun.  This is really perfect trout fishing weather- On the beaches, On the lakes, On the rivers. Personally, I like it like this. For half of the last few weeks I have hidden inside, cowering from the stifling heat, eyeing the knee high weedy yard apprehensively, tying flies and waiting for the heat wave from hell to subside. Now it's time to get out there, and fire up the weed wacker, clear cut the towering grasses, and hit an late afternoon or evening high tide. It really is nice to have daylight into the evenings now. No doubt the heat waves, and bright light, interspersed with clouds, rain and wind, really stirred things up in some of the lakes and rivers here in western Washington. And judging by all of the hatching, copulating, aquatic flies I am seeing, smeared all over my windshield, the fishing should be pretty good. Ants are in abundance now, and winged ants as well.  So I will make sure to have a few in my fly box- yes, even in saltwater- Trout love ants! Big fat one's

 Sometimes, especially this time of year, when they are feeding on the surface, sea runs will not like most of the flies you are offering them. They are feeding, right there in front of you, recklessly, in big splashy rises. And no matter what you are presenting, nor how you present it- they won't take it. It is likely that they are feeding on something very, very small. A size 12 to 14,(and even smaller!), black, winged ant fly just might do it. Dead drifted on and in the surface, right over those feeders. Our beaches are covered with vegetation, woody debris etc., all home to ants and other insects. Some of my fry patterns are tied very, very small for this same reason. I tie some Chum Baby flies down to size 12, and sparse, on dry fly hooks, with no bead heads, for just these occasions. (More on the Chum Baby flies can be found by scrolling down through previous postings.)

 We have had so much nice, almost-summer weather here lately, that one could easily forget that we are only entering May, and we get a good share of cold, wet and windy days now too. And we still have June-U-Ary to get through! Don't laugh- we got sunburned on the beach one sunny June day, only to get soaking wet and half frozen in the rain too. And when I got home that afternoon there was hail in the roof gutters of the cabin. 

   Beach fishing season for sea run Cutthroat has begun in earnest here, with lots of sun, and  a little wind, and some nice fish to hand over the last few weeks. I have always liked early May the best, as far as the timing for returning to the beaches here. By May just about all of the Cutthroat that have spawned locally have been out on the saltchuck for a few weeks to a month or more, feeding heavily on Chum Salmon fry and juvenile forage fish, and the trout are gaining weight fast. By May these fish are robust and full of fight again. And it only gets better as they feed their way through spring into summer. Many of these trout are caught at the tides edges, in very shallow water, as the forage species- especially salmon fry and smolt- are taking advantage of softer currents, back eddies, and seeking refuge in the tide pools along their seaward migrations. As juveniles they struggle in some of our strong tidal currents. They work hard to stay in the softer flowing edges of things. Right now I am seeing very tiny Herring in the shallows, and the Chum fry are as small as 1-1/2 inches and as big as two and a half to three inches. The Coho Salmon smolt are out and running the beaches too, some bigger than others. This reflects the fact that some of them have been in the salt water longer than others, and that the general trend is toward working their way seaward, from south to north, throughout their juvenile lives. So your fly box should have some very sparse and tiny fry patterns, ( I tie some of mine on size 12 dry fly hooks ), and some medium sized ones, and a few big ones too.

This sea run Cutthroat took a fly within ten feet of the beach,
in less than two feet of slow moving water.

 My Little Stone's Chum Baby has been productive so far, as have some of the other flies we use, like my Beach Baby,(a good sand lance, herring and smelt imitation- size # 10 through # 6 ), and the Rolled Muddler, and Deer Hair Muddler, Knudsen's Spiders, Sculpin, Matukas etc. I always have a few of Leland Miyawaki's Beach Poppers with me too. 

Chum Baby Fly Tying Instructions

Little Stone's Chum Baby

 If you want to tie your own Chum Baby flies: Send $5.00 and a legal size self addressed pre-stamped envelope to me, and I will promptly send you back two sample flies, one small and one larger, and an instruction sheet to work from. Just don't let your wife catch you tying these things in her Porsche!

 Bob Triggs
 P.O. Box 261
 Port Townsend, WA

 Click this link: The forecast ahead (5/11/18) is calling for mild and sunny, warm weather here through the next week to ten days. We could be enjoying summer conditions again! (Or not . . .) Last weekend we got hit with some good strong, big evening tides, on the waxing moon. We got a good pressure change for a few days, and a fresh breeze on the water.  And the cold air that moved in was refreshing indeed. So, if anything, it has moved the fish and the forage around, and the trout will likely be taking advantage of these milder, much less windy conditions over the next ten days here, to find them feeding in the shallows again. Around the full moon we had some big tidal exchanges, with very strong current flows, and that too has calmed down now. I like the softer tides around here, just before and after the new moon and the full moon, as this tends to allow the forage fish to hang around more, with less current to carry them away. If they go- the trout go with them. If it gets sunny and bright, which is exactly what we expect, then be prepared for sun exposure on your skin, head and eyes too. Sungasses are mandatory! The Olympic Peninsula is one of the few places I have ever fished where you can get hypothermia from the waist down, and sunburned from the waist up, all on the same trip.  

A pretty spring sea run to hand!

    If you want to come fly fishing on the Olympic Peninsula waters- Give me a call or an email, and we can work out the details from there. We need to plan it ahead. The beach fishing has just begun, and each month will bring new and different opportunities for saltwater fly anglers. Our summer steelhead fishing on the rivers should be good through  well into July, as we have a substantial snow pack this year, and that will provide cooling flows for the fish to thrive in all mid-summer long. Trout fishing in the rivers will open in later June on most of our waters. But the saltwater cutthroat fishing is way better this time of year anyway. 

Bright fish on a bright day!
photo credit Richard Stoll

    We will be back on the water this spring! Just in time for the beginning of another beautiful season of wild sea run Coastal Cutthroat trout fly fishing on the saltwaters and rivers of the Olympic Peninsula, Hood Canal and Puget Sound. Drop me a note or give me a call for details. All trips, casting instruction sessions, public and fly fishing club presentations, and rowboat picnics, must be booked in advance.

Your Olympic Peninsula Fly Fishing Guide and Instructor

      I  guide 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  run 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.  I would be happy to help you plan your Olympic Peninsula fly fishing adventures, 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. Please plan ahead! 

This is the way to go fly fishing for sea-run Cutthroat!
SSShhh!!!  Listen to the quiet . . .
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. Water Watchers and Beach Watchers Graduate
U.S.C.G First Aid/CPR/BLS/AED/BBP/HIV Certified

Phone: 360-385-9618

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