Monday, September 23, 2019

Equinox Winterish, and #dozenfordorian

Leland latches onto an autumn coho. 

    The annual October weather shift seems to have come a few weeks earlier around western Washington this year. Our lovely stint of balmy days and cool nights has given way to a full-on cold and wet reminder that it's time to break out the wool sweaters, heavy socks and rain jackets. The rivers have been getting a good soaking, with many smaller waters running high and dirty weeks ahead of the usual first punch of rain we ordinarily expect. Our Olympic Peninsula rivers were running almost dry, so no one is complaining about this much needed life sustaining watery reprieve. And the salmon are taking advantage of these freshets to move up into the rivers to spawn. Reading Dr Cliff Mass' weather blog today was surprising. The forecast for the week to ten days ahead is looking more like early winter than the first day of fall. It will be interesting to see how this affects our fishing. I don't have a serious expectation either way. But these crisp days often bring us some of the best fishing of the season. So what of it feels more like December. And I'm still getting some ripe tomatoes from my little bucket garden. I am loving that sweet pungent air of autumn.
A sweet autumn sea-run.

    Coho fishing from the beaches here in Marine Area #9 has been uneventful most of the season. Even the cut-plug herring fishermen were lamenting the long wait between too few fish. We barely saw any pink salmon. The big winds and rains that hit here in the last few weeks seems to have stirred the salmon up a bit though, And the catch rate went back up to its more usual disappointing level right away. We've got 8 days of season left here. So there's always a chance to get out there one last time. Hot thermos, Whiskey and cigars optional. And I am going to get out to the rivers for some fall dry-line cutthroat trout fishing. The October Caddis will be hatching now, so it's time for the Muddlers, Steelhead Caddis, Yak Caddis, and Hornbergs again. The colder mountain weather should help moderate river flows over the next week or more too. I'm liking it already!

A Helping hand.
     Most of you know that the Bahamas region was devastated by Hurricane Dorian a few weeks ago, The impacts have been catastrophic for most of the residents. And many of them are employed by the lodge and guiding industry there. Some of them have been completely wiped out of homes, boats, clothing and personal belongings, etc. They are threadbare. Some have lost family members. Many have been injured. The tragedy is widespread. Among many relief efforts is the Yellow Dog Community & Conservation Foundation. And there is a widespread effort coming from the fly fishing community worldwide to support this cause. All of this is inspiring to see.

    For my own part, I picked up on Josh Mills admirable offer to tie and auction off a few dozen flies for the Yellow Dog fundraiser. I have also donated a few fly fishing trips to the auctions. All of that was snapped up quickly. The widespread  response by fly tiers, guides, outfitters, shops etc., to Josh's simple and direct project, has been wonderful to witness and participate in. And it is still growing. Just look up the hashtag and see for yourself: #dozenfordorian

 And here's a little more background news:

Today Josh Mills ( @millsfly on Instagram ) announced a kind of final call for donations of flies etc for the cause. (I for one do not believe that this will close any time soon. Were having too much fun!) And I still have  some time to give for this effort. We're trying to eclipse the $40,000 threshold. Saturday 9/28 update. Today #dozenfordorian broke through the $40,000.00 goal for this relief fundraiser. And we're still pushing. I still have hooks and feathers, and my arms haven't fallen off yet. So I am just going to keep it up here.

This is a sweet ride.

So, for readers of my blog I am going to repeat my offer: 

    I am offering a full day of personally guided catch & release fly fishing on the saltchuck for sea-run coastal cutthroat trout. We'll spend the day in my beautifully restored classic wooden Swampscott Dory, casting along the shorelines for these beautiful wild trout. Some of our day will be spent walk and wade fishing too in some locations. Your day will also include receiving a selection of a dozen or more of my own hand tied sea-run cutthroat flies. I will provide a personalized picnic lunch and soft beverages. I'll even give you a nice cigar. This offer is for one angler only. Washington saltwater fishing license required. Weather permitting. (Cancellations will be re-booked for another available date.) Advance reservation required.  This autumn season is ripe for this fishing. lets get together and have  great time while we're supporting some good people in dire and immediate need. 

Auction update as of 9/30 6:00 p.m.

Congratulations to auction winner Jeff Norman!!!
He won with a top bid of $300.00

Thank you Jeff!

Sunday, September 1, 2019

Autumn is whispering in our ear.

Evening row on Kilisut Harbor.

Read all about the Kilisut Harbor salmon restoration project here: 
    There's been some sweet relief from the summer heat around here, as we have gotten a few cooler and wetter days mixed in lately. It's feeling more like the end of September than the 1st of September. And somehow, despite our being some 6 inches behind for rainfall this water year here, we did not get the heavy, acrid forest fire smoke that we have had in  recent seasons. The rivers were low all summer, and they're still pitifully low. Hopefully we'll get some more rain before the October Caddis hatches begin in a few weeks. It's kind'a hard to skate big dry flies across bare rocks and gravel. But you can still find a few sweet spots with cooler water to play with. You'll do better out here hiking and wading this time of year too. Otherwise you'll be dragging your boat or raft across one dry exposed gravel bar after another all day.

   Right now I think you'll have your best opportunities for fly fishing success on the saltchuck. I have a few friends who have been catching some nice sea-run cutthroat out there. And there's a few coho and pink salmon reported being caught around here too now. (You guys are killing me with these pictures!!)  It is not surprising that it's been slow for salmon. But September has always been way better around here for coho and pink salmon fishing anyway. If we let them spawn we will have more fish. That's not the only factor affecting abundance. But it is the final factor - after everything else that we do know, and don't know about what is happening to them.  

Marty Leith's beautiful sea-run cutthroat.

   It hasn't been a very busy fishing season for me personally, as I have been sidetracked with an nagging arm injury from last spring, which made it impossible to row the dory or fly cast for over eight weeks. It's only in the last few weeks that I have been gingerly getting back to it. Taking a long healing break from fly fishing and casting, once you do go back to it- you feel like you're starting all over again. So I am working back into it all carefully. I never really planned on being this old, much less being this beat up, so it's all a lesson. Yogi Berra once said: "If you don't know where you're going, you won't know when you get there."  So now that I am almost dead, I'm trying to take better care of myself. This long break from guiding has been strange indeed.

   I am still offering fly casting instruction. I do this in two-hour sessions.  Offering instruction for beginners through advanced casters, one or two students at a time generally. Though I do sometimes offer group classes and presentations. I have over 20 years of fly casting teaching experience. I was certified by the original F.F.F. Certified Casting Instructor program in 2000. And I also trained under Joan Wulff, and I was certified by Joan at her Casting Instructor School in 1999. You can contact me for booking details.

I also offer public presentations on fly fishing, fly tying, fly casting, and related conservation topics, for groups, fly clubs, educational programs, civic groups, etc. I am also offering public readings of my personal writings, essays, poetry etc., on the fly fishing life. These presentations are perfect for fly fishing club gatherings, outings, dinner meetings etc. We can adapt the readings duration to accommodate any reasonable schedule.

     I am wishing you a great end of summer season!

Bob Triggs
Little Stone Flyfisher