Winter Season? [Archive] - Fly Fishing Forum

: Winter Season?

10-27-2003, 01:59 PM
With all the changes that have come about over the last 2 weeks to our local rivers what do folks think our winter season will be like? Besides the hope for steelhead to show in our rivers better than they have over the last few years what else are you looking forward to this season?

For me
1) It is the hope we have a colder than usual winter keeping snow in the mountains and enough rain lower to keep rivers from going gin clear like they have for the last few years.

2) That we have at least 3 or 4 snow days in suburbia to bring it to its knees. Nothing better than putting the chains on before light and heading for the river dodging cars out of control. Fishing all day with snow in the trees and stuck to your felts.

3) Plenty of floats with good friends on cloudy days with plenty of drizzle just as steelhead fishing should be.

4) Now that the boat is done I will take more time to fish weekdays out on the OP if there are any rivers to fish out there this year. This would include sitting at a very wet, moss covered picnic table with new friends who are truely hardcore fishermen who like drinking good wine and smoking cigs on a typical OP rain soaked evening.

5) Telling more fishing lies to just the right people at least hoping I told them to the right people.

10-27-2003, 02:53 PM
1. Find a fishing partner willing to wake up at 3:30am to get to the Skagit by dawn.

2. Try and use shorter spey rods for all my winter fishing. Going to try and get by with the CND 13' 8/9 and the meiser switch 8/9. In my experience last year I rarely needed a 15+ rod needed.

3. Get a new fishing truck by February.

4. Hit the OP at least once.

5. Try and do some floats in my watermaster.

6. Remember to bring my flask filled with burbon every time I get out. Last year there were a few sleet filled days I really could have used it.

10-27-2003, 03:26 PM
Hey Sean

I'm ordering a Watermaster on Wednesday. Let me know if you want to start a Watermaster Flotilla this winter:D I do fish 15 footers in the winter though. It lets me do want I want to do while remaining lazy/comatose mcuh of the time after those 3:30 a.m. slides down the batpole.

10-27-2003, 04:19 PM
Fishing partners good.

Flotilla bad.

Next thing you know someone will want to have a get together on a river and have shirts made. :whoa:

(Just my own private and personal opinion.)

10-27-2003, 04:37 PM
As for the winter season...

I hope for good times with a few good friends. I hope for solitude. I hope for early wild fish. I hope for lots of 2 salts returning starting in February. I hope for 3'-4' of vis and a falling river whenever I get lucky enough to spend the entire day out and 50% of the time when I am just out for the morning. I hope for displays of good river etiquette from all anglers and guides. Like OC, I hope for snow. I hope for the occasional hatchery fish to go against its nature and take a swung fly. I hope those true to the sport are rewarded for their patience and I hope those that just see it as a trendy hobby come to understand that winter steelheading is equal parts disapointment, discomfort, disillusionment and finally success. If they can't come to understand that, I hope they go back to trout.

10-27-2003, 04:53 PM
Oh I almost forgot:

7. Get Sinktip a bright orange shirt that says Cranky SOB on the front and "Leave your Indicators at home" on the back so when we see him coming so we can snip off our egg sucking leeches and put on a respectable fly before he passes through :razz:

Seriously I hear you about those large flotilla things people have going. I mean I usually like other fisherman but not 700 of them at the same time fishing my water.

However Phil, I am all for a 2 boat mini flotilla any time.

Hoping this winter is a good one (hell I will take a repsectable one) for all. A few more weeks and we should start seeing some early brats. Hopefully we will see them on the end of our fly lines and not as victims of a dead drifted sac of eggs.:rolleyes:


10-27-2003, 04:54 PM
Originally posted by sinktip
Fishing partners good.

Flotilla bad.

Next thing you know someone will want to have a get together on a river and have shirts made. :whoa:

(Just my own private and personal opinion.)

Hey Sinktip

Flotilla = 2 individual flotation devices

Armada = 3 individual flotation devices


10-27-2003, 05:21 PM
I hope the Sky has a record steelhead year and remains open. Maybe then the city dwellers will stay away from the Skagit.

10-27-2003, 05:28 PM
I am with Kerry, I hope that too but know it won't happen.

I want that shirt Sean. I would wear it with pride.

Phil, if 3 boats equal an Armada what does 30 equal?

10-27-2003, 05:33 PM
Originally posted by sinktip

Phil, if 3 boats equal an Armada what does 30 equal?

Why, a Regatta of course!

Definition of a regatta? A bunch of people, who under the best of circumstances have no business being there, and won't be for another year once the festivities are concluded :devil:

10-27-2003, 05:52 PM
I would like to go on record as being against any and all regattas. Now a good armada (see definition above) is a healthy thing from time to time.

10-27-2003, 05:52 PM
On a little more serious note.............

If you guys are planning on floating any of the rivers that were recently flooded like the Skagit or Sauk. Be careful. I drove up to the Sauk over the weekend and from what I could see from the roads there are a few changes. Water is still somewhat high and I will be making more recon trips in the future.

10-27-2003, 06:09 PM
Yeah I have heard the sauk had a few major changes.

Plan to let the more experienced guys float it a few times before I give it a shot. I cannot afford to mess around with losing gear or my life for that matter.


10-27-2003, 06:57 PM
I think that we have (as usual) our work cut out for us. The good news is that the highway maps are still fairly accurate , other than that I am quite certain that we will all have a problem finding "That" special place we like to find every year!
As some of you may know I am not much of a promoter of "our sport" so the sour grapes I am about to share with you are probably a little bit like the young Germanic lad who was eaten alive after crying "Wolf" one too many times.
I just got home from trout fishing in a few of the tributary streams on the western OP and driving by the Hoh and several other rivers I can honestly say that things are different. I have no recollection of turbidity as opauqe as Hoh and Elwha at their present volumes. Or for that matter Lake Crescent which is usually as clear as "Gin" it looks like the Hoh does when you say boy by tomorrow it will be fishing. A lot of rain fell here and the radical chanel shifts that have plauged us the last bit of awhile have not stopped.
OC I am hopeful that you will find us in camp at the usual spot ,and we will have uncorked not only many bottles of wine, but also the mystery of where that "Place" is this year.
Cold is weather perdicted and as the smoke clears from the waters I will begin my search under the disguise of a salmon fisher. They tell me that world isn't flat so eventually all this water is bound to run off.

10-27-2003, 09:46 PM
For me it is:

1) a decent return of fish and water levels that have 4 or more feet of visability. Water levels that keep the rivers inside their normal banks would also be nice.

2) a few days of snow here in the lowlands is a plus; but not a neccesity.

3) a trip or two to the OP to fish with good friends from PA are also highly desirable.

4) no low-holing and excellent etiquet from all I come into contact with on the river.

5) getting my 16 ft "timber" out for a good workout on those drizzly, rainy days we northwesterners refer to as "liquid sunshine".

6) spending time both alone and in the company of a few friends in pursuit of winter steelhead.

10-28-2003, 02:38 AM
My needs are simple for a new winter season. Catch more than one Steelhead per year and never fish in a regatta that comes with a tee-shirt. I think a guy would have better luck Spey casting from a plastic canoe in the middle of the Mountlake Cut on the opening day of boating season.

Oh who am I kidding, I'd be happy getting on the water anyway I can. My goal is four times a week, regatta or not, all winter long.


10-28-2003, 09:38 AM
Def of an ARMADA!

3 shots of real Jamacian Rum.

Three feathers from a scampi fly.

Four shots of triple sec.

3 ounces of back eddy river water.

Shake well in an old 20 oz coffee cup from a roadside coffe stand.

Drink quickly and I promise you will see multiple REGATTAS all over the river.

Wouldn't it be good if the trend of flotilas has become a thing of the past, I'm talking about large groups not a couple guys floating the river. That large flyfishing schools are no longer trendy with the unworthy and misinformed. That those guides that push that large group theropy sessions have realized just how bad and in poor taste their profit earnings have been in and on our steelhead rivers. I'm going to be positive and say this will be a good year for Time on the river for all of us here.

And Kerry I hope we don't have to fish your river this year but if we do I promise to be as low keyed as possible and respect every local I see on the river and give him a wide berth. I know now that many of our Canadian friends will be coming down adding to the congestion but they are all fine steelhead fishermen who tread extreamly lightly on our resources. I would hope that we welcome them under the tragic situation they face on the Big T. They would do the same for us if our rivers had been closed.

10-28-2003, 02:09 PM

Thanks for letting me have the Skagit:p

Our Canadian friends should be welcome. I think they have better manors then the city dwellers.

10-28-2003, 02:25 PM
As I city dweller myself I resemble that remark!

Just because we choose not to live on a flood plain doesn't make us all bad.:razz:

That remark should be reworded to "City Dwellers who paid $150 for steelhead 'class' ".


10-28-2003, 02:56 PM

Some of us know that you like fishing Kerry's river, especially when Sinktip does the rowing.:hehe:

10-28-2003, 02:58 PM

Too funny, right on!

I've enjoyed watching you grow as a steelhead fisherman over the last year or so. Your wit and character are becoming sharp, slowly but in constant growth. I figure by the time your 34 you will be way ahead of Sinktip at 40. By the time your 48 you will be mentioned in the same breath for steelhead grumpiness as maybe Kerry or even me but you will have to work on your sarcasm somewhat more. To get to the levels of those I will not name here well good luck, you have plenty of time.:devil:

Remember though, somewhere, somehow we are always gentlemen and and fighters for what is right in steelhead land.

These are kind words and I often don't give them out but there is progress and you deserve credit where credit is due.:D

10-28-2003, 03:57 PM

Pretty funny. I will remember to add the part about steelhead class when referring to city dwellers in the future.

I spent a lot of time studying the flood plain maps before buying my house which sets outside of the 100 year flood plain. Well, I spent an hour or 2 anyway. I still have a good view of the poor saps that didn't look at where the river would go during times of high water. I deserve a little bit of credit for my foresight. Maybe not ownership of the whole damn river but something.

10-28-2003, 06:39 PM
my hopes for the winter:
December: Bonk as many chambers creek winter runs out of the Washougal as possible just to keep them from spawning in the wild.
January: continue with more of the same mixed with a few flyfishing trips in search of early winters runs on the East Lewis.
Feb.. One trip to the OP for a weekend with my 9143-3 And several trips to the grays harbor tribs with the same and a week long trip the the Smith in Northern CA
March: HOH!
April: Sauk!

Death to all chambers creek brats!

10-28-2003, 09:28 PM
The re-discovery of new structure will be exciting. For me it's to C&R the "triple crown" - one from the OP, one from the Cascades and another from a Columbia trib. The challenge comes from the shortness of my visits, since moving away from the region it's a mad dash matter of days leaving a wake of feather bits and tinsel in each no-tell motel I crash in between hardcore days on the river.

I have had good luck on the OP over the years but my M.O. out there has been that the largest winter fish I hook win the battles in March and April that I'd like to have won. I would like to see one of these monsters to hand this season instead of walking away with a fish story. 15# tippet and no playing around with the light rods with heavy irons anymore. The 14'4" steelhead specialist should do the deed.

The Skagit is kindest to me of the Cascade native streams, I hope to keep that trend going. A fish from the Sauk or Sky would be just as nice. Tootsie will have a hot breakfast at the bunny farm ready, and with luck a well-wish for good fortune on the water from her. I hit a gorgeous native buck a few casts after such a good luck wish from her a couple years back.

For the Columbia trib, perhaps a visit to one of the more obscure rivers with little known native runs is in order. Or maybe I'll just visit sister Cowlitz, who in April is largely forgotten by the masses yet the fish are quite active and numerous - not quite a native venue but she's such a fine river under all those tattoos; like the Dean on the lower 48 if not for the dams.

Anyway, I won't have a long season to set goals for, just a mad dash to take in as many swings, mends and and hang downs as a man can fit in a week. I certainly look forward to it, and since the scrambling of pools by the forces of nature I should have as good a shot at deciphering the holding water as all the "locals" :devil: