Hello Dolly! [Archive] - Fly Fishing Forum

: Hello Dolly!

01-20-2004, 01:24 PM
Just a question to my fellow Steelhead Vagrants - have you been catching a suprising number of Dollys in the steelhead water lately?

I've often caught them in the Skagit, especially in the faster tailouts and riffly heads where they like to grab just as you begin to strip in.

But the fish this year have been 50% on the swing, and often in prime 3-5' walking pace steelhead runs. And a LOT of 'em too - in rivers that normally don't have high #s of them like the upper Sky.

I know these fish are very nomadic and Basin-Hopping is common, but any thoughts on this phenomenon??

Not like I'm complaining :D I had a 27 -28" Dolly just about take my 12' rod out of my hand with a vicious strike and a very respectable battle yesterday. Not a steelie, but still a lot of fun.

01-20-2004, 01:43 PM
Not a lot of dollies down this way, they sure a pretty fish and can brighten up a slow day.

hey I got a sucker this weekend, I guess that doesn't count?

otherwise I missed a nice grab.


01-20-2004, 02:30 PM
Nope. It must be just you DS.

All kidding aside, the last 3-4 years I have caught a ton of them on the Skagit system but very few on the Sky. I also noticed a big drop off in my dolly catching when I switched to a double handed rod and a longer bellied line. Less stripping seems to yield less char.

01-20-2004, 04:05 PM
We would give the dolly lama award to the one that caught the most during a given day of fishing. I was the proud recipient of this award a few times.

This year I have heard of tons of dollies being caught. So far I have only 1 to my credit. No dolly lama award here.

01-20-2004, 07:19 PM
I haven't found this year to be any better than last year, or the year before. I love the agro strike and head shake!

01-21-2004, 01:48 AM
I'm getting a lot of Dolly too on both the Skagit and Sky. What is up with that?

Matt Burke

01-21-2004, 03:31 AM
I usually catch a lot of dollies but have only got one this winter. I think this is the first winter ever that I have caught more steelhead than dollies.

01-21-2004, 09:41 AM

Isn't that to be expected when you are fishing an ESL with an Eggo trailer?:razz: :razz: :razz:


01-21-2004, 09:45 AM
Ah-ha -- I knew he had a secret!

01-21-2004, 10:03 AM
No, Sean - you've got me confused with the notorious Rich Simms. :razz:

I fish all my Eggos exclusively on the back end! :devil:

01-21-2004, 11:46 AM
I think Brian maybe fishing a Cop Car with one of Todds "trailing live egg systems".
Oh boy, I'm in trouble now!

01-21-2004, 12:09 PM
Does that make DoubleSpeys new sled the "Roe-Boat"?

01-21-2004, 12:21 PM
Only if he had his bait bag, er, ah, I mean zip-lock with "natural flies", in the boat with him.

01-21-2004, 12:34 PM
Hey Brian,


01-21-2004, 01:39 PM
Don't knock it - I've found super-industrial spawn sac material that can take 5-10 good Snap-T's before disintegrating. Hang one off the back end of an Intruder (flyfishing's version of the Bait Diver) and I promise all your winter catchrates will improve.

I know that for some of you that might just mean 1 fish, but then again anything added to 0 is still an improvement. :devil:

And don't forget Barbless Hooks - they really gobble these little morsels!

And ya better stop badmouthing my "Sac Attack" or I'll have to rename it! Maybe something more PC like "Low-Hol-U" for the upcoming C&R season! :hehe:

See you on the River!


01-21-2004, 02:09 PM
Hey I'm happy with one fish and I'm happy when I get 6. But I wish I could be like that guy over on the other fly fishing board that begins with a WFF. This guy must be God himself or at least Gods son. His worst day ever was 6 steelhead and he got a fish that was 42" and twenty four pounds and one that was just under 40" that weighed in at 30 pounds!

Boy am I glad we don't have that type of BS here. Brian you can catch all the dollies you want just don't say they are 17 pounds each or that it was a Barbie doll you C&R'd.
And don't be ashamed of the egg sac thing lots of fishermen with hip boots fish that way.

01-21-2004, 03:13 PM

I saw that guys posts over the last year. I liked what sink tip had to say. I'm happy with Dollies if I'm not catching Steel. I haven't caught Steel since I fished out of Maupin in Oregon last year. I may be suckin' but I do have fun. I cheerish my time on the river. It is a gift whether I'm catching or not.

Matt Burke

01-21-2004, 03:52 PM
I hear you Matt - I cherish my time on the rivers too. I'm happy with what I get and enjoy swinging a fly thru a fine steelhead run as much as the next guy.

OC - "And don't be ashamed of the egg sac thing lots of fishermen with hip boots fish that way." :hehe: :hehe:

01-21-2004, 03:53 PM

That guy has caught many big fish if you check out the Gallery. But But Butt, There is no fly rod in hand in any of the pics, for that matter no rods of any type at all. And some of those Steelhead look like plastic ones, really.

I think the guy said he is retired Coast Guard, got to wonder if he was a water demolition expert?

01-21-2004, 05:30 PM
I went back to the "other site" and read the posts by the most productive steelheader in history.

I am speechless and believe me that doesn't happen to often.

01-21-2004, 05:41 PM

Didn't fly fishing luminary Gary LaFontaine write about using a "SPAWN SAC" fly to imitate sucker eggs for spring trout and Kokanee egss for trout fishing in fall. Hmmmm...... I suppose your spawn sacs work at least as well as Gary's did.

01-21-2004, 06:18 PM
Those fish look like they might have already spent a little time with Mr Taxadermist.

The first pic (in the dark) looks like the line of the fish has been manipulated for artistic effect (if it's even real).

Sinktip - you're understated appreciation of his angling prowess was worth the time it took to register. :razz: :razz:

Flytyer - there's always some famous flyangler to give one a model for 'slumming" if one feels the need to justify one's actions. Fortunately - I DONT! :D :D :D

01-21-2004, 09:06 PM
I have always caught a bunch of dollies on the Skagit, and this year has been the same. I caught my first on the upper Sky the other day and have been hearing about plenty of others. I hope that people don't start killing them just because they can. Also caught my first native of the year the other day a beautiful 15lb. buck. I hope it's a good return year before they shut it down.

01-21-2004, 09:47 PM
It is nice to hear that folks are finding and enjoying their encounters with the NW's native char. It is not surprising that some of you are finding more of these interesting fish. Spawning surveys indicate that in the last decade or so there has been at least a 10 fold increase in the abundance of these fish in both the Skagit and Skykomish systems. There are only a fraction as many in the Sky as the Skagit (only 5 to 10% as many) due to the limited amounts of spawning habitat available to them in the Sky.

Monitoring of the populations have also noted not only more adult fish but also a substantial increase in the exceptionally large fish. Recently it was found that 5% of the Skagit spawners were more than 8 years old and had previously spawned at least 4 times. On the average about 1/2 of the fish survive from one spawning to the next.

Tight lines

Leland Miyawaki
01-21-2004, 09:55 PM

At this rate, I'll soon have to quit calling my dollies, "steelhead bycatch."


01-22-2004, 02:16 AM
I'm a card carrying member of CLA (Char Lovers Anon). I dig the char take, appreciate their unique lifestyle, and find much challenge in fishing them (dry, wet, sinktip, strip, etc). Sure, they can be easy, but they smart up real fast! (sometimes) Not to post for the world to see, but the Skagit char fishery is world class- if these were brookies avg 20+" and 5+ fish days... are you kiddin me? I do hook quite a few steelhead bycatch however. :) Still looking for that 40" char- thinking of trying a red "sharp steelie."

BTW this is the funniest thread I've seen in a while. Read sinktip on WFF and laughed out loud (been wanting to post similar for a couple weeks). Actually I'm just waiting to buy the book. Anyhow- funny stuff, and the egg draggin cop car. holy moly. Fishin's good- get out there! (just beware the sea kayak eagle watch flotilla - what up with that- seeing more Seattle sea kayaks on 530 than dollies this year! If I see one on the river befoe 11:00 I'm givin 'em the business.) Peace out. PS: did you know dollies can see in the dark :)

01-22-2004, 08:32 AM
Don't you all think our world is just a beautiful place to be?

I mean we have Dollies as a by-catch. Wait a minute I think we have Steelhead as a by-catch to Dollies. What ever it is Dollies are a wonderful and beautiful fish and I think more of you should fish just for them.

We have a new God within our ranks who has proved us all wrong and that we have sined. Yes sined, we blame the F&G, the Native Americans, the commercials, Aquaculture, global warming, dams and suburban sprawl for our Steelhead ills.

But this new God has proven without a doubt that there are more Steelhead in all our rivers than we know what to do with. Lets face it ladies and gentlemen we just stink at fishing. And when his new scriptures appear on the book shelves of Barns & Noble and every fly shop across the world we all will be set free!

Not me though, I am headed strait for Hell. I am the great believer in blaspheme of the new doctrine and that something fishy is going on in heaven. GOD has become a dead drifting Nymph fisherman.

01-22-2004, 12:59 PM
Hey Kerry,

I am quite impressed but not for the reasons he might think.


01-22-2004, 03:15 PM

How could you do such a thing to a god like steelheader?

In my opinion your post was way out of line!

But ya know:devil: That post by you could be the single greatest response ever put down on the internet. Are you sure you didn't grow up on the coast of New England where everyone can cut trees down to size with one swing of the axe.
Congrats, your truely a true steelheader.

Ya want to be famous in this neck of the woods, steelheading, you better be prepared to take on Kerry and sinktip. Watch out ley land ahoy!

01-22-2004, 03:38 PM
Where the hell is New England? Is that somewhere up by Newhalem?

01-22-2004, 04:07 PM
What the hell is a drag free dead drift? Is that anything like the world famous upside down reverse cast. No dolly's today on the Sky. I have a theory. If I bring my digital, I don't catch anything.

Matt Burke

Just me
01-22-2004, 04:52 PM
Even when you didn't bring it you didn't catch anything:razz:


Leland Miyawaki
01-22-2004, 10:57 PM
Today, three of us fished the Skagit. For the day, we caught 11 dollies (still like the sound of dolly rather than bull). Brian Lencho caught one dollie and missed a few more. John Farrar caught a dollie, missed a few and landed a hatchery steelhead of 6-8 pounds. I managed to land 9 dollies and cracker a few others. I caught three on my 6wt single-hander and the rest on my two-hander. I'll have to revise my statement . . . Steelhead are the dollie bycatch. The dollies are very big and are laying in the steelhead water and not necessarily in the slow stuff. And unlike the steelhead, they are feeding.

Next time, I'm tossing my popper at 'em!


01-23-2004, 08:15 AM
Leland -
Your popper and other surface presentations will become more and more effective as the spring progresses. The first of the salmon fry are just starting to become active with the migration peaking later in the spring.

The good thing is that surface presentations will reduce that nasty by-catch! However if one isn't careful with the selection of water fished some by-catch still may occur.

Tight lines

01-23-2004, 12:48 PM

Puttin' on the dolly school!

Nice, very nice


Were you fishing similar flies/tips with the diff being presentation?

01-23-2004, 01:54 PM
Looks like we might have ourselves a real deal "sharp dolly"! Where's the pics? ;)

01-23-2004, 02:12 PM

You caused me to almost choke while eating. Nah, I trust Leland to be a genuine dolly magnet.

As for others, I can't help but wonder if the success some are reporting is not influenced from a divine source. Could it be some god or goddess is involved??? One has to wonder.

sinktip -- the conspiracy theorist

01-23-2004, 02:29 PM
In Websters, by the definition of integrity, there is a picture of Leland tying a popper. Speaking of Sharp, on that other site I posted that I'd be traveling down to the Talon Factory and thought I'd get a line wet on the Cowlitz. He offered to meet up, but I'm just going to be real busy on Monday.

Holy crap, he just posted another line of BS about the East fork of the Lewis. I am proud of my two Dollies over the last week and the largest being 2.5 lbs. Last year, I only had one little 12" Dolly on the Sky and I never told a soul. This guy must be a Lawyer or a car salesman.

Matt Burke

01-23-2004, 03:06 PM
Matt and Tip,

What do you mean you don't catch 10-20 fish a trip. :)

I got a few more dolly's this year then I have in the past. As far as I understand they are an indicator speices and it is a good sign to be seeing them do so well.

sharp dolly now that was funny.


01-23-2004, 03:16 PM
I'm wondering if that dude is counting bumps along the bottom of the river as fish. Man I could tell a few stories about the rock that got away.

Matt Burke

01-23-2004, 06:16 PM
I was just goofin on Leyland. Sharp Dolly is still up for grabs. I just might make a play for it myself. I need to find some old Lake Trout photos first, then publish my "rabbit on a hook" fly in Fish&Fly. The book is almost done, so no worries there. I'll post my chapter list:

1. Hello Dolly!
2. TBD
3. Cheap Thrills: Dolly on a budget
4. The C&R Char
5. Bull Trout or Bull Crap?
6. Calm-a your S-malma
7. Barnaby Rudge or Barnaby Slough- what the Dickens?
8. TBD
9. "You got your Bull Varden in my Dolly Trout!"

The End.

Don't steal my ideas, ok.

Below is a Dolly I landed on the Skagit last week. This one was about average. I didn't tape it.


Check out this photo from the lower Skag last summer: first fish hit the rabbit strip, the other fish hit the dropper. About average. Didn't tape em.


This is a local kid who I taught how to get the Dollies. Here is his first fish! I love kids.


Tight lines.
- Nailknot

Leland Miyawaki
01-23-2004, 06:29 PM

The photos are in and Doublespey will post them as soon as he finishes the photoshop adjustments.

Sharp Dollie.

01-23-2004, 07:12 PM
After all my work you just step up and claim it Leland? Dang I hate this board.

01-23-2004, 08:22 PM
Many of us in the Steelhead flyfishing community know John Farrar - a respected Steelhead flyfishing guide who calls the Skagit drainage his home in winter and spring.

Even in true winter conditions and with normally sluggish hatchery fish, he shows us how it's done. I got to watch the show - we were teasing him about hooking a Dolly till the jumping started. :D


Then Leland had to get into the act. He'd caught so many Dollys that when he called "STEELHEAD" I believed him. Turns out it was just a big and very hard-fighting Dolly. It was quite a battle!


It was a great day to be on the river!


01-23-2004, 08:37 PM
John's Skagit Steelhead

01-23-2004, 08:38 PM
till I figure this out!

01-23-2004, 10:24 PM
Dollies seem to be the species of note this year. I shared a favorite drift on the Skagit today with 2 fellows fishing with spinners. Yep, you guessed it, Dollies were all that found our "lures". I got the first one within 5 casts and ended up with 4 brought to hand and another 2 that I simply let toss the barbless hook because I didn't want to land them. The two spin fishers had another 9 between them. Not one steelhead bycatch to ruin the Dolly fishing. Good to hear that John found a steelhead the other day.

01-24-2004, 03:42 AM
I love our char. These "easy" dollies will tighten up over the next weeks. The crazed agro fish will get out to the salty and chow in peace. The remaining dollies will fickle up and present a challenge worthy of any tactical trout fishery. Yeah sure they will gorge fry on the lower river. How about the plentiful upriver fish? If the Skag mainstem was open for C&R above Bacon... Skwalas, BWO, March Browns? Take a trip to the Cascade in June (closed waters) and gander all the 30"+ dollies answering the dinner bell of chinook smolts being dumped. I regress. My point: We are blessed with a world class trout fishery for those who choose to explore it. The dollies are eating- match the hatch, work on presentation, the options are endless. The Dolly is game. Sorry for the rant- I love them chars so much! I really do.

Just me
01-24-2004, 02:15 PM
I don't understand it. I fish the Skagit and I don't catch anything. What seems to be my problem. I use the same flies that my partner uses and I'm on the bottom so that can't be whats wrong. I fished durning the Humpie and Chum runs and didn't catch squat. All I got for my days of fishing was a 12" dollie. So I seem to have quit fishing because of never catching anything. My luck seems to go from bad to worse.


Brian Simonseth
01-24-2004, 09:25 PM
These are dolly varden ( sorry Bull Trout) they don't count! Kerry S. and I fight about this all the TIME!!!!:tsk_tsk: :tsk_tsk: :tsk_tsk:

01-25-2004, 12:22 AM
I caught a big sucker. Does that Count! :confused:


Sharp Sucker

01-25-2004, 12:51 AM
It's called "Raging Bull(trout)" Starring the Dolly Hunter...

01-25-2004, 12:52 AM
As well as some of the "usual suspects"

01-25-2004, 01:17 AM
In his Directing debut - Cecil B. DeBull

01-25-2004, 01:20 AM
Here is one of the dramatic scenes...

Dollies in the Mist

01-25-2004, 01:22 AM
More of the "Usual Suspects"

01-25-2004, 01:23 AM
Here is "an extra" Trolling for Dollies

01-25-2004, 01:31 AM
Oh my god - it's Dolly-Zilla!

01-25-2004, 01:34 AM
Meanwhile... the Dolly Hunter searches on.

01-25-2004, 01:38 AM
A bold secret is revealed in Raging Bull(trout) - Sharpie's No Drag Dead Drift Technique

01-25-2004, 01:39 AM
The scary thing - is that it WORKS....

01-25-2004, 01:49 AM
In the last scene the "Dolly Hunter" finally finds the Raging Bull(trout) - but it is a really big one ....

01-25-2004, 06:51 AM
:p :p :p

Oscar! Oscar!

The best film (and post) that I have seen this year. I believe I have shots for the sequel of Dolliezilla and DoubleDollieSpey.

Well done Kush!

Leland Miyawaki
01-25-2004, 10:51 AM
I can't wait for the sequel. Will my favorite, Dollie Parton be starring?


01-25-2004, 11:15 AM
Yes Leland - I think she may. I am working on having my good friend and fellow director - Russ Meyer do it. I think we'll call it "The Valley of the Doll(ie)s"


Cecil B. DeBull

01-25-2004, 11:17 AM
I cant remember the last time I got such a good chuckle from such a fishy subject. Please let there be a sequel! Maybe valley of the dollies.

Leland Miyawaki
01-25-2004, 11:24 AM
Damn Kush,

I should have asked if my two favorite actresses, Dollie Parton, would be starring.


01-25-2004, 11:27 AM
DUHH! Guess I should read the most recent posts before posting.

01-27-2004, 03:19 PM
I'm beginning to think catching Dolly is easy. This one might of put up a better fight if he would have had more of his tail.

Matt Burke

11-03-2005, 02:49 AM
The sellout is complete.
Hello Dolly! Opps I mean Hello Flyshop!
"One generation is destined to repeat and magnify the mistakes of the preceding generation if that is their focus and fixation."

11-03-2005, 05:24 PM
I just re-read this thread. Truely a thread for the ages. Once again I was laughing out loud from reading some of these posts.

Thank you Nailknot for bringing this back to the top. I needed a good chuckle.

Todd Ripley
11-04-2005, 04:59 PM
Definitely funny thread...and don't let OC give you any crap about your spawn sacs...I think he's just jealous that your spawn sacs are a lot bigger than his!

Fish on...


11-04-2005, 06:59 PM
Nailknot, thanks for the re-run , Your a DOLL!e.

On a serious note, whatever happened to SS? Did he move to Dollorado?

Todd, how are things, you have been most quiet, out fishing your egg sacks at every bar&grill south of Seattle for Barbie Dollies? And you are right about the size thing. I spawned my egg sack for the last time in June and up river at that. I'm just an old Kelt now, a bit patchy,dark and rougher on the edges than ever. :smokin:

11-10-2005, 01:50 AM
Dollie 2.0.
Really, who can argue? ;)
Raising a PBR to the rains- cheers to all this fall/winter. Look forward to seeing you guys on the water (and not only the last day of the season when I gave slight tip o the hat to sinktio and OC floting by 2 yrs ago). Like the "sound" of the new vessel OC