Neah Bay [Archive] - Fly Fishing Forum

: Neah Bay


kjackson
07-23-2004, 10:16 PM
FWIW-- I did a one-day harvest trip to Neah Bay yesterday and am happy to report that the silver season looks good. Despite reports of fish deep, we caught almost all of our coho in the upper 15 feet of water. I even saw some surface activity; however, it was so rough that I couldn't tell you if it was salmon or rockfish.

Since it was a harvest trip to pick up a few fillets for my NY son to take home, I didn't bring a fly rod.

The good news comes in the size of the fish-- we caught maybe 10 or so that were over eight pounds, much larger than what I expect in July-- these fish were more what I would expect in August. For those interested in fillets as well as sport, the ratio was about 1 to 3 for hatchery fish.

The next trip I bring the fly rod and poppers...

Keith

NZ Trout Bum
07-26-2004, 01:19 PM
Took the long rods to NB over the weekend. Wind was brutal and could only go outside at unacceptable risk to life and limb. In-side was tough in the afternoons but marginally fishable in the AM.

You are right about the size...awesome for this early. Most 6-8 and a couple a bit larger. Moonlight was out Saturday and got a couple on top but most fish on the Hi-Speed, Hi-D sink type. Had the full line in the water and as straight down as possible to hit fish yesterday. Still a great time and my hands are cut up from getting hooks out.

Seeing a few more fly rods every year. Don't get as many strange looks as we did a few years ago. The fish cops were out so make sure all your licesne stuff is up to date. Watch the water and be safe.

Warren

juro
07-26-2004, 01:41 PM
Great news, I hope I can take advantage this year.

You should've seen it in the mid to late 80's when I started with the long rods on Clallam Bay and Pillar Pt - I was literally the only one I met with a fly rod at Sekiu a few trips. There were a few bucktailers, but they didn't use fly rods. I know you hard cores were out there, but we were so sparse you'd never know it.

During a Hooknose Conclave I organized with an old mail list FF group (FLYFISH@ hosted at UKY) well over 10 years ago we were actually ridiculed by passing boats... but the hooknose fishing was just screamin' hot and I purposely stuck around those making fun just to show them how much fun we were having battling the big slabs on the 8wts! We landed like 20 fish a day, and had several in the teens.

The trend as I see it is first light to 6:30-7am is topwater time, then for the next hour or two it's good intermediate line fishing while they are still cruising around in the rips and along kelp beds, etc - after that it's hi-density depth charging and stripping jolts and twitches to keep it down in the zone. All three are productive.

You can tell it's phase one because the fish are usually showing on top a lot, and the kicker boat crews are hitting fish. By the time the downriggers are the only ones hitting them it's time to drop the hi-den down and let the drift of the boat swing the line around, then start a series of twitches to hold the depth as long as possible to attract the attention of deep running salmon.

You can probably just skip the intermediate and go right to the fast sink, stripping faster in the mid-phase and changing to do the deep six sink as the morning gets closer to breakfast break.

A floater really makes the dawn surface fishing a lot easier, the intermediate tends to dog the popper down and make the line more of a pain to keep casting. Most of us cast to the side and let the popper swing around, if everything is dead and we go into "search" mode we will bucktail around until we see something happening.

I sure love that salmon fishery!

NZ Trout Bum
07-26-2004, 05:24 PM
We too were fishing Piller in the early 90"s with flies but thought "Bucktailing" (read trolling) was the only way. Wish I had met you then.

We started fishing Sitka with cast flies about 10 years ago and got the same reaction from the unwashed with lots of finger pointing and laughs. Much different now with a couple of charters half way catering to fly guys. Even have a fly shop in town now.

We use the same schedule in term of lines with floaters early and late and Hi-D during the day. Haven't bothered with the intermediate but could have an application when slower fly speed is needed.

Our most effective patterns have been epoxy bait fish in fucia or chartruse as the main color. Clouser style works very well but not quite as nice to cast. Haven't used the canadian "firecracker". I have heard great things about it but it is just too much of a lure.

Haven't figured out Kings yet but still trying. Have cought a couple in Sitka but hard to find the right situation - lots of fish, feeding heavily. Have you had any magic feather or style that worked for you?

Warren

juro
07-26-2004, 05:40 PM
The kings I have landed were either by happenstance while fishing saltchuck coho or we stumbled on an obvious mauling of bait where a fly that looked anything like what they were eating was going to get eaten. The last time this happened was coming back to port around Wadah Island and the herring were being blasted against the rocks by big kings. I caught the silver flashes from the corner of my eye so we motored over. A dark swirling mass of herring were piled against the rocks with nowhere to go and the salmon were getting very aggressive chowing them. It was dusk and not much light in the day. I chucked my herring fly into the fray and let it sink several seconds among the baitfish, couldn't have been more than three strips and I was on.

As you know, these situations are far and few between whereas a well-mooched cutplug seems to be nearly automatic. There has to be a solution... I really think we should put our minds together to try to figure out the kings on the fly fishery. I hope to be out there sometime this season but it will probably be after the peak of the king season. During the 12 years I chased kings second/third week in August was about the very best timing out in the straits for migrating adult chinook in Neah Bay and Sekiu.

Boy wouldn't it be a great annual trip to go to Neah Bay to unlock the secrets of kings on the fly!

NZ Trout Bum
07-26-2004, 06:09 PM
There are a few of us working on the problem. My experience has been the same as to those few and far between times when the gods smile and kings are on the bite - where we can target them. We were in Sitka a few years ago and there was a big batch of kings working candlefish off Biorka. We hooked three the first day and lost all. That night it started to rain and didn't quit for 7 days. Not a little rain, buckets! Bait went down and couldn't locate kings again. End of story.

Did catch a 30 and a 35 a couple of years earlier in Olga Strait near Sitka. Evening with a mix of coho and kings working a point. First year we really were up there so thought that although it wasn't necessarly common, it did happen. Little did we know.

Neah Bay research mission sounds great. Have my 19 foot Whaler on station all of August but work will get in the way much of that time. Should be out most weekends into September. Let me know if you are coming out. W

kjackson
07-27-2004, 12:18 AM
While I've been a fly fisherman for a long time, I've never consciously fished for kings in the salt. I have, however, towed a lot of cut plugs for same.

My thought is that if you really want to hit kings in the salt, you need to be in the right location--- and here I'm talking more of a type of area than Neah Bay or Sekiu. From my two decades of king chasing, I know of three such spots that hold kings that are actively feeding in shallow enough waters to be in fly range. Unfortunately, all three such spots are in the eastern Strait and now closed for kings. But, pardon my bass-fishing background here, the key is the kind of structure the fish hold on. Two of the spots that hold these shallow kings are sandspits with enough current passing by to sweep baitfish to waiting predators. Another is an area where kings will cruise by on the surface even during the middle of the day. This last place is the only spot I've ever seen that happen, and I couldn't tell you why they do it there, but they do...

Another possibility is to do the pre-dawn patrol when kings will be on or very near the surface. This might be a trolling show rather than a casting show because the kings I've caught during the dark hours were always taken on a fast, silver troll. They always hit close to the boat on the surface.

With luck, I may be home enough this summer to give 'em a whack, but I'd have to hit a run right on the money. We'll see.

Keith

Big K1
07-27-2004, 03:01 AM
Thanks guys for the great info and reports. I am very envious of you guys. I love saltwater fishing with fly or gear. I have not done much but when I have it has been great, fish or no fish. Some day I will make it out to Seiku or Neah Bay. Is a boat needed for silvers out there?

Kevin

juro
07-27-2004, 06:06 AM
Kevin -

It's not critical to have a boat as you can catch fish off the beaches, but it will feel a little like being the pool boy at Hugh Hefner's playmate party with all the boats running out to the Caves, Mussolini Rock, the lanes etc - and coming back loaded with salmon... there but not really involved.

I think of it as a filler between runs out to the action more than a shore destination. You can rent a kicker boat for reasonable money, split it with another angler and it gets pretty cheap for a day out there.

I would suggest bringing a compass or better yet a GPS handheld in case the fog rolls in. Stay away from Slip Pt during big tide changes, come inside the bay on the flood if the east wind kicks up and you should be all set most days.

NZ Trout Bum
07-27-2004, 10:32 AM
Kevin

One of the guys in my fly club fishes from the beach at Seiku and gets a few shots most days during August. He walks the highest point on the shore and spots fish crusing close in and then gets ahead of them. You will never get 20 or 30 a day doing that but you can get some action.

You can rent a kicker for a reasonable price but watch the weather. Juro is right about safety. A few years ago a storm came out of nowhere down the Strait with winds going from 10 mph to 60 mph in 15 minutes. 9 guys died on the US side and 6 in Canada. Have fun but pay attention.

Warren

Big K1
07-27-2004, 08:10 PM
Thanks guys for the info. I think I would be leary of taking a boat out myself. I have never skippered a boat in the salt. I had a 12' valco for lakes and before that I had a 20' Stratos Bass boat. I have alot of respect for salt water out there at Seiku and Neah bay I don't think it is any place for Kevin the greenhorn.
Am I being a wussy? Thanks again.

Kevin

Moonlight
07-27-2004, 10:08 PM
Kevin caution is a good thing and trout bum was just trying to make everyone aware of the potential for extremes in weather that can be encountered in Juan de Fuca Straits.
I personally started fishing Seiku in a 12' open plywood skiff with a 10 hp outboard and a good pair of oars for a backup. The 16' open aluminum skiff I use today is a little better but not anymore adequate in extreme weather than the 12'. The waters in the straits during the summer are typicaly very calm and safe, a little caution and you should have no trouble taking a boat out on your own.
I , like I said, started at Seiku with a well used 12' plywood skiff and ended up piloting my own 17 ton Fishing Vessel around the Gulf of Alaska for a quarter of a century. I would not have gotten started if I didn't start. My advice Kevin is "get started"!

SalmoGairdneri
07-27-2004, 10:13 PM
The fishing has been really good. I've been out there 3 times so far and we are heading back again this weekend. We have caught a heck of a lot of silvers and tons of sea bass. The size of the silvers has been impressive even back to the 4th July weekend. Chartreuse & White clousers are usually the key. See below. It doesn't seem like the fish have really penetrated the strait yet and the best fishing has been out west.

It was tough fishing last weekend due to swell and current but this weekend should be better. See you out there.

Cheers!

-tg

http://mysite.verizon.net/vze1lipr/TG_5July04Silver.jpg
http://mysite.verizon.net/vze1lipr/NN_6July04SeaBass.jpg
http://mysite.verizon.net/vze1lipr/RS_11July04Silver.jpg
http://mysite.verizon.net/vze1lipr/TG_11July04_SeaBass.jpg

juro
07-27-2004, 10:47 PM
Tony, Bob -

Come a loooong way since the hooknose clave eh? That doesn't look like any kicker boat I've ever rented!

kjackson
07-28-2004, 12:13 AM
Kevin-- I've spent a lot of time in the Strait, from Neah Bay to Port Townsend, most of it in boats under 16 feet in length-- in fact, I started in a 10-foot Livingston. If you've run a Stratos, and you're wise enough to be cautious, then you should have no real problems running out of Sekiu.

Often the silver fishing is close in-- you can almost always find some fish near shore, so it's not like you have to run 20 miles to find fish. Also, Sekiu has some of the best boating conditions on the Strait-- when it's rougher than a cob in Neah Bay or PA or PT, Sekiu can be pretty flat. Caution is a good thing, but I wouldn't let too much keep me from fishing in the late summer and fall-- as long as the weather forecast and your weather eye say it's OK, then it probably is.

There are a couple rules of thumb that you might use as guidelines: first, it's generally calm in the early morning unless there's a tide change. Second, the afternoons are when the wind kicks up, so you want to be closer to port later in the day. Of course, there are days when it blows all day and days when it's rough in the morning and flat in the afternoon. Usually when the westerlies blow in Sekiu, you can fish in the bay, and the water is rough, the silvers will be closer to the surface.

Neah Bay is pretty good as well, except that I don't think there is much of a rental fleet left. I've only seen a few boats at Big Salmon, and I don't know if any other place has rentals. I like NB because when the silvers are in thick, you don't even need to leave the harbor, and you can also score big on rockfish at the same time. However, the winds tend to make the area outside the bay pretty rough at times, and if you're antsy about your boat-handling ability, then you'd be better off at Sekiu.

But be careful; a few trips to either spot may find you looking for your own boat in short order. The fishing is pretty addictive.

Keith

Big K1
07-28-2004, 03:22 AM
The last thing I need is another boat! :biggrin:
What size are the boats for rent in Seiku and what kind of prices?

Thanks again guys for your help and words of encouragement.

Kevin

juro
07-28-2004, 07:41 AM
Kevin -

We are planning a hooknose clave soon at Sekiu. I suggest you join us, then you will be on a boat with an experienced angler and will learn the ropes without risk. Most likely sometime in September.

Most of the boats are 16ft Sealakers, very seaworthy and 15 hp yamahas and mercs. No nav gear, byo. Handheld GPS is a very good thing to have out there, but a compass has gotten me out of many tricky situations.

$60-70 per day and very comfortable w/ two anglers, you can squeeze 3 if one takes turns. I prefer two per boat.

Juro

Bubba
07-28-2004, 06:06 PM
Tony, Bob -
Come a loooong way since the hooknose clave eh? That doesn't look like any kicker boat I've ever rented!


Thanks again to Juro for planting the seed. IMHO Sekui/Neah Bay is the best fishing this State has to offer, I look forward to it all year.

Bubba

Big K1
07-28-2004, 09:40 PM
Juro,

I look forward to finding out when the salt clave will be.
I am going to try to get out to Sekiu in August.
I have a 9'6" 8 w. T&T horizon rod and rio versatip line.
Will I need to pick up some shooting heads in various
sink rates?

Kevin

SalmoGairdneri
07-29-2004, 02:22 PM
If the fish are around, the equipment you use isn't too important. A good deal of the time, when you are on fish, you don't even really need to cast. So I'd suggest that you don't get too excited about equipment until you make a trip or two and figure out what suits you.

That said, I believe that without question, the best all-around line is a 300grain head. I've had the teeny lines but I really prefer the AirFlo 300grain because it casts nicer and sinks significantly better. This line is great and seems to cast well on any 7-9wt rod. As you fish more, you'll find yourself with another rod rigged with a 400 grain line and yet another with a dry line. We've gotten to the point where we each have 3 rods rigged with these lines.

For flies, bring a fistfull of bead-head clousers in chartreuse and white and some 20# for the leader for casting. For locating fish, I prefer to troll a large-ish herring pattern and on that I use 40# for the leader - possibly with a stinger hook if the fly is big. I'm happy to scan specific patterns if that is helpful.

But there is no question that by far the biggest trick is to get out there a few times. Don't fuss over the equipment, literally anything works when you are on these aggressive fish.

Cheers,

-t

Moonlight
07-29-2004, 02:23 PM
Trout Bum, Small Korky and I have gotten a trailer spot for the 4th through the 10 at the Cape. (whats with email anpther big bad virus no doubt.) We fished at Freshwater this dawn and saw very few taken, havent been there since late 70's. Looks like somebody made a fortune in real estate development since then!!!!!!!!!
Oh yeah NFT for us saw a couple crusing the kelp under my rod though.

SalmoGairdneri
07-29-2004, 02:30 PM
The last thing I need is another boat! :biggrin:
What size are the boats for rent in Seiku and what kind of prices?

Thanks again guys for your help and words of encouragement.

Kevin

Prices are pretty reasonable. Also, you can rent a similar boat at Neah bay from the "Big Salmon Resort".

Here is a link to all of the boat rental services at Sekiu. I'd rent from Van Riper's. They list the Coho resort for kicker boats, but they sold all their rental boats in 2001.

http://www.sekiu.com/recreationservices.htm

-t

juro
07-29-2004, 03:20 PM
Kevin -

I just saw your inquiry but couldn't have said it better than Tony did.

I agree completely that if you had to have only one line it would be a hi-density sinking head line that matches your rod. If you do have the luxury, it's nice to have a floating line rod along since the fish are very surface oriented the first hour or two and later in the evening, sometimes all day but most days it's a dawn/dusk thing. The floater keeps the fly skipping, lifts easy and is a pleasure to cast.

Hope we can hook up this fall!

NZ Trout Bum
07-29-2004, 03:31 PM
Moonlight - Look forward to camping with you.

t - Good advise to Kevin on equiptment. Only thing I disagree on is trolling. I believe that to be most effictive trolling should be done at a slow speed and this does not cover much water. I prefer to test fish rips quickly and move to the next one, look for wording birds, look for large numbers of resting birds, look for jumping fish or, as a last resort, look for the gear fleet. Trolling wasted too much time and was boaring beyond belief (I did plenty of it).

Tip of the week. Watch your bubble trail off your motor. Make your first cast behind the boat when you stop. Cohos love to follow and a short cast doesn't take much time.

Tight lines. W

topwater
07-29-2004, 07:32 PM
i agree with warren. you're better off drifting around casting flies covering water than trolling. you'll learn more and actually be fly fishing. learning the water types is key, and success trolling in an area doesn't always translate into success fly fishing.

tie up some chartreuse and white flashtail clousers and half and halfs. grab a 300-350 grain line (i prefer the rio striper lines) and go at it. using the right lines and using a water load to cast them makes casting clousers easy and safe. to me, shooting head lines are the only way to fish out at neah bay. you'll save time and energy over full length lines (and they are safer to cast in the wind imo).

as for time of day, look at a current book. maximum ebbs and floods will usually translate into the best fishing for me. hard currents also make light levels less important when it comes to the depth the fish will be feeding. for me, the topwater fishing is less about low light, but more about finding the right current, bait, or situation to fish them.

unfortunetely for small boats, and as warren mentioned it's been lumpy lately,
the best fishing is indeed around the currents... and currents (especially ebbs) make rough water rougher. be cautious on an ebb, especially near the entrance. floods offer some of the best fishing, and the current flowing in usually flattens the water.

but the fishing has been top notch. the fish are bigger than i've ever seen this early (and not just a few, but the average is high). today we landed 52 coho.

chris

tbuehrens
07-29-2004, 09:58 PM
Hey everyone...
I am really keen on trying out the Neah bay fishery with my 17 foot boston whaler, but I would feel much more comfortable doing it for the first time if I could sort of team up with another boat because of the safety concerns...because of all the interest expressed on this site, I was wondering if anyone would be up for fishing with me as a team so we could both learn the water. anyone interested?
-Tom
(next few weeks)

Big K1
07-29-2004, 10:03 PM
Thank you everyone for the excellent advice.
You have shown what a great group of guys you are.
Now I just have to get off my ass and get out there
and use the info everyone provided.

Juro,
It would be great if we could hook up.
A little salt and a little skinny water would be fun.

Kevin

juro
07-29-2004, 10:14 PM
Tom, Kevin, et. al -

Would you guys be interested in a group conclave event out there? Forum member bash, Leland would likely attend and we might get to meet Moonlight and topwater too. Could be a real good gathering of folks on some of the most incredible fishing the world has to offer.

HOOKNOSE CLAVE!

tbuehrens
07-29-2004, 11:01 PM
I'd love to but I will be back chasing stripers on your coast come september when my school starts again in maine.
-tom

Big K1
07-29-2004, 11:16 PM
Juro,

Hooknose Clave sounds good to me.

Kevin

Moonlight
07-30-2004, 08:34 AM
That is when we will be at the Cape RV and fishing Neah Bay. The "chance at a King Salmon is much much higher in that time frame than in September. Granted the Coho's will be a bit smaller than in September but they are big enough already! Personally come September I probably will be in a different area fishing for Steelheads (more than likely)

NZ Trout Bum
07-30-2004, 12:06 PM
Chris

Great day on the salt. 50+ would have resulted in lots of bloody fingers. Last year at the end of an 8 day trip I had bandages on 7 of 10 fingers and thumbs.

I have seen you reference a "half and half" in the past but have no idea what you are tying. Could you post a quick discription? Thanks. W

topwater
07-30-2004, 01:35 PM
warren,

it's just a cross between a clouser and a deceiver.

here's a link

http://store1.yimg.com/I/clouserflyfishing_1795_720330

juro: hope this link is okay... couldn't find a non-commercial site with a decent tie of this pattern.

mine are almost identical to the fly pictured.

as for messed up hands, i never start fishing without putting on latex gloves (i purchase mine at a pharmacy).

wish i had had video of yesterday morning. dark clouds, a bit of wind, 6-8' swells, hard ebb current and tons of birds working the water catching the herring the coho were driving up (not a bait ball... more scattered). an image now forever etched in my memory.

i hope to see the swells drop out soon. i'll probably be fishing further out during your next visit ( i hope it picks up out there during the next tidal sequence) but i'm sure i'll run into you and moonlight.

chris

Moonlight
07-31-2004, 09:58 AM
According to the weather underground the swell off of Neah Bay is going to be dropping off next week in anticipation of our arrival for camping and fishing. Also the wind will be lighter and the Jet is going to back off a little which could make it less foggy. But then I am an optimist!

SalmoGairdneri
08-05-2004, 01:41 PM
I'd love to see more pictures of these Neah bay chrome beauties from any of you that have been out there this year. We made trip #5 out there last weekend and had decent fishing in tough (swell & current) conditions. Hopefully it will die down a bit before I head out there again (11-14 Aug).

Some beautiful bait-busting by salmon out there last weekend. Some very annoying swells to bob around in as well.

Cheers,

-tony