Last two weeks on sky? [Archive] - Fly Fishing Forum

: Last two weeks on sky?

03-02-2005, 10:00 AM
Don't want anyone to get too carried away but what did those who fished the Sky the last two weeks think on the end of the season.

Sure were a lot of fish caught by fly fishermen. For such a low water situation as we had fish still came in the river. Was it the big tides two weeks ago or the full moon that put so many fish in a river that was extreamly low. Please don't name runs if you had fish on just a report of what you thought of the last two weeks and what might have put so many fish in the river.

03-02-2005, 10:35 AM
Not having been there I feel a relutance to post but here goes anyway.
The single most important reason that you may have had a few fish in the Sky the last few weeks was undoubtly that all the Gillnets that are in exisitance were on the OP!!!!!!!!!! :Eyecrazy:
Glad to hear you fellows had a few.

03-02-2005, 10:44 AM
I hooked several fish in feb including a really large one. These aggressive wild fish are great confidence builders. The big boy I saw roll as I was landing a different fish. Worked down to it and hooked it. Most were in familiar spots but 3 were not and that was encouraging.

I believe that the fish came back to the Sky simply so that they could hit my fly swung on a light tip in the midday sun.

Now that the sky is closed, we are heading out to the OP tonight through sunday.

Next highlight on tap after that ... Neah bay.


03-02-2005, 10:45 AM
I would have to say that I would postulate that the high numbers of fish taken on the fly in the last week or two would be the result of a strong returning wild run or at least a strong early wild component.

That being said, I didn't touch a fish the last two weeks on the Sky nor did I see any fish hit. All this talk of huge success rates could very well be smoke and mirrors. I did hear the Cracker Bar was fishing extreamly well though. :D

03-02-2005, 11:16 AM
Hmm, I put in a few days over the past week and was able to draw a big fat donut. I did see a couple fish caught by gear guys though, including a nice mid-teens buck taken from right in front of me. I guess I should've been fishing the "gob of eggs" pattern. Amazing to see the Sky so low at the end of February.

Like 'Tip, I think and hope the good reports indicate a good front end for this year's return of wild fish. May they keep coming in even bigger numbers now through June...

And since I've started down the wishful thinking road, everyone do their rain dance for the rest of winter, spring and summer!

03-02-2005, 12:40 PM
Ya know Howzer if you would fish a little more you could change doughnuts to glazed nuggets. :lildevl:

I'm not sure if there are more than usual amount of fish in river. Fish seemed to be in a 3 mile area and holding right there. Won't say which area but most probably know. Fish did not want to move once they got to a certain point. It was fun fishing wild fish that would happily take. It was fun sitting on the river bank two hours before light on a clear sky and a full moon just watching the river go by and know that the run you were going to fish would have fish in it. How often has that happened in the last 5 to 10 years?

But I'm glad the season has ended I'm sick of sinktip not hooking anything at all and calling me 3 times a morning at the office before 0800 telling me he had not hooked any steelhead. :o

03-02-2005, 01:25 PM
Yeah the wild whitefish were sure taking flies well.


03-02-2005, 01:26 PM
Only for you my brother would I take the time to call and let you know not to worry, there were no fish biting. At least no fish taking my meager offerings. :(

Think how I feel though, if fishing would have been any worse, I would need to be in therapy for severe depression.

"steelhead do exist, they really do, and one day I will prove it!"

03-02-2005, 01:33 PM
All being said the highlights of my February were:

Lowholing Sinktip and then poaching OC. :hihi:

Actually beating Sinktip to a run for once in my life.:Eyecrazy:

Hopefully the good reports are good news for the sky fish. I have never heard so many rumors of fish in February since I started fishing the sky a few years ago.

You never know though, could have just been a good push of fish. I am never sure what to make of the final reports we get from wdfw.


03-02-2005, 01:39 PM
I hear you sinktip, and thanks for the calls letting me know there were no fish in the river so that I would not make a useless trips down to the river.

And Sean keep catching wild white fish they sure looked pretty nice. But please stop catching them behind me or I'm going to start bobber fly fishing like Sparkey used to do and fish up river in your water.

Does anyone ever let someone else tie a fly on your leader? Don't it can hurt the the one who ties it more than the one who fishes it. :confused:

03-02-2005, 02:14 PM

Yes, still feeling the pain. I would add a couple slight corrections though for accuracy sake. First, it was the leader that failed and not the knot and second, it was my leader and not yours. I would be very happy to tie all the flies on your your leaders from now on but you might not land anything. When it is on my leader, I do take it personally. :lildevl:

What the heck, doesn't matter anyways, there were no steelhead in the river.

The first directive of the intellignece community -- Always maintain the option of plausible denial.

03-02-2005, 02:28 PM
Hey Sinktip!

I think we got them all confused by now. :lildevl:

The fish.

03-02-2005, 02:46 PM
just because the river is closed, doesn't mean you all can start posting reports. think about the crowds that will converge on the Sky next winter now! :tsk_tsk: :mad:


Brian Simonseth
03-02-2005, 02:58 PM
Remember Yogi Berra

03-02-2005, 03:05 PM
Hey Sparkey,

Last day on river had 5 behind me on the run. Can it get any worse? Well maybe when we all go up to fish the KERRY S RUN on the most northern S river. By the way all 5 folks seemed like very nice people including your boss.

As for this thread only salmo caught a fish from what I see. You really didn't catch any fish on the sky this year or did you?

I only started this post to rub it in to our freinds that fish a little further north. Just wanted to let them know that we had as bad a year on the Sky as they are still having up north.

If too many show up next winter on the sky it will be because you have taught then in your past to fish bobber and nymph. You must live the rest of your life with you evil past. :whoa:

03-02-2005, 03:16 PM
If wild fish were scattered throughout the river, I would think it means the run size is larger than the pre-season forecast. Since you think it was a concentratio of fish in a three mile stretch of river, the more plausable explanation would be the persistent low water conditions that must have been favorable for fish moving up the Sno and Sky to some point, and unfavorable from that point on upstream.

I've seen a similar thing happen on the Skagit in previous low water years with the wild run building in the middle river, and then after mid-March we had to fish upstream of the Dalles bridge, but most of the fish were remaining in the middle river. There have been times when very few fish pushed upstream of Rockport until the spring runoff began, starting like May 1 after the season closed.

In any event, it's nice that some anglers found good fishing as the season came to an end.


Salmo g.

03-02-2005, 03:53 PM
There are no fish in the Skagit this year except maybe a dolly here and there. It would seem that all of the Skagit steelhead got confused and headed to the sky. Lucky for you guys.

03-02-2005, 04:26 PM

Really unfortunate as the Sky is now CLOSED and the Skagit/Sauk are open.

OC and Salmo G:

As for the 3 mile stretch, I think that is possibly just supposition. I have a credible report of a fish hit in the upper river and several unconfirmed reports of other similar interactions up in the main stem. Having floated the lower river on Thursday, there is no physical reason the fish would hold in the lower 3 miles. The water is low but not that low. That is certainly where the fishing pressure was though so its not surprising most of the reports of success were from there too.

I too will be awaiting redd count numbers come late spring. Given the snowpack, they should have no problem getting a good count this year.

sinktip (keeping his fingers crossed that the wild return is indeed strong)

03-02-2005, 10:55 PM
- One person catches a fish, it circulates around the "network" a few times, before you know it, "several" fish have now been "caught".

- End of Feb. is prime KELT time. Many people it seems, cannot differentiate a spent fish from a "good" fish (if it's chrome it must be fresh, right?).

Were there fish in the Sky the last two weeks. Yeah, most always are in Feb., but it was not like a huge push of steelhead had entered into the river all of a sudden. The guys fishing Buck Island got real lucky this year as it seems that it was a major stopping point for the small pushes of fish that were coming through. Other than that for the most part it was very hit and miss. The gear guys I talked to were not "slammin' em", except for a high count of kelts, and this seemed to be the consensus on most everyone I talked to, including the Game Warden. So, I think that it's a wee bit early to be thinking that the steelhead population on the Sky has suddenly rebounded.

When river temps are below that of the Sound, the steelhead have no major impetus to enter the river, especially en masse. Low river temps also greatly slow down in-river migration of those fish that do decide to venture upstream, which is the probable reason for the "concentration" in that certain stretch of the Sky.

Anyone wanting to hit the Sauk/Skagit for fresh steelies best bring a book or some other form of entertainment - its a looooooooooooooooooooooooooooong time between fish this year!

03-03-2005, 09:24 AM
I want to thank all who posted on this thread. To those who were lucky to have hit fish over the last two weeks and those who didn't. There was a reason to start this thread and usually I would never post on good fishing.

First thing though is I want to say that I do not think the run was strong but as has been mentioned we got lucky and found what few fish were in the river holed up along a small stretch of river. I didn't see any kelts but I'm sure there were some around.

The point of the thread was to show that this is how our Washington rivers should fish in Febuary and it should be that way most every year. If our rivers were healthy then every time you walked down to a run in the dark, sat on a rock or a dead fall and waited for light, listening to the river sing and knowing that you had a truely great chance of a fish on. And this is how it was for all who fished that strech of river. It's been many years since we felt the confidence that runs had fish in them and that every cast was not just another cast filling up time on a good day on the river. Knowing that there were fish and a lot of fish in a small area made for a truely great day on the river. It is periods like that two weeks that make us continue to fight for the wild steelhead. If you have only been fishing steelhead for 10 or fewer years and have not experienced such a feeling as knowing fish are truely within distance of your next cast then you should. But you are going to have to fight for it, you are going to have to get involved. You have to join your local fishing clubs, your local conservation groups like River Keepers and the WSC. But it goes beyond that, you must continue to write letters and e-mails till you are blue in the face. If you have the talent to run for local office in your town or county then do so because if you don't only those who want to over develope our water shed will. If you don't have the talent to run for local office then work for someone who does and suports your ideals. To those of us who love having a healthy environment we are fighting a very unhealthy society right now. We have to keep the pressure on, we need not to let up even for a second.

I'm going to say again those two weeks on the river may have been a fluke but what they did for the spirit and the soul was beyond compare. Most of you may not have experienced that 14 days on a river but you need too and it's likely only to happen if you get involved or continue to keep involved. We are slowly making headway but we have people out there that want us to fail and it will take all of us and more to stop them.

May all of you have many two week periods like some of us just experienced in the future! :cool:


03-03-2005, 09:58 AM
I don't want to make it sound as though I am an "old timer" on these rivers (transplanted to Wa. in the mid 80's), but what OC says is true. Even if I wasn't here during the true "heydays", I can say that even from the mid 80's to the early 90's that come Feb. and March one started to really take on a feeling of "confidence" when swinging a fly through the northern Sound rivers. The Sky always "happened" earlier than the Skag, but even on the Skag February was the time when one would start to see very evident signs of natives entering into the river. I recall uncountable memories of watching "schools" of steelhead rolling and porpoising their way up the river. In fact at this time of year we counted on and looked forward to seeing this event happen - nothing gets the heart racing faster than seeing several steelhead rolling in a pool that you are about to fish! There were usually a couple days each season when I would hook 5 or 6 fish in one outing! Two or three fish days weren't unusual. And this was when I did not know half as much about the rivers or fish as I do now.
The last time I saw this type of thing take place was the winter/spring of '98. My "usual" input of time for each fish in the past (averaged out over the entire season), has been around three days on the water for each steelhead hooked. This year it has increased thus far to at least twice that.

03-03-2005, 03:13 PM

Well said.

03-03-2005, 05:45 PM
Three days per steelhead hooked? This year, twice that. Yikes!

I'm not old (yet), but I happened to fish the Skagit and Sauk when the first C&R season occurred in 1981 (1979 doesn't count, as that was a different thing, although I fished then, too.). The run size wasn't really strong that year, possibly around 6,000, I'd have to check the records. However, I'd just had my best fishing in WA state ever.

I wanted to get some perspective on the experience, so I called Ralph Wahl, one of the early veterans of flyfishing for steelhead on the Skagit. I told him that I averaged one hooked steelhead for each day of fishing that March and April, and I asked him how he thought that compared with the 1930s, 1940s, 1959s, and so forth. His response was that hooking a fish a day, on average, was quite comparable to his recollection, since although he had had better days, there were all those days that drew blanks to keep the average in check.

Regardless of run size differences, there were other significant differences, since I was using modern plastic lines and nylon leaders, while Ralph and his contemporaries used silk lines and gut leaders in the 30s and 40s - and they still caught fish.

Considering all that, I thought the Skagit had made a significant come back if I could continue to average hooking one steelhead per day of fishing from 1981 on. And I did, until some time in the 1990s. I think the combination of decreasing run sizes and increasing fishing pressure (remember when Corky Hunger was hitting up to 30 a day with the clients in his sled?) caused me to realize that "all things must pass." I feel a bit like a spoiled kid, as I fished the Skagit two days last March without a single hit (dollys don't count), so I didn't return for the remainder of the season. I sure do miss that river, though.


Salmo g.

03-03-2005, 06:46 PM
Back in the early and mid 90's I would compile my March and April Sky statistics every year. I am a bit of a numbers geek so I would track all sort of things besides fish hit. Things like highest water fished, lowest water fished, highest water fished w/ fish hooked, hours fished, flies used, flies successful, water temps, etc. and etc. This was was cool in that it allowed me to come up with a fish per hour ratio.

Now I would certainly like to think that I know more about what I'm doing now then I did then but I still caught fish. More than I do now. Many more. Up until the nosedive in the late 90s, the averages for the two month period always seemed to be between 10 and 12 hours per fish. There were always a couple days each year when it was closer to 4-5 hours per fish but then the middle of April would come and I would go fishless for a few days. This always picked up the last week of the season though. Damn but I do have fond memories of those last few days every year.

All this is certainly non-scientific but OC is right, the last week or so on the Sky was as close as I have come to the confidence in hitting fish that I used to have back in the CnR season days.

03-03-2005, 07:49 PM
count your blessings that you were able to experience those days.

03-04-2005, 08:07 AM
It was a wonderful two weeks. Just getting your gear in order the night before became more detailed. Checks on hooks, leaders, reels and flies were double checked. Getting up at 0330, drinking coffee at home before the drive instead of the usual 0430 alarm and running out the door was great.

Will it happen again? I think so but I hope it is for more deserving reasons like strong runs of fish across the entire Sound than just some fish unwilling to move further up river.

And Sparkey, You must take great confort in having worked everyone of those 14 days so your boss could fish. I mean that is a true sign of a gentleman and someone who loves his job. :chuckle:

I hope everyone of us who fishes can experience such a situation in the future but it's going to take some work by all of us.