Where Are All The Fish?!?!? [Archive] - Fly Fishing Forum

: Where Are All The Fish?!?!?

03-03-2002, 09:57 PM
In a year that has been filled with record returns and some of the best hatchery steelheading we have seen in over a decade, rivers that are entering prime time for wild steelhead, have been a virtual desert.

It is incredibly worrisome to hear one report after another that involves one fish here, another there.

Normally the OP is pumping out the nates right now but they are no where to be found!! :confused: :confused:

I can not help but notice the irony... in the year the WDFW Commision votes against statewide wild steelhead release because the runs are healthy and the Sol Duc for example is too healthy, we see the poorest returns of wild steelhead in a decade.

That could be what we are looking at if things dont pick up!! :( :mad: :mad: :mad: :mad:

03-04-2002, 11:57 AM
Yes I was wondering why there were not more reports of great steelhead fishing in the PNW with the supposedly record returns talked about in November/December.

Thought, perhaps all the seasoned steelhead FF were in zipperlip mode on the internet at least.

Some great fishing developing here in the great lakes for the spring, a few rivers are stacked already with them. If you can take the cold a 10+ fish hook up day is possible if you know the hot areas and what you are doing.

Have had a few of those days in the past myself.

Right now 10-20 degrees in mid west but 40-50 degrees F by wednesday.

03-05-2002, 05:01 PM
Same goes for my neck of the woods Ryan. The lull we were expecting for a two week period has come and gone. It seems to have developed into quite a dead period with just the occasional fish to show for our efforts. We just keep hitting "rerun" brats in the SW Coastal corner but keep hoping there will be better numbers of wild fish showing in the waning weeks of the season. Does not look very promising however.

03-05-2002, 11:31 PM
This is all just very scary....Hell, it doesnt even feel like March. I can sense that March has finally arrived when the reports of swarms of wild steelhead all over the OP are heard on a daily basis.

Has not happened as of yet and it is looking more and more like it will not. :(

03-08-2002, 05:05 PM
Well, according to the rumor mill, them buggers booked for the Great Lakes region (did they, too, get some sort of tax break?).

Sorry, guys, for today's incessant levity, but I'm snowed in.

03-08-2002, 06:44 PM

They are here, some guys have been reporting 20 fish hook ups the last couple of weeks on several rivers. I believe it knowing how good it can be when you hit it right here. Quite a few big fish 17-18lbs this year (this is big for great lakes, very few 20lb+ fish)

Hope it gets better in the PNW for you fellows

I am now thinking that a late winter trip out there is a real risky venture not knowing what the weather is going to do the rivers.

Appears August/September/October is a lower risk of having the rivers blown on your trip there.

Correct ?

03-08-2002, 07:34 PM
Now the cyclic state of the rivers caused by the rainy periods I can speak to but you should seek another on the actual fisheries which may occur at these times.

First, this recent storm was sort of a fluke. The rains that will follow, this coming week, are not (and teamed up they pretty well can ruin a river's flow for a while). Early Spring can be very wet with dry periods often at a premium. Late Spring can be very pleasant and usually are. August is our driest month, often rain free. September can go either way and usually does. October can be downright depressing with a lot of rain, yet still has some good days. Of course this is a generalization, yet I believe the data supports it.

As far as the PNW Steelhead fishery, I'm fairly optimistic. Wild Steelhead Coalition did a bang up job this past year and although all their goals weren't fulfilled they induced some solid change within the system and marked themselves as serious people to contend with. They opened many a bureaucrat's eye and I believe they sowed the seeds for tomorrow's success.

As far as the Great Lakes fisheries, I am very happy for all of you. I remember as a kid in my science class where we talked about the lamprey eel menace and how the Lakes were being written off. Congrats all. Please shepard with care.:)


03-09-2002, 07:12 AM
Several of us are going to come up your way to try some of the rivers in late march. Hope the fishing picks up by then! We are going to try the Skagit or Sauk. Long drive for nothing if it doesn't pick up!:confused:

03-09-2002, 09:47 AM

The best N.A steelhead runs are now in the Great lakes states and the canadian province of Ontario (North Shore).

Hop on route 80 and take a long road trip, or better yet hop on our empty airlines and also help them and the economy.

Steelhead fishing will be good in great lakes for the rest of the year, just need to know when to go to the North or south shore great lakes fisheries.

Need more info E-mail or PM me.

Tight lines,

03-09-2002, 05:15 PM
Yeah but the great lakes steelhead are not wild fish. An interesting and overwhelmingly successful program it is , I one day may head to Michigan to give it a spin, but it does not hold a candle to the PNW steelhead experience.

You can go the great lakes and catch a lot of fish if that is what you are looking for. However if you want to catch a wild and as nature intended steelie you have to come here to do that. Our fish are a result of millions of years of gentic evolution and travel thousands of miles in the pacific ocean before they heed natures call to return and spawn. They are in my estimation the pinnacle of our sport and a experience not to miss out on.

The will be fish here and if you hit it just right you will be one of the lucky to catch and release a truly remarkable fish.

Now I just hope I am able to hook up with a few before my impending move to Boston in September.

Good luck this spring.


03-09-2002, 06:39 PM
I agree whole-heartedly Sean. What makes a Thompson fish so different? Why are Morice fish so different than those lugs in the Kispiox? How come I can find steelhead in a stream 3 weeks earlier than another stream only 15 miles away? Why do some systems here only have spring fish while others have both spring and fall varieties? Answer: They’ve evolved that way!

“Best runs” obviously means different things to different folks. I’ll take natural fish myself. I wouldn’t trade a single Thompson fish for a hundred of hatchery origin!

03-09-2002, 10:30 PM
True most steelhead in Great Lakes are hatchery however, steelhead were first stocked in Michigan rivers in 1883 from PNW strain. A number of rivers have wild steelhead reproducing steelhead since the 1880s and several are 100% wild, no need for hatchery stockings in those. You can stream steelhead fish essentially 365 days a year. A number of rivers now also have wild salmon, no stockings are done in those rivers.

BTW, the non andramous stream trout fishing is also good in the great lakes states. (Really good).

Forgot to mention the lake run browns, lake trout, and coasters (brook trout).

P.S. Sure wish I had some of those PNW rivers and nates closer to me though

03-09-2002, 10:50 PM
Over the years, I've have been involved in this arguement many times.

Do not not take part in the arguement much anymore because it sort of got redundant...it was a weekly occurence back in the day on the VFS BB.

Anyways, this why I believe PNW steelhead are real steelhead and Great Lakes steelies are well, not more then mere large rainbow trout. :razz:

Normally, I go into much more detail but I'll keep it short and sweet...

To me, steelhead fishing is much more then just catching a large sea-run rainbow trout that can tear up the water unlike any species.

To me steelhead fishing is not only the about the fishing but the flies, the history, the literature, the great rivers, the great anglers and the great techniques that have been developed in the PNW.

The tales and the legends of PNW steelhead involve some of the most fascinating stories I have ever heard.

My life-as a steelheader-encompases (sp?) all of the aforementioned charecteristics of PNW steelhead and to me the Great Lake fishery is lacking in all these aspects.

But this is not to say that you will never see me casting a line in a Great Lakes tributary because I'll try anything but to me, it will not be steelheading.

Get your arse out here so we can poison you...you will be scarred for life!!


I need to find a fishing partner that carries a camera...Jeese, I am sick of posting the same pic over and over and over again!...plus it is like 4 years old! :rolleyes:

03-10-2002, 07:04 AM

Your right I am afraid to go out there, because I know I will become hooked. Been to BC and did a little steelie fishing there on the Chilliwack/Vedder. But Washington is high on the to do list. Have the frequent flyer mails to burn. Have to wet the line on the North Fork, Skagit, Sauk before I leave this earth.

I am like you have few pictures of fish I have caught since I do not carry a camera and usually break the fish off while they are in the water in front of me. I don't kill any and I usualy fish alone. Donot want to risk injuring the fish by beaching them, putting the rod down, getting the camera out etc... It is not needed I have the memories.

If people do not believe my results so be it. I admit my fishless days. I consider myself a failure if I do not touch at least one steelhead a day, when I know they are there and I should have.

It is not the catching of the fish that it is paramount now as it was in younger years, but in the challenge of the pursuit, and the enjoyment of the outdoors, hopefully in peace and solitude.



03-11-2002, 02:50 AM

It seems that Hal has been "casting this fly" for a few days and you've finally given him the "rise" he was looking for... just a sec' - do they rise when you are using a slinky?

03-11-2002, 06:31 AM

I retired the slinkys (chuck n duck) over a decade ago and now only fish traditional wet fly techniques. They are in my small mouth and walleye tackle box. If you would like I could ship them back to the PNW where they were designed and implemented. Great technique for getting down FAST though.

See your a HS BB coach. Check out Dwayne Wade of Marquette in the tourny. Local Chicago boy, my 20 year old son wen to HS with. He is on is way to the NBA for sure as we all thought. My son knows him well. They played freshman football together, our HS is one of the IL state football powers 80% winning average etc for over 20 years. Dwayne quit after freshmen year to concentrate on BB, and was afraid of injury. Good decision we had a tremendous HS BB program for the next three years. He is a great kid also not one of those other types there are so many of in college ball these days.