03-14-2002, 11:45 PM
Posting this to help Juro sleep a little easier before his trip. I hit the Sauk this morning for a 1/2 day walk-in trip. Figured this latest high water might have got some fish moving. Hit the river at first light to find it falling into prime shape with 2.5-3' of vis. Before I left, this was a good four.
No takers on the first run so I walked down to one I had not fished before last Sunday but which certainly looked to have promise. On the first cast a fish hit and was instantly headed for the other side of the river. I came up with the hookset but it didn't feel solid and I am historically bad at hooksets when the fish is running. Sadly, I never got a chance to get a second chance as after peeling off 30' or so of backing, the hook came free.
Cussing my bad luck I continued on down the run. A few casts later and I hang up out in the swing. After the usual tricks failed to get the fly loose, I threw 10-12' of slack into it hoping the current would do the job. Usually works but today all I got was my 15' type 6 wrapped around something. 15 minutes and a new tip and leader later I am convinced that I have truly somehow offended the fish gods and bed would have been a better morning option.
A couple casts later and fish-on. Never doubt the fish gods and their wisdom. As fights go it wasn't spectacular but I soon eased a 31x18" wild buck onto his side in the shallows. A quick pic (sorry no digital today) and I smiled as I saw him melt back into the green Sauk water.
Shortly after a buddy and a friend of his came down and started fishing the water across from me. Before I left, each had touched a fish with both LDRing them.
Don't worry Juro, there will be a few finning in the fabled waters awaiting a visitor from the east.
03-15-2002, 12:19 AM
Heading up to fish the Sauk and Skagit over the next few days. Fishing with Ed Ward on Sat. and Dec Hogan on Sun. and Mon. Hoping to take my spey casting up a notch or two.
I think I'll have tomorrow afternoon and evening to fish. I'll be on my own; any suggestions for access on the Sauk. Bringing up type III and type VI heads for my windcutter. Do I need anything heavier? I've tied up some largish bunny leeches and maribou creations in usual colors; any other suggestions. Pretty excited as this is only my second time up to these incredibly beautiful rivers!
You just made my day sinktip! My gut feel is that the poor showing is not an indication of a lack of fish but an anomaly in their return pattern this year. I certainly have no scientific basis for such a claim but sure hope I am right
Congrats on the great day on the water, and mucho thanks for the inspiration toward my upcoming trip to steelhead country.
03-15-2002, 01:58 PM
You will have a great trip with both of those guides! It looks like the temps should hold low and keep both rivers in shape. This time of year I rarely find a need for anything heavier than a Type VI. As for fly selection, Ed and Dec might steer you in one direction of another but the standard marabous and b-leeches will treat you fine.
As for access, the Sauk is pretty easy as the highway runs along most of it. You might want to explore down the Sauk river road as well for access to the lower river. There is good water both above and below the two major bridges. Good luck!
03-16-2002, 11:26 AM
Some one PM or e-mail me if the Skagit/Sauk wild nates show up in any numbers. Ready to start the frequent flyer mile dilution and get into some PNW steelhead fly fishing, if I can get away from work at the right time. However the river closures and low returns do not look good. See URL below. Looks like the Skagit and Sauk will be the rivers of choice this spring in Washington, which means crowds.
I swear I am a C & R fly fishing only great lakes steelhead fisherman who is dying to try the PNW steelies again.
You see I am very open minded.
Otherwise will shoot for summer runs some where out west later this year.
FYI, the WA statewide C&R was driven to vote by many people in this community and beyond, those who make up the Wild Steelhead Coalition http://wildsteelheadcoalition.com The WSC president, staff and key members are people you see posting here all the time. I think people are acutely aware of the situation there.
Flyshop.com is all about selling magazines (Flyfisherman), whereas the WSC is trying to preserve a natural treasure. To flyshop.com it's "news", to the WSC is religion. Flyshop.com doesn't know shinola about wild steelhead.
You might consider joining the WSC, I just received the new member package and am overwhelmingly impressed with the work they have put into this noble effort. The report is exemplary and I am proud to be part of it.
If you are concerned with crowds, low returns, and regulatory issues I would suggest that you visit in September or October for summer run fish. One needs nothing more than a dry line and a few good flies to experience steelhead tuned into the surface if one know what he or she is doing. The fair weather will let you hit a large number of streams in the region from the Cascades to the Olympic Peninsula to the Columbia tribs to the Oregon Coast to the mecca - British Columbia, even Alaska or across to Kamchatka. No crowds there.
Spring is a much tougher time. You pound the water for the dream of a single giant native steelhead, the embodiment of the whole concept of steelhead in a big chrome ocean-hardened steel package in the shadows of giant rainforest trees streaking light reflecting from jagged icy peaks of the mountainous region in the upper left corner. Just one is enough for those who have the religion. A trout angler's wildest dream.
I CAN'T WAIT!!!
03-17-2002, 08:18 AM
The spring Washington winter run period has been my prime objective for the PNW for exactly the wild fish you describe. Should have been there at least 2-3 years ago but work and family obligations has not permitted it during that period. Mainly work. Would not have to touch a fish though for it to be a successful trip, but the rivers would have to be at least fishable.
Yes it looks like the summer runs in September and October are the best period for a visitor out west. Conflicts with my son's high school football season , but will have to figure out a way to squeeze a trip in one week this year. There are several members on the board which have given me some great inside information on when and where to go.
WSC is a noble organization and will look into joining, visited their web site a while back and printed off the membership information. That needs to have a full time staff IMHO to be effective given all of the risks to the native steelhead in PNW, which it looks like it does.