03-01-2000, 02:47 PM
Well the C&R started this a.m. on the Skykomish and I headed out before work to chase natives and win Juro's flies. Hit the water about 6:30 and started swinging a 1/0 purple spider through some good first light water. I was armed with a friend's promising report and that "feeling" that you sometimes get that means FISH!
After working through the first run with no sign of fish, I pulled out and headed upriver to a section that has always treated me well. Two casts in and the line stops. I lift the rod tip and feel fish on the other end. As soon as I set the hook, I can tell that on the end of my line is not the regal steelhead but the lowly sucker. A few minutes later the culprit is swimming free and I am casting again. Ten minutes go by and then again, the line stops and I raise into a fish. This time the line starts peeling off the Teton and I am thinking STEELHEAD for sure. Then the fish stops its brief run and once again I sense the presense of the lowly but large sucker. Two in one day is more than anyone deserves.
I did manage a good yank on the hang down my second time through the lower run but no hookup and the fish would not come back. I reeled in and headed to work. God I love Spring.
03-01-2000, 04:45 PM
Thanks for the report! I couldn't get out this morning - worked late last nite - and was glad somebody was out testing the waters.
The Sky looks like it's crested from this last rainfall. I was hoping for a little more, but guess we'll have to be happy with what we got.
Keep the faith - I'm planning to get out in the next few and will also post my results.
BTW - anybody have a guess as to why so many suckers are snagged on steelhead flys? Tyler got 2 in the Two Bit Riffle in mid February, too, and even hooked one in the mouth. I can't imagine that they're actually trying to eat the fly - maybe they're slapping at it with their tails? Are there really that many immobile suckers on the bottom of these steelhead runs that we just snag them as the fly swings through?
I could count the suckers I've caught on a fly over the last 15 years on one hand, but I'm not calling anyone a sucker magnet or anything http://184.108.40.206/images/flytalk/Wilk.gif I wonder if there really is a trend of increasing suckers. I know that that little jewel the Cedar River is lined with suckers so thick the bottom looks brown. You throw a rock and they part to expose the normal grey glacial rubble and gravel we're used to seeing in these rivers. The Cedar's once abundant 20 pound native steelhead are pretty much history (e.g. Ballard Locks, Hershel the sea lion, etc., etc.), and I can't help but imagine that the over population of suckers in the slower downtown Renton area is a wall of death to spawning lower river fish and fry.
Thinking back though, over the length of the Skykomish from the falls to the confluence to the Sultan to the Snohomish - the racey silver torpedoes rule! There are plenty of holes for suckers to lay, but isn't it grand that such a short shot from the city there's a world-class native steelhead river!
Hey does anyone know how to reach Dylan to ask if I can post his big steelie photo here?
03-01-2000, 06:46 PM
Just an unscientific observation on suckers. I have fished at least twice a week since Jan. 1 and had no run-ins with suckers. In the last three times out, I have landed three. I have noticed that as the water temps have slowly climbed (41 this morning) and the daylight hours lengthen, the algae growth has taken off. My hypothesis is that the suckers have either 1) come out of a winter hibernation in the deeper holes or 2)moved out of the snohomish up into the Sky to feed on this increased growth. Curious to see if anyone has any thoughts on this.
On the bright side, at least I know my tip is getting me deep enough.
I think your observations have merit, being algae eaters. In case I came across as a bit too proud of my personal sucker record, I've caught more bullheads on flies than anyone I know, and have embarrased myself with my share of sea robins on flies since moving out here. Funny - they are both the ugliest things that swim, making suckers look like golden trout in comparison. I actually caught a puffer on a fly in the Keys, and caught a large quahog shell on Brewster flats that got me to yell "fish" when it first started to occilate in the current. Now that you mention it, I think I caught a sucker at Buck Island with Brian last time I was there... maybe selective memory syndrome has set in with the arrival of them pesky gray hairs and age 40...