Guide for Steelie Newbie - Fly Fishing Forum
Pacific Northwest Sea Run Forum No such thing as rainbow trout, only landlocked steelhead

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Old 07-29-2003, 06:05 PM
airedale airedale is offline
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Guide for Steelie Newbie

Been flyfishing for about 4 years now and interested in learning how to fish EFFECTIVELY for NW steelhead. Located in Seattle and will probably head North to Sauk, Stilly, Skagit, etc. Any guide recommendations for a newbie, time of year, river, etc.?
Any and all recommendations will be listened closely to...

Thank you oh sage flyfishing comrades!!!
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  #2  
Old 07-30-2003, 04:54 PM
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I recommend Dennis Dickson. He has courses on flyfishing for steelhead that will greatly speed up the learning process. I wish I had taken one of his courses when I first started flyfishing for steelhead as it would have cut out a lot of fruitless days.

He also has a great website.
Post edited by moderator becasue of sponsorship policy. 7-30-03
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Old 07-30-2003, 05:38 PM
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Dennis is a good source and his website is certainly an entertaining read. He is but one of the good steelhead guides that specialize in the waters you are talking about. I would also recommend Rob Endsley, John Farrar, Mike Kinney and Ed Ward. If you need contact info. for any of these or would like more information, drop me an e-mail message.

sinktip
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Old 07-30-2003, 07:47 PM
fredaevans fredaevans is offline
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I'll be the good guy/bad guy here.

"He also has a great website. Post edited by moderator becasue of sponsorship policy. 7-30-03."

The power bill is paid for by the Board Sponsors. Remember to send them a e mail (cc the Admin. Guy - Sean, Juro, Dana, et. al., correct this part!!) asking them to financially support the Board.

Advertising is cheaper than dirt .. and the good part ... is ALL the readers are their "target group." Can't get much better than that; the readers are the do-ers. KaChing, KaChing.

(That was the sound of a cash register?)
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Old 07-30-2003, 10:26 PM
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NrthFrk16 NrthFrk16 is offline
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I second the recomendations regarding both Rob Endsley and Ed Ward.

I've known Rob for many years and every person I have sent to Rob over time has had rave reviews.

Ed Ward would be another excellent choice and I can say that based upon a day spent with Ed but it is my understanding that this past year Ed was more or less not really guiding. Although next year maybe differnt...

If you want to have a blast, head over to the OP and book a trip with Bob Ball. I have fished with Bob many times as have other members and he is as about as good as they come.

Shoot me a PM if you want contact info.
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Old 07-31-2003, 03:08 PM
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Fred,

Thanks for the heads up but Tin Pusher and I have already covered the referral policy off-line.

sinktip
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Old 07-31-2003, 04:16 PM
OC OC is offline
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Airedale,
Welcome aboard.
Most of the guides mentioned are good guides and worth spending a day with. But pick a guide not because he is going to promise you how to catch steelhead but because he truely becomes a river friend for that day and shares the most important wealth of information. That being a shared conversation about the history of the rivers he fishes and the great fishermen he has met in the years as a guide. That in it's self will help you understand the ways of a fly fishing steelheader.

Tin Pusher,
Also welcome aboard.
Is there really such thing as a fruitless day of fly fishing for steelhead? If you love it then there never will be a fruitless day on the river nor a frustating day because every hour, every day on the river is a learning experience that you alone have accomplished.
Good luck to the both of you in your pursuit.
OC
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Old 07-31-2003, 05:29 PM
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Tin Pusher Tin Pusher is offline
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I knew one of you old timers would speak up when I used the term "fruitless". Is going years without your first tug simply the right of passage for anyone wishing to join the elite few who cast feathers for steelhead? I went 3 years fly fishing for winter runs before my first take. I am very passionate about steelhead fly fishing and only wish newcombers get a taste of what its like to hook up before they give up in frustration and return to their trout ponds.

To all newbies I give forth the following thoughts:
I judge the quality of a day on the water based on the following factors, in order of importance.
1. Was the river crowded?
I enjoy meeting other fly chuckers and particularly other dryline purists but I would sooner read a book on the shore as follow a gear fishermen through a run. Not so much as I despise their methods as they are so damn efficient. Nobody can clear a run of steelhead like a knowledgeable gear fisherman. I have a gear fishing friend and a farm I am willing to bet on him if there are any challengers.
2. Were the river conditions good?
Not too low or high and atleast a few feet of visibilty. Preferably 50+ degrees to improve my odds of rolling a fish.
3. Was the weather pleasant?
Wind is your worst enemy on the river as you cannot just swing the boat around and cast the other way.
4. Was I confident that there was steelhead in the river?
I will fish a week without a take if I know I am over steelies. I will go longer if I can see them.
5. Did I bring a fish to my surface fly?
6. Did I hook him?
The take is the climax. After that I don't care if he comes off and I prefer to have them fall off before I have to land them.

OC...agree or disagree?

PS Airedale if you want to start fishing for these fish I suggest summer runs between say July and October.
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Old 07-31-2003, 08:31 PM
flytyer flytyer is offline
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OC,

Thanks for letting newcomers to steelhead fly fishing know that a day astream is never fruitless. Perhaps that is why it is called fishing instead of catching.
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Old 08-01-2003, 10:33 AM
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Tin Pusher,
My thoughts like yours to airedale were just that, ideas to one who asked for a little advice. Airedale did not ask for the world in his post like so many new to steelhead flyfishing do just where a good place to start and should it be with a guide. If airedale wants to start with a guide then he should and there are the names mentioned above by those who spend many hours on the river and in conservation meetings with the guides mentioned who can give airedale some good advice about a guide. I will most likely always believe after many years of steelhead pursuit that the one on one with a good guide will be far more rewarding and a more enjoyable day on the river than any commercialized group school one can go to. And the good guides mentioned above are more likely to be abstarct in how they spend a day with one new to steelhead. I think it is safe to say that most of us who steelhead fish realize just how abstract one day on a river can turn into many days, months and years of enjoyment. Again that is just my belief as is the belief that this new idea of a school on how to fish that's been around for 10 or 15 years is as foolish as it can get. Monkey see monkey do retards the creativity in ones own spirit. If one is in a hurry to be a good steelhead fly fisherman then he will need to make it his or her total passion in life and become a steelhead bum and that is no sure thing anymore. I don't really believe in the right of passage and I also don't care if someone gets discouraged just because he does not catch a steelhead and quits and goes back to his trout pond. Who cares as long as there are those new to steelhead fishing who do fall in love with it and carry on with the tradition for the right reasons and understand how difficult a passion it is. One more observation. I've been lucky in my years of steelhead fishing to have met many fine steelhead fishermen, some young and some old both gear and fly. They are men and women that don't believe in such a thing as a fruitless day on the river and you know what? Not one of them to the best of my knowledge ever went to a steelhead fly fishing school.

All the points you brought up I will agree with you on the most part and I'm sure we all have many more to add.
Go fishing and enjoy the river.
OC
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  #11  
Old 08-01-2003, 12:44 PM
airedale airedale is offline
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So my take home from posting this message is this:

TRUE STEELHEAD CHASERS ARE PASSIONATE ABOUT WHAT THEY DO!!... and this is why I have become a 100% flyfishing addict. I got off work at 4pm yesterday, went to the Snoqualmie to practice casting, came home and watched a recorded Fly Water program and then fell asleep with Fly Fishing Washington on my chest.

Thank you all for your genuine words. I am going to research some guides and book a day in September or August. My goal is not just to catch a steelhead, although that would be nice. My goal is to spend a day soaking up as much knowledge as I can from an expert so I can feel more confident when I head out on my own in pursuit of steelhead.

thx all - cu on the river...
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Old 08-11-2003, 08:48 PM
Jumbo Jumbo is offline
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Thumbs down

I'd avoid Dickson like the plague.
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  #13  
Old 08-11-2003, 11:04 PM
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I have a friend who once posted on a newsgroup warning people of a certain stock brokers shady practices. He is now $20,000 poorer. You would think that "avoid like the plague" should be worth atleast 10 Gs. Thats a dozen good spey rods or 2 dozen _ _ _ _ _ _.!

Company name intentionally left blank as I don't want to also be on the speed dial of Dewey, Skrewum, and Howe.
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  #14  
Old 08-12-2003, 06:41 PM
Pnwflyfisher Pnwflyfisher is offline
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I too have not had the benefit of a guide. not that there's anything wrong with that lol. I spent 2 years fishless and I tell you what man I'd walk off that river wanting to break my rod in half. But I would always review make notes and on certain days not even bring a rod. I would walk the banks just looking at the river and the spotting Steelies and do a lot of reading about it and I came to some conclusions. I am probably not going to catch 40 in a day ! and if I do catch one I am a success. My first Steelie was on a dry and it was totally awesome! but I did it without someone's first hand knowledge. I did it on my own, that's one thing you can be proud of Tin Pusher. Yeah it's great to have someone tell some of the secrets of Steelheading, but it's even better when you discover it.! Now my steelhead days are filled with trying to improve on my own fly designs. Talk about rewarding. Nothing beats coming up with your own design and having a big fattie try to rip it from your hands !
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Old 08-12-2003, 07:16 PM
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The old self taught pro

I bump into quite a few very good steelhead fishers each season. I can tell by the the self confidence and the gleam in his eye when I better listen to this one. The conversation is never about how many, or how big. If I listen a while and don't ask these personal questions, a treasure of knowledge will flow. This knowledge will come from many years on the river. He may have just landed a big one around the bend. He will not dwell on this and may fail to even mention it. There are still a few of these folks out there. Jerry
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