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Great Lakes Steelhead & Salmon Amazing "Inland ocean" fisheries

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Old 11-17-2004, 11:47 PM
Riveraddict Riveraddict is offline
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Location: steelhead country
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First off let me say that I personally don't have a problem with C&D though I certainly do not consider it to be flyfishing (because there isn't any FLYCASTING involved). In appropriate situations I view C&D as an enjoyable and legitimate method of fishing. I did quite a bit of it when I used to live in Michigan. When it comes to making short, tight casts on small rivers I think it would be difficult to find any other fishing method that is as accurate for thoroughly covering small slots and pockets. On some of the really small streams it was the only alternative to using a spinning outfit because there was absolutely no room for ANY kind of a flycast. And, regardless of what many people may say, for me catching a fish on a flyrod and flyreel is still more fun (more "feel") than on a spin rod, even if the flyrod is not being flycast. It seems as if there is a lot of animosity towards C&D. My question is, if a river is open to all forms of fishing then what are the grounds to complain about C&D anglers? Or if a river has a "fishing with flies only" regulation, which is NOT the same as a "flyfishing only" regulation, once again what is the justification for complaining about C&D? Just curious.

I used to live in Michigan from the early 70's to mid 80's, excluding a few years in the middle of that time when I did a tour in the Navy. Every steelhead that I killed during that time (a bunch... those were the "good old days" when the fish outnumbered the fisherfolk) had its stomach examined for possible contents. The most common item prior to November was salmon eggs (fresh). During November aquatic insects started to make a significant showing along with "old" washed out salmon eggs. By late December eggs became a minor item and aquatic insects became the major item. I have caught steelhead in the middle of Michigan's winters with stomachs packed to the bulging point with small green rockworms. Even though there might not appear to be much insect life around in the winter, it is in fact there for the fish to take advantage of.
I would agree with you that fishing pressure definitely dampens a steelhead's enthusiasm for chasing, but I also believe that there are several other factors that also contribute, and that it is a combination of all these factors together that is responsible for what seems to be (most of the time) a low display of interest by Great Lakes steelhead for chasing flies .
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Old 11-18-2004, 06:31 AM
h2o h2o is offline
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Location: My "home waters" really belong to the beavers........and they let me know it now and then !
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River Addict,

In reply..........It would be hard to find much green caddis larva in December. Most are not developed yet..............maybe your river is differant ? Or maybe they were tiny midge larva..........hey ?

Chuck & Duck - To each there own. For some reason some anglers in Mich. feel the rivers are differant than elsewhere and require that method. Others in Mich. don't feel that way. Chuck & Duck is a spin fishing method used with drift (bottom bouncing) rods. It works better with those rods, yet some want to spool a fly reel with amnesia, mono, or running line and have at it with a fly rod. It lines (floss's) more fish than any other method I know. Just trying to answer your regards to "why" each there own.

Thankfully we don't get much of a King run where I fish.
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Old 11-18-2004, 08:06 AM
peter-s-c peter-s-c is offline
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Location: Grand River, Ontario
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As I understand it, C&D with ersatz fly fishing rigs is used in NY to get onto the "fly fishing only" stretches.

BTW. I've come up with a rig that works well for fishing slots at short range and still requires a spey cast to execute. I use just a WC belly (or a reversed WC), attach a leader of around 10' plus indicator, spey fly, and BB splitshot above the tippet knot. The thick WC belly actually spey casts this rig, not lobbing it, then an upstream mend, hold the rod tip back, try to keep all of the fly line off the water, and 'steer' the leader down the chute, holding it back so that the fly is the first thing downstream. I use it with wets but it could be used with eggs and nymphs as well.
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Old 11-18-2004, 08:37 AM
Shaq Shaq is offline
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Join Date: Oct 2003
Location: Eastern Lake Ontario, Lake Champlain, NY
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Caddis Larvae

We do very well on steelhead and winter trout on green caddis Larvae all winter. Where the larger mayflies, especially the borrowers are unavailable to trout in the winter, the caddis seem to be around in all sizes at all times. There are several species which can be called green rock worm where I fish but most free standing caddis and net spinners have multi-year larvael stages. Plus caddis hatch every day from april to November on some of the waters I fish so I know the nymphs are available in the winter. Helgramites are also a good nymph imatation in the winter, I have a friend who keeps trout from time to time and he has observed many helgramites in stomachs of browns we have taken in January and February. I have never kept a steelhead so I can't speak to this. The cold water must slow the strong-swimming helgramite down...just a theory.

in response to Muckle Salmon...No shooting ducks on a pond doesn't equate to swinging flies in my opinion, would you use a stimulator during a Blue Winged Olive hatch to catch trout? Ducks do fly, and do come to decoys and will get you more than one shot per outing. If I was going to get four or five shots at a steelhead per outing swinging a fly, guess what? I'd be swinging flies all day/ In NY the evidence is the opposite, you might get four or five shots at swinging flies per season.

On the Pacific Northwest tribs, doesn't swinging a fly that looks like a shrimp or October Caddis match some sort of hatch? We swing flies early season and late spring when the water is in the high 40's to 50's, the water temp is an average of 33 to 34 in most of the tribs I fish in January through March, the cold hard truth is, these streams are not spring fed, we don't have moderate temps like the Pacific NW does the winter in Northern NY is harsh, the fish's motabulism just doesn't require them to eat much. Caddis Larvae and eggs provide vasts amount of energy for minimul effort, why would the fish move for something else.

Anyways, good debate fellas, I am always looking for new techniques for my fishing and this has been a big help.
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Old 11-18-2004, 11:22 AM
h2o h2o is offline
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Location: My "home waters" really belong to the beavers........and they let me know it now and then !
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Interesting debate and no hard feelings. Every river is differant, the waters I fish have little caddis larva in them from about now til' March. There are golden & black stones in larger sizes but not a lot. In Feb. - March a good amount of tiny brown stones. In the spring you will also find some March Browns. There are some burrowers amongst the silt year round. Early fall (Sept.) there are good numbers of Slate Drakes and a dark soft hackle works well.
Emerald shiners and other minnows migrate in from the lake starting in December for there spawning and egg stealing ritual. I have taken many Steelhead swinging shiner pattern streamers along shale ledges in winter ice water of Dec. - Feb.
Again, I really don't care how someone fish's except from a conservation stanpoint and what it does to the fishery.
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Old 11-18-2004, 07:52 PM
shotgunner shotgunner is offline
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"Shooting ducks on the pond gaurantees you will get a few ducks. Is that not what it is really all about?." posted by Muckle Salmon.

Muckle salmon, i think your opinion to be presumptuous to a degree. consider every one who placed a post here or the dead drift thread. thats alot of water to be intimate with. the whole pacific coast? the entire great lakes region?

there seems to be a tendancy here to lump anything other than a swung fly presentation into some sort of bastardized drift fishing on a fly rod tactic. that is the reason i started this thread. there needs to be a DISTINCTION between fly fishing a nymph or egg in a legitimate manner and drift fishing. if we were talking of say nymphing for trout (anadromous rainbow TROUT?) it wouldn't even raise an eyebrow let alone be considered by some as unacceptable. so why is it?

"BTW. I've come up with a rig that works well for fishing slots at short range and still requires a spey cast to execute." borrowed from peter-s-c

peter, exactly! sngl hnd, dbl hnd, spey, roll, overhead....... flyfishing casts. i wouldn't bother with anything that i couldn't comfortably cast using conventional fly casting methods.

Riveraddict, most of the animosity towards C&D comes from misuse and total disregard for sportsmanship displayed by so many people anymore. deliberate foul hooking of spawning fish is the root of the current poor opinion. this perception is alot of the reason i feel a need to defend a credible method i and many others enjoy that is more often than not veiwed as one and the same. a tough pill to swallow.

people who use the tactic in an ethical manner are much more evident around this time of the season. the salmon are done, steelhead few and far between. certainly not "stacked" [at least not locally] as was hinted at earlier.

thanks. SG
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