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Pacific Northwest Sea Run Forum No such thing as rainbow trout, only landlocked steelhead

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Old 01-02-2001, 11:39 PM
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NrthFrk16 NrthFrk16 is offline
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A Lurker No More

After weeks of lurking and enjoying the the great conservations that take place in this forum, I have finally decided to join in.

Now for a little controversy

The NrthFrk16 refers to the North Fork Stilliguamish, what else? Anyways I work with the "gear slinging bozo's" (Soverel). Grrrrr...
I fished the North Fork for 3 years (I am and always have been fascinated with the history, the personalities and the flies of the river) before I started working with the "gear slinging bozos" and managed to hold becoming a "gear slinging bozo" for a whole summer but the following summer I was desperate to catch a steelhead so I did what I vowed never to do: fish a strike indicator with a heavily weighted fly and proceeded to catch my first steelhead and many many more.

You must all have your opinions of this type of fishing by now because it has become a huge controversy and led to threats and total rudeness and so I just wanted to know all of your opinions about this type of fishing.

Again...I enjoy everyone's posts here and the casual tightknit family atmosphere and I am glad to be joining in.

Ryan S. Petzold
aka Sparkey and/or Special
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Old 01-03-2001, 04:17 AM
Robert Robert is offline
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Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: The chrome triangle - Skagit, Stilly, Sauk
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RE:A Lurker No More

Having fished the North fork of the Stilly for over 20 years I guess I'll just have to add my two cents to the topic of "gear slinging bozos".

If the "strike indicator" aids in any physical way with the presentation of the fly rather than functioning as a visual aid to determining the action or movement of the fly (as an indicator got it), I do not consider it fly fishing.

A hunk of foam the size of a pack of cigarettes is not a stike indicator, it's a bobber. While technically not against the letter of the law, for a body of water designated as "Fly fishing Only", I believe the use of this sort of "presentation aid" sullies the spirit and sporting ethics of this river and those who have fought to make it what it is today; a very special place in the hearts and minds of steelhead fly anglers.
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Old 01-03-2001, 09:23 AM
KerryS KerryS is offline
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Location: Skagit system
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RE:A Lurker No More

I could start in with some very negative thoughts on the bobber, jig crowd that claim to be fly fishing the Stilly. Instead I will say those who use this technique are doing so legally. I have argued this in the past and it comes down to where do we draw the line? I use a combination of sink tip and floating line techniques on the Stilly. Some claim there is no difference between using a sink tip or heavily weighted jigs (flies) with floats (strike indicators). I disagree but, this is just my opinion. I think you need to make up your own mind. If you are comfortable fishing this way. Then by all means continue doing so. If, on the other hand, you are not. Change your methods.

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Old 01-03-2001, 09:56 AM
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juro juro is offline
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Location: Steelhead country|striper coast|bonefish belt
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RE:A Lurker No More

Ryan -

First of all it's great to have you on the forum and WELCOME. Your enthusiasm for the wild steelhead cause in the PNW is inspiring and contagious! Hope we can hook up on conclaves and fly swaps this season and beyond; and of course if there is ever travel to one of the other Forum regions for work or leisure you can count on having a host to show you their home waters. Everyone who joins in helps the cause!

As far as your question, there are two ways of looking at it. The first perspective is like the fish worship tee shirt "Is it wrong?". The other is to consider the merits of the alternatives.

I think we all at one point or another felt the frustration of using a classic fly presentation while people throwing bait, gear or plugs bang fish after fish. It's definitely enough to raise some anxiety in the approach once in a while. As long as it's legal, I am not going to pass judgement on what others are doing. If it shouldn't be legal, that's another story - but we should take that out on law makers not anglers. So is it wrong? That's up to you.

One of the reasons I sold all of my non-fly gear at a garage sale many years ago was to force me to learn how to be a serious flyfisherman. Until I did, it was something I toyed with - but I always reached for the gear like a crutch. I could feel the beauty of flyfishing, sense the magic of catching steelhead on flies, and connect with the timeless legacy of the sport of kings... but couldn't get serious as long as I had "the crutch" in my truck. So I sold every bit of non-fly gear at a garage sale in our neighborhood. Boy was my wife happy when she counted the dinero in the shoebox! A little payback never hurts, eh?

Then it started. I got serious. I went fishing, armed with only a flyrod and a box of the previous night's delusions of grandeur in feathers and steel, to step into the morning mist on the river and stare into the rows of fresh patterns waiting for one to hint to me "fish me - I am the ONE".

I started to see the river as a myriad of intricate trophy searun lies, not as a holding pool near a hatchery. I started to develop an array of complex presentation styles, not just tap-tap-tap repeat. I started to develop a much deeper appreciation for every nuance of the jewel of the earth known as a pacific northwest river, and with another sip from the flask on a giant driftwood streamside log the words of Haig-Brown or Trueblood or McClane or countless others played in my head. There on that log, I was a player on the bench, no longer in the stands above.

I would go fishing for summer runs with only dry lines and long leaders and work the surface, admittedly doubting the viability of the whole approach until that first slashing takedown. It was no less astounding than anything else I've experienced. IN comparison, I hardly knew I had a fish on when I hooked my first gear-caught steelhead... until I set the hook of course. In fact the giddy schoolboy joy I got from the first surface take by a June summer run on the Auburn stretch of the Green River just above the walk bridge at the bouldery run on the Kent side of the tailout below the slab hole on a caddis skater thing... will never be forgotten, nor has it ever gotten less intense over the years.

My point is, the way you fish determines the prize you get when you succeed. I have a hard time remembering any steelie I landed on gear, while I can't forget even one I have caught on flies. Of these, I remember the ones that I worked for the most - and those on the surface are the apex of this list.

Is it wrong? NAW. But what might you be *missing*?


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Old 01-03-2001, 01:27 PM
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sinktip sinktip is offline
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RE:A Lurker No More


I will kill you tomorrow night for fishing an indicator. Just kidding, welcome aboard. There are a number of very savvy steelheaders on Juro's site. Maybe a little obsessed but good guys See you tomorrow at Microsoft.

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Old 01-03-2001, 05:39 PM
PeteGray PeteGray is offline
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RE:A Lurker No More

Words to live by !
Once again, you have walked on the rice paper in you wet waders and left not a tear much less a mark... kudos!!!
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Old 01-03-2001, 06:56 PM
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juro juro is offline
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RE:A Lurker No More

Solo - I appreciate the kind words but you obviously haven't seen me try to walk on the banks of the Thompson River! sTumBlinG.... bUmBlinG.... he cOulD gO All thE... SPLASH!

Your offer to use the ariplane hangar for a mid-winter casting party was generous. Now if we could somehow figure out how to move the hangar a little closer to Boston...

Stay warm,

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Old 01-03-2001, 11:20 PM
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NrthFrk16 NrthFrk16 is offline
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RE:A Lurker No More

That is the very reason I have no aspirations to fish the Thompson...Hell I have a hard enough time walking without falling on my face when walking the silty banks of the lower North Fork. I can not imagine having to manuever Volkswegan size, slick as snot boulders.

I will say I have caught very very few fish on the typical swing. They were all caught in the tail-out of the Deer Creek Riffle as I was up to my armpits in water and the take on the swing is nothing short of amazing. The first time, I will never forget. She took, had me into my backing, cleared the water twice all in about one second. Its very very difficult to nearly give a young lad like myself a heart attack but it sure was great!!!

Now if I can only get one to the surface fly. From the rumors I have heard, the Wenatchee will be open in two autumns from now. That will be the time for Ryans battle with the steelhead on the surface fly. I can not wait!!!!!!
Ryan S. Petzold
aka Sparkey and/or Special
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Old 01-04-2001, 09:56 PM
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Doublespey Doublespey is offline
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RE:A Lurker No More

Hey Ryan,

2 Autumns??? Wow . . . just the possibility of fishing the 'natch again makes my day!!

As for the Thompson . . there's a reason guys like Juro go to the Thompson <g>.

I agree with you - the take on the swing is awesome - an instant adrenaline-jolt. And tailouts are some of the best places to get that take on a floating line. The water shallows a bit, and the steelhead that hold there just seem be a little bit hotter than the rest.

Now imagine that the steelhead holding there are 15lbs and larger. Steelies that can and will turn your flyreel into a screaming moulten orb moving too fast to even touch! I know - it happened to me last October. Fish took my fly, line, and most of my 200 yards of backing in less time than it took me to react to it. I stared dumbly at the funny-colored line (backing) stretching downstream after the fish came unbuttoned! The boulders -are- big and slimy, but don't write it off until you've gone a few rounds with one of the Thompson's steelhead.

Anyway, welcome to the Forum! See you at the next Wild Steelhead Coalition meeting!


BrianL / Doublespey
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