what do you look for? - Fly Fishing Forum
Pacific Northwest Sea Run Forum No such thing as rainbow trout, only landlocked steelhead

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  #1  
Old 01-11-2005, 11:14 PM
andre andre is offline
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what do you look for?

When searching for new water what makes you stop and fish it? Whats that special thing that makes the water feel o so sexy? Is it structure, pace, depth...I'm not talking about the runs you know or have heard about from others, this is new water.

Also, do you fish different water for summers and winters?
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  #2  
Old 01-12-2005, 12:29 AM
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rich_simms rich_simms is offline
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I look for a different combination of factors at different water levels and have runs that are productive from different sides, depending on water levels. It's hard to say, aside from the obvious you stated, for me, it sometimes is just a hunch, experience or a sense. I love to try new runs and hunches, it keep things from getting boring and always brings new expectations.
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Old 01-12-2005, 12:07 PM
salt dog salt dog is offline
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sexy waters?

only other ff would understand the description! But I know what you mean, those waters that make you start to drool when seen from the road and everbody in the car starts making simultaneous gleeful noises, or make you say "oh yes" as you round the bend on the river, starts you scrambling out of the craft before it stops with gear dropping out of pockets. When in new water, you see a section that just looks like its supposed to. Like some picture that you've never seen before that makes if feel like you recognize it but can't remember where from. Usually there is a rock wall, rapids, river bend or plunge pool associated with it.

On Rivers east of the Cascade Mtns I'm usually fishing the water differently depending on the temperature of the water, up in the head during hot weather, tailouts on the cool, runs above fast water on the cold days. I have one section of water that looks like that, above a honey hole I always fish, and I fish it every time for years because I cannot believe it doesn't hold fish, but I never get a hookup. Each time I just can't believe it doesn't hold fish, and feel I just haven't figured it out yet. Why I cannot pass it by without fishing it? its too sexy not to, the water is too enticing.
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Old 01-12-2005, 03:01 PM
wet fly wet fly is offline
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I usually get a first impression by the water speed, depth, boulder garden, a tailout or a seam. Then I go through the hole and see how it "fishes". It seems I automatically go back in my memory bank and compare it to a hole from the past. For winter fishing with heavy sink tips I tend to look at more the seams and the shallow water. In the summer with lower water I can fish the whole river and deeper spots. The summer fish will travel farther to the fly. We are handicaped in the winter fishing the fly so a good looking hole will take a lot of time to find out if it is for real. Since I have become only a fly fisher I look at a river a little differently then throwing gear. Jerry
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Old 01-12-2005, 03:06 PM
flytyer flytyer is offline
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Andre,

All three, structure, depth, and pace, are part of it. I will pass by water that lacks structure, even if it has depth. Likwise, I will pass by water that has good structure if it lacks depth or something like a slow walking pace at a minimum. And I will pass by water with good structure and depth if it is too fast.

I remember well taking out a friend on the OP rivers in the Forks area who was just learning to fly fish after 25 years of using gear when I lived in Port Angeles and have him being very surprised at the water I simply walked right by without wetting a line. John felt I was making a mistake not fishing it because he had fished it with gear in the past and would sometimes pick up a fish. After he had been fly fishing for 3 years, he had the realization that just because a run could be fished effectively with gear, it didn't mean it could be fished well with a fly.
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Old 01-13-2005, 11:08 AM
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I will choose structure over depth, the right current over none or too much and location rounds out my top three. By location I mean what is above and below it.

But what do I know, I have yet to catch a steelhead.
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Old 01-13-2005, 11:38 AM
wet fly wet fly is offline
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Slot

We can look at a drift with all the right ingredients but it still has to be a "lay" hole. When I started steelheading we called this a slot. At one time I knew of about 5 "slots" on the river. A slot is the nearest thing to a to a sure thing. It takes a lot of searching to find a slot. I missed a lot of slots because they just didn't look right. Most of the slots were less then 20 feet long. The only proof of a slot is that the fish will be there day after day. As see it there are two kinds of steelheaders out there the "pitch and pray" guys and the slot guys. Jerry
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Old 01-13-2005, 12:35 PM
KerryS KerryS is offline
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Jerry,

I like what you said. This is what makes the Skagit flood of '03 so cool in my opinion. Now a lot of the "slots" are gone and new ones were created. My fishing partner and I made a point of fishing some place new every time out because you could find the water but until you swung a fly through it you really didn't know. Some places we tested we went back to others we never looked at again.
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Old 01-13-2005, 02:12 PM
andre andre is offline
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Jerry,

I have a local river that in a single run has two "slots" at the right level. River rises one slot moves across (75ft) the river one goes completely away. One is a scallop in the bottom no appearent structure, but its there. The other is off to the side of a basket ball sized rock.


Tipper, I have seen you land a GB and it is getting close to your time of year.
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Old 01-13-2005, 03:50 PM
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Andre,

The new 11/12 Jetstream was baptised on Sunday by a lovely little anadromous creature. I am not saying what the creature was but it was not, repeat was not, a GB. In keeping with the thread, it came out of the same "slot" where I hooked that fish with you back in June.

Take one part Salar, add 8 oz. of Carron, a pound and a quarter of Perfect, a pinch of hotep, throw it in the oven and bake until well done.
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  #11  
Old 01-13-2005, 06:47 PM
Salmo_g Salmo_g is offline
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I look for water that combines suitable ranges of depth, velocity, and substrate that makes for good lie water. Then I compare and contrast those combinations, when I find them, with adjacent, near adjacent water, and whatever's a ways upstream and downstream from there. My highly subjective evaluation or rating system, based on experience, assigns that water as low, medium, or high percentage water. Then I have to fish it, and re-evaluate it based on how it fished, and whether it produced.

Structure is an interesting element, as I've found that I cannot always predict its shape or presence from surface conditions. More than once I've discovered a prime piece of lie water by accidentally walking or floating over it and spooking the fish that were there. It was an otherwise non-descript, small gravel, not too deep, medium current in the middle of more of the same, except, it was a depression of nearly a foot that existed in a vast area of what seemed like non-descript habitat. And that made all the difference. It held fish almost every day.

Serendipity helps too.

Sincerely,

Salmo g.
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Old 01-13-2005, 07:10 PM
andre andre is offline
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Duggan, I still know where that spot is now I just have to get back up to Seattle. I know you kiss and tell, so must have been a "d"ollie So talk to me about that Carron. If you still want to get ride of that other line you cut PM me where to send the check.

BTW, I'm expecting to be up for Dennis and Sparkeys little party in Feb.

Steve, exactly my eyes and brain look at the water but you can't tell until you swing though.

andre
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Old 01-13-2005, 08:40 PM
wet fly wet fly is offline
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Kerry, I know you have got some slots. I think I better follow you around some day. Some of sinktips slots require a jeep that can fjord a creek. jerry
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Last edited by wet fly; 01-13-2005 at 08:42 PM.
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  #14  
Old 01-14-2005, 10:28 AM
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Jerry,

That "slot" is sadly totally gone. The creek is still there though

Andre,

Forget the check, you can buy me a beer or a toddy some time. PM me up your address and I will get it in the mail to you. I finally got it, and the Perfect, back form our common friend. I think he was having seperation anxiety.
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  #15  
Old 01-14-2005, 12:52 PM
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Doublespey Doublespey is offline
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Talking

Sexy water just calls to you!

Based on your past experiences (which reminds me of Sinktip's sig), you excitement level goes up when you find the right depth water with cover and good flow. Double points if it's above a good hard rapid or the first holding water above a long stretch of undefined frogwater.

You "feel" the speed of the swing and the force of water against your waders and relate it to the temp of the water (colder=softer). As has already been suggested, it takes fishing the spot and/or seeing the structure during low water periods to really understand just how good a piece of water really is.

Not to say that there aren't "slots" - within any good piece of holding or resting water there will be a sweet spot /preferred lie. Knowing exactly where to focus your efforts and tailoring your presentation to appeal to fish holding is nice.

At least until the next flood.
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