pocket water steel - Fly Fishing Forum
Pacific Northwest Sea Run Forum No such thing as rainbow trout, only landlocked steelhead

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Old 12-26-2001, 11:47 AM
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sean sean is offline
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pocket water steel

Took the new rig (best christmas present ever) up to the green to explore the canyon section. Water is way down and saw a lot of good pocket water. A really pretty place and knowing there are some big steelies holding behind some of those boulders makes it that much more appealing.

Now the question is I know there are some fish in there and is it worth fishing for winter fish in pocket water?

Thanks for any insight or tips you can offer.

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Old 12-26-2001, 12:09 PM
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Doublespey Doublespey is offline
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Hey Sean,

Juro's the Green Wizard on this board, and I've seen him work pockets very effectively with his Kinney 'head. In fact, I've been told Mr Kinney is also quite the pocket master himself (primarily on the Sauk).

The real secret is the ability to feed line. Set the cast, feed in line to allow the fly to sink, then tighten and swing the fly thru the fish-holding pocket.

Ryan has another method - nymphing with a small dink float Just like float fishing with a fly rod and very effective in pocket water.

Both work. If I were fishing a lot of pockets, I might just explore indicator fishing. Since I typically fish larger rivers with more runs than pockets, I've never had a good reason to learn.

Ryan? Any thoughts???
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Old 12-26-2001, 12:45 PM
BNelson BNelson is offline
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Thumbs up

Pocket water fishing with indi's and weighted flies is very productive. The only thing more productive would be dragging bait through via a boat...... I have fished along-side or near Mike a few times with him swinging and myself fishing indi's... As well as standing alongside Spark with him and myself fishing indi's . You can't beat those lead eyes for getting down and into the pocket in a hurry! It is a lot of work to fish indi's and granted it is not the most pure way to fish a fly but, it is the most productive way to fish. Bringing the fly to the fish versus bringing the fish to the fly..... We all know how lethargic winter runs are and even some summers that have been beat on!

Good fishing!
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Old 12-26-2001, 01:31 PM
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Doublespey Doublespey is offline
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Hey Bry,

Welcome a-board! Hows the new job???

We tease Ryan for his reliance on Tampon-Fishing, but I have to agree that for less aggessive fish or pocket water they seem to be hard to beat. But they're sure a B*!#* to cast :eyecrazy:


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Old 12-26-2001, 01:42 PM
fredaevans fredaevans is offline
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Orvis 'golf balls."

Have to give you the nod, on a pain to cast. Even worse if your a two hander. Several of the most consistent one handers on the upper Rogue use the Orvis 'paste' indicater material for steelhead fishing. They'll take a couple of small corkies and toothpick them to a short section of leader material then use the whole tub of Orvis indicator paste molded around same. (The corkies hold the wad in place).

It's like watching someone trying to cast a golf ball but Lordie they are effective fished this way. With the corkies these fellows will normally get a full season out of the set up.
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Old 12-26-2001, 01:44 PM
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Wow! A big push of winter fish and the water is down to boot! My hands are shakin' just typing this

There are several spots where you don't necessarily have to pick pockets if the conditions are what they sound like. One of my favorites, as long as you are looking for a little exercise, is Icy Creek way up in the Gorge. Since the bridge became unstable you have to go from the side of the Green River Gorge Resort. On the road to the resort there is a fire road with a metal gate that is locked. There are a couple of spots to park and you hike down the trail. It's an easy hike down and really beautiful, but if it's deer hunting season you might make some noise and wear bright clothing. I think it's past that now but worth checking.

Mr.Pautzke of (Balls of Fire fame) has a rearing pond built down there. Just up a few yards from that there is a nice broad shoal where you can get a big wide swing through the hole with a tailout in a boudlery slot straight down from you. As you work down through the hole you will switch from a big crossriver swing to a hang down technique. This spot holds a lot of fish in the winter after high water. It's a workout hiking out of there because of the incline. Really beautiful place though. The best way to fish it is really on the far bank from there, but it's a bit tricky to describe the entrypoint for that one.

Next slot up is Hanging Gardens, much harder to find (no gate) but there is some gorgeous water down there and there is a killer hole at the hairpin bend just upriver from the 'wall'. Both of these spots are obvious once you hike down there, a bit harder to hike than Icy Creek but hardly ever anyone down there. I landed a chrome 16# hen native down there one March.

When the water is down, there will be fish holding in the Flaming Geyser stretch as well. It's easy to pick through and if you hit it just right there can be a lot of fish holding in it. I've frequently C&R'ed natives in that stretch later in the season before closure. Always worth swinging a fly through the spots from the ranger station down to the potty hole, then the pool above the old bridge and the long run above the new bridge. When you can do it, hike down the trail on the non-park side of the new bridge and go down through the woods to the three of four killer pools up to and including the clay banks.

As far as pocket picking my approach is to stand upriver at the proper angle that allows the fly to swim in the presumed lie. Sometimes the cast is unimportant, it's all about fly positioning and getting tension on it to make it dance in the hole. In summer a floater and a muddler is the ticket at dawn. They will torpedo the fly right on top then, but in winter it takes a little more teasing to get the fish to take but when the fish want it they will move for it and take it hard. One of my most productive for this style of fishing is the black, purple or blended bunny rat / matuka rat because of it's action. A wooly bugger with marabou tail is just about as good, rib with several strands of crystal flash.

Good luck!
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Old 12-26-2001, 02:09 PM
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pmflyfisher pmflyfisher is offline
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Please stop these detailed PNW river knowledge posts. I am getting very tempted to start burning my 5 United frequent flyer tickets, rent a car and go for these PNW winter steelhead using this information. Just kidding !! :hehe: :hehe:
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Old 12-27-2001, 12:24 AM
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NrthFrk16 NrthFrk16 is offline
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Welcomes to Squirel Boy

Since Bryan covered the effeciteness of indicators all that I have to say is "I agree." And actually Bryan is the very reason I fish indicators today as I spent many hours watching him school me on the Stilly as I perserved with the swing while he dead drifted the jigs.

When it comes to the effectivess of indicators and 'jigs' and pocket water I do not have much experience fishing smaller pockets such as large rock gardens with many many small pockets. I have alot more experience when we are speaking of larger pockets with deep pools on the downstream side of the rocks (typicall of the Upper Green from the descriptions I have heard). I employ indicators mainly because they are deadly in very slow, deep water where swinging a fly is nearly impossible i.e Fortson, Deer Creek Riffle (as of late).

When it comes to casting them, they can be a pain but I spend so much time fishing them I do not notice as I have developed a feel for it and can throw almost an entire flyline with a float and jig attached. Although everytime I fish a straight dryline, I wonder why the Hell do I spend entire days throwing those monster indicators and heavily weighted flies.

On a side note, if BNelson (Bryan), is going to become a regular contributor we must start refering to him as Squirel Boy. Exactly where he got this nickname I do not know but I always thought it went back to that early June day when he decided to climb some rotty old planks poorly nailed into a large alder tree growing out of the riprap at Fortson-to spot some steelies in the tailout. The farther he climbed, the shottier the steps became until he was at a point of nearly falling 25 feet into the river below. Although I was shouting "Don't Fall!!!", deep down inside, I thought it would be pretty damn funny to watch ole Bryan go for a swim.
I also think the term "Squirel Boy" refers to his love of Squirel Fishing in that his flies spend as much time in the trees as they do in the water. :hehe: :hehe:
Ryan S. Petzold
aka Sparkey and/or Special

Last edited by NrthFrk16; 12-27-2001 at 12:30 AM.
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Old 12-27-2001, 12:25 AM
fish-head fish-head is offline
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Sean , if it looks fishy fish it . For me hitting pocket's depend's mainly on water temp. and what the CFS is at . No doubt about throwing cater's is very productive ,BUT can anyone tell me where it is written in stone that you have to have a bobber to catch any fish while nymphing ?

Last edited by fish-head; 12-27-2001 at 10:10 AM.
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