Capping The "Season" On The Sky - Fly Fishing Forum
Pacific Northwest Sea Run Forum No such thing as rainbow trout, only landlocked steelhead

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Old 03-01-2002, 02:24 AM
skookum skookum is offline
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Capping The "Season" On The Sky

Well, I guess more than one person wanted to squeeze in the last bit of fishing on the Sky this week. I joined the parade of sleds, driftboats, rafts and walk-ins for three of the last four days. It's been crazy! And from what I've seen, the fishing has been pretty tough. The water has been a beautiful steelhead green, 3.5 feet of vis. all week, coming of a big high water, so I thought it would be loaded. Yesterday I must have seen and talked to 30 people (12 sleds, 10 drift boats, several walk-ins) and heard of not a single fish landed. Maybe it's the full moon and 38 degree water. But it was good to fish through all my favorite spots, and lament not being able to fish it in March and April. And you can always get lucky.

Yesterday, I got lucky. Drove the whole Highway 2/Ben Howard loop, and there was someone or several someones in every spot, so I broke down and figured since I was going to be fishing behind someone everywhere, I may as well fish the water I like the most. Walked into one of my favorites just as a driftboat was pulling plugs right through the fly water. Bummer. I waited 'til they were gone and fished down through it, without much hope. Most of the way through, got a great grab and after a long, slow fight and about a 1/4 mile of staggering and slipping, I landed a gorgeous, chrome bright buck covered in sea lice. It taped out at 40" X 22.5"!

I kind of regret not taking pictures, which I usually do, but this fish, as soon as I was done measuring it, was just plain ready to go and it was so awesome, I just couldn't see holding on to it any longer. I even had the camera out and everything. So I pulled the hook and it headed for deep water. At the time, it seemed the right thing to do, but now I'm wishing I had a pic to remember it by. Oh well, I will just have to keep picturing it in my mind's eye.

Fished this afternoon with Howzer, and again was amazed at the traffic. With all the pressure and bright sun, we just fished a few spots, enjoyed the water and never touched a fish. Called it a day (and a season) early and ate ice cream cones in the sun. Anybody out there find some fish this week? Saw Rich across the river on Monday, and later heard he'd got one right before we saw him. Otherwise, mostly talked to gear guys as they floated past so I didn't get many reports from fly anglers. Guess I will see you guys on the Skagit/Sauk or the Peninsula sometime this spring. Here's to future March and April seasons on the rest of our Puget Sound rivers.


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Old 03-01-2002, 02:55 AM
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Thanks for the excellent report...and thanks for giving me renewed confidence in my chances of hitting a fish when I am following a plugger through the water.

My season ended on the Sky on a high note, not because I had brought a fish to hand but I realized I was really begining to get this whole Spey casting thing down.

I was fishing through the prime fly water on the Reformatory Hole, effectively I felt, when the sun broke out late in the afternoon. I had left my sunglasses in the car and the glare had become unbearable.

I called it a day and enjoyed the walk back to my rig, excited for March on the Hoh as I left with a good deal of confidence in my two-handed stroke...
Ryan S. Petzold
aka Sparkey and/or Special
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Old 03-01-2002, 06:00 AM
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juro juro is offline
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Skookum -

For a former practitioner of the fine art of spring steelheading, reading that was as painful as it was pleasant to see in my own mind's eye the glacial greens, the cascade mountain backdrops, and smell the spring pacific northwest air. The image of a 40" steelhead appearing from the obscurity of the tinted water into the sheer image of power and grace in silver and gun-metal gray is a joy I truly miss.

Photo or not, consider this picture painted.

thanks buddy!

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Old 03-01-2002, 02:13 PM
OC OC is offline
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Fished over the very same spot you fished the day before and like you right after a drift boat went over it very slowly, about 10 to 20 feet off shore. But unlike you did not have as good of run as you did, great fish, cograts! run fished real well from top to bottom but a bit deeper at the top end than my leaking waders liked. Wondering how many drift boats watched you land the fish because they sure wanted into that run yesterday. They were yelling at each other and trying to drop anchor near the tail out. Yesterday we put in at 5:45 AM along with two gear drift boats. One other drift boat had put in at two bit and by noon only had a total of 5 drift boats go by us. We did not see another fly fisherman untill late in the day at Ben Howard down. Seemed like a lot of folks putting in there about 3 PM. Know of 5 fish caught most from Ben Howard down, one 18 lb. A good last day on the river only had a couple of jet boats go by and they were the smaller ones.
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Old 03-01-2002, 02:45 PM
skookum skookum is offline
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OC, do I know you by another name, or did I run into you in that run on Wednesday? Just curious if you were the guy I talked to in there, or if you floated past or how you know where I was. If we're talking about the same place, it's funny you saw guys fighting over the spot--I don't know who saw me fighting the fish, but I know the plug pullers love it. Interesting to hear there were some fish taken down low--there were so many people down there I never fished it below Ben Howard. When I drove by Buck Island there were three guys fly fishing it, one guy waiting and a boat pulling plugs down the deep side. Insane!

Ryan, good to hear your "two-handed stroke" is going well, but that might be something you want to keep to yourself! Seriously, I have no doubt you will soon be a killer with the spey rod. How did the Reformatory fish? I haven't been down to look at it this year, and was wondering if the floods have improved it or made it worse. (To the gang: Is this too specific for the general public?) I figured since Ryan already "named names", it would be okay to discuss it. But you can e-mail me if that's the correct thing to do.

And Juro, yeah it was great to get that big fish, and I really enjoyed fishing all my favorites. But the crowds this year were mind-boggling. I'm almost afraid to see what the Skagit's going to be like when it's the only one open within a doable one day drive from the Puget Sound Metroplex. Must be the slow economy--lots of folks with lots of weekday time on their hands. The good news is that for the most part, everyone seemed to be getting along and treating eachother with courtesy. When are you coming out? Maybe we can finally hook up and talk in person.

To everyone else, if you have last week experiences, would love to hear 'em. Hope you enjoyed your fishing.

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Old 03-01-2002, 03:09 PM
OC OC is offline
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We have met on that same run one morning, I was with one other gentleman you know. We are the two kooks that get to that run by sometimes dangerous strange crossings. In before light and out usually way before the 1st drift boat gets down that far. I believe you got your fish on Wednesday, we were there yesterday from 1130 till 1330 fish and lunch. I was just curious why the drift boats were droping anchor the last 1/4 of run. They would pull up on the other side and wait for the last boat too pull out then do the same(3 boats) thought they may have watched you the day before. No I don't use spy satalite to see who is fishing certain runs just put two and two together.
Know of one fish caught back channel eagles nest, one in new channel to right above Ben howard and the rest caught at the end of flat water after Ben Howard put in.
Were you parked at B island yesterday before light along with the VW?
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Old 03-01-2002, 03:37 PM
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Doublespey Doublespey is offline
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Talking Congrats!

Nice to hear of a big chromer buck taken out of the Sky before the closure. Definitely glad you posted - I think it gave a lift to all those who spent those days swinging flies without the same reward. Yesterday was certainly a bittersweet time for all those who love the Sky C&R season.

And don't sweat it about the run names - many of us on here know the spots and those that don't probably won't find it by name alone anyway.

As for Sparky and the Stroke - don't forget that all good Speycasting instructors remind you to grip the butt gently and to only tighten up your grip on the final forward stroke . :hehe:

On to Rockport!

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Old 03-01-2002, 05:28 PM
KerryS KerryS is offline
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No, No, don't go to Rockport. There are no fish in the Skagit or the Sauk. Go south.

Hey Ryan, "The Fishing God " ? You are starting to reminding me of a certain gal I used to know. The fishing goddess or something like that.

Last edited by KerryS; 03-01-2002 at 05:32 PM.
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Old 03-01-2002, 05:30 PM
Leland Miyawaki Leland Miyawaki is offline
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The steelhead season ended yesterday on the Skykomish. This year, I'm feeling much more melancholy than last.

Maybe it's because I had put in so much time casting without catching.

Maybe it's because there may be fewer wild steelhead in the river this year than last.

Maybe it's because I fear it could be too late to save them.

Or maybe it's simply because I'm another year older and another season is in the past.

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Old 03-01-2002, 05:57 PM
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Doublespey Doublespey is offline
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Unhappy I share your sadness

but it's more because, in our era of rising populations and suburban encroachment, important decisions about Fisheries Management are still being made by politicians that probably have never even seen a wild steelhead up close!

Yeah, it's depressing that another year is gone. And I look back at my non-season and wonder where it went.

I haven't given up hope yet - I'm still happier (not really the word I want) to sacrifice the C&R season than see the WDFW allow harvest on a river that can't support it.

And I sure hope those wild steelies flood into the Sky with the warmer water and breed like bunnies- I'm still hopeful we'll get the March-April fishery back sometime soon.

Kerry - you sound just like Bob York!! "There are no Steelhead in this damn river!" I do agree that the steelboats will probably outnumber the steelhead in the months to come.

Remember to give each other casting room!

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Old 03-01-2002, 07:18 PM
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rich_simms rich_simms is offline
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Skookum, Good for you, It sounds like there were "twins" in the river that day, one of my fishing partners you briefly met up North taped one out at similar length that same day.
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