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Sinktip in Summer??

1583 Views 10 Replies 7 Participants Last post by  juro
Yeah, I know what you're thinking. What a nut - the water is low and clear, the fish can see the flies so why not fish with the (admittedly more enjoyable) floating line??

Several reasons come to mind for this sacrilegious suggestion. First, the fish have a lot of "stuff" floating by them on the surface - kayakers, rafters, ducks, etc etc etc. Second, many of the fish are holding in broken water where the surface is turbulent. And third, it seems that smolt key more on surface fare and often get there first even if an adult Steelie is interested.

I fished a busy Puget Sound stream yesterday after work. Started while the sun was still on the water (6ish), and fished the floater and very small dark fly. Got about 5 smolt in the first 5 minutes and missed equally as many. After the first group of kayakers came by, I decided to go thru the gut of the pool again with a tip.

About 10 casts in, I get one more smolt. 2 casts later, I get another pluck. Pulled back expecting to skate another smolt and almost got my arm yanked off by an angry chrome buck that took me up and down the river, jumping and thrashing on the surface, for about 10 minutes of excitement.

After giving the pool a rest, I went back with the same fly and hit 1 more Steelhead (unbuttoned on the take) and 1 more smolt.

Hell, even if my theory's full of %#%X it was still a fun evening!
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Yah BABY! Sounds great. If it works, it's a good approach as far as I'm concerned. I had a type II 8wt tip just for summer runs which got me into fish in certain locales where it was needed.

I think early enough in the day a muddler type fly will still bring the big boys up in turbulent water, but only for a very short time as the sun comes up.

I remember that while jumping onto large rocks on the upper Sky at dawn I would flush steelies that appeared to have spent the night under these rocks along the shore. Of course these rocks were about the size of a truck, I should call them boulders. I guess my point is that time of day behavior ranges widely in salmonids.

I think a tip might be the best way to get fish to hit under a wide range of conditions regardless of the time of year.

It's great when a run does not require it though. Man I can't wait.
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Way to go DS!!!

As much as I hate to contemplate it, I think you are likely onto something. While I feel that the floater will out perform tips on rivers east of the mountains, I think that for our western summer runs, tips probably have the advantage.

Got a cell phone call from Bunny Leech today to inform me he had hooked into two fish today on the Cowlitz. Both of these were hit on a tip and an extended leader.

Damn but that floater is fun to cast though!

try an intermediate sink tip some time. I fish one most of the time in the summer,

I think you are right or at least I hope you are, I have been going this way for a couple of seasons now. This year I puchased a couple of new lines, the first one is a slow intermediate 0.8 " /minute ( do Americans do inches ?) the second one was a silk line weight forward. It is a cracker a bit noisy when it shoots but settles just under the surface, depending on how much grease is put on and where. I have started leaving the last few feet ungreased. I think it is a loverly line as it is much thinner than plastic lines.
Sink tips are not too common here in So. Oregon during the summer if the water is running at 1000 cfs or less. But long leaders with very heavily wted flys is the norm. General thought is your right on top (and dinks galore) or your right on the bottom. Typical set up would be a very heavy wollybugger (usually a very dark colour) and a trailing fly like a beadhead Prince Nyph in 8-10 hook. Another common 'trailer' is a golden stone.

Fish rairly seem to hold the water column.
Thanks for the feedback, y'all!

Sinktip - I agree! I'll fish the floater on the Clearwater or Snake in the evening and never think of switching to a 'tip. East of the mountains is a different game. Even tho many of those are hatchery fish, they just seem to come more readily to the surface.

Juro, I'm there with you as well. First light on the upper Sky in almost any water, I'm happy and confident with the floating line. Not so in the evening, however. It doesn't seem like they'll starting looking back to the surface till the next morning. Interestingly, the "window" of surface-orientation gets longer as summer turns into fall. I'm usually on exotic waters in October (Clearwater, Thompson, etc), but am told by people who fish the upper Sky that the steelies will often hit surface offerings the entire day.

My current thinking is that you don't have to be "on the bottom" on most of the waters I fish for summer steelies - just far enough under the surface to be a bit more intrusive to the holding fish. Wieghed flies (or multiple flies) are things I experimented with early in my steelheading career and have no desire to return to.

Jet and Willie - I'm intrigued about the ideas of an intermediate tip or silk line. Jet - why do you prefer the intermediate tip over say a type II tip?
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I rarely use a tip in the summer unless the sun is beating the river or the run deep. Traditional logic has always kept me on top for the first pass, second pass in the film/hitched, and keep going down. One of the rivers I fish on rare occasion that does get a lot of pressure (you know the one where I got the video of Juro and the ballistic hen fish), I will fish a tip in the evenings type II. RE keeping the smolt off I haven't noticed that p.s. congrats on the fish
Andre -

Thanks for reminding me of that, it was a great moment. First Brian wakes me up while I slept in the rental car, he drove down from Seattle. Funny, he had his waders, vest, even had a fly tied on when he arrived! ;)

Then you arrived from Portland just in time to get footage of that big hen, and I really need to convert it over to mpeg and get it up here.

Here's to many more times like that!

Definitely good memories! I've come to appreciate that spot more each year!!

Andre - I agree that, if you have time, it's nice to be able to give the fish a shot at a skater or hitched fly first. Unfortunately, I'm getting so used to being low-holed on hard-hit rivers like the Snoqualmie and Sky that I opt for the most enjoyable method that has a reasonable chance of being productive and head for the better part of the run immediately.

Juro - if there's still flowing water in the Sky when you get out here, I've got a place you need to see. Dana's comment was that if I'd brought him there blindfolded, he would have thought he was on the Dean!

Eat Dessert First!! <g>
I am totally jealous. Soon enough...
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