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Weekend report?

2346 Views 11 Replies 7 Participants Last post by  Highlander
Need a fix!

Low water keeping the missles at bay (pun intended). I'd be doing the coastal scene for the ever-elusive salter steelhead by now if low flows were holding fish out of the rivers. Are Indian nets bobbing in the lower estuaries or have they finished for the season? I hate to use that as an indicator but driving to work I would inspect the floats of the gill nets (in sheer pain) to monitor tidal area arrivals.

Dying to see those tube fly pictures, I chatted with the HMH rep at the show and would love to show him our passion for their products!
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SinkTip and myself fished the Sky and froze our buts off. Air temp 1st light about 25 water temp below 40. River low, low and lower. River clearer than a Montana Spring Creek. Most of our normal runs were unfishable as there was no flow running through them.
Thank god SinkTip has a good sence of humor because moving down a run with no feeling in your feet is a challenge. Also leaving many flies and leaders wrapped around rocks as under water art work brings out the best in ya.
But who cares, good company, bright sunshine and being on a river is the best place to be no matter how cold it is.
Oh ya I'm going back to boot foot waders, they are 10 times warmer.
Hope some others hooked a fish this weekend.
Yeeow! Sorry to continue with the depressing tone of this thread, but Dana and I fished the upper Skagit from dawn till dusk (or almost) with nary a pull. Ditto to OC's description - very low flows (significantly lower than last week), clear, and C-O-L-D! Juro won't have much sympathy, but there was a thick frost on my truck when I headed out in the pre-dawn darkness and it stayed cold thru much of the morning.

If Eagle-Gawkers were Steelhead, we'd have been in hog heaven! Must have seen somewhere near 200 of those pass by us. Got a little applause from a couple ladies for casts almost landing in their laps (and frowns of concern from the stupid raft "captains")when the odd one would float right through our seam. And one guy was even talking with his passengers about spey rods and what kind of casts we were doing (Dana the Snake Roll, me the Doublespey) Most were courteous and stayed in the main flow along the other bank (the river is easily 300' wide at this point).

Bad news on the Digital Front - I thought I'd erased the old images from the card, but it seems they were still there and the pictures I took were never saved. I'm not sure if it's a defective memory card of if i'm just doing something ~stupid~! Either way, the results are the same . . No Pictures!

If you'd seen the beautiful sunny afternoon we had, with a perfect classic run and Dana booming out casts, you'd appreciate how bummed I was.

The upside is that Dana gave me several of his flies (not the Monsters - I'll get a pic of one of those in February), so I'll do a pic of them and my own when my Koday DC5000 arrives.

tight lines and RAIN!!!!

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Dianne and I fished the Clackamas for several hours with no results. Beautiful blue sky, but cold as a witches tit. I'm sure looking forward to our session with Dana in March.

The beauty of steelheading is that even the off-condition days really are better than good days doing other things. In places like the upper Skagit, the Sky, the Clackamas, virtually any pacific northwest stream - the catching is a bonus but the fishing is a dream.

One day I was hiking along the river by the coal mines in the gorge where the families of those buried in cave-ins ask people not to go. Feeling enough honor that I respect these grounds and interested in finding steelhead up in the canyon, I walked the mossy rock walls upriver until I found an amazing sight. One of the geothermal springs was really running clear due to the volume of groundwater from the rains and it trickled down into a river rock bowl carved by a tumbling stone. There are a lot of these cylindrical holes in the gorge from the top of the flaming geyser all the way to palmer. This one still had a 100 pound round rock ball in the bottom of it and the water was like a bath. Although I had barely taken a cast yet, The temptation was too much... I hung my goretex, neoprene and polypropelene on cedar branches and lay the flyrod against the boughs, then sat in this steamy hole in solid rock, looking up at the giant trees peircing upward into the drizzly sky until I needed to start the long uphill hike back to the truck to tend to obligations. I went back there one time in the summer and it was a stinky sulphur pot, but after a winter of rains and when the ground is swelled with water it runs clean.

I'm sure we all have our steelhead sanctuaries, and sometimes there are even fish involved.
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Managed to drag my sorry rear out bed at 4:30am Saturday. Headed for Sauk bar on the Skagit. I timed my walk in just right and arrived at the river with just enough light to tie on a fly. I wanted to fish the run before the sleds started tearing the place up. It was so cold my guides would completely ice up. My reel would freeze to the point I had to check it every couple of casts and free it. Made for some interesting casting as my line would freeze solid in the guides. I was able to fish the entire bar before the sleds arrived. But, no fish, not even a sniff. Beautiful morning. The mountains and the glaciers that feed the river were gorgeous in the morning light. Nice and peaceful. All things must pass though as 6 sleds began tearing up and down the river. Sometimes I wonder how those guys catch fish after ripping the river to shreds.

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Let me guess --- Windcutter?

The iced up guides is one of the main reasons I switched to a longer bellied line and away from stripping and shooting. Anyone else have thoughts on this?

You've got a point Duggan, it's also nice to wear gloves and not have to deal with a lot of finger work. At the same time, it's also nice to be able to throw virtually any tip density using the Mike Kinney recipe head system as well despite lots of stripping and shooting, the likes of which would be very hard to achieve on a long belly line. No easy answers!

I guess working the softer seams and fishing a workable tip on a long working length of line would be the best way to go. I recall fishing a DTF 9wt cut and looped with a short 8wt type IV head in winter without taking the gloves off for long periods of time, and catching fish on it by working inside lies.

Sounds like the new 9140 might be a suitable tool for this approach listening to the reports. I'll bet the next set of freshets really gets things going in a hurry out there!
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Have slowly started switching over to the long belly lines. For my summer fishing I think thier hard to beat,but for winter fishing I still like the shorter heads. I can cast some pretty heavy tips on 9 and 8wt rods,with a long belly line and heavy tips I would probably have to get a 10wt. I have used a few 10wt rods and wouldn't want to cast one for 10 or 12 hours a day, atleast not at this point. I have found also that most long belly lines don't load rods well at 50 to 60ft, thus I find my self fishing a long line when there is no need to do so. But on the other hand when your stripping line all day that adds up to a lot of time when your fly is not fishing. With the rods I use if I want to go to the heavier tips I stick with the shorter heads or pick a happy happy medium such as the mispey type lines, which will fish at 65 to 70ft with out shooting line and you can hit 80 all day with a minimum of shooting line. Different strokes for different folks I guess.

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I agree - there are several big advantages to the shorter head lines and fishing heavier tips is definitely one. Another that wasn't mentioned was standing under overhanging limbs tight to the bank (anybody fish the Sol Duc?) and trying to fish a seam 60-70' out. You don't need much of a D-loop with those shorter head lines - just flex the rod and the line will go out. With the longer belly lines, you need to throw that D-loop behind you and that can cause problems in tight quarters. I still keep my WindCutter's spooled for those moments!

But I think I've found my own niche with the longer midspey lines (70-80' heads) bacause, as the other Brian said, when you really need to reach out you can do so with minimal stripping and you still have a manageable length of belly when fishing tips. I've also found that, when I need to get down, 1.5" brass tube flies on my regular 15' type 6 tips will put me right near the bottom in all but the heaviest flows. The big advantage is that they don't affect the cast as much as you'd think, so I can continue to fish my normal lines even when the need arises to DReDgE (gotta do that a lot for the winter hatchery rats).

And the funny thing is that, with lighter wire hooks, I can be bouncing off rocks all day and not hang up near as much as with standard weighed patterns.


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Sorry if I came across as bashing short bellied lines. I agree they have their time and place. I just wanted to make the point that air temps in the 20s are not their strong suit.

Brian, you are right on the heavy tips comment. I fish some heavier tips in the winter but I do so on my 10 weight. It is no where near as nice to cast as my 8 though but then again, the 8 will not handle those tips even with a windcutter style line. Perhaps a good stout 9 is the answer. The Scott 15' 9 is a great rod and have heard good reports on several of the newer batch including the 14' and 15' Sages.

Doublespey, excellent observation on the short bellied line being more brush friendly.

Tight lines everyone (no matter how long their belly is)!

I did not feel you were bashing the shorter bellied lines, you were simply giving your own opinion. I agree that the Scott 1509 is one sweet rod, the true powerhouse of the 9wt's. I used a demo rod on the Skagit one day and was amazed how well it would throw my heaviest shooting heads. I think this rod would perform great with the longer belly lines, in fact right now I am casting different rods trying to find the right one that would work with the longer lines, still waiting to cast the new Dereck Brown rods before I make my decision but the 1509 is at the top of the list.
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