A rookies log.

Discussion in 'Steelhead' started by Danielocean, May 10, 2013.

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  1. Danielocean

    Danielocean Steelhead Virgin

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    Yeah baby.
     
  2. Salmo_g

    Salmo_g Active Member

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    I'd like to think I'm not a complete glutton for punishment at my age. Would have loved to go fishing, but I just don't get off on the whole ice in the guides kinda' trip. Saving my kitchen pass for another day.

    Sg
     
  3. Danielocean

    Danielocean Steelhead Virgin

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    I don't blame you. However, I have not accomplished my goal so I need to be out there when I can rain or shine if I am going to be able to post my steelhead picture ont this thread before the season is up.
     
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  4. Salmo_g

    Salmo_g Active Member

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    Daniel,

    To a point, yes. But fishing when the fishing is most likely to be productive, considering how unproductive steelheading typically is, is part of the strategy of stacking the odds in your favor. Kinda' like fish smarter instead of fish harder.

    Sg
     
  5. Darthmonkey

    Darthmonkey Active Member

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    Thanks for reminding me about the whole "I need to grease my line guides" for my next outing, which at the rate this god forsaken truck is eating my paychecks, will be next august.
    Take-home message, never let a 60 year old backyard mechanic rewire the main harness when he's got 3 other project cars collecting moss in his yard.


    I agree with that to an extent. Steelhead are unpredictable, even more so with the winter runs. For a beginner, time on the water is crucial to refining how you want to present your fly to the fish. As you are well aware everything comes into play; water clarity, water temp, depth, current speed, light conditions, weather conditions the list goes on. The more time he spends in varying conditions fishing different flies with different presentations, the more "Ahaa!" moments he'll have. End result he either gets lucky and finds the one retard fish, or (hopefully) he has a little success and starts noticing patterns from fish that positively react to similar flies in similar conditions. It'll take a few times to notice, but those lessons will eventually stick and he starts modifying tactics for the different conditions he faces and it'll make him a better angler.

    This happened to me when I was but a wee lad on River X chasing my first steelhead on the swung fly. Shop dudes SWORE by a rabbit sucking leech and that is pretty much all I fished. Nevermind my presentation was all catty-wompus until a random stranger pointed this out to me and changed my system with a sink tip and yadda yadda. Eventually I caught a steelhead, and to this day I cannot tell you for the life of me the kind of underwater structure, light conditions, or the water clarity, all I knew is this damn popsicle fly actually worked and I caught a steelhead. Then that is all I did, 10 foot sink tip with a marabou popsicle and I couldn't reproduce the results because I had no effing clue what the conditions were and had no theory as to why I caught that one fish, and now I can't catch any others. Thereby starting me off on square one again.

    Only when I started paying attention to the kind of water and weather conditions I was fishing in could I develop a system, change it if there were no positive reactions or eliminate variables that caused that particular fish to strike. Doing this means maximizing the amount of time on the water to fish as many and as varied conditions as I could. This is a process I am going through to this day and therein lies the beauty, just when you think you've got it cracked things go sideways and what was working doesn't work anymore. Now I am by no means stating this is the end-all be-all guideline for rookies, this is just what helped ME find more consistent success.

    1. Figure out the water you are fishing. Is that holding water? Transitional water? Dead water? Are they holding in the seam next to the head? The high-bank slot? The tailout? Fish it all and pay attention to where you get nipped, grabbed or flashed. Be mindful of others fishing in those kinds of water in similar ways as you, that could also help you eliminate variables.

    2. Develop a system for choosing flies based on the conditions you've faced. This relates to step 1, sometimes that big intruder on T14 that worked at the head of the run, is the last thing you want to throw in that bouldery/greasy tailout. Sometimes when it is 44 degrees and pissing rain that is exactly what you want to throw at'em.

    3. Keep a log or journal. Water conditions, weather conditions etc. should all be logged along with what flies you threw on what lines with what type of presentation. Also log what others fishing in a similar fashion as you, this will help you keep track and eliminate other variables. This step is directly in support of steps 1 & 2.

    4. Make a game-plan and stick with it. Despite what others say, you made a game-plan last night when you were level headed and ready to get after it. At this point you have an idea of the kind of water you should fish given the conditions, you have an idea of the flies you should fish given the water and weather conditions, and you have a log that supports your argument for the flies and water you want to fish. So what if a stranger tells you about the 9 fish they hooked in the next run down? They could be telling tall tales to get YOU out of the water they want to fish. I know, I've done it.
     
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  6. underachiever

    underachiever !

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    Well sure, any time spent on the water can be a learning experience, but if you're gonna miss a few days then the freezing cold, low water days are good ones to miss. Do something those days that frees you up to go a week later when conditions are more favorable.
     
  7. golfman44

    golfman44 Active Member

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    Damn. Among all the hilarious bullshit in this thread there are some gems. This is one of them
     
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  8. Danielocean

    Danielocean Steelhead Virgin

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    You are a dirty little man............................and I like it.
     
  9. Salmo_g

    Salmo_g Active Member

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    I tried to reply last night but got a server error and couldn't.

    Darth,

    I agrre also, to an extent. If you can't fish everyday, and few can, then forego those days when you will be least comfortable and least effective. Your approach seems more complicated than mine. I try to keep mine simple, and that seems as effective as anything this side of bait and nymph fishing. My simpler style goes something like this:

    1. Study and network so as to know when fish are in rivers of interest.
    2. Fish where fish are and when they are there.
    3. I look for potential holding water. Then I look for probable holding water. Then I look for high percentage water. Usually. I don't look for traveling water, but I don't ignore it either.
    4. I am mindful of other anglers and try to estimate if they are 10%ers or 90%ers. If I think they are 10%ers, I pay close attention.
    5. My system for choosing steelhead flies is overly complicated. I could simplify it down to a size 6 Spade and a size 2 marabou streamer in any pretty color combination, and still catch all the steelhead that I do using those and a few other patterns. I don't like tying with marabou all the time, so I have my basic "winter bait" pattern, and after tying that for 20 years, I changed it up and sometimes tie it in pink instead of red and orange. I like to play with skaters in late summer and fall, but I seriously doubt if I need them.
    7. I have had some T-14 tips for 6 or 7 years and have yet to find a need for them. Not saying it isn't useful, cuz a lot of anglers use it, but type III and VI tips serve the overwhelming majority of my deep sunk fly needs just fine.
    8. A fishing log is a good idea. I did, but haven't for over 30 years. I don't need to know what fly patterns I used before because, a) it doesn't matter; b) it was probably one of the same that I have and use now. There aren't enough presentations for me to bother writing down what I used before. I use (rarely) upstream a) dry fly dead drift; b) skated or waked dry fly; c0 wet fly swing on floating line; d) wet fly swing on sinking tip. If "winter rules" apply, then my presentation is low & slow.
    9. My game plan is to go fishing whenever I can and it seems like it will result in greater satisfaction than not going. Beyond that I prefer to keep my plan flexible because it's impossible to anticipate exactly what conditions I will encounter. For example, I might predict that River A will have 2.5' of visibility tomorrow, and when I get there it has only 6". River B has close to 2', so I might change my plan and fish there instead. Or I may get to the section of river I planned to fish, only to discover that 10 boats' worth of other fishermen had the same idea. So I might float a different section that has only 2 boats launching there that day instead. Or I might decide not to float, but instead hike and fish my way upstream, lowholing the 10 boats that are coming downstream. Flexibility is an important part of adaptability. Adaptability is not only a key to survival; it's a key to better fishing, which we have come to know is equally important.

    Sg
     
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  10. golfman44

    golfman44 Active Member

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    My strategy is to just wait until salmo invites me on his boat and guides me into a few dozen natives
     
  11. Danielocean

    Danielocean Steelhead Virgin

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    I heard he loads a generator onto his boat and makes pancakes, bacon, and eggs right there as u float
     
  12. Charles Sullivan

    Charles Sullivan dreaming through the come down

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    One of the great joys of steelheading is floating a section of river w/ SalmoG and waching him read water in an effort to determine the most likely holding water.

    In case any of you all get a chance, he prefers maltier beer (porters) wine (red and white) and scotch that I can not afford. These items have kept me from being forced to wear Nate's apron.

    Go Red Sox,
    cds
     
  13. Danielocean

    Danielocean Steelhead Virgin

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    Go
    Go cardinals.
     
  14. Salmo_g

    Salmo_g Active Member

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    Golfman44's strategy could use some improvement.

    Since I"m cooking on the back of a WM, no generator. I just cook up hotcakes, bacon, and eggs in my Jetboil, no problem. Then rinse it out and make hot buttered rum when the weather gets cold. Can Nate wash dishes and mix cocktails? If so, I might have an open seat.
     
  15. golfman44

    golfman44 Active Member

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    Not even in the spirit of XMAS? I'm reporting you to the forum mods, salmo_grinch.
     
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  16. Danielocean

    Danielocean Steelhead Virgin

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    A conversation between salmo-g and golfman44

    Salmo: Alright I will take you out and go fishing with you.

    Golfman44: Oh thank god I have been waiting so long.

    Salmo: Wow is that a candy cane in your pants or are you just that fucking happy to see me.
     
  17. golfman44

    golfman44 Active Member

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    FTFY
     
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  18. Darthmonkey

    Darthmonkey Active Member

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    Sg, I can get behind most of what you've said. Obviously there are a few things that I don't agree with, but for the most part I would say that I've done most of it.

    1) When it comes to formulating a plan; I will pick 3 runs on my hit-list and fish them in order of priority. If I find more than 2 dudes on both sides of the bank, or more than 4 dudes on one bank I move on to run 2 and so on. Obviously when floating I become a little more flexible, but when I float I choose runs that traditionally don't see a whole lot of foot traffic and I've rarely moved on from runs I planned to fish because of other boats on the water. There is a method to my madness, and my madness works for me.

    2) I still carry a number of flies that are of similar size and profile, just varying between contrasting or complimenting colors, bright or neutral colors, as well as flashy or subdued flies. Scott Howell illustrated this perfectly in his SM2 DVD when fishing a slot with a neutral colored intruder, he switched to a flashy prom dress fished from the opposite bank and got a grab on camera. There is something to be said with simplicity, but I would rather maximize my options and give my best effort through a given piece of water.
     
  19. Evan Burck

    Evan Burck Fudge Dragon

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    Of my last 7 trips targeting steelhead, I've caught steelhead on 7 of them. I even got one casting between icebergs locally today.
     
  20. golfman44

    golfman44 Active Member

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    You went to the deschutes 7 times? lucky...
     
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