Alaska steelhead advice?

Discussion in 'Steelhead' started by Panhandle, May 16, 2008.

  1. Panhandle Active Member

    Posts: 4,103
    Selkirk Mountains, Idaho Panhandle
    Ratings: +23 / 0
    I have a buddy fishing the Warn River right now, and he's having a hell of a time. He is sight fishing and can not hook a fish. He states that he is seeing mass fish and moving fish. He has been calling me everyday asking for advice..... I 've suggested a floating line/indicator with a single egg pattern. I've suggested swinging a calberro egg, a flesh fly, nyphing a bead, etc... Basically everything I can think of-- no luck. I was hoping someone here could give me some advice to offer him. I'm neither familair with Alaskan steelhead behavior or sight fishing in such conditions. What does this guy need to do? Thanks. By the way, he's a hell of a trout fisherman, but has never caught a steelhead.
  2. BDD Active Member

    Posts: 2,227
    Ellensburg, WA
    Ratings: +216 / 2
    Fishing for steelhead is still fishing for steelhead, even if your in Alaska. If you aren't catching fish here, going to Alaska won't automatically ensure you'll be sucessfull there. However, if he is fishing over visible, fresh fish, then good presentation should get hime some fish. Sounds like the advice you gave him is spot on. Perhaps he is too close and spooking the fish? Fresh, rested fish are good biters if they don't see you first. What is the temperature and clarity? Maybe he should try a long run and do a step and swing approach?
  3. Sageman Member

    Posts: 609
    Yakima, WA
    Ratings: +9 / 0
    have him drop a small glo-bug off an indicator (size 10) in a light, subtle color (white, pink, peach, Oregon cheese), and then drop a plastic bead about 14" behind that with a size 8 egg hook (I peg it just above the hook to let it tumble more naturally). Small BB shot above both flies if water is low, 3/0 if water is up a bit. This has always been my most consistent producer up there in low, clear water when sight fishing to fresh fish. I also have had some success with natural nymphs, like a larger hare's ear, bloody mary, or lightning bug, but it doesn't always work as well up there as it does down here. For the bead, the red one with white nail polish has always been the best for me, and glo-beads also work well late in the evening, but also during the day.

    No matter how many times I try and explore other methods in low water conditions, I keep "re-discovering" this combination as the best one. At least for the rivers I fish up there... I haven't fished the Warn River, so I can't comment specifically on that stream.
  4. Panhandle Active Member

    Posts: 4,103
    Selkirk Mountains, Idaho Panhandle
    Ratings: +23 / 0
    This creek/river is a single hook only.
  5. Jergens AKA Joe Willauer

    Posts: 2,141
    Twin Bridges, MT
    Ratings: +19 / 0
    like no droppers? that's interesting. also, how much fly fishing has your friend done? could a drag free drift be the problem more than the flies?
  6. ChrisW AKA Beadhead

    Posts: 493
    Seattle, WA.
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    Not sure about AK, but in WA single hook means one hook per fly/lure. Droppers are still allowed.

    Selective gear regs = up to 3 flies/lures allowed. Flyfishing only = up to 2 flies may be used. Interestingly, split shot is not legal in FF'ing only waters.

    Having said that, most people I know fish for SH w/ one fly/lure only.

    CW
  7. yuhina Tropical member

    Posts: 2,320
    Boston-Idaho
    Ratings: +43 / 0
    Good thread! friends, Keep them coming!

    I have been thinking the similar thing that "sight fishing are mentally difficult..." especially you get rejection at the very beginning...
  8. Dave Hartman is tired of trout

    Posts: 591
    Whitefish, MT
    Ratings: +51 / 0
    Panhandle? Nymphing beads?!?
    What did you do with the real Panhandle?
    :clown:


    Sounds to me like he might be (unknowingly?) targeting staging fish? and the fish have other things on their minds?
  9. Panhandle Active Member

    Posts: 4,103
    Selkirk Mountains, Idaho Panhandle
    Ratings: +23 / 0
    I'm still here. I just want him to get into a fish, then move to flyfishing. He is a good fly fisherman, very good in fact. After talking to him last night, It sounds like he's just over thinking it and thinking like a trout fisherman. I asked him how much time he is spending in a single run and stated, " about a half hour." :D

    I told him to put a freakin' bead on, put in a copenhagen, crack a beer, and sit in the run for a couple hours. Hopefully that will work.

    I've personally never fished in conditions were the river/creek is bank to bank casting and stacked with chrome fish that you can see moving in and out of run. I think the fact that he is seeing so many fish cruising, holding, and cruising is making him spazz-out.

    He stated that the creek/river he is fishing only allows one fly with a single hook.
  10. Mark Bové Chasin tail

    Posts: 520
    Spokane
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    Sounds like you took a page out of my book.
  11. Salmo_g Active Member

    Posts: 7,483
    Your City ,State
    Ratings: +1,620 / 0
    Pan,

    Unless the water is excessively cold, an undisturbed steelhead will hit the first properly presented bait, lure, or fly it sees. My guess is that the steelhead your friend is fishing over are either not undisturbed, or he's not making a proper presentation. Absent additional information, no other diagnosis explains his not hooking up.

    Sincerely,

    Salmo g.
  12. montnative born and raised in the Beartooths

    Posts: 179
    wallingford, Wa
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    Rob is a Spazz.:beathead::beathead::rofl::rofl::rofl::rofl:
  13. Panhandle Active Member

    Posts: 4,103
    Selkirk Mountains, Idaho Panhandle
    Ratings: +23 / 0
    Paul, you're an idiot. Read it in context. If you ever steelhead fished you would know what I mean by "spazzing out."
  14. montnative born and raised in the Beartooths

    Posts: 179
    wallingford, Wa
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    I did read the context and have tried steelhead fishing. I have seen him "SPAZZ OUT'' a number of times fishing with him for the last 15 year. So I think i do know what I am talking about. Not to mention the way wrote the text, I know him well enough to picture it and I thought it was funnier the hell. He has talked to me about the whole situation and I told him to take it with a grain of salt. Like said earlier in this post steelhead fishing is the same there as it is here. I like Rob are new at it, so I am sure I would be "spazzing " out too. But from talking to you a while ago you told us both "it just takes time and a little perseverance". So I know, like you he will figure it out, and will eventually be better at it than most just like trout fishing. But I guess I'm just an "IDIOT" that doesn't know what I am talking about.:confused:
  15. ak_powder_monkey Proud to Be Alaskan

    Posts: 3,209
    Eagle River, Alaska
    Ratings: +112 / 0
    Orange Jumbo John might work, it did for my buddies on the Situk... At least he's seeing fish I went to Petersburg for a week and saw 3...
  16. o mykiss Active Member

    Posts: 1,303
    .
    Ratings: +176 / 0
    I found myself in a similar situation a couple years ago on the Situk, fishing in the early spring over sometimes huge schools of steelhead that had come in the previous fall and overwintered. They were the most lockjawed fish I've ever seen. The only way to catch them was to spool up the fly reel with monofilament and harass them with very sparse yarn flies, fished under a float. At least that's how the locals were getting it done. I went home instead.
  17. Jeremy Floyd fly fishing my way through life

    Posts: 2,558
    Quesnel, BC
    Ratings: +319 / 0
    iagree

    That is pretty much pinning.. It will work though!
  18. montnative born and raised in the Beartooths

    Posts: 179
    wallingford, Wa
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    Adam, I just talked to rob and he has started hooking fish but can't land them.:thumb:
    He is using a 6wt to fish(it's all he has bawling:)and is having a great time fighting them. Anything he could do different so he could land one? Let him know.
  19. David Dalan 69°19'15.35" N 18°44'22.74" E

    Posts: 1,916
    Walla Walla, WA
    Ratings: +741 / 0
    Move to where you cannot see them. Sigh fishing is cool and stuff, but metalheads can get real jumpy. My worthless asessment is that the fish are spooked. Find a place to present flies where the target is not visible. Or rent some teeny videos.
  20. Panhandle Active Member

    Posts: 4,103
    Selkirk Mountains, Idaho Panhandle
    Ratings: +23 / 0
    He's hookin' them on a flesh fly combo, but he is also hooking 15lb. + fish in creek size water. My only advice is to put the horns to them fast and hard and hope that they give.