Any Summer Steelhead??

Discussion in 'Steelhead' started by Luke Ramirez, Aug 20, 2007.

  1. Luke Ramirez

    Luke Ramirez Still DoubleUgly

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    I've been winter steelheading the last few seasons but I would like to give the summer season a try. I've heard the summer runs this year are bad. Is anyone having luck out there? Where would you recommend for a novice steelheader? Not looking for your favorite spot here, just some advice to get a guy into a new experience!

    Thanks!
     
  2. chadk

    chadk Be the guide...

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    A few areas worth exploring:

    Green river
    Snoqualmie river
    Skykimish river
    Stilly

    Just a few within a reasonable drive. Not sure how each are fishing, but all are worth exploring. Fishing reports are often a waste of time. One day it can be hot, the next dead. Just go and give it a shot. Make your own report...

    I'd focus higher up on these river systems. Lower in the river will be more crowded, especially as the salmon start stacking up. It will get ugly fast. And catching a steelhead with all those salmon around can get tricky.
     
  3. Riane

    Riane Mouse doctor

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    Quite frankly its not a good year to start chasing summer runs- the summer run in the Puget Sound area is so bad its really not even worth the gas or time at this point (my opinion, and I am a steelhead addict). I hit a few nice hatchery fish in June, but its gone south and it was poor even then. The wild fish may be near historic lows- I fished hard for them in July and haven't bothered in August- perhaps better to let the remainder of these pathetic numbers spawn in peace. Columbia river stock may have picked up a bit but those are also down. While there are always interesting possibilities that I'm not willing to share here, I'll probably stick mostly to catching salmon for the next couple of months.
     
  4. Will Atlas

    Will Atlas Guest

    In our coastal rivers summer steelhead were relatively scarce to begin with, often only spawning in a couple select tributaries where falls or gradient prevent winter fish from accessing. Typically with disturbance (ie, overfishing, logging, climate change, urban/agricultural development, hatcheries) the most marginal life histories are the first to go. That being said, miraculously there are some wild summer steelhead to be found in our region. Obviously survival in this cohort was poor, I've not been in the state myself, but good friends tell me the fishing has been quite poor. Whether abundance is at a "historic low" is hard to say as there is almost no reliable data available to give us an idea. Certainly the years following the hideous environmental practices of the Regan administration couldnt have been better. There are hatchery fish available. This time of year with the water being extremely low, you'll need to be out early in the day or late in the evening. If you really want to get a fish, try the Cowlitz.

    Will
     
  5. sashjo

    sashjo Member

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    I have 40 years of ffing but this is my first year chasing summer steel. Everyone says you should have been there last year! Lots of fun getting up between 3-4 am especially when you were at a wedding till 1 am! I like that it is slow and that others are chasing salmon as I avoid crowds. I didn't see anyone until almost noon yesterday. I did catch one fresh wild jack steelhead, still had sea lice.
     
  6. FT

    FT Active Member

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    The Stilly has been very poor steelheading this summer with very few fish caught. Between myself and several others (including George McLeod, the grand old gentleman of the Stilly) fishermen who fish it regularly (one of them has fished it nearly every day and he caught 2 of the 5 fish), there have been only 5 steelhead caught all summer. Some very good steelhead fishermen have not taken a single fish this summer on this river.
     
  7. Aaron O'Leary

    Aaron O'Leary AO

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    There are quite a few fish moving into the Wynoochee. I am sure with the rain in the last few days there will be more fresh fish moving in. Good Luck.
     
  8. John Dougher

    John Dougher Member

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    "I've heard the summer runs this year are bad."
    The last few posts have echoed that Summer Steelhead fishing has been, to say the least, somewhat dismal. Believe that I have had my slowest summer in 10+ years; one fish and that one was taken less than two weeks ago. In years past comparing one year to the other, I could use a term like “dropped off” when speaking of current year to prior. However with ’07 the term “vanished” comes to mind. Maybe it is just my personal experience and those who have commented.
    Why? Is it Mother Nature showing who’s boss or something else? I did some research on the WDFW web page and nothing that I could find addressed this current summer’s situation. One river that I often fish is the Kalama, and a recent post on this board reported that there was a disease that the affected the smolts last year, hence the poor fishing this year. I talked to a guide last week and he commented hatchery feed was somehow tainted and that released smolts appearing normal while in the river, died when reaching the salt due to liver failure. I haven’t seen an explanation for other rivers.
    Any thoughts?
     
  9. EMPyre

    EMPyre Erich with an H -Top Water Soldier-

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    George is my Grand Dad...it has been a slow year, but a few fish have been seen. Hope to find one myself up there over Labor Day. Hope its not to crowded.
     
  10. HauntedByWaters

    HauntedByWaters Active Member

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    LOL! :rofl:
     
  11. EMPyre

    EMPyre Erich with an H -Top Water Soldier-

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    :D I thought that was funny too, didn't realize what I said until after I posted.:D
     
  12. FT

    FT Active Member

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    EMPyre,

    You have a terrific and great guy as your Grand Dad! You are very fortunate having a Grand Dad like him.
     
  13. Bucktail

    Bucktail New Member

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    I usually have pretty good luck on the Snoqualmie below Plum and above the golf course in the August-September time frame. I've fly fished that section a half dozen times so far in recent weeks with very little action. Hit one fish very briefly for a quick run on a variation of the Skunk Fly about 2 weeks ago but nothing since that time. Several of my friends have covered that same area and they report similar results so it looks like this may be an off year on the Snoqualmie. On the other hand, last year was one of be best and most consistent I've had up there for summer run.

    Bucktail
     
  14. Steelie Mike

    Steelie Mike Active Member

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    The smolt die off was two years ago and they needed to use surplus hatchery smolts from the Skamania Hatchery on the Washougal to supplement what was left. The result was many of the two salt fish that were supposed to return this year to the Kalama ended up in the Washougal because they were not reared in the Kalama long enough. This is how it was explained to me. The Washougal escapement numbers are high this year as well and all the other rivers that actually have water are low.

    I also heard there was a fish die off on the Cowlitz a couple of years ago, ending in a smolt drop lower in numbers. I have not looked this up on the WDFW site though. The numbers on the NFL as bad as well. At least the Big C numbers are really picking up.

    There are a still a few fish to be caught, but you are going to need to work harder to get them.
     
  15. cuponoodle breakfast

    cuponoodle breakfast Active Member

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    I have yet to hook a summer run this year on my home river. There are a few runs where I can pretty much say which rocks the fish will be holding on. The NF took a bump in flows over the last week and after seeing it from the highway this morning, I had to get on it for the evening. Went out tonight from 5:30 to 8:00 to swing a fly through a couple of my favorite runs and got nothing. No takes, no steelhead spotted. Sad. I have a friend who lives on the NF. He hasn't hooked a summer run this year and hasn't bothered fishing it for over a month. He walks his dogs down to the river each morning and hasn't spotted a steelhead yet.
     
  16. HauntedByWaters

    HauntedByWaters Active Member

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    THIS IS REALLY F*$*ED UP MAN!!!! WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON!??!
     
  17. Jim Wallace

    Jim Wallace Smells like low tide.

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    I know guys who are gear fishing the Wynoochee who have caught a few summerruns, but they really know the river, are tight-lipped (won't tell me exactly where...only give me the drift they ran...a week after the fact, etc.), get on the river to be fishing at or before first light. One guy showed me some small, black over dull-red jigs he was using.

    I'm going to sneak in a couple of quick reports, here, as we were looking for summerruns at the time:

    I took my friend Tyler to explore the upper Wynoochee two Sundays ago...it started off showery, but soon got bright and sunny. We found some nice looking water, even some good runs for swinging wets. We saw no steelhead (I was searching hard with my polaroids), but managed to get into some whitefish...one each. Tyler's was about 16", and mine only about 13". I don't remember what the kid was using, but I was swinging a brown, non-descript beadhead softhackle I had found while going thru my box and cursing myself for not tying up some Partridge & Orange (i was out of 'em) and other soft hackles I like to drift and swing in low water.
    Fishing back downstream, I picked up a fiesty little 8" cutt, which, with my whitey, was good enough to trump Tyler's one bigger whitey. Whew! A close call there...can't let the kid outfish me, as I am supposed to be "mentoring" (Ha!) him.

    This last Sunday, Tyler and I explored the upper Quinault...saw one large trout about 18 - 20" in the N Fork that may have been a summerrun, but it was in a deeper, ledgy, and shaded run and holding just upstream of some smaller trout (bigger of these were about 13" or 14"), which were also just "holding" and apparently not feeding. Then the larger one (steelie?) moved slowly upstream by itself and disappeared into the deep, aerated water at the head of the run.
    Tyler had walked right up to the edge of the run, ignoring my prior advice to be stealthy. The fish could surely see us, and were most likely already spooked before he got his first cast off. I could see them finning, see their square tails plain as day in the gin-clear with my polaroids. They may have been searun cutts, but I can't say. They could have been rainbows, as I caught one trout from that run, a 5" rainbow or steelhead parr. That was the only trout we caught all day. When we departed that run, I tossed in a rock, to see what i could scare up. The trout we'd been observing darted away, plus a few others we hadn't seen at first.

    Funny thing about that stretch of river above the lake...very little bug life going on. Most sterile looking water I've seen nearly anywhere. A few cased caddis in the shallows...we saw one small yellow stonefly all day, a few "horseflies", a couple of mosquitoes that tried to bite us, and some clouds of very small, almost microscopic midges. Also a few dragonflies.

    Then, as a last resort, we decided to check the deep hole where the forks come together, as I know it holds whitefish...maybe I could get Tyler into some whiteys. From the ledge alongside the hole we could look down from above and see a lot of them moving about the bottom of the pool. Then Tyler spotted a school of Sockeye. We counted at least ten of them, holding in the middle of the pool. They were as red as red can be. Awesome! We didn't try to fish for them, but we tried briefly (with no luck) for the whiteys before heading home.

    We had fun both times, though, and found some good-looking spots.:)