Big Steelhead Redux - Done Right This Time

Discussion in 'Steelhead' started by Jason Decker, Apr 8, 2009.

  1. if there aren't any fish, doesn't matter if you nymph or swing
  2. First, Nice fishes! Thank you for releasing them.

    Now, the sidetrack.. I think it is the responsibility of every (swing, nymph, gear, bait) fisherman to take stock of his/her own overall impact on the fish - and make sure its a positive one.

    It is true that just by fishing for these rare fish we are endangering the individual fish we encounter. However, just by buying a license we are telling the State that we exist and should be considered in their management plans. That's something. But if you fish more than a couple times a year I don't think it is enough to offset your impact.

    It's tough to know how much is enough, so err on the side of a positive impact. Join conservation groups, donate $$, write letters to your politicians, clean up your local waterway. If you're not sure that you are doing enough, do more.

    There is no reason to hang your head b/c of the possibility that you might hurt an individual fish. I can say with absolute certainty that my footprint on the population as a fisherman, is a positive one. But, I only hook 3 or so in a good year, and have yet to land a wild fish.. If you are a bait fisherman, catching 50 steelies a year, you better work you ass off. If you are a guide, you'd better be preaching conservation like your life depends on it.

    This probably all goes without saying.. but it bugs me to see people talking about the negative impact of us (and all conservation minded folks) fishing for steelhead. Humans are simultaneously the biggest threat and only hope for the fish. It all depends on the person.

    Don't hang up your rod. Fight for the fish.
  3. For the record,,,It was another fish that was 20 lbs.
    Nymphing techniques for steelhead is way harder than anyone thinks before they do it, they don't magically apear at the end of your stick, and swinging, done as I usually see it, is done mostly wrong. You can catch fish swinging but it takes just as much expieriance of the currents as nymphing. We have caught four and hooked six over the last week of fishing wile fishing the swung fly. We have also hooked another eightteen and landed maybe half in the same period on the same floats and the same water. Its all how one want's to catch them that is the glory of fishing steelhead, the darn things will bite a piece of tin foil if you throw it right. As for how many is enough, believe me when we have six to the net and each angler has caught some the boat goes a little faster.

    Will,,,love your passion keep the faith...the reason we have done a little better as of lately,,,NO TRIBAL NETS! Its like a water faucet they( gill netters) go in and the valve get's shut and sometimes the washer leaks and we get a few.

    Thanks for the Kind words Duff, Rooster, and Joe!!!

    Heres a concept on saving the steelhead, don't kill them, don't buy them dead, and don't support any business that offers them dead. The steelhead is a tough animal that is cold blooded, it has survived every natural disaster for the last millenium, the only thing that will bring about there demise is a gill net, period....Wild fish forever!!!
  4. Beautiful fish man!

    I am new to the winter steelhead game, and to this website. I spent this spring seeking out my first wild winter metal on the WA coast and was rewarded with one fish out of 6 days spent between the Hoh, Sol Duc, Queets(my favorite), and Sauk. Coming from the Grand Ronde and Salmon rivers I have been use to 1-4 A-runs per day.

    Fishing for 5 days alone before anything happened really tested my confidence, but when that Sol Duc buck slurped my intruder I was ecstatic and.... absolutely terrified. The buck surfaced and I knew I was in for a ride. It seemed like an eternity, but after less than 15 minutes I had the brute in shallow cobblestone water next to me. The fish stretched to the first ferrule of my 13'6 Beulah spey, a length I would later find out to be 40". I guess I cashed in all my "luck" on this one, odds are I won't ever see such a beast again.

    My question is, to the members of this site and any guides who fish the OP, how often do you come across fish with net burns/cuts (I think)? My fish had slashes/rubs down the sides of his face and across his back tearing his fin open and exposing some mushy flesh. I tried to get a picture prepared but the tough old bastard made a break for it as soon as I pulled the hook and I couldn't regain control before he was back into the current and zipped up stream. As happy as I was to see him go with such power I was deeply saddened by his torn-up state and the lack of photo documentation. The only witnesses to this event were a bait chuckin father and son hootin and hollering from the high bank on the otherside of the river.

    I will be back next spring for sure, hopefully with some sort of boat this time and better spey skills, for now its back to Montana to graduate. Winter steelheading will clog my mind till then.

    Just wanted to get some opinions and questions answered about the cuts and tears.
  5. During the netting season 9 out of 10 steelhead will have net marks or seal bites or both. Incedently the netting season this year was 4-6 days a week since December and just a week ago monday they stopped till the 15th. Occasionally after a long period of high water the percentage of marked fish drops and they get this scrape on there dorsal fin, possably from hiding under logs and rocks, I think this because I see the mark again during very low flows as well.

  6. Brazda-

    Thanks for the info, I guess maybe this buck could have been inflicted by the multiple explanations you provide. 9 out of 10 fish, that is much higher than I thought...

    Do you guide much on the queets around this time each spring? I guide out of Ketchum, Idaho and understand the benefit to hiring a local knowledgeable guide. I may be interested in exploring the queets next spring if I can find a buddy to come with me. I'd like to learn that river from a master, it really intrigued me.
  7. Yes I do Guide the Queets, Unfortunatly the thing is seldom in shape, the best steelheading on the coast can be had there if things are right.
    The key is what is right!
  8. Great fish Jeff. Nice work!
  9. I don't know were all you lucky bastards were fishing. But ,I sure wish I were there.
  10. ThnkMcfly, do you work out of Lost River Outfitters? If so, I think I might have met you in February during a recent trip to Ketchum?

    Dan- Nice fish for the missus! You got a keeper there!

    Alot of folks taking the swing vs. nymphing as an either/or mentality when really it's both that work.
    I learned this thanks to Brazda! It just depends on the water conditions, which dictate where the fish are at.
    But when you are floating and covering water, it's so much more effective to have the rod in your hand
    that matches the water you're on as you are on the move.

    like mr. miyagi says - "wax on, wax off"

  11. good things come to "JEFF's" !! nice feesh JEFF!
    sincerely- JEFF :)
  12. Rooster and Heffea! really and you guys gave me a hard time for the intertubers. Sweet fish! I wished I could have stayed longer! Tell the misses congrats rooster and I'll see you guys this summer. And all I got to say. Some day....some day.

    Will, relax....goosefraba. Go bitch slap the yuppy libral f#$k on pike street that is buying wild steelhead to impress his east coast transplant "holy'er than thou'" girlfriend into believing that he has a good sense of "natural" organic food availible in the norhtwest.
  13. Alpinetrout.
    Any chance you might be able to hook me up with a link so I can read the Salmon and Trout handling rules myself.
    Thanks for the helpful post..

    Bill Dodd.

  14. JD,

    I actually guide for Silver Creek Outfitters. The guys at Lost River Outfitters are also good dudes so you didn't go wrong there. What rivers did you get the chance to fish?
  15. Wood, Silver Creek, Warm Springs, Lost, Middle Fork
  16. JD, That is a fact!- and for those who can't or won't understand will continue too miss-out on all the fun. Thank you:thumb:
  17. A little help please, Can anyone tell me more about the Steelhead handling regulations please.

    I have heard a bit about it on here, but I would like to hear or read about it myself.
    Is this no lifting out of water REG for all WA waters?
    Can anyone provide a link to the Reg? I have looked and can't seem to find the Reg.
    Thanks for your time.

    Bill Dodd.
  18. Ok got the info thanks..

  19. Yes, the rule is in effect statewide.

    Here's the link to the current sport fishing pamphlet:

    The link in on the right hand side of the page. The rule is on page 32.
  20. Bill, Alpine's post appears to be copied from the regs, but here is the link:
    (see last page of this link) You can also find it on pg 32 of the 08-09 Regs Phamphlet.

    Yes, it applies to the whole state so any steelhead, salmon, dolly/bull that won't/can't be kept can not be lifted totally out of the water. As Alpine said, this means hatchery fish too, not just wild fish. Methow was reminding everybody of this during the steelhead season up there this year.

    With reguard to steelhead, any sea-run rainbow 20" or longer is legally a steelhead. I'd be careful lifting 'rainbows' over 20" out of any body of water that has anadromous fish because WDFW may consider it a steelhead. Translation: be careful with big Yakima rainbow hero shots...

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