Coldwater report

Discussion in 'Stillwater' started by chief, May 27, 2013.

  1. chief

    chief Active Member

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    Fished Coldwater yesterday from 10AM to 3PM. The bite was pretty good for the first couple of hours. Landed 8 fish using a Carey Special, all were the smaller 13-14 inch fish. My buddy had similar success with an olive wooley bugger. Took a break for lunch, and then we couldn't buy a fish in the afternoon. Another guy I talked to had the opposite experience, so who knows...... It is pretty up there right now with recent snows still hanging on the upper hillside around the lake.
     
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  2. cabezon

    cabezon Sculpin Enterprises

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    Hi Chief,

    I was up there on Saturday fishing the south (outlet) end; the winds weren't too bad and there was just the lightest sprinkle in the late afternoon. I picked up one nice fish on one of Anil's Shock and Awe patterns, but I spent most of the day throwing dry flies, initially to rising fish, later to the edges of dropoffs. In the morning, I picked up two nice fish (and a few smaller ones) working the shallows; they took a midge dry. In the afternoon, I switched to a biot-bodied parachute. I had been there the Saturday before also and has seen some Callibaetis hatch. This week I came prepared with a better color (deer-hair post vs mottled black post) and size (12 vs. 14) match. Ten fish, eight in the 12 to 14" range, rocketed up from the depths to hammer the fly even though I really didn't see any Callibaetis (or other bugs) hatching. Still, they were looking up. The fish put on their usual acrobatic, feisty display.

    About half the fish that I caught were typical Coldwater rainbows, spots on the top half, a nice red stripe and no spots below. The other half were heavily spotted top and bottom. At the time, I really didn't think much about it. I know that Coldwater has both rainbows and coastal cutthroats, but I had been told that the cutts tend to hang out more at the inlet side of the lake. Last night, when I looked through pictures from past trips, what I saw seemed to be more typical rainbows. But when I looked through the pictures from this trip, I now wonder if there weren't a mix of cutts and rainbows. I didn't see any orange slashes on the throat that would indicate cutthroat, but the spotting is more consistent with cutthroat. Perhaps they were cuttbows. I did not palpitate the tongue to see if they had hyoid teeth. If anyone has any insights, I would appreciate it.

    Great day, light pressure (especially for a holiday weekend). I could hear male ruffed grouse booming on the hillsides and I saw a loon diving in the deeper water. That dusting of snow must have fallen last week as it was not present the week before. The eagle and osprey that I saw dueling the previous Saturday were absent. The mountain stayed wreathed in clouds for most of the day, but by late afternoon, most of it was out on display.

    Steve
    Coldwater1.jpg Coldwater1d.jpg Coldwater2a.jpg Coldwater3d.jpg Coldwater4b.jpg Coldwater5d.jpg Coldwater7a.jpg Coldwater8b.jpg Coldwater9b.jpg Coldwater9f.jpg MtStHelens1.jpg
     

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  3. chief

    chief Active Member

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    That is an interesting array of fish in your photos. I noticed the markings were different on some of the fish we caught, but did not give it as much thought. We saw some good sized Mayflies hatching while we were eating lunch, but the fish didn't seem to be keying on them, so didn't try any dries. Sounds like we should have......
     
  4. Roger Stephens

    Roger Stephens Active Member

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    Cabezon:

    Great report and beautiful photos! I fished it often until a few year ago and it was a special setting for a fisheries. I used to have excellent dry fly fishing in the evening for 1 1/2 to 2 hours at the west end of the lake when there was no wind and sun was off the water. Thanks for posting and bringing back many fond memories. I need to get back up there!

    Roger
     
  5. Drifter

    Drifter Active Member

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    Great post and pictures Cab!

    I love chasing those fish in your first photo. the chrome - very few spots which I think are the true rainbows. these are the fish that come up in schools over deep water on midges (25 to 50 feet of water) to me they are the hardest fighting fish of the lake. when the deep water gets a hatch it seems all the fish I catch are these types.

    The other heavily spotted from top to bottom I think are cutt-bows but am not sure. I thought they also had westslope cutts in the lake and would be that fatty with very few spots with color in your 7th pick. I also would not be able to pick out the searun cutts from the bows or cutt-bows or westslopes!

    I hope someone does come on and educate me (or us) on each species! bows could also still be in spawning colors which is what I catch mostly in the arm you mention until fish come rising in from the deep which I have watched schools rising way out cruise right into that arm and you could track them by there rises as they came in and worked right back out. most of these fish are the chromers with very spots and are very fast swimmers "fighters" it seems a lot of the fish I catch around the edges and shallower water are mostly the dark colored , lots of spots ones for the most part. those fish have been feeding very well this spring - they are fat - now I just have to get up there. gonna have to count my "end of the month pennies" for gas!!!
     
  6. Paul_

    Paul_ Active Member

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    In 2001, species composition (n=61) was 57.4% rainbow,
    24.6% Twin Lakes cutthroat, 13.1% rainbow/cutthroat hybrid, 3.3% coastal/Twin
    Lake cross, and 1.6% coastal cutthroat. The presence of Twin Lakes cutthroat in
    Coldwater Lake indicated that likely some cutthroat were inadvertently mixed at
    the hatchery with rainbow. The only plausible explanation for the coastal cutthroat
    is that a few survived the eruption.

    Source http://wdfw.wa.gov/publications/00942/wdfw00942.pdf
     
  7. cabezon

    cabezon Sculpin Enterprises

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    Hi Chief,
    I believe that was my friend Steve (yellow pontoon boat - the "good-looking Steve" as a friend uses to differentiate us...). Steve did well trolling wooly buggers and seal leaches. Clearly, there are multiple strategies that are working on that lake. Right place, right time seem to be the key. And if it ever gets warm enough for a black ant hatch, it can be delightful.

    Steve
     
  8. cabezon

    cabezon Sculpin Enterprises

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    Hi Paul,

    That is a very interesting report. As the authors admit, their report was just a snapshot. It is now over a decade since their survey and only 33 years since the eruption. It will be interesting to see what type of mishmash will result from the combination of genetics and what will become the dominant genes/species as they compete for resources.

    Steve
     
  9. Drifter

    Drifter Active Member

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    Well Paul thanks for throwing a big "twist" into things! ;)

    SO as far as identifying them apart from each other - the fish with most spots on the top half are the wild (stocked bows) and all others spotted to there bellies can be any mutts of the cross cutt-bows (hatchery origin) and finally the great sea-run "NATIVE CUTTS"

    How do we tell the native sea-runs from all the other mutts? That fish in the number 8 of the fish pictures has much bigger spots and very sparse. I'm so confused :confused:

    #1 rainbow
    #2 maybe sea-run
    #3 rainbow?
    #4 beast cutt-bow
    #5 sea-run
    #6 c-b
    #7 rainbow
    #8 beast rainbow
    #9 rainbow
    ????????????? what would you say?
     
  10. cabezon

    cabezon Sculpin Enterprises

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    Hi Mark,
    I created a similar list and my conclusions mirror yours. As I said in my original post, I looked through pictures from a half dozen trips over the past three years and I do not remember seeing as many heavily spotted fish. It just could be a distribution situation in the spring (which I fish less often). Or it could reflect more successful recruitment by the spotted fish (whomever they are ....) in recent years. It was interesting to read in the pdf that Paul posted that the fish bios had identified so many westslope cutts. I've caught my fair share of westslope cutts in their native range (albeit from rivers mostly) and I've never seen anything at Coldwater that reminds of those fish. But I haven't fished the inlet area at all.
     
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  11. Drifter

    Drifter Active Member

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    That's what I had research was westslopes also - reason I'm so confused :confused::confused::confused: I wonder if Paul will identify these--- :D
     
  12. Paul_

    Paul_ Active Member

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    All I know is judging from picture # 2, is cabezon is one hell of a fisherman. He can catch fish on a bare hook!:D
     
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  13. cabezon

    cabezon Sculpin Enterprises

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    Well, thank you, Paul. :D That was the fish I caught on a tube-fly version of the shock-and-awe. The fly body came free from the hook during the fight as it is designed to do.

    I'm in the experimentation stage of adapting another tube fly, the tandem tube (great steelhead fly), as a freshwater trout fly for trolling. The fly is primarily a strip of rabbit with a trailing hook. There is a tiny bit of tube attached near the rear of the rabbit strip to hold the leader and "guide" the hook. The front end of the tube binds the front of the rabbit strip, other materials as desired, and a conehead. The rabbit gives the fly lots of motion and the trailing hook provides a surprise for those trout that nip at the tail of wooly buggers. Plus, you can use much more appropriately-sized hooks on a large fly. On a large wooly bugger, you would be using a size 4 or 6 hook. But I can use a size 10 or 8 hook when fishing for trout.

    Steve
     
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  14. chief

    chief Active Member

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    Yes, I'm sure it was your friend. There were only a few of us on the lake and he was fishing out of a yellow pontoon boat. We chatted a couple times during the day. Seemed like a congenial fellow.
     
  15. Woodcanoeguy

    Woodcanoeguy Active Member

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    Coldwater was good to me today........fished deep early but about 10 am started fishing dry flies over the shoals on West end and for an hour it was pretty fun! I was using a red humpy size 12 on 3.6 lb flurocarbon leader ( I broke a few flies off on strikes) and was getting hits on about every third or fourth cast. The eagle took one of my fish this trip. About noon it died off and went back to a red/black seal nymph and took a few more fish. Lots of fog in morning but burned off about 9: 30....nice steady wind from then on. A few kayakers and three pontoon boats later in the morning.
     
  16. Bartfly

    Bartfly New Member

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    Anyone been up there lately? Just wondered if the moth hatch has started yet. Saw a lot of the catepillar webs on the last trip. Here is an article from page 3 of the Volcano Review that I thought was interesting. Not sure how clear it's going to be when I post it since it was a snip, but if you want to look it up yourself just Google Volcano Review Mt. St. Helens. Got this from a pamphlet camping at Mayfield with the kids.
    [​IMG]
     
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  17. Jim Wallace

    Jim Wallace Smells like low tide.

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    I might head up there this Th or Fri. Probably Fri for just the day.

    Hmmm, In those pics that Cabezon posted, I think #3 looks like it is a coastal cutt, with all those cutthroat-looking spots. Looks almost like some of the colored up searuns that I've caught in the local rivers.

    Here's the last searun cutt that I encountered well below the head of tidewater in a creek mouth draining into a local estuary. She was about 13"+ and pretty bright from being in the salt. when she runs upstream, her back should turn more olive, and she might start showing some yellow on her belly. Notice the similar white tips on some of the fins of this and the one in #3.
     

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