Does tradition matter while steelheading

Discussion in 'Fly Fishing Forum' started by Steelheadjunky, Feb 23, 2006.

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  1. This is a subject that many of my friends and I have been talking a lot about lately.

    Does the tradition of steelheading matter anymore? Do we respect the people that came before us and the ways they fished?

    Steelhead fly fishing isn't about numbers, never has been never should be in my book. I won't say getting a fish isn't important but getting 8 in a day isn't. I honestly feel that this tradition is lost on most people now. It is about getting fish period end of statement. It isn't about learning to swing a fly or heck even a deep sunk wet fly or skate a fly or wet fly swing, it isn't about any short cut that can be taken to get fish. I just find this a sad state of steelheading now.

    I am a younger in my early 30's am very lucky to have a father that taught me to respect the fish and to know that you don't need to get 8 a day. You don't need a bobber to catch them. If you can't recognize a strike no matter the method with out an aid then that fish was better then you and so be it. Did you know you can nymph without a bobber? He taught me to respect the art of fly tying and the beauty of it as the steelhead is too great of a fish and deserves better then what they are getting now a days. He taught me to listen to the old guys as they know what they are talking about. Some of the greatest days I have ever had are listening to guys like Alec Jackson or Frank Moore tells stories or reading the great books that tell of the old timers and their stories. I know most of them are gone now and it is probably good.

    He did teach me to be respectful of others but it is getting harder and harder to do. I watched my favorite river have to enact special rules about how you can fly fish because people couldn't regulate themselves.

    Fly fishing for steelhead is different and it always will be in my eyes. I felt it was in our predecessors too. It is more about the experience then the numbers. It is about the fish and the friends. It is about the rivers that these fish come back to. It is so much more then just numbers and glory. It is about putting the time in and learning how to fish, where to fish, and not about isn't about instant gradification. If it happens it happens.

    I am sure I gone now but recent events have put me over the edge.

  2. word. swinging is where its at. no personal problems with nymph guys tho.
  3. ask all the guys that nymph, i mean float and jig, the grande ronde. There isnt a better river around to skate dries on, yet most people show up with a bobber on their line.

    I pretty much agree with you 100% JJ.
  4. Here we go- this could get UGLY :clown:
  5. Forgive me if I am ignorant to my predecessors, I had no one to teach me to fish as a pup. I had to teach myself and am still learning fifteen years later. But what the heck are you talking about?!!!

    What is "the tradition of steelheading"??? Is there a history lesson I missed on some old school fisherman who was the first guy to ever catch a steelhead or something? I mean no disrespect--please don't take this in a negative tone. I just don't see where you are coming from. Eight fish in a day? Is that even possible? My best wet dreams of steelhead only have one chromer in them.

    Of course maybe you are just on another level than me. I have been fishing for steel for two seasons now and still haven't popped my cherry. I'll use any technique that will work on them--so far none of them work!! If it is this technique that modern fly fisherman use that has put us in this "sad state of steelheading". Well, it hasn't worked for me. Yet. My time will come. I am a patient man and will try and try again. I agree with you on one thing though--fly fishing is about connecting with nature and people-not how many fish you catch.
  6. When I think about the traditon of steelheading....

    I think about the stringer full loads of fish they harvested. Check your history boys. Just about every single Ol'time steelheader you know took their Brace, and then some... when they made history. I'll bet they weren't hatchery fish.
  7. Why do people feel they need to press their ideas on others. This is gettin' a little southern baptist for me folks.

    Im gonna go swing a moose turd on **** creek next time I'm out, who says you can't get a great presentation in a 6ft wide 15cfs trickle with the downstream swing and agressive mending.

    Good on you for lessening your impact on the fish but don't forget each time you head out in march to one of the "S" rivers your are targeting the last of an endangered species.

    I almost dread trips to the Ronde now because of the flac I catch from some swingers. I have seeked out more seculded rivers where I can fish without being harrased. It's sick, I never thought I would see anything like it. It's the only place I have ever been told to f*** off for catching a steelhead.

    Hanging up the hairwings and joining the bait croud, at least they have some tollerance.

  8. Yeah, I'll say this one can get ugly, so let's try to be nice (I know I could really do a number on this one LOL). Agree 100% with Backyard. Alot of the legends of flyfishing took their share of native steelhead (and have seen enough books with them holding gilled nates). I too was taught to respect the resource. We ate everything we took, and never let a fish spoil. We also never took more then we needed (released fish back when it was somewhat scorned upon). Fishing is what you make of it. No one is better, nor more "evolved" because of the gear they use to catch a fish. Just makes them different.
  10. MR. GOD

    Take a look to your left on your keyboard. It says CAPSLOCKS. Press it once and then reply.
  11. BY,
    Going through some older books you see pics of Wahl, Lemire, Knudson, Bradner, etc... holding those huge nates. Those days are long gone.

    The tradition boils down to where we stand with our gear and methods. The bobber and float the gear guy uses can be compared to the nympher that uses a float also. What about swinging flies with weight...same as the gear guy swinging lead and a corkie. If I were to be true to tradition I would be using the Spey rod with Spey, Dee flies only or is it dry flies only? Whatever, I just lost my train of thought. I do agree about making that connection while standing in the river or hiking to your favorite spot...That's reality.

    I believe that the traditions of tomorrow will be the innovations that are emerging today.

    ...the traditions we are creating today need to be respectful of the fish, the sport and of those who came before us - because those that follow will be paying attention.
  13. I agree with your last post. It also has nothing to do with your original. You realy need to come down off that cloud steelheadgod. I think the thin air is affecting your reasoning.
  14. What recent events make you feel so sad about the state of steelheading?

    I think your thoughts are heartfelt and interesting to read.

    I used to swing flies, and I enjoyed the river, I enjoyed my friends, I had a great time catching fish or not catching them. Now I nymph for steelhead, and I still enjoy the river, I still enjoy the friends. Actually, I enjoy everything more then I used to, something about it I love. I even think..*GASP* it's more technically difficult to nymph properly then it is to swing a fly.

    Last weekend I was fishing the queets/clearwater confluence, and as I stood there at sunset I started thinking about a section of Trey Combs steelhead book that I read where he and jim teeny are fishing at the very same spot, and how little it had changed from his description to what I was seeing. I wasn't swinging flies like they were, but it didn't ever once even occur to me, all I thought about was how I was seeing the exact same spot and fishing at the exact same spot that these famous anglers had.

    I don't think you have to immitate someone to show respect to those that pioneered the industry.

    I'm sorry my bobber fishing makes you sad and has put you over the edge. Your post has not made me want to swing again, I'll start swinging again when I feel like I'll have as much fun as I do nymphing. I hope you have as much fun swinging as I do nymphing.
  15. why does it always have to be "either/or"
    it can be "both/and"

    I swing AND I nymph. It just depends on where, when, how
    the river is flowing, the temps, viz & weather issues such
    as clear skys or overcast............. it all goes to the input
    of adapting to fishing one day and one run at a time.

  16. LOUDNOISES!!!!WHATAREWEYELLING ABOUT!!!???? Go catch some steelhead guys, we're all a little too pent up. Sure some of us enjoy swinging, but its not like nymph guys are out slaughtering fish for the grill or smoker. They are just as conscientious on average as anybody who swings. Respect the fish and I dont care, I'm pretty sure a Steelhead doesnt feel any more respected with a marabou in its lip than a piece of yarn.
    Paz Amigos,
  17. Dude, its fishing. We do it for fun. As long as you are having fun, following the law, and not harming the resource unecessarily, then who the hell cares HOW you decide to spend your spare time?!

    Are we disrespecting Lewis and Clark by exploring our rivers with motored vehicles?!
  18. I'm sensing a flame seeker who hasn't caught a fish in a while?

    Lord, please grant him the fish he seeks in the way he seeks it. Please release him from his aggression. Please take him off the perch in which he stands to join his fly fishing brethen. Amen.

    Sorry guys, this southern living is really getting a hold of me....
  19. When I was very young, I read a bit of true humor in "Reader's Digest": The faculty of a small college posted this notice: "From now on, it will be a tradition of this college that freshmen remove their caps while crossing the main quad." Then I thought: "What lame hyppocracy!" Now I kind of understand: it was a feckless attempt to create a good tradition, and so to make that corner of the world a slightly better place.

    Willing submission to tradition can make one's life better and richer. Although I was born among cotton and corn bread (and a lot of traditions, good and bad), I've been here long enough to have known many of the second generation of great steelhead fly fishers. I learned at the knees of Richard Van Demark and Ralph Wahl, George Keough and Walt Johnson and the Murderer's Row of masters who had cabins side by side along the North Stilly below Deer Creek, starting with the first summer I fished in Western WA, my new home.

    This thread's question is another way of asking, Can we compel others to fish like gentlemen? No, of course not. Fortunately, we don't have to. Others, like us, learn slowly or not at all. Do you think that Lewis and Clark ever gave a thought to the possibility that we might someday overharvest the abundant fish of this region? If not, does that mean that even bright people of two centuries ago were stupid compared to us? Or is it that knowledge must stand on a base of older knowledge?

    We're free to wrap our fishing in as much tradition as we want, and to draw the line where it seems called for. I love fishing with traditional spey tackle. But I acknowledge that better rods have been built since my Bruce & Walkers, and certainly since my shoulder-straining greenheart. My lifetime record of steelhead...well, let's say that it would persuade even the Grand Inquisitor that I fish for fun. I choose to fish with a menu of traditions that enable me to convince myself that I'm a better person for the way I fish for steelhead. It doesn't have to be true; it's enough that I believe it.
  20. Tradition...I don't know what that really means I guess.
    Should we put away the graphite and modern lines too???

    About swinging and nymphing.
    I do both, but just because I nymph doesn't mean I respect the fish or water less.
    Maybe I just don't get it.

    So what if a newbie get's into steelhead without putting the time learning how to swing. Good for them.
    What does that have to do with me and what I'm doing out there.
    I thought steelheading is about the journey, the learning, and the experienes one finds out there with himself and the water. Not about numbers.
    So why be so concerned about the other guy.
    Just my opinion.
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