Hooked on Dollys

Discussion in 'Fly Fishing Forum' started by Simplebugger, Nov 11, 2013.

  1. Simplebugger New Member

    Posts: 23
    Mukilteo WA
    Ratings: +21 / 0
    First trip for Dolly's went exceptionally well today. After watching the water spike on Friday I thought I wouldn't get the chance but as Lady Luck would have it the water calmed right down and gave me my shot. I Drove up above Wooley today and found a great park with some braids to fish and they were loaded with spawning salmon so I knew I was in the right place. After some local intel I decided to swing some chartreuse clousers and the fish devoured it. The first one was a whale that pushed just over 30 inches and subsequent 8 fish were 20 inches or under; also got a bonus cutthroat. All in all a good first Dolly trip.
    Sorry the pics are upside down

    Attached Files:

  2. Patrick Allen Active Member

    Posts: 397
    Ratings: +174 / 0
    A toad for sure
  3. miyawaki Active Member

    Posts: 3,212
    Kent, Washington, USA.
    Ratings: +838 / 1
    a great searun there!
  4. David Dalan 69°19'15.35" N 18°44'22.74" E

    Posts: 1,904
    Walla Walla, WA
    Ratings: +737 / 0
    That is a big ol dolly for sure. I once saw a 30" bull trout on my side of the state, but it was a noodle. Yours is tubby.

    Nice work!
  5. BDD Active Member

    Posts: 2,227
    Ellensburg, WA
    Ratings: +216 / 2
    Nice looking fish; both char and trout.

    Did you happen to notice what species of salmon were spawning nearby; coho or chum?
  6. Evan Burck Fudge Dragon

    Posts: 6,440
    Duvall, wa
    Ratings: +1,618 / 2
    Now that your first trip is behind you, join the rest of us in saying "Bull Trout.". Dollies live in Alaska, yo.

    I'm also jealous of that toad, btw.
  7. Simplebugger New Member

    Posts: 23
    Mukilteo WA
    Ratings: +21 / 0
    Not to be that guy that quibles over semantics but we do in fact have dolly varden and bull trout in washington. They are two very similar fish but distinct species that do vary a bit, or so says WDFW...

  8. Charles Sullivan dreaming through the come down

    Posts: 2,287
    bellingham wa
    Ratings: +539 / 0
    Pig. Congrat.'s

    Go Sox,
  9. fish-on Waters haunt me....

    Posts: 271
    camano island
    Ratings: +30 / 0
    Wow!! That is a definite toad there! Been lucky enough to catch a few 27+ in the past but never that long and definitely not that porky.

    Beautiful fish. Thanks for sharing
  10. Smalma Active Member

    Posts: 2,797
    Marysville, Washington
    Ratings: +653 / 0
    Some dandy fish for sure!

    It is pretty cool how those fish just "blow up" post spawn when they can access to a huge food resource such as that provided by this year's huge pink run. Those effects are multiplied when we don't have high waters that was the carcasses and loose eggs out to sea.

    The basin's bull trout population has recovered nicely since that devastating impacts from the 2003 flood. It just has been the last year or so that those larger fish are becoming more common in the population though there still is a lack of true monsters yet (just a matter of time until enough time passes to allow those giants to reach their potential).

    Simlpebugger -
    While it is certainly true that both Dolly Varden and bull trout can be found in Washington it is the case that genetic testing has confirmed that the Puget Sound anadromous native char are bull trout. There are localized populations (head water residents) of Dolly Varden in the Skagit basin but they have been confirmed only in Thunder Creek (trib to Diablo Lake) and some of the smaller Skagit tribs above Ross in BC.

    In the article & reference section of this site there is a thumbnail sketch of Skagit bull trout info that you may find interesting; see -


    Alpine4x4 likes this.
  11. Greg Price Love da little fishies

    Posts: 528
    Puyallup, WA
    Ratings: +70 / 0
    Simple bugger,

    Thanks for sharing your most excellent catches.

    I caught my first char last weekend. It was 8" and I was thrilled.

    I wonder if monsters like the ones you caught are available in the Puyallup/Carbon river system.

    If anyone who fishes the Puyallup system and is willing to share secrets with me, I am all ears.
  12. GAT Active Member

    Posts: 3,992
    Willamette Valley, OR
    Ratings: +2,561 / 0
    Ya big ol' silly guys... bull trout are easy to distinguish from dollies.

    The Metolius is full of bull trout... here's one:

    Jake Dixon likes this.
  13. GAT Active Member

    Posts: 3,992
    Willamette Valley, OR
    Ratings: +2,561 / 0
    BTW, Simplebugger, nice fish... whatever it is:)
  14. Hillbilly Redneck wishin i was fishin

    Posts: 421
    Whitehorse Mt.
    Ratings: +80 / 0
    I hope when I tell someone I caught a Dolly from the Skagit drainage they know what I'm talking about. I'll probably never call them Bull Trout.

    Those are some fatties Dollies you found.
  15. Hillbilly Redneck wishin i was fishin

    Posts: 421
    Whitehorse Mt.
    Ratings: +80 / 0
    Also I would add that you beadheads out there take note that he caught these fish with a streamer on fish that were most likely eating eggs. I know Dollies aren't Methow steelhead but it's worth noting. I've seen guys fishing egg patterns with bobbers behind redds for SRC and I just don't get it. I just felt like stirring the pot.
  16. GAT Active Member

    Posts: 3,992
    Willamette Valley, OR
    Ratings: +2,561 / 0
    There's a popular section of the Metolius called the Dolly Hole. We were all crushed when we found out that there are no dollies in the Metolius and they're actually bull trout. We refused to change the name to "the bull trout hole"... too wordy ... so it's still called the Dolly Hole even if there isn't any.
  17. Preston Active Member

    Posts: 2,458
    Ratings: +434 / 0
    Puget Sound's anadromous bull trout are primarily piscivores and, while they are sufficiently opportunistic to eat eggs washed out of salmon redds as well as the flesh of rotting salmon carcasses, they will be perfectly willing to take a crack at anything looking like a baitfish fluttered over their heads. Sea-run cutthroat will also gobble down a floating egg but are quite susceptible to more sporting presentations, including dry flies.
  18. Smalma Active Member

    Posts: 2,797
    Marysville, Washington
    Ratings: +653 / 0
    While I know with certainty that the char I'm catching on my "home waters" are bull trout with the fly rod in hand I still often refer to them as "Dollies"; hard to break decade long habits.

    Regardless of what we may call them they are a wonderful fish for the fly angler that can at the same time provide some great and challenging "trout" fishing. Our rivers would be a lot emptier without them.

    Chris DeLeone and Chris Johnson like this.
  19. Hillbilly Redneck wishin i was fishin

    Posts: 421
    Whitehorse Mt.
    Ratings: +80 / 0
    I used to "scoff" at Dollies while out steelhead fishing on the Skagit system. Now I go out and intentionally fish for them. Maybe I'm progressing through the "5 stages of fishing". Or maybe that says something about how good the steelhead fishing is.
    jake-e-boy likes this.
  20. Nick Clayton Active Member

    Posts: 2,845
    Ratings: +1,123 / 4
    Funny that you talk of beading when trolling is obviously your method of choice.

    Irafly, Steve Unwin and Patrick Allen like this.