Keeping a log

Discussion in 'Steelhead' started by Klickrolf, Dec 26, 2012.

  1. Klickrolf

    Klickrolf Active Member

    Tracy, in an earlier thread mentioned that he's kept a log of his stealheading. It hasn't worked for him yet but I predict it will help him big time in the future.

    Detailed logs are a great idea. My brother's been doing it for about 30 years and his documentation is tremendously useful, trouble is it's my brothers documentation. It's perfect for him and his experience but I don't have one and I'm fishing alone most of the time. How useful is historic data on where, when, who was along, rod/line setup, water temp, fly, flows, run, spot in run...? Can we keep it all in our heads? I keep some but when it comes to comparing variables I'm lost.

    How can you lose if you keep this type of log? You can only learn and improve your chances if you keep track of what's happened before.
  2. Tracy Lauricella

    Tracy Lauricella Active Member

    I like keeping a log. It's just a spreadsheet that lists date, location, time, who I was with, what I caught, and a spot for notes.

    It's interesting data to look at; obviously it's not going to replace observations once you get on the water, and conditions are going to change every time you go out, but it's nice to be able to look at the log and refresh my memory. Most often it's used for answering questions like "what weekend was it that we went to the lake last year and did so well?" or "last year when we were here there was a huge midge hatch going on that started right at twilight. Let's stick around a while and see if it happens again." (it did)

    Sometimes it's just nostalgia. A note that says "lots of bluegill. Fished at night with [my wife]. Full moon, really quiet on the water" brings back memories of seeing the fish rising and sipping at flies on a mirror-smooth lake in the dark, lit only by moonlight.

    I recently got a couple of nice fishing logbooks with heavy paper pages and a leather binding. I've started transcribing my spreadsheet. Once I'm all caught up, I think this will encourage me to write more than just a couple of typed sentences, and will be something I can enjoy looking back on in the years to come.
    Mark Kraniger likes this.
  3. Derek Day

    Derek Day Rockyday

    My step dad and I have a google earth map showing location, day, fly, and gauge hight at Pateros for the Methow for every steelhead we have hooked/seen hooked. It's kind of interesting to see it laid out that way, we have some pretty defined clusters. I imagine that it will help us decide when to fish where in the future.
    Steffan Brown likes this.
  4. David Dalan

    David Dalan 69°19'15.35" N 18°44'22.74" E

    I'm old skewl. It's all in my head. Besides, I'm not motivated enough to write it down.

    That being said, I think something like this would be cool to pass down to kids, etc. A real treasure of data (as long as they get to go fishing too..)

    I think a couple of useful bits of information can be revealed from logs (in respect to the thread starters questions)....

    Run timing. On streams without barriers, angling can reveal some insights as to when the run starts and stops. Can help you get ahead of the mob.

    Temperature data. Correlating water temperature and angling can be very effective. There is no silver bullet, but I think water temps have the second biggest impact on (thinking steelhead here) on angling success, second only to the presence of fish. For example, I took a good skunking yesterday, as did the other anglers I saw. Water was the right level, color was AMAZING, and the water was 37F. Fish are there for absolute certainty, and probably loafing about on the bottom like presto logs.

    Identifying holding water. Year after year there are fish factories that seem to hold the lions share of fish. Logs will help ID these structures.

    Logs are great for tying the various data points together. But honestly, I don't forget much when it comes to angling. I might not be able to give you exact dates, but I seem to retain all the other bits (location, gage height if checked, water temps) without the need to write it down.

    One of my few physical gifts I suppose (unless being fat an nearly bald count as gifts)

    Ed Call likes this.
  5. Andrew Lawrence

    Andrew Lawrence Active Member

    I keep an extensive log which over time, has kind of turned into a journal. Anyhow, record the flows, air temperature, water temperature, clarity, the amount of precipitation in the days preceding my trip, where in the run the fish hit and whether or not the run was in the shade or sun, what fly I used, and how heavy the fishing pressure on the river was. In addition, I also record what the tide was while I was fishing. This is especially the case on the O.P. So far, my records regarding flows, air temperature, water temperature, clarity, and the amount of precipitation in the days preceding my trip have been most helpful.
  6. Sean Beauchamp

    Sean Beauchamp Hot and Heavy at yer 6

    I kept a log for 3 years and I kind of fizzled out on it. I'm bummed it was cool! When I start it up again I want to do it on my computer and copy and paste the actual usgs graph from that day instead of just writing the flow (often I'd right what it was when I left and what it was when I got home).

    I've learned besides what the present flow is, the preceding days leading up to it are key for the bigger picture. I have a bunch of them saved in my phone from crazy good days that resulted from a strange or unusual water event.
    Andrew Lawrence likes this.
  7. Salmo_g

    Salmo_g Active Member

    I kept a fishing log for a few years early on in my fly fishing career. Then I stopped because I had a pretty good memory and never had a problem remembering the relevant parameters for fishing, like time of year, water height, temp., dropping or rising, and fish caught and where. Problem is, it's no longer early on in my angling career or life, and my memory isn't as keen as it once was. It's not a problem for the waters I fish the most, as regular review keeps the important information current, but for those less frequented places, it takes some educated guess work or a hot tip from a friend.

  8. Evan Burck

    Evan Burck Fudge Dragon

    I have the saaaaaaaame map. Mapping the Methow has become a hobby of mine.
  9. cuponoodle breakfast

    cuponoodle breakfast Active Member

    You have nothing to lose from keeping a log. I've kept one for years but make entries less often now. I reference it regularly before heading out. The biggest thing for me is knowing at what flows I've fished and accessed certain areas. If you fish rivers small enough to wade across, then previous flow info is pretty handy. And some places fish better in low water while some fish better in high water.
  10. Drifter

    Drifter Active Member

    I think keeping a log would help anybody. Like David Dalan say's I am someone who also remembers so much about my fishing. many friends will remember the fish or something funny that happened on a trip from years past but I tend to remember "why" we did so well. For years my friends and I would switch fisheries and I could not believe what these people would forget! things like how to rig-up for a different fishery to where and when. I started telling them to "write this shit down" because I got tired of telling them how we were going to fish each different river or fishery as in - chinook, steel, stillwater steel,coastal rivers versus home waters.

    I think like David states some of us remember different details of a trip. some of us are more interested in remembering the fun or fish and some of us remember why we had the fun and caught fish!

    For steelheading water level from year to year will change run timing. colors for different temps should be a normal part of your knowledge and where steelhead change there lies in different temps and flows is all info that we should already have in our heads. If new - a log would help with this and teach you faster I would think.

    Like Tracy points out, hatch timing, trout feeding habits at different times of the year, I guess for me a log for trout fishing would be a lot more beneficial, but that's just me.

    I once asked two of my friends if I am a HANDY-CAP FOR THEM? meaning they did not have to remember things because they could just call me and ask!

    I should keep a log of fish caught because I have so many people say "remember when" and start talking about a fish or people we fished with and I remember very little of it. but if you ask me when we should fish a river for chinook or steel I can tell you almost exactly when, what tides, what time in the tides, I can look at a tide chart in jan. and tell when to take vacation for salmon camp at the coast by tides in Oct. or Nov. what level to fish certain rivers and time of the year. but trying to remember what week the hatch started at coldwater last summer is a bitch.
  11. GAT

    GAT Active Member

    Keeping a fishing log is all good and well and something I should really do but never have.

    However, log-keeping can get carried away. I'm aware of one spin angler who steelhead fished exclusively on one small and remote river on the Oregon Coast. He keep a fishing log and actually counted each cast he made for the day! I'm not kidding. Not only did he keep track of the ambient temps, water temps, water condition, date, time of day, exact locations but the number of casts he made before catching a steelhead. And of course he made exact measurements and stats he obtained from the steelhead he caught. If he was skunked, he still kept track of the number of casts and all other info that may have lead to his failure.

    He made a spread sheet of the massive daily information and for one year filled up a full size binder.

    So, if you're into keeping a fishing log, you need to start keeping track of each cast you make -- unless you have a danged good memory, I'm not sure how you are supposed to do that, but evidently, it is required data.

    I'm not sure what good it does to know how many casts you make before hooking a fish but there is a spin guy out there who believes the number is imperative.

  12. I don't want to turn this thread into another rant about ethics, but I think keeping a log is okay so long as it is a hatchery log. All wild logs should be kept in the water and released unharmed. If you must take a picture, be sure to do so while the log is resting in shallow water. Also, light tippets make it much easier to break off a log, once you realize it is unclipped.

    I have a lot of experience catching logs (I'm a much more successful log fisherman than steelhead fisherman). I have practiced only catch and release on all logs, but I understand that some folks think they "smoke up real good."

  13. wadin' boot

    wadin' boot Donny, you're out of your element...

    If you keep a log and dataset with that degree of OCD, might as well throw it into a stats package and look for " correlative significance." Paint the target on the barn door. Too many variables and you get mulitple comparison errors. That may lead to OCD valhallla- a place with lots of proverbial doors. If you view this site as a kind of log of things people have correlated over the years you can go to the waters with the idea to test rather than generate- a hypothesis/plan...

    maybe some swung purple and black flies on some cool cloudy midweek days with moderate flows on the inside bend of site **** is where I'll start and if not well then I'm pluggin'

    Alternateive hypothesis/plan...

    Cat burgle Evan's and Derek's Methow Logs, superimpose them mentally, ninja them back, then fish the most likely spots at the most likely times and look all surprised when they show ..."Hey, fancy seeing you guys all means go ahead and fish...I hear this spot is high yield"
  14. inland

    inland Active Member

    I have kept a log for over a decade. Every fish moved, fly, presentation and where. Sometimes water temps and often flows. Amazing how much is forgotten or not exactly remembered! Self deliar! Plus you just won't remember all the details the longer you play this game. Hundreds of taking lies. Water level variation in those lies. Multiple species. For me that is Atlantic salmon and steel. I added in my catch data from the first ten years to this thorough log to have a semi complete picture. Wish I would have listened to a buddy from day one for keeping a journal.
  15. constructeur

    constructeur Active Member

    Just note where they've parked, then be a total yabbo and park there earlier than they do the next morning.:cool:
    wadin' boot likes this.
  16. Codioos

    Codioos Active Member

    By far one of the best things I've done. Make sure to note water flow and clarity with time of season, as it will help with bug/beed colors.
  17. Dave Evans

    Dave Evans Active Member

    Never kept a log and never will. Having "the truth" written down would prevent my fishing stories and fish caught from improving and growing with age.
    Tracy Lauricella and GAT like this.
  18. I keep a pretty basic one of what he gauges were and my impressions of the water that day. It's just so I can have an idea of what spots seemed best at particular levels.