Nisqually Steelhead

Discussion in 'Steelhead' started by Ron Eagle Elk, Oct 14, 2004.

  1. Ron Eagle Elk

    Ron Eagle Elk Active Member

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    This evening, about 5:00 PM I was down on the Nisqually practicing with my new spey rod. The single and double spey casts are getting pretty decent. While I was casting a strike indicator (I don't want a sharp hook impaling any body parts, I was practicing, remember) I noticed a fish feeding on the surface in a deep run on the far side of the river. Thinking it might be a Cutt, I decided to have some fun. The only fly I had with me was a size 8 October Caddis tied on a salmon hook. I tied it on the 6 pound test mono I was using for a practice leader and tried to get a drag free drift over the feeding lane. On the second cast the fly got hit, and hit hard. First time in a long time I had a reel screaming as this thing took line out. After five minutes I got the fish within arms length. No net, no nothing except forceps and line nippers. Instead of a Cutt the fish was bright chrome and about 30 inches long. I worked the fish in so I could tail it, it spotted me or something spooked it and it took off, me with the drag on the reel set as high as it would go. Maybe it was the drag being set, maybe there were some wind knots in that practice leader, but it parted before I could reach the fish.

    Needless to say, I'll be going back down there in the AM as well as the PM to see if that joker is still there, along with a real leader, and the wife with a net and camera. I know, no lifting the fish out of the water.

    Man, I hope I can sleep tonight.

    REE
     
  2. cocothemonkey

    cocothemonkey New Member

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    congrats on the hook up!! As for leaders for a spey rod, straight mono works just as well as a tapered leader for single or spey casting. I like using straight mono because it is easier and cheaper than tying up a bunch of hand made leaders (read that as lazy.)
     
  3. Angler 77

    Angler 77 AKA Scott Jones

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    Congrats on the spur of the moment fish. I would consider myself lucky to hook a steelhead out of the Nisqually. I grew up near it, but have spent very little time fishing it. A friend of mine caught a couple steelhead years ago while fishing for trout, but other than that I don't know of much steelhead action in the Nisqually. I've read that do to mis-management and unchecked netting in the 80's-90's the once "great" Nisqually steelhead runs have all but been eliminated. I read once that it used to produce some rather large steelhead. Do you fish the Nisqually often? I'd be interested in learning a thing or two about it as I live 10 minutes from the lower river.
     
  4. KerryS

    KerryS Ignored Member

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    Ron,

    You finally made the plunge into the world of spey ehh? That is great. If you are anything like me you might never look back to your single handers for salmon or steelhead.

    Good luck with the casting and congrats on the fish. Was it your first on the spey rod?

    Kerry

    PS: FYI: My son is in Falluja and is doing as well as can be expected.
     
  5. TomB

    TomB Active Member

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    speyrods are for old ladies who cant nail out a 90ft cast with a single hander (and arguments like this are made by young whippersnappers who can't afford speyrods but secretly lust after them)
    -tom :beer2:
     
  6. Charlie Erdman

    Charlie Erdman In search of steel

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    what are some of the advantages of spey casting as opposed to one handed rods. is it difficult to pick up spey casting? just a little curious as I just landed my first steelhead last weekend and I am now addicted.

    charlie
     
  7. Florian Leischner

    Florian Leischner o_clarki

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    Ron,

    Are you sure it wasn't a chum ? It would be about two months early, but Nisqually Chum are bright silver from when they enter the river until January. I have fished for Chum with a guy in the past, that would use muddler patterns all the time.
    Steelhead are very rare in the Nisqually, with the peak migration in March to April. It used to be stocked with Summer steelhead in the early 90's but due to bad returns discontinued the program. Of course, some will scream "Those nets in the river ! Those nets !" wiped out the hatchery summer as well as native winter run. But all South Sound Steelhead are doing very badly, even those without nets in the rivers.
    Anyways, it might have been a very early steelhead, you can call yourself one lucky guy for enticing one to take your fly.
    If anybody is interested in learning more about Nisqually River Salmon/Trout, feel free to join the Nisqually Stream Stewards and especially the Salmon Watchers Program.
    http://www.theolympian.com/home/specialsections/Environment/20041011/12094.shtml
    http://www.nisquallyriver.org/stewards/index.html
     
  8. TomB

    TomB Active Member

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    it could have also been a hatchery stray!
    -t
     
  9. Ron Eagle Elk

    Ron Eagle Elk Active Member

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    Wow, a lotta responses to this one.

    I live about ten minutes walk from the river in Yelm, so I do fish it often. During the summer there are a ton of smolts in there ( I don't bother the smolts, I fisih the Little D then) and those smolt have to come from somewhere, I just never made the connection to a fish of that size.

    Kerry, yup, I'm a spey convert for sure. With arthritis in the handds and shoulders the long rod really improved my endurance on the river. Also, it was my first steel head on the spey. Great fun. My wife got me a Redington Spey rod, 8/9 weight and an Okuma reel for my birthday. Now I'm addicted for sure.

    Yes, I'm sure it was a steelhead. I got a real good look at him before he decided to take my Ronn Lucas Iridescent October Caddis home to the kids.

    I'm really new to spey casting and there are some on this board with much more experience than I have, but it is fairly easy to pick up and much less tiring than throwing a heavy sink tip with a single hander. The big advantage for me is not having to deal with backcast room.

    REE
     
  10. Jerry Daschofsky

    Jerry Daschofsky Moderator Staff Member

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    Angler77, if you lived near the Nasty and never fished it growing up (not sure of your age), you really missed out. The Nasty, Puke, and Green all used to contend with top honors putting out steelhead when I was growing up (even comparing to the mighty Cow). Overfishing (whether it be sport, net, etc) has paid it's toll.

    Yes, you can have strays from other rivers nearby, plus fish still do make it up that still come to spawn. Just not in numbers they once were. Yes, these runs are severly depressed, why I don't fish them at all anymore for steelhead. Just my choice. Ron could've just lucked into one of the few who still run up. I'm sure Ron probably knows the difference from a chum and a steelhead (since a chum has ZERO markings on it when chrome bright lol). I remember plenty of multifish days out of the Nasty in the late 70's/very early 80's. We would plunk the Puke and Green, but drift fish the Nasty. Though we prefered to head west to fish on the coastal streams.
     
  11. wet line

    wet line New Member

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    The Nisqually is really an interesting river. It has big fish of all sorts. The state record if memory serves me correct for a SRC came out of the Nisqually, 6 and a half pounds. Six or seven years ago fishing the tidal flux I caught my biggest SRC ever, 27 inches and about 5 and a half pounds, that was a measured fish. I thought it was a weird steelhead until I saw the faint slashes on it's throat. If I can find the pictures I will post them.

    It seems way too early for a chum, but a summer run steelhead or a really big cutt could be a possibility. A salmon is also a good possibility. The fish come in that river late and that is what makes it so interesting. Just think Ron that you just lost a 7 pound SRC!! Of course you would have to kill it to make it official. I have hooked maybe 10 or 12 cutts in the Nisqually that went over 24 inches. So to hook a cutt in the 30 inch range seems quite possible to me. That is why I make a few really serious trips to that river every year, because I know there are some really big cutts that still come into that river. My one trip this year produced a 23 incher and a couple in the high teens. You aren't going to catch very many if any at all, but there are some there. It is kind of like fishing for the needle in the haystack!

    You can fish for numbers or you can fish for size! Each have their rewards!

    Dave
     
  12. msteudel

    msteudel Mark Steudel

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    WetLine do you normally drift down the river or just fish in the delta, if you don't mind sharing.

    Mark
     
  13. wet line

    wet line New Member

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    I only fish rivers where I can keep my feet on the ground. No boats for me. Think low where the water goes up and down and the salt mixes with the fresh.

    The delta has a lot more water to fish than the Nisqually. ;)

    Dave
     
  14. billylee

    billylee New Member

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    If I remember correctly chum fishing in the nisqually was closed last year in Feb sometime to protect the steelhead run. I think the tribe monitors and watches it and only 600 steelies were counted last year.

    I've heard stories about the steelies that were there back in the day. There are some old timers who still talk about it when you run into them. And there are some big cutties in there. I remember as a kid fishing the Wilcox farms property (I was in scouts and we camped there once in a while, one of the wilcox kids was in my troop) a little bit. My brother lost a horking fish there one year.

    Billy
     
  15. Florian Leischner

    Florian Leischner o_clarki

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    Side-question

    I fish the Nisqually about a dozen times a year: a few times in June/July for trout and early sea-runs and then after the water gets cloudy in December for those big and bright chummies. Has anybody every fished it successfully for the sea-runs when the water is glacial (i.e. August through March)? I believe I catch chum even with this visibility problem going on, because they are so numerous, and so you are bound to get a fly in front of them. But sea-runs ? Their runs are, I would immagine, much smaller and so has anybody done well for those during those months ?
    Just wondering....
     

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