Oh Steelhead, where art thou?

Discussion in 'Steelhead' started by Zen Piscator, Dec 19, 2004.

  1. Zen Piscator Supporting wild steelhead, gravel to gravel.

    Posts: 3,076
    Missoula, MT
    Ratings: +13 / 0
    To all,
    I am off from school until the 4th of Jan, and need a little help (Mac, no jokes!). The local rivers are really high right now, and have just come down from 4 or 5 times over normal flow. Now they are about double what they should be. They are clear, but not dropping much, and look to stay high over the next few weeks. We have a chance of rain over the next few days, but nothing huge, so, I think they will stay about the same, but not drop much. I pounded one of the rivers pretty hard yesterday for about 3 hours, and all the holes I had fished from low water were gone or ripping. Right at the end of the day I was making a few drifts in a flat that used to be about a foot to 2 feet deep, now it’s about 3-4ft deep. I stuck a little buck on the outside of a small seam. He fought well all the way to the shore, but then tangled himself in some roots and broke off a few feet in front of me. My question is this, with the water so high, holding areas are difficult to recognize. I know the fish are there, but I have to think it was mainly dumb luck that I hooked that fish yesterday. Do you guys have any ideas on where to look for steelhead when the river is ripping at 800cfs when u last fished it at 300? Also, the irrigation water that is taken outta these rivers in the fall is put back in the winter, so they really arnt gonna drop much below what they are now. It’s not that im complaining, there are more fish in the system now, I just don’t know how to fish it very effectively. When the water is high and fast, what are key areas to concentrate on? Also, should I spend more time fishing the holes that are fishable? Or should I make an effort to cover as much water as possible, because there is a lot of deeper water habitat for them. Thanx for the help.

    Peace,
    Andy <---- will do anything for steelhead
  2. Peter Pancho Active Member

    Posts: 1,748
    Gig Harbor,WA
    Ratings: +8 / 0
    Come to the west side and do an overnighter at any of the westside rivers. You won't be disappointed! Good luck!

    Peter <><
  3. pwoens Active Member

    Posts: 2,570
    Spokane, Washington, USA.
    Ratings: +5 / 0
    Andy....not sure where you're fishing but I hit a river your direction on Friday that was really low, and landed a 10 lb nate in the first 20 minutes. My buddy lost one a few minutes later....we fished for another hour and but had to head back. The river was way lower than it was a few weeks ago :confused:

    Head east my friend.

    later
  4. Flip The dumb kid

    Posts: 806
    Lk Stevens WA
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    iagree

    though, if you have to say home, fish soft seams and water closer to the bank than you normally would. find the slower water and you will find the fish.

    though, youd be better off coming over here and fishing the big rivers for the real fish :ray1:
  5. Steelie Mike Active Member

    Posts: 1,600
    Camas, WA
    Ratings: +24 / 0
    One thing that I have learned is that when the water level goes up, it is important to cover the water closest to the bank. Make sure you finish your swing directly below you down the bank. Let us know how you do. If you do want to fish the West-side, let me know. :beer2:
  6. Zen Piscator Supporting wild steelhead, gravel to gravel.

    Posts: 3,076
    Missoula, MT
    Ratings: +13 / 0
    Thanx everyone. Pat, 10lb nate, wow. Nice work bro, havnt got anything that big in about a month. the river im fishing is closer to walla walla than the one ur fishing. Check ur pm btw, more info there. If i had a car and could drive (2 more days til i turn 16!)i would be on the lower rivers. Right now im stuck with the ones close to town, parents can drive me. The reason our rivers are high right now is because we got a bit of snow in the blue moutains, and then had a week of 50-60 degree weather. The water was really ripping. A kid even drowned in mill creek, didnt relieze how fast it was moving, really tobad. The catch rates on the river im fishing are better than the catch rates on the river your fishing so HA! Plus, i donno any of the holes on the river your fishing, but i will once i can drive. Btw, lets hook up over christmas break and rip some lip. I would like to see where you are fishing the river you are fishing, i think if i can get away frmo the crowds over there, it would be worth a shot.

    Steelie mike,
    Thanx for the info, it makes since. I acaully hooked my fish about mid river, but i could see how the bank fishing would be hot. There are alot of undercuts on this river, so im sure they are in there. As far as west side, maybe if i can bring a friend, i will see if anyone from walla walla wants to meet up with you and maybe some others, like after chritmas.

    Peace,
    Andy
  7. wrench Member

    Posts: 408
    Libby, Mt, US.
    Ratings: +13 / 0
    Grasshopper,
    gonna kinda repeat what has been said...I have fished the Touchet a decade ago when it was really high, I do the corkie, splitshot and egg fly thing, drop it in every little slack spot along theedge you can find. Very often not much casting at all, just drop the mess in. Me thinks Ihave mentioned it before, but I feel most folks use too long of a leader doing this, or for that matter, most fly fishing. Most of that edge water will be two to three feet deep, five foot leader plenty. Have fun, report manditory upon return from your journey
  8. Flip The dumb kid

    Posts: 806
    Lk Stevens WA
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    you getting your licence the day you turn 16 andy? if so.. that spells ROAD TRIP TO THE WET SIDE!
  9. Zen Piscator Supporting wild steelhead, gravel to gravel.

    Posts: 3,076
    Missoula, MT
    Ratings: +13 / 0
    Wrench,
    You made a really good point that i havnt thought about much until latley. Short leaders are easy to cast, get less messed up, and they are all you need. I have been getting shorter and shorter, now down to about 6ft. Thanx for the tips, i will keep cutting that leader, until one day i just tie the fly onto that big yellow line. Wrench, i think i fish as much as you, so if i typed up all the reports, people would grow sick of my mediocore writing skills and my fingers would eventualy stop working. I will put up something about tomorrow however.

    Flip,
    I wish, lisense will probalby be gotten sometime around early jan. I have been busy, need to stop fishing and practice driving. But then, wet side road trip! I will try to stay away from backyard however, if my mom finds out i got into the brewski, well, ya....

    Peace my brutha
  10. Luv2flyfish Another Flyfisherman

    Posts: 753
    Western WA, US.
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    Another remedy for finding steelhead when the flows are a little asque (sp?) is just Time on the water. Some spots in some flows are holding water. When the flow goes up too much, or down too much for that matter it can change that flow enough to NOT be desirable places for mr. steely to hang out. Go back into the mental file cabinet and remember what the water looked like in the lies you have caught steelhead before. Some of the places that used to be dead water during summer/fall low flows will now be sweet holding water, whereas some of those low water lies will no longer be sweet. Thats all part of learning your water....which comes from Nothing else but TIME on said water. :thumb: Good Luck

    Jay
  11. Charlie Erdman In search of steel

    Posts: 354
    K. Falls, OR
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    andy dude,

    the rivers are still running high? damn...back here in vt, where it hasn't gotten about 0 degrees ferhenheit all day. when i get back in jan, we should start taking some weekend road trips. anyways, good luck, and pound that slower water.

    later dude

    charlie
  12. Zen Piscator Supporting wild steelhead, gravel to gravel.

    Posts: 3,076
    Missoula, MT
    Ratings: +13 / 0
    Charlie, river wa down a little bit today. I tied into one fish about an hour into 3 hours of fishing. The fish hit right next to the bank, and he was on for about 2 secounds, enough time for a heart stopping jump. He ate a purple hackled red gridle bug with white rubber legs, no im not kidding. Didnt touch another fish the whole day, and my buddy had one flash at his fly, but that was it. Some people had fished through before us, and i think that was why. The water dropped 150 cfs. It helped. Thanx for all he help guys. Btw charlie, when are u getting home?

    Peace,
    Andy
  13. Flip The dumb kid

    Posts: 806
    Lk Stevens WA
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    hey luv2fly, your looking for the word Askew: to be set at an improper tone or be put out of place.

    sorry: i play WAY the hell 2 much scrabble ptyd
  14. Luv2flyfish Another Flyfisherman

    Posts: 753
    Western WA, US.
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    Thanx Flip. Scrabble and Fly Fishing......interesting combination. You need to fish more, and forget about scrabble. :beer2: