size of flies?

Discussion in 'Spey Clave' started by kimosabe, Jul 1, 2007.

  1. Tall,
    Well I'll bet you steak and eggs down at the corner that I know said guide quite well. He is a very good spey caster but he spends his days steering dudes down the Clearwater while they sit in the front with a single hander loaded with a Hi-D head. I know something of his tackle because he has bought heads from me in the past. I am not criticizing his methods (he is very effective) but his method in the main is not swinging flies, be they BIG fluffies or petite hairwings. He does occasionally have a dude with a spey rod but they still fish out of the boat in the same manner as described above for the most part. There is only one guide on the Clearwater not fishing from a boat and that is Tracy Allen. His boat is only used as a conveyance. All of his customers spey cast and step down while swinging hairwings or spey flies.

    The book you can't find is available at the Red Shed.

    I do know the the story of the string leech. There are lots of stories like this and I give them their due. I even have a couple myself. However, I can't believe that you would dismiss the findings of the majority of published steelhead authors based on these incidental happenings.

    I would not have the above any other way. You should fish what you have confidence in. If you need a boatload I'd suggest a "Dupont Spinner". It will cut through the wind and be much more effective then your BIG fluffy.

    As to hairwings and floating lines, I base my beliefs on my time fishing the Clearwater continually since 1971. Also on the knowledge of my many friends and customers that have been fishing the Clearwater for 20 years or more. Many of these people are well traveled. They have lots of spey tackle and are well versed on the many different applications of said tackle. These guys are very successful here. None of them are fishing the type of flies or tackle you espouse.

    I also know the Clearwater is not a generous mistress and my time as a fly shop owner talking with hapless anglers that have been swinging leeches and other assorted BIG stuff on sinktips in the summer and fall makes me think there is a better way. When I get them to change lines to a floating line and put on a hairwing sometimes they catch a fish. That is why I believe so strongly in my preferred method.
  2. I have been steelhead fishing for 6 years and I can count on one hand the steelhead I have hooked (fortunately I do have all five fingers). So you can take my experience with a grain of T14 next to some of the experts on this site....

    The first two fish I hooked came on a Novemeber day fishing the saltwater off Whidbey Island and I lost them both. One was on a marabou popsicle pattern (broke me off due to a bad knot) and the other hit a #2 GP and slipped off due to the hook point being broken off (by me on the rocks behind:beathead: ). That was about 3 or 4 yrs ago.

    Last year the drought was finally broken. My first steelhead to hand was a 20" one-salt summer run that hit a dry fly (#8 orange stimulator) on the drift, I was fishing for SRCs with my 5 wt at the time. The next was a month later, a bright 30" hen that hit a #8 signal light, swung on a dry line on the Deschutes- My first chrome on a spey!

    So... my first two Steelhead to hand came on a dry line, fishing #8 Randall Kaufmann flies! :confused: And believe me- I have tried it all! I've done my share of tips and big flies as well as nymphs, egg patterns etc . I must admit though, getting a big bunny leech to turn over with a spey rod feels next to impossible so I am learning to avoid these monsters whenever possible.

    Last winter I had a big Skykomish winter-run on for about 30 secs. It hit an orange heron tied on a 1.5 AJ hook. I think I should have let it turn before setting the hook- so once again I blame myself.:hmmm:

    There you have it- my entire SH hooking career 5 hooked 2 landed (3/2 last year). I spared you the details of 20,000 casts (aren't they supposed to come every 1000??? ), + untold snags, lost flies, soaked rain gear and fishless days.

    My score card:
    Dry fly 1
    Big marabou 1
    small marabou 1
    Shrimp pattern 1
    Glasso Steelhead Spey fly 1

    or to put into context of this thread:
    Hairwing 0
    Articulated leech 0

  3. Kerry I have no problem with your statment above. Anyone that has seen my tag line knows I don't care how people fish as long as it "works for them". I fish a floater and hairwing because that is the greatest pleasure "for me" and I believe it to be the most effective method for my river.
  4. ChrisW,
    It sounds like you are having a good time which is what counts.
  5. I hope Tall and SM do get over here sometime soon. We can debate this issue some more. If they prove me wrong while fishing here I will be the first to pay homage to their methods. I will show them the mentioned guide and they can watch his methods. I have fished with some of his peers and I know the drill from the boat.
    Also some day I wouldn't mind visiting their rivers. I will be fishing "my methods" however because I have friends fishing those same waters very successfully with floating lines, hairwings, spey flies, and wakers.
    It has been tuff to find the time to get over to their neck of the woods however as I've been to busy selling hairwings to unsuspecting folks from the "wet side".:cool:
  6. I fish the Cowlitz mostly these days and I can vouch that the steelhead take size 4 or 6 unweighted wet flies fished on a dry line very well in water up to 5 or 6 feet deep when the water reaches about 46 degrees. I think this is what Bill McMilllan said in his book. I know they will also take waking flies in the Cowlitz at times.

    I haven't fished the Grande Ronde since the 1960's so can't comment other than that the steelhead were very aggressive and had troutlike habits at that time.

    Fish however you like, but experiment and try different things, you might like it.

  7. OH no you didn't just say that. hehe, too funny :rofl: Not sure the spinner would cast, but maybe I should try it with my skagit head.

    I can't argue with your experience and time on the water. I'm not trying to steer anyone from using hairwings. I just feel others should know how effective leeches/big flies are/can be even when you won't find much about them in mainstream steelhead books.

    I agree Kerry. I plan on mixing it up a little this year.

    Yep, I/we plan to get over there. We should of came and saw you when we were on the Ronde last year. That place sucked when we were down there. Owner of Bogan's Oasis, said it was the worst he had seen it in 14+ years....Figures, I picked that year to go:beathead:

    Come on over, school will be in session:cool: :beer2:

    Ah ha, the truth comes out!
  8. Tall,

    I almost forgot that youth is the best substitute for experience. :beathead:

  9. Thought I'd jump in here,

    I remember one afternoon in late october when a good friend and I were stoping by the red shed for a break, and poppy gave me a fly... it was a marabou spey with a sexy mallard wing... and that is the only fly you have ever recomended to me...

    Here are my thought on the clearwater fly patterns. I have fished the CW for only four seasons, nothing in comparision to poppy. I have had some great days, some greater days, and one greatest day. I have taken many fish on hair wings, more on leaches and even a few on nymphs. I have found that fish will hit a hair wing fished greased line very well up until about thanksgiving( do you fish much after that poppy?), or until the water is in the low fourty degree range. IMO fish will hit about anything so long as the temp is right and they are a biter. In fact didnt someone raise a steelhead to the pieces of casting yarn at the spey clave last year?

    The very best time for me has been the late season. Probably because most people wont brave the cold and I get on undisturbed fish all day. In fact one day comes to mind when poppies riffle was frozen and we had to fish way low to find clean water... The bottom line is I have caught steelhead on size 16 princes up to 7 inch long leaches. These fish are crazy and thats why I am crazy for them.
  10. Justin, Dupoint spinner= dynamite. I hope you can cast farther than I have seen you cast on big water :rofl: I am sure you would fit in with the good old boys though if you did.

    That's weak like an old man's prostate. If your sarcasim were true then the youth of this country would not be one ones getting killed in Iraq, lead by the morons that did not learn a from a few decades ago and our fisheries would also be flourshing from the mistakes made both in our environment and managment in the past. We, and I mean guys that apparently younger than you, learn from our older generation as well as the new innovators. Your above statement is why we look up to guys like Les Johnson, Miyawaki, Mike Kinney, Poppy, Salmo G and Smalma on this site. They have years of background and experience and are willing to help and discuss without making things personal. But heck I guess I am just ultra competitive and I like to catch three or four dozen fish a year on my kwickfish imitation. Righteooooooooo
  11. Poppy, did you get out on the 4th?
  12. Mike,

    I'll just say it...If you two were really into learning then you would hit the steelhead books hard and hit the streams even harder. Asking questions with the slant that everybody is off base because you two already 'know' whats better gets you exactly what??? A four page debate full of useful information that seems it will go in one ear and out the next...all because it goes against your grain. And NEITHER of you have spent any amount of time even fishing these rivers yet you have already formed strong opinions. Strong enough to 'argue' about things you simply don't have a clue about. That is why I 'rankle' or 'stir the pot'.

    Have you caught any steelhead on a dry? Both west and eastside?

    Have you caught any steelhead on a fly fished 'greased line'?

    Have you caught any steelhead using the 'wet fly swing' with a full floating line and leader?

    Have you caught any steelhead using muddlers and 'traditional steelhead flies' using the 'wet fly swing' with a full floating line and leader?

    Have you done any of the above with any frequency from any tributary of the Snake (the region in which this discussion is centered)?

  13. Please lets keep national/world politics out of this discussion. No matter which side of the political fench one is on there is plenty wrong and plenty to discuss but this place is not the proper format, at least in my opinion.

    Yes I remember that. I do fish those little marabou spey flies when it gets colder. I fish them on a floating line in some spots where the current slows. The best color I've found for cold clear water is black with a fl. blue guinea collar and a little mallard or teal wing. By marabou standards these are small, #4 or #2.
  14. Yes a friend and I fished Hatwai creek. I went second and caught a trout and had 3 more pulls of unknown origin. Then we fished Cayote's fishnet where I went second again and caught another trout.
    Went again monday evening @ the casino run and had a couple more plucks. We haven't spied any bikinis yet but other then that it's great to be chasing summer chrome.

    They raised the river level last Tuesday to start pushing the smolts downstream. One of my customers told me he had one on in the lower river yesterday and saw another laying under the brush.:cool:
  15. WooHoo, this thread is getting to be hall of fame status.

    Inland, It's big flies in general, not the Clearwater only. Poppy just uses the Clearwater as a reference saying it wouldn't fly over there. I'm just saying since noone over there uses big flies on the swing, how we know they don't work?

    Another example....On the show Fly Fishing America, the boys went and fished the famed Thompson river. Throughout the show they talked about floating line, spey rods, the advantages of floating line yadida yadida etc. Well the only fish they hooked and got on camera was hooked with what? A sink tip and a big string leach. :rofl:

    I can't wait to get over to the clearwater and swim a few fish, hairwing or not.

  16. I am not sure what you mean by hitting the rivers hard, I do not know anyone that fishes for steelhead as much as I do. Three days last week for me with two fish to hand. I think you forget that waiting like you do on your side of the state, we can fish year round over here. I know you do not want to hear numbers, but lets just say I have landed many this summer alone fishing four different rivers in two different states. All were taken on a swung fly on the spey and all but three we beached. One being a Spring native that was lot when a fellow fisherman grabbed the leader. These fish have been caught on intermediate lines through T-10 tips.

    Yes I have caught a fish on a dry, with a swung fly, with a dry line. If you do not want to believe me, ask Steve Buckner, who was with me at the time. He saw the take while I was looking away. Yes it was on the Wet-side of the state.

    Yes I have fished the grease line method. It works great when swinging nymphs.

    If you would have read my previous responses, you would have read I have caught fish on traditional patterns in the past. I have even caught them on a floater.

    Have I fished many tribs of the Snake, only a couple, but they are not much different than any of the dry side rivers like the John Day, Klick and Deschutes, where I have had moderate success.

    The only person I said was off base was you. I never said hairwings do not work, nor leeches are better. You are finding that yourself, rather I an defending a friend that you are attacking. Someone did not read my first post. I think I am going to go fishing now.

  17. Sigh... it's funny to see this stuff IMO cause the choice of fly has little to do with success. If that *weren't* the case then the gear guys pulling plugs versus drifting corkies would have *significantly* different catch rates. Since they don't why are we debating this? I don't have *personal* experience fishing that river, but based on *reading* about it, it seems to be the case. If this isn't true, if you have specific info I'd rather be informed of it :)

    Also, Inland it does seem to me that you are an accomplish angler but it is out of line for you to call out Mike and TallFlyGuy. Both of those dudes are among the fishiest on the westside, and frankly their success speaks for itself. And I do know for a fact that Mike does hit the dryside, and has reasonable success doing it. This isn't some "mine is bigger than yours" debate, and hopefully this will be the end of it...

    Regardless of all of this crap, I plan on being there sometime this fall. So don't hate on a wetsider, as I need/want all the help I can get when I go over! :)

    -- Cheers
    -- James
  18. Thanks Poppy, I'll see ya weekend after next.
  19. I think poppy brings up a great point about the clearwater and fly choice.

    The beginning of my Steelhead career was on the Columbia around the way there are no fish there...I basically learned to fish smaller flies on dry lines and lighter sink tips. Then I went to the westside where I learned that bigger is better...At least for me.

    After returning to the Clearwater I got my ass kicked with that big stuff when fishing with a guide buddy of mine. Once I sized down both fly and line density, I started hooking fish. I know a few very very accomplished anglers that throw "pretty" flies and light tips, less than 90 grains, on the S rivers out west....during the winter, and do very well.

    The real point has been brought up more than once in this thread... It is all about what you are confident doing on the water and as long as you are having fun doing it, then just do it your way.


    But what the hell do I know anymore, I am way up here in Sandpoint. At least I am not in Bonners Ferry.
  20. Are those folks targeting winter fish? Also which drainages? The skagit which runs nice and clear is a pretty good bet with those tactics. Other rivers like the Bogie and Sol Duc too. But take that act to the Hoh and you're just asking to have your rod handed too you! :) With vis hovering around 18" to 24", if it ain't big, the fish just don't see it :)

    At any rate, lemme know when you get over here. I'd love to chat and show you some "secret" rivers here that a lot of folks don't fish... :) Quid pro quo though! I expect some payback at somepoint! :)

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