Skagit/Sauk: Last Hurrah

Discussion in 'Spey Clave' started by miyawaki, Apr 27, 2009.

  1. Joe Smolt Member

    Posts: 532
    Bothell, WA, USA.
    Ratings: +9 / 0

    Alternatively, I heard that steelhead are amongst the easiest fish to catch. They are aggressive fish. Find them and put a fly in front of them, you got a good chance of hooking up.

    Oversimplification? Yes. But this discussion changes when you are talking about skilled steelheaders. I assume they know what water to fish, they know how to swing a fly, and they know how to use tips and present the fly well. Does this really speak to the element of luck? Leland's original post sets the stage for a great case study to get to the heart of the matter.

    I confess to be a weekend warrior. There was a time long ago, B.C. (before child), I put even more time on water. Hard core, yes. 14 hours is a blink of a day (don't get me wrong, enjoying every minute of it and re-energizing to deal with modern life), and when you are into it, the day blazes by.

    I am a wannabe steelhead jedi and enjoy the challenge. Just wanted to explore this interesting case.

    Leland's reply of one jedi using only a skunk pattern is great. A skunk pattern is the last pattern I'd have confidence in during winter. Another point of simplification. Most say the fly doesn't matter. I think this speaks to that. So again, what was the key differences for success.

  2. bhudda heffe'

    Posts: 1,950
    Ratings: +111 / 0
    you just got to believe they are there, period! or your wasting time fishing and just casting away. confidence is the key word, without it you havent even began to "zone In" on the fish. how many of us have that conversation in our head as we swing a fly thru a run, i talk to my flies, tell them what to do, curse at them, beg them to be sexy and actually see the take before it happens. these things all play out in my head while i swing, kinda like a daydream 1 minute before its time.
    you choose- confidence or eggs:) j/k egg guys
  3. doublespey Steelhead-a-holic

    Posts: 598
    Bothell, WA
    Ratings: +22 / 0
    Just a little footnote. Ed Ward is fishing for panfish in Texas and hasn't even been on the Skagit the last week or two of the season??? Lots of other experienced Skagit rods (that are fishing) are drawing blanks.

    WTF??? It's because it's been a crappy return!

    Only small pods of fish that move in and then disappear. If you cover a lot of water and spend a lot of time on the river (or just get shithouse lucky) you'll get a fish ----eventually.

    -----assuming a knowledge of the Skagit and Sauk, competent water reading and line handling, and a fly with a hook.

    Then there will be those Golden Days when you're in exactly the right place(s) at the right time. Even on a 'down' year, if you're there when a pod of fresh fish moves in life will be good.

    I have no doubt these guys landed all the fish claimed. They both good rods and were at the right spots when the fish were there. If you'd floated by those same spots a bit earlier, before the fish arrived and/or there were other anglers in the water, you might have missed the festivities. ;)

    This goes for all the guys who are beating themselves up. Doesn't mean you did anything wrong, your # just wasn't up. There aren't many winning tickets on the Skagit this year.

    My humble .02,

  4. KerryS Ignored Member

    Posts: 6,768
    Sedro Woolley, WA, USA.
    Ratings: +1,785 / 0
    Winter steelheading has never been a numbers game and should never be a numbers game. I didn't do well this year as far as catching goes. Matter of fact this was likely the worst year I have had on the Skagit since I started fishing it with a fly rod. The fish are the reason I go but the catching isn't really the reason I keep going.

    See you all next year.....................
  5. doublespey Steelhead-a-holic

    Posts: 598
    Bothell, WA
    Ratings: +22 / 0
    +1 :)
  6. Jergens AKA Joe Willauer

    Posts: 2,141
    Twin Bridges, MT
    Ratings: +19 / 0
    iagree i would have given my left arm to have had a good winter fishery within a two hour drive.

    Kerry, that's the second insanely beautiful pic you have thrown up, you got any more hiding???
  7. HauntedByWaters Active Member

    Posts: 2,750
    Ratings: +105 / 0
    Of course this isn't a number game guys! This is a spey forum so I don't think that really needs to be discussed in great length.

    But get real, you don't fish in a places with zero steelhead right?

    Would you go swing the LA River for steelhead if it had some nice swinging water and epic scenery and zero real fish?

    I personally like to get a fish every 15 or so trips. Call me crazy......... that true that Ed Ward was in Texas the last 2 weeks of April? If so my jaw just hit the fucking floor.....
  8. KerryS Ignored Member

    Posts: 6,768
    Sedro Woolley, WA, USA.
    Ratings: +1,785 / 0
    Thanks. I really appreciate the compliment.
  9. KerryS Ignored Member

    Posts: 6,768
    Sedro Woolley, WA, USA.
    Ratings: +1,785 / 0
    Ed has family in Texas. It is not unusual for him to head down at any time. Pick your jaw up. There are things in this world more important than steelhead.
  10. Ryan Buccola I ain't broke but brother I am badly bent

    Posts: 229
    Bend Oregon
    Ratings: +1 / 0
    True...but not many...
  11. Richard Torres Active Member

    Posts: 1,355
    Mill Creek
    Ratings: +79 / 0
    Excellent observation Coach. :ray1:
    All good points that us "novice steelheaders" should take note.

  12. Joepa Joe from PA

    FWIW, I had a terrible winter season as well, OP included, but in hindsight I enjoyed every minute of it and would do it all over again. On the Sky, which I fished hard around the holidays and then floated most weekends in Jan and Feb, I hooked only one fish this year (super hot fish though). It was a strange year on the Sky because of the very low water later in the season and the corresponding drop in company; most days in Feb I was the only fly guy floating the river and was joined by only 2-3 drift boats. I enjoyed the relative solitude, the challenges of the new runs this year, and fishing new spots I would never have been able to effectively in typical years due to the low water. Took a lot more pictures this year too.
  13. Ed Call Mumbling Moderator

    Posts: 17,557
    Kitsap Peninsula
    Ratings: +1,517 / 9
    Kerry S, I will echo what has already been said. The photos here are fantastic, as are all the ones you post. I hope you will continue to find some and put them here to enjoy.
  14. TexBC Fly Addict

    Posts: 51
    Vancouver, B.C.
    Ratings: +9 / 0
    It's stories (and discussions) like this that get my blood pumping. I spent my first full season swinging flies for steelhead, after spending the past few years tossing gear. I didn't get a single fish, I'm not even sure I had a pull, but I enjoyed it vastly more than any of my previous (more successful) seasons.

    I've never fished the S Rivers, but one day hope to make a trip down south, in a pilgramage of sorts. Doesn't matter whether I hook any fish, it was Dec's book that made me a convert, and I feel I owe those rivers some time.

    Thanks for the words, folks. And that photo, KerryS... ethereal.

  15. herl Member

    Posts: 877
    the other washington
    Ratings: +1 / 0
  16. James Mello Inventor of the "closed eye conjecture"

    Posts: 2,785
    Ratings: +88 / 0
    Hey that's my zipperlip!
  17. Bert Kinghorn Formerly "nextcast"

    Posts: 344
    Seattle, WA, USA.
    Ratings: +2 / 0
    Trust me. If you are swinging, you will KNOW.
  18. oresteel New Member

    Posts: 3
    The Dalles OR
    Ratings: +0 / 0

    fantastic picture; captures all the romance of the Skagit
  19. Salmo_g Active Member

    Posts: 7,589
    Your City ,State
    Ratings: +1,711 / 0

    I think you understand, I think you know what you're doing, I think you're hardcore. I'm disturbed that you fished 40 days and didn't hook a Skagit/Sauk steelhead. Even when the luck of the draw isn't with you, that's piss poor results. Highly likely that the post-season run estimate will be a lot lower than the pre-season forecast. 8,000 steelhead ain't great, but it produces more than zero for 40 days effort.

    I'm building a house and didn't fish much this winter. 3 1/2 days on the Skagit in Feb for zero fish and 1 day on the Sol Duc in March for 1 hooked and lost. It ain't pretty.

  20. Panhandle Active Member

    Posts: 4,103
    Selkirk Mountains, Idaho Panhandle
    Ratings: +23 / 0
    Kerry, Besides family, do mind filling me in on what those "More inportant things are?" :D