Skagit/Sauk: Last Hurrah

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

  1. I heard a good one today from my buddy Brian, aka doublespey, as we were discussing this thread.

    He said that if you were to "buy half of all the lottery tickets available, it won't guarantee that you will win." I'd say that's a pretty good analogy to putting in time, doing it right and still not catching.

  2. Jason, based on what you are saying, and number of fish you are catching per hours on the water, I'd say you are doing something wrong. Joe may be right as far your confidince goes, or maybe you aren't fishing as well as you think. Before I left Portland 5 years ago I steelhead fished 100+ days a year for many years. I don't remember ever going 10 days in a row without hooking a fish if I was on the water all day, fishing hard. These were rivers I knew and I was going to catch fish period (in my mind), which is 80% of it. You should go with someone who has more confidnece than you at this point. Just to clarify, I'm not saying you aren't a good steelheader.
  3. Pan - I have fished the alot on the skagit and this season got one fish in Feb and one grab in March - I was around (Landed) two fish this season for my buddies Laker and one for Marty. I know a number of good anglers that got one or two fish this season - they spent the time as did I and the fish were not there. You could have the confidence of TO with a two hander if there are on fish - there are no fish.
    We as steelhead anglers on our S rivers have to understand that these things happen and have to have the metal toughness to fish through it.
  4. Salmo, it was 3 fish for about 50 days on the water. That is about a fish per 16 days which is one of my worst seasons ever. They were all good fish and good size. Just too rare.

    Chris DeLeone definately understands what I am talking about. Phrases like "mental toughness" almost understate it IMO. Getting up at 5:00 AM all the time and busting ass all day wears you down. My gf often says she is amazed at my determination.

    But all in all I would say it is something that only bothers me in retrospect. During the day I am loving it and loving the river and scenery but after the season I just really feel like something is wrong with these poor steelhead in my guts and it kind of taints the whole thing. I wish I could catch more but I also deeply wish there were more. All that bad catching equals tough time for steelhead.
  5. Just remember boys.

    If it were easy, none of you would be into this shit. Your intelligence and talents have taken you into a hobby (way of life to many) that really has a far lower percentage than hitting a baseball in the major leagues. Remember the main delivery method on the Sauk/Skagit/Skykomish/Nooksack/Whitechuck/Suiattle is the swing. And no I am not inviting any more of this swing vs bobber bullshit but reality is reality. And that is we come from a very proud pro swing culture on the N sound rivers, thus making things even lower in success percentages. Take away our returning fish and in reality we have nothing. We are a hardcore strange lot us N Sound winter run hunters. But here's to you, every fucking one of you for lacing up the boots every winter day, in rain sleet and snow, breaking ice from guides, or wading in t-shirts, in high water and gin clear cold snapped locked up like a virgin's panties, knowing full on native nets are in the rivers, knowing full on the counts are never right, knowing full on that it might be 40 hours per fish. Here's to every one of you for BELIEVING because you have to. And every once in a while it all goes down, the sun and moon line up, and you feel electricity shoot down your arm as perfection goes screaming down the river with your fly. And for that short amount of time, you feel at one with your rod, your reel, the river, and the greatest gamefish that swims. Your hands are shot, your feet are numb and the old war wounds are screaming. But your heart is warm again. And you ask yourself "Is this shit fucking worth it man????" You wipe a tear from your eye and you have to turn away feeling somewhat silly (the emotions are welling up and getting the best of you damnit) as a true native Washington steelhead swims away and say to yourself out loud, "Fucking right it is." You know what that fish means to all of us, how even though we've tried to exterminate them they just won't go away once in for all, they keep fighting just as you do every winter with that spey rod. They are bigger than you or me, and we all know it. You head to the gas station for a pizza pocket wondering if you've just touched and felt perfection for the last time. You know the clock is ticking. Here's to all of you N Sound steelheaders for believing and refusing to take an 8 count. No, we're gonna be carried out on our shields just like our steelies. Aloha and I miss it every single waking day. Tight lines The Coach:beer2::beer2:
  6. Let me clarify. All the Portland surrounding waters and coastal river are ones I know well and have caught fish out of consistently. I understand the S rivers are another animal altogether, for which I don't know shit about. I would expect weeks of no bumps on rivers your are carving your teeth on, or river that simply have no fish in them. I still suspect that 5% of the people who REALLY know what they're doing are catching fish on the Skagit and Sauk, while 95% of the people who KNOW what they're doing aren't.
  7. There are four ways that I am dealing with this season.I got skunked for the year. I don't suck.

    Remind myself that the fish weren't all that available. Clear water + low return = poop. that's the lesson gentlemen.

    I'm gonna try and harvest some ling.'s tomorrow with gear, drink before noon, and pretend like this past season never happened.

    I'm gonna hope that all of us who had a poor season have a better one next year and we can have more to say than, "I fished good water."

    I will build up a Beulah 12 foot 7 7/8. I told the wife I needed it to save my back. That big stick hurts it so.

    Go Sox,
  8. I fished the lower Hoh this last winter and that's exactly how I felt. With my contribution to the gauntlet, I felt like part of the problem and not part of the solution. Not a good feeling.
  9. Buddha says you got to "Believe" or you are wasting your time. Hell yes!!! Said it before and still believe it! A true steelheader in today's time can be one that has been skunked 10 outings in a row, 20, 30, you name it. But the next outing, the light starts on the horizon, you feel the energy like 12 espressos, now is the time, St Peter has open the gates. Steelheaders are amongst the most optimistic idiots on the planet (me included). Man if I could only harvest that first light optimism...... We chose our poison and we will die just for the tug.

    Lets not lose the essence of Leland's experience. Meld it all together and no matter how skilled you are, fortuna will roll the dice and its skunkdom for some and four fracken fish for another in a hard environment. Humbling isnt it.

  10. I have a few more things to add, as we all talk about toughing it out etc.

    I did not tough it out this year. I gave up. I didn't fish the last 2 weekends. Well, I fished one run on the second to last saturday, and went back to the rig, put the rod away and said to myself, "Move on for now." I was done. It was a relief. I was satiated (sp?) although I had not landed one.

    Since that time I have had a couple highly productive work weeks. My back feels better. My jumpshot is smoother. I have spent a couple weekends with my kids.

    Kerry is right. There are other more important things. There are not a whole lot of things I'd rather do than swing flies for wild fish, but there are more important things. Sometimes it is worthwhile to stop what you are doing, go home and hug your wife. If you are lucky the kids will be napping and she'll be real appreciative of your early return.

    Fucking Devil Rays,
  11. Jason,

    Sorry about my poor reading comprehension; I usually do better. Still, I agree that 3 for 50 is very telling about the season, cuz you weren't alone in the low CPUE (catch per unit of effort).


    You're fucked up man, but in a good way! I think I like you like that, not that it makes any difference.


    Sure, the 5% or so who REALLY know what they're doing caught a few fish, but even their catch rate was in the tank. I don't know if Jason is a 5%er, but I know enough about his Skagit fishing to estimate that he's easily a 10%er, and his report has influenced much of this thread. Ed Ward is definitely a 5%er on that water, and he's visiting his mom in Texas. While he goes there every year during this time frame, he usually doesn't go during what he regards as "prime time." The gist of the story is that the Skagit/Sauk steelheading was well below the expected outcome for a majority of experienced anglers. There were a few days when fish were around, and those who were in the right place at the right time got a taste of what it can be like. But when the runsize is anywhere near decent, consistency is one of the qualities of this fishery, and that's what was missing in a big way this season.

  12. I'm late getting in on this one, but it would seem to me to be very realistic for a fellow to have a banner day when another may have a slow season.
    Many factors can contibute to this, but sometimes it has to simply be chalked up to a combination of many things that make the results as they are, and a little good luck or bad luck surely can play a small role in the number of tugs at the end of the day... Remember too, some guys just have the "golden touch" and for many reasons , can produce more than others - They have the ability through effort ( physical and mental) to limit the #'s of blanks...They are just fishie...
  13. Exactly Salmo. I never had the opportunity to fish as much as I did this last month in an April on the Skauk in my entire life. I always figured it would be an easy way to bust my personal season best....but....all my fish from the system came before April and April is when it should be going off. Not a single fish in April which is my worst April ever!!! :eek:

    As far as the 10%ers and the 5%ers.....I think it has more to do with your lifestyle. I don't think any angler that is a weekend warrior can compete (obviously it isn't a competition but I use the word to make the point) with someone like Ed Ward who is on the river every day and in a sled if he wants. People like Ed will find patterns that a couple days on the water per week will never reveal. From the sound of it, this season was very tough on the weekend warriors and guys like Ed.

    Most seasons I will usually hear from other weekend warriors by the river that things are slow, but I will know better. A lot of times these guys who think it is slow really don't know the river well enough to know what they are talking about. Usually the river is actually fishing pretty well in April and other good fisherman I know have been pounding out a hookup every few days on the water or more. This year I never heard good news from my sources save for one 2 day stretch about 4 weeks ago when the Sauk came way up strictly from snow melt, the first time that happened, not the second.

    In summary, steelhead fishing is always "slow" by some people's standards but this last season was truly slow by Skagit/Sauk standards and slow for the very best fishermen out there but we already all agreed on that.....
  14. Honestly if I worried about not hooking up every time it would suck the fun out of the fishing. I really enjoy the time I get to spend with the fish, but if I don't get that time I don't dwell on it. I go out and look for the opportunity to do it again, and enjoy myself.

    There are other fisheries that can be visited that put up numbers. In my mind the S rivers are there for the experience only the S rivers provide, and the chance of hooking into a big nate which the average guy will never forget because the current condition of the system made them work for the experience.
  15. come on Kerry, you forgot ..uck, ock, and alls.....:)
  16. didn't want to rip Rick off completely
  17. I really want to chime in on this thread, but I really don't know Fuck all anymore since I live 7 hours from the Skagit and only got to fish it two days this year....but I have too, it is just too tempting.

    First of all, you all are looking too much into it. Time on the water it very important.... But it is not everything.

    Time on the water + effective fishing will score you more fish out of this system than any other method.

    Have sharp hooks, fish confidently, don't be afraid to follow people through a run, fish anything that has bunny fur in it, and make one more cast. That's it. Anymore than that and you are wasting your time....

    By the way, I blanked while fishing my two days, so what do I know.
  18. sorry bout the f-bombs...I was a little drunk already for Crumps b-day....and don't listen to anything that I wrote. It is not true.

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