Skating/waking a dry success rate

Discussion in 'Steelhead' started by Luke77, Jun 26, 2012.

  1. Luke77

    Luke77 I hope she likes whitefish

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    Lets be honest now guys and gals...how often do you actually attempt this and of those times, how often have you been successful. I know that CERTAIN times and places, it can be more productive, but I have not seen or been there. I know guys that have caught lots of steelhead on dries, but I'm not one of them. I've dedicated trips to this and still no luck. So, lets talk real success rates.

    Oh, and I also have to say, there is nothing like watching a fish tail walk up a shallow still section of water and casting a skater to it. That's biggest adrenaline dump shy or jumping out of a plane with no chute and a pterodactyl in hot pursuit.
     
  2. Mark Bové

    Mark Bové Chasin tail

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    I average a fish or two a year on skaters. I put in 10 hours or so to the pursuit during the right times in the right places.
     
  3. Evan Burck

    Evan Burck Fudge Dragon

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    Only a few times and places I'll try. But when I do it, and LEAVE IT ON... Success is better than one would think. It works, sometimes better than anything else at that time. It's a matter of confidence.
     
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  4. Freestone

    Freestone Not to be confused with freestoneangler

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    I actually have caught as many summer runs on the dead drift as while it was actually skating. So I cover the water like this: first, dead drift. Then, cast up and over and dead drift into a small swing/skate. Then, if no action, I do a traditional skate.

    This past March, I hooked one on a sz 14 Parachute Adams dead drifted in a foam line to an actively feeding steelhead so be sure to try dead drifting too!
     
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  5. Panhandle

    Panhandle Active Member

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    Actively feeding steelhead in the foam line? Forget about a steelhead on a dry, thats crazy talk.
     
  6. g_smolt

    g_smolt Recreational User

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    I fish skaters quite a bit for fall fish. I fish them with confidence, I fish them fast, and I do very well on them. In the last few years I have gone from "Bullshit, these things don't work" to "This is my go-to method". The blow-up to hook-up to landed ratio definitely goes down when fishing on top, but who really cares if you don't land a fish that you made come up 5 or 6 times to take a swipe at a skated fly? You already got the best from them, leave it and find another that wants to play.
     
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  7. 1morecast

    1morecast Active Member

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    I agree with g. I measure succcess on how many fish I can actually get to move to a skater. The guys who are saying they are hooking fish on dead drifted flies are gods!
     
  8. golfman65

    golfman65 Guest

    very cool reply g_smolt I know a guy who's gone almost exclusively to the dry and skated dry and does well enough that I'm not sure if he fishes any other way anymore for summer steel ?
    ( I also think it helps that he's had enough experience and a couple thousand steelhead to get there)

    I have found that I am slowly progressing to a dryline for winter runs and skating bugs about 30-40% in the summer...I almost there but not quite..

    My problem is I'm still a whore and find It very hard when I'm only getting out once a week or on my one week off trip to not be so fired up about catching fish that I don't give it as much of a chance...Odd as the one day I did soley skate a fly on a certain river up north, I rose one pretty quick and hooked another later that day....I was convinced that the next day with a tip and wet I would slay them...instead I only hooked one fish all day and that was at the last spot I stopped...I called that fish my "Last hope" fish...
     
  9. Patrick Gould

    Patrick Gould Active Member

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    I haven't fished for Steelhead, but the two biggest trout I've caught have been on skated October Caddis.
     
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  10. Brian Thomas

    Brian Thomas Active Member

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    I`ve seen steelhead sipping green drakes off the surface on one of the Skeena tribs . My buddy hooked and landed one on an emerger pattern , this year I hope to get one on a dead drifted dry .
     
  11. Rob Allen

    Rob Allen Active Member

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    if the water is over 50 the fish are wild and visibility is good there is no reason to lack confidence in a skater
     
  12. g_smolt

    g_smolt Recreational User

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    I will take "vis is good" from that - some of my best skating days have been 44°-48° water temps, and last year I think I got 1 wild fish to every 3 hatchery fish while skating. I WILL say that you are more apt to get a wild fish as a repeat player (I got one to come up 10 different times to 3 different skated flies over a 25 minute period last year before I finally pinned him), but that old, oft-repeated bullshit about hatchery fish not coming to the surface just isn't true.

    If there is any wisdom I might have to impart for folks wanting to fish skaters successfully, it would be the following:

    1) Don't be afraid to fish "non-traditional" water with surface flies.
    2) Don't be afraid of the small (sz 12 - 14) skaters.
    3) Fish every cast from BEFORE it lands to the moment you recast.
    4) Don't mend so damn much.
     
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  13. skyrise

    skyrise Active Member

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    only place/time it has worked for me is where there is very low angler activity. my own theory is that steelhead will become more and more active if left alone for long periods. course good luck finding that these days. agree that wild fish are much more prone to go up for a bug than hatchery slugs.
     
  14. Jmills81

    Jmills81 The Dude Abides

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    Remember last year on the ronde? Booooom shacka lacka
     
  15. LBC

    LBC nymphing beads with a spey pole.

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    Ive stuck a bunch on the dry. its my favorite way to fish. I agree w/ G don't be afraid of the smaller skaters! Contrary to popular belief, you don't always have to be able to wakeboard behind it. and experiement with different speeds in good holding water. I too have had fish come up and inhale a dead drifted 3" hunk of foam. It will happen just keep trying different tactics.
     
  16. Robert Engleheart

    Robert Engleheart Robert

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    in certain rivers, given conditions, I believe steelhead get very "trouty". The attached blog from The Trinity Fly Shop addresses this at the bottom of the page under the heading "Bussman's Holiday".
    http://trinityflyshop.com/blog/?paged=2
    Those of you who know Herb Burton know he's a straight shooter, no BS tolerated or given. The upper Trinity is a rich tailwater with unbelievable insect life and I think the fish quickly revert to their smolt phase and take advantage of opportunities when presented. While I personally haven't taken any on a traditional dead drift ( I did have one blow up a Bomber as soon as it hit the water, before it began to skate; naturally, I yanked it out of his mouth instead of waiting for the turn), I have friends who have though, and most of my fish come on small naturals (Golden stones, Caddis soft hackles & BHs in #14-16's) fished traditional nymph (no indicator) on the upper drift, then allowed to lift and swing. They often take on the swing or hang.
    Re: water temps, the T is pretty consistently below 50F, commonly 42-46F after Mid-October.
    G_Smolt; got any small skater patterns to share?
     
  17. ralfish

    ralfish Active Member

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    For many years I used to fish waked patterns under specific conditions quite regularly if those conditions were present. I thought water speed, temp, vis, bug activity etc were critical to success on the surface.

    I had good success with the method but it only made up maybe 10 - 30% of my fishing time over all. If various conditions weren't present I stayed with grease lining, dry line and wet flys or went to tips. Then five years ago I fished with a couple of guys that waked bugs exclusively for summer/fall run fish. We fished cold water that had no more than 16-24" vis at the best and consistently brought hot, knuckle busting aggressive fish to the surface. That convinced me that steelhead that spend an extended rearing period as paar in their home waters will readily come to the surface in pretty much any water condition, or at least in a far wider set of conditions that I had previously realised.



    That has translated to fishing a surface fly almost exclusively, certainly for summer/fall run fish but more and more including winter run fish. While some say the tug is the drug or a sunk intruder type offering elicits a savage strike, my answer to that is you are missing out. Its true that a large sunk bug will get a dour /stale/tired fish to grab that would otherwise ignore a waked bug. I prefer to let those fish rest. The hot ones that chase down an intruder will also come to the surface though..Watching a fish follow your fly and take multiple swipes at it as it comes across the surface leaves you shaking. The fish is doing its part , now its up to you to get it to commit and to keep it stuck. Seeing the different types of behaviours and takes and figuring out how to get the fish to commit has added several more parameters to the game.

    Its unbelievably cool finding steelhead that will take a dead drifted bug on top of that as well. Rare indeed, but not as rare as i used to think..

    As far as success goes or percentage hook ups to landing ratio, you have to be dialled in to how the fish are taking or behaving. If the fly is waking under tension its pretty easy but fishing a fly under a slack line requires a couple of things to happen if you are to have a hope of a solid hook up. For me thats the challenge and the fun part. Keeping your nerves steady and a calm head and not pulling the fly out of fishes mouth seems pretty basic, but i screw that up on a regular basis still...
     
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  18. Salmo_g

    Salmo_g Active Member

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    I don't fish dries or skaters much, but I agree with other posters that under the right conditions it can be just as, if not more, productive than fishing a wet fly swing. I'd fish them more if I weren't so lazy. I'd rather watch the scenery than watch my fly skate.

    Sg
     
  19. Sean Beauchamp

    Sean Beauchamp Hot and Heavy at yer 6

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    Well I'm aroused. Time to start wrapping skaters and daydreaming of cannonball eats.
     
  20. Luke77

    Luke77 I hope she likes whitefish

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    I'm with you Sean....I now know what I'll be doing my next trip out. Thanks Ralfish!
     

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