Steelhead Fishing in Sno Co

Discussion in 'Steelhead' started by Desmond Wiles, Nov 16, 2004.

  1. Desmond Wiles Sir Castaline

    Posts: 812
    Snohomish, Wa
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    Hello all,
    I'm going to make the next step in my pursuit happiness by targeting Steelhead. I've done a little reading here and there on the subject, and have heard a lot of mixed reviews. I would like to get some input from the steelheaders around here to get me going this weekend. Currently I've got a 9' 6WT rod, floating line, moderate uniform sink line, and fast sink line. What I need is a few fly patterns to start off with, so if you could name just one what would it be, and what techniques and fly lines are use to fish it? I'm probably going to hit the North Fork of the Stilly near Darrington this weekend since I'm already somewhat familier with the water there, good idea, any others nearby? I'm also an avid reader on fishing literature, so if there are any good books on the subject please advise (currently reading Steelhead Water by Bob Arnold).

    -Des
  2. Calico Keta Member

    Posts: 90
    Seattle, WA, USA.
    Ratings: +1 / 0
    Leech.
    Blk, Purple.

    If you have an 8wt, you might wanna used that for Winter run, I learned the hard way with my 6wt when it ran into a pissed off buck.
  3. Nooksack Mac Active Member

    Posts: 1,943
    Bellingham, WA, USA.
    Ratings: +109 / 0
    For winter-size flies and water, at least an 8-weight is called for. I prefer a 10-weight single-hand rod, or an 11-weight spey.

    If that sounds excessive, remember that you're going to be fishing with flies the weight of an average spoon or diving plug; and you want enough line weight and rod strength so that you won't feel those flies when in flight.
  4. Big K1 Large Member

    Posts: 538
    Duvall, WA, U.S.A.
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    For steelhead in winter I like 8-9 weight two-hander. If I was going to use a
    single-hander I would go with 8-10 weight.
  5. o mykiss Active Member

    Posts: 1,299
    .
    Ratings: +172 / 0
    6 wt is a little light for what you have the potential to tangle with around here this time of year, not to mention that it would be nice to have a little more backbone to throw practically any steelhead fly other than a standard hairwing with, but if it's all you have then go ahead and fish it. If by uniform sink you mean a full sink line, I personally wouldn't fish that because I'm thinking you have very little line control with a full sinker, and when fishing the standard steelhead swing you want to be able to mend liberally. Instead, I'd go with the floater and go get one of those Airflo (I believe) sinking leaders -fast sink and extra fast sink versions - to help get your fly down some (and don't add too much tippet or your fly will float up too far - unless its weighted, that is). As for a fly, you could probably get by with woolly buggers in black and purple; take it a step further by adding an egg and you have an egg sucking leech. (Lazy man's way to do the ESL is to use a woolly bugger and just thread an egg bead on your tippet before you tie on the fly.) Personally, I like marabou flies. Another option with the floating line would be to nymph (I can already hear the gasps of the purists, but if someone is a newbie he or she should be cut some slack and allowed to nymph, for God's sake). You could use a largish (and weighted) stonefly or hare's ear as your lead nymph and then tie on a trailer with a glo bug or some other egg-like pattern such as a cotton candy. Can be a real drag to cast, especially if you add an indicator, but it's a way to get started.

    Then there's always the Sharp Steelie passion fly. Tie it on and watch out! . . . But I digress.
  6. Desmond Wiles Sir Castaline

    Posts: 812
    Snohomish, Wa
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    Thanks everyone. I have always been under the impression that a 6 wt won't cut it, but just recently have heard from several people on this site that a 6 wt is fine. I won't be shopping for a heavier rod for some time, so in the meantime I'll to have to start with what I've got.
  7. msteudel Mark Steudel

    Posts: 966
    Seattle.
    Ratings: +14 / 0
    This fall I hooked into my first steelhead nymphing a size 14 hares ear on 6x tippet for cutthroat. I was fishing a floating line on my 5 wt. I also have a cheap 30 dollar reel on that rod. I was able to bring the 27" steelie in. Now it took a little while, I could only apply so much pressure, and when the fish ran I let it run, but I brought it in (see my avatar). My reel is a little worse for the wear, but whatever it was fun. You'll be fine. Matter of fact I think a guy named Diehard on the board went chum fishing with a 6 wt, so if he can catch chums you can catch steelies. You may find after trying to throw large flies that you would rather have a bigger rod, but until then fish what ya got. My 2 cents.
  8. Diehard aka Justin

    Posts: 866
    Seattle, Washington, USA.
    Ratings: +2 / 0
    Yeah, I tried fishing for the chums once with my 6 wt, but I wouldn't recommend it. Those fish pretty much owned me. I only was able to get in one out of five hooked. I am getting an 8 wt for christmas...
    As for steelies, I have only caught one and my 6 wt did fine. However it was a smaller summer run fish.
  9. papafsh Piscatorial predilection

    Posts: 2,216
    Camano Island, WA, USA.
    Ratings: +61 / 0
    Better to have caught a steelhead on a 6wt and lost it, than never to have caught one at all! :thumb:

    LB
  10. miyawaki Active Member

    Posts: 3,203
    Kent, Washington, USA.
    Ratings: +828 / 1
    A 6wt rod is a good summer steelhead rod on most rivers. While it's true that you can hook a winter steelhead on a 6wt rod or even lighter for that matter, it's not fair to the fish, particularly if you intend on releasing it.

    If you are truly stewards of the resource and a believer in the Catch & Release ethic, then you will land your steelhead quickly, handle it as little possible and release it as gently you can.

    Playing a fish too long or not being able to land your fish because you're fishing with tackle that is too light is simply moronic.

    Leland.
  11. Old Man Just an Old Man

    Posts: 21,535
    Dillon, Mt
    Ratings: +1,626 / 0
    I will add a little here,well very little. I say go with what ever you have or can afford. Not everybody catches them fish until you put in your dues. Dues,about 10,000 casts. So fishing with a 6wt is just about alright. And as for the size or wt of the rod I don't think it really matters just as long as you don't tire the fish. I fought and caught a 25+ lbs Chum on the Skagit with a 5wt with floating line fishing for Dollies. It took a while.

    Jim
  12. papafsh Piscatorial predilection

    Posts: 2,216
    Camano Island, WA, USA.
    Ratings: +61 / 0
    A novice after winter steelhead with a 6wt, will rarely get an opportunity to tire much less land a fish of any size.

    But there are winter fish that fall into a smaller size range that can be handled fairly with a lighter rod.

    So it is up to each individual to determine, for themselves, what to try.
    One thing for sure, if you ask for opinions, on this board you will get them, everything from reckless abandon to "sky is falling" timidity.

    I agree with the OldMan, go fish for gosh sakes!

    LB
  13. TomB Active Member

    Posts: 1,620
    seattle,wa
    Ratings: +58 / 0
    I'm calling BS on Old man.....if your chum was really 25+ then it was a state record....do you really want to claim that?.....im sure it was a biggun tho.
    -Tom
    (always there to give you a hard time old man)
  14. Old Man Just an Old Man

    Posts: 21,535
    Dillon, Mt
    Ratings: +1,626 / 0
    Well it was a big un. It sure put a bend in the 5wt. And as for being a record I really don't care. I go fishing for the fun of it. And I really don't care what it is I catch just as long as it isn't one of those UGLY suckers,ugh. ;)

    Jim
  15. When it opens the first of december you can try the Pilchuck river, small river, no need to cast far, nice little steelhead holding water. Drops and clears quick before the other rivers do, and it might be closer to where you live.
  16. Old Man Just an Old Man

    Posts: 21,535
    Dillon, Mt
    Ratings: +1,626 / 0
    Pilchuck River. !0 miles from my front door to the Bridge at Locksloy. I hope that is close enough.

    Jim
  17. Desmond Wiles Sir Castaline

    Posts: 812
    Snohomish, Wa
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    Well I gave it a try Saturday on the NF of the Stilly at Fortson. Tied up a few egg sucking leach patterns in a few color variations, but to no avail. The water was high, and I just could not get my flies down deep enough. Turned out to be a gorgeous afternoon though, despite the stinky salmon! Thanks for the input everybody. I think I'll go out a few more times before I call it a season, then I'll spend my winter reading up on the subject and make it a goal to get an 8 WT by next fall.
  18. Monk Redneck

    Posts: 709
    Marblemount, WA
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    I can't wait for the Pilchuck! I got my secrect money hole and I went back a few days ago to make sure that it was still there. Sure 'nuff, it was! :thumb:
  19. Monk Redneck

    Posts: 709
    Marblemount, WA
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    I think I'll go out a few more times before I call it a season, then I'll spend my winter reading up on the subject and make it a goal to get an 8 WT by next fall.



    Winter steelhead season is just beginning! Don'w put that rod away just yet!