Steelhead Question

Discussion in 'Steelhead' started by Jason Decker, Jan 28, 2006.

  1. Jason Decker Active Member

    Posts: 2,626
    Issaquah, WA
    Ratings: +1 / 0
    First of all, let me start off by saying I have NOT done, what I am asking,
    so keep it straight to the point of the question.:rolleyes:

    Do any of you add scent to your steelhead flies? Is this ethical? If so, what kind of scent do you use? When do you use it?:hmmm:

    Again. I DO NOT scent my flies, I just read an article in SSJ and note that the gearheads do it to their jigs which closely resemble our flies.
    "They add some kind of gel to the head of flies and marabou".... it shows a pic of liquid Krill and gel Krill.........

    :confused: Is this "ethical" for us fly anglers? :ray1: I know we are "better" than them but they do catch a lot of fish!


    jason (decker)
  2. East Fork Active Member

    Posts: 1,200
    Vancouver, WA
    Ratings: +2 / 0
    If legal equals ethical, then use of scent is ethical except where prohibited. If by ethical you use mean something else, something undefined, you are going to get answers across the board.

    I think bait guys catch a lot of steelhead not so much because of scent, but because they are able to present their offerings at the proper depth with the proper motion more of time. Scent plays a role in catching steelhead but it doesn’t seem to be as important as presentation, color and size.

    With salmon, scent seems to be a much more import trigger.
  3. Keith Hixson Active Member

    Posts: 1,507
    College Place, Washington
    Ratings: +55 / 0
    Ethics;

    If it is illegal, on Rivers such as the Yakima or Rocky Ford you can't do it.
    However, ethics, a set of personal guidelines based on your morals, ideals and the law.
    I have never used scent on my flies. However I am not a strickly a fly fisherman, though 90% of my fishing is fly fishing. I do fish occassionally for bass, salmon, and other species with with a spinning rod and I will use bait if it is legal in certain circumstances. If it is legal you build your own set of ethics. When I go backpacking I carry along an ultra light spinning rod along with my fly rod so I can fish some the Alpine lakes that are so brushy it is almost impossible to cast a fly.
    Now if you belong to a fly fishing club or organization which promote purist fly fishing and you believe in the ethics the club proclaims then it would be unethical for you do.
    If you feel it isn't wrong, doesn't violate your personal values when fishing and is legal; do what you want. If you start feeling guilty because you feel you violated some sacred rules about fly fishing then don't do it. Probably why I don't do it. If I'm fly fishing, I'm not going to enhance my chances using "smelly jelly". Do what you feel comfortable doing and I won't condemn you if you aren't breaking the law or damaging the environment.

    I don't know about "better than them". If they are ethical, legal, and being kind to the enviroment, I wouldn't look down bait fishermen. I just hate all the trash and cigarette butts left by some bait fisherman. But, there some good guys that do bait fish, just a little confused about establishing good priorities in life.

    I think East Fork pretty much said what I said. We were typing at the same time.

    K
  4. g_smolt Recreational User

    Posts: 913
    58°19'59 N, 134°29'49 W
    Ratings: +160 / 0
    I add scent, in the following manner:

    I smoosh the fly into the mud, or drag it (hook out) along submerged timber in the creeek that I am fishing...if I switch creeks, I switch flies and do the same.

    IMHO, if you add "bait scents" to a fly, then you are bait fishing...with a flyrod.

    Not that it really matters. If the end to the means is to interact with as many fish as possible, then every advantage should be taken.

    On another note...

    /Soapbox on/

    I noticed the "teacher smiley" next to the (hopefully) tongue-in-cheek comment about "we" flyguys being "better" than the gearguys...

    As someone that fishes both, and grew up gear-fishing, it is my observation that most flyguys have a lot to learn from their gear brethren. There is a reason that they "catch a lot of fish".

    /Soapbox off/

    Mark
  5. Jason Decker Active Member

    Posts: 2,626
    Issaquah, WA
    Ratings: +1 / 0
    the Yakima is closed to ALL FISHING FOR steelhead anyways! let alone scented flys or bait..... Rocky Ford is fly only....... so a scented fly won't fly there! and I don't think the Ford has steelies anyways.....

  6. Keith Hixson Active Member

    Posts: 1,507
    College Place, Washington
    Ratings: +55 / 0
    Jason,
    I knew that but was just using that as an example if its illegal then don't do it.
    K.
  7. luckybalbowa Member

    Posts: 325
    Kamas, Utah
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    if you are fishing a river where scent is legal,
    and you want to use scent,
    and it doesn't cause the fish to be "gut hooked"

    go for it.

    I dont see any "ethical" dilemas with it. Do what makes you happy as a fishermen, not what you feel like you have to do because of peer pressure or what you see on an Orvis catalog.
  8. gt Active Member

    Posts: 2,616
    sequim, WA
    Ratings: +6 / 0
    bobber and a jig, even if used with a flyrod, should be banned. it is simply too efficient a means of catching steelhead. this should not be a numbers game but one of accepting a challenge and enjoying the nature you are surrounded by. an un-named guide on the olypen seems to think big numbers and jig fishing are the ultimate. i couldn't disagree more. adding an attracting odor is just the next step down the road to gear fishing. and if thats your game, go for it.
  9. Big Tuna Member

    Posts: 1,962
    Wenatchee, Washington
    Ratings: +42 / 0
    IMHO it's not fly fishing nor an ethical fly fishing practice. But that's just my opinion.:D
  10. Josh Benjamin Member

    Posts: 988
    duvall, wa
    Ratings: +1 / 0
    it's smelly jelly, and it works.
    use it if you feel like it's ok in your head. i would probably, because i like to catch a few fish here and there. i feel that it is ethical if you feel it's ethical(and legal) and i think that if people like to catch numbers of fish and they are doing it legally, let them do what they want. to each his own.
    i don't think there's anything wrong with bobber and jig fishing, it's just not a method i choose to fish. i think none of us would complain if we were out catching 5 steelhead every time we went out swinging flies, it may take away from some of the suspense and drama of flyfishing steel, but i don't think anybody would be complaining that it was immoral or unethical. i do fish gear from my boat at times, pulling plugs, etc but it is done when drifting between fly runs.
    Josh
  11. Keith Hixson Active Member

    Posts: 1,507
    College Place, Washington
    Ratings: +55 / 0
    {gt wrote:
    bobber and a jig, even if used with a flyrod, should be banned. it is simply too efficient a means of catching steelhead. }

    I had to chuckle with that one. One day I was fly fishing on a lake in Western Washington. I was doing very well. The bait fishermen weren't catching anything. This bait fisherman got mad and yelled at me, "They should make fly fishing illegal, you catch too many fish." I was releasing everything I was catching, didn't get his point. Except a little envious.

    K.
  12. Wayne Jordan Active Member

    Posts: 1,061
    Ratings: +14 / 0
    The whole purpose of fly fishing is that you're using a fly to imitate the bug, baitfish, egg, corn kernel, frog, mouse, baby duck, etc without actually using scent or bait to aid your success rate. It's all about the presentation in fly fishing.

    What the word "fly" really means has been disputed over the years but now includes hot glue, beads, rubber legs, tungsten, lead wire, and whatever else you fasten to a hook.

    Some call it evolution, and some call it a revolution...Is putting scent on your fly the next step? I don't know, but it wouldn't surprise me.

    Bottom line- Fishing is meant to be enjoyable. Do it the way you want (as long as it's legal).
  13. ChrisC Member

    Posts: 639
    .
    Ratings: +24 / 0
    That attitude is what gives flyfishermen a bad rap. Regardless of what you said about keeping to the point, that is an insulting statement to gear anglers, many of which are as ethical, if not more ethical than many flyfishermen I have come across.

    What do you mean by "better"? We have to lose this "us vs. them" mentality!
  14. Jason Decker Active Member

    Posts: 2,626
    Issaquah, WA
    Ratings: +1 / 0
    sarcasm is sometimes hard to convey............but that was my intention.
    i agree with you 100% I was anticipating some posts to say one should not resort (stoop) to that kind of tactics.....

    i am evaluating a well known and effective method used by gear anglers for steelies. i was wondering how many if any, use this tactic on flies..... I was hoping MONK would weigh in on this!

    Making a post stating just that would get a "lot of crap" from purist fly anglers. do you not agree?


    jason
    ps> maybe some posts are just fun for the reactions!
  15. chadk Be the guide...

    Posts: 5,057
    Snohomish, WA.
    Ratings: +41 / 0
    I don't see an issue with it. I wouldn't call it fly fishing - just fishing. I wouldn't do it where I was going to do C&R, or where smolts, cutties, bulls, steelies, etc are bound to swallow 'bait' deep and probably die. But for harvesting hatchery fish - go for it. Then again, that stuff funks up your flies. I know on jigs that it works OK, but you eventually get a little on the feathers and fur no matter how hard you try - and if it ever goes back in the box, the fur\feathers are never quite the same.

    For me it comes down to what my goal for the day is. If I want to fly fish - I'll fly fish. If I want to use gear\bait or spinners\spoons, I'll do that (lately my gear rods are collecting dust unless I'm taking the little guys out in the boat). One big reason I switched to flies when doing C&R (like on the forks of the snoqualmie) from spinners is the mortality factor. I caught more with spinners for the most part, but the bigger hooks killed more fish than the small dry flies and nymphs. And when I fish lakes for C&R, flies again are the choice. Putting scent on flies is pretty much equal to using bait (and consider the same in the regs), so it kinda kills the whole concept of fly fishing in my mind. But if I'm looking for dinner on occassion- anything legal goes - flies, bait, flies+bait, whatever. Ethical? The fish is going to be cooked in a few hours - I'm not going to loose sleep over the legal method it was harvested as long as I felt I had a good sporting time of it.
  16. andycarey New Member

    Posts: 149
    Ashford & Olympia, WA
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    Academic, intellectual pedantry: In the 20+ years I've been fishing, it seems the distinction between "fly fishing" defined, for my purposes here (you don't have to agree) as the presentation of an imitation fly (adult or immature stonefly, caddis, mayfly, mosquito, etc.) with a line that provides the casting momentum and "regular" fishing defined as presenting any lure or bait with a spinning, casting, or cane-pole rod with a line-end weight providing the casting momentum and presentation determined by lure weight and design or accessory bobber,-- the distinction has been blurred to where there is no dividing line at all, no norms, thus no ethics, only laws. Years ago, nymphing was presentation of a stonefly, caddis, mayfly nymph imitation with an upstream cast or the Leisenring lift; now it seems to be referring to a bobber ("indicator" is the euphemism) and heavily weighted jig lobbed out into the current with the floating fly line helping the bobber to float ... heck, why not add a worm, salmon egg, or some scent? The self-imposed limitations on gear (and thus effectiveness and the need for superior skill) used by fly fisherman of yesteryear did lend itself to feelings or moral superiority that may or may not seem justified depending on one's point of view. Reading Haig-Brown, jock Scott, AHE Wood, etc., I'll feel a little gut wrenching when they talk about killing so many fish...fish caught with those old fly-fishing methods, which even back then extended "flies" to imitations, even abstract imitations, of prey fish.

    The main legal question now is whether those waters set aside from the main limit bait (that includes scent), weight on the end of the line, weight in the line itself, etc. etc.
  17. ssickle1 Slow and Low

    Posts: 171
    Hood River, OR
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    Scent doesn't matter for steelhead. They are either force fed by nyphing, driftfishing ect or pissed off by something. Spend some time pitching spinners and you'l see what I mean. unmolested stelhead will absolutely crush a spinnner.

    Needless to say I don't use scent when flyfishing nor bait when drift fishing.
  18. speyforsteel Degenerate Caster

    Posts: 316
    Eastern Washington
    Ratings: +3 / 0
    EGAD .smear some on the indicator then ram it home ,it may not catch fish but it will sure smell fishy.
  19. Old Man Just an Old Man

    Posts: 21,753
    Dillon, Mt
    Ratings: +1,706 / 0
    Why bring this subject up when you know that it is not done in flyfishing. I only mostly fish in fly fishing and selective gear waters and no bait is allowed. By adding scent it is the same as bait fishing. So why did you bring this garbage up in the first place.:(

    Of all things I thought that when you switched to fishing with the fly you got all of that other types of fishing out of your system.:(

    Keep it pure as it should be and read your regs once in a while.

    Jim
  20. Jason Decker Active Member

    Posts: 2,626
    Issaquah, WA
    Ratings: +1 / 0
    there are some guys who cross over gear and fly. it's not too far fetched to think they don't keep the tackle box next to the vest.:hmmm: to be honest, i haven't gear fished in 12 years since my grandpa passed. my desire to gear fish died with him.

    to answer you, it's just a question Jim. the answers are quite the lively bunch:eek: .

    :thumb: thanks to you, I always read the regs! thanks for weighing in on this.

    As far as I can tell, most of the threads started lately are boring, no real posts or reports........... :rolleyes: gotta keep the blood flowing, the air fresh and have some freaking fun! maybe chris can ad some background audio music.... theme music for our site! (REM Shiny Happy People?):clown:

    jason