Tell me about summer steelhead

Discussion in 'Steelhead' started by mcoomer, Jun 9, 2004.

  1. mcoomer

    mcoomer New Member

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    Hello all,
    I wonder if you folks might help me with a bit of knowledge. I did quite a bit of winter steelhead fishing this past year but I have never fished in the summer. What would you say are the differences between fishing them in the cold and gray compared to the bright sunshine? I've heard that the fish are more active and you'll fish different patterns, but what would you say are the biggest differences, or subtle nuances, that set summer steelhead apart? Do you look for different types of water and movement? What are some of your favorite patterns? Do you fish different times of day? Anything and everything is appreciated. I'm just looking forward to the rain stopping long enough for the rivers to get in shape so I can go wet some flies.

    Thanks,
    Mike
     
  2. Luv2flyfish

    Luv2flyfish Another Flyfisherman

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    Its fairly safe to say that they will be in about the same water....generally. Gray and rainy is still a fine condition to catch summer fish in. For me, personally - I dont totally buy off that a sunny day the fish will not be on. All of my summer fish last year came to hand on sunny days (just as the sun set!!)

    Summer water vs. Winter water: Clarity and Flow. You have heard the term summer flow, summer low, etc. Summer water, as you well know, is usually clearer than heavy winter flows. Flies will be smaller at times, and more drab. The 2/0 white bunny leach is going to be a tad out of place in the Kalama in September (however it may still work, but you get the point). Clear water and gentle flows - long tapered leaders and floating lines, or clear intermediate sinks will be about it. You can, for the better part of the season pack up the type 8 tip and put it away.

    Fish activity - the flows are a little warmer and the fish a little more active. One must also take into account that summer run steelhead are going to be in the river a long time until they spawn in the spring. They have more fat reserves and oils and therefore are very capable of tearing your ass up in the river when you connect. Most of the time, winter fish do not move very far to get a fly. If it doesnt whack them in the nose they are generally more inclined to watch it go by. A summer steelhead that is hot may very well be inclined to follow the fly from the moment the spey cast hits the water until the dangle at the end and then slash at it with a serious attitude problem! Summer fish can and will also come to the surface. We've all read about it, some of us have done it, others have only seen it, or thought about the myth. I wasnt fishing a dry fly, but I rolled a big buck 3 times with a little streamer that was on the surface creating a wake for the bottom 3 feet or so of the swing. Yeah I hooked him....but he spit it out once he landed back in the river after coming up to my eye level....in knee deep water! It was way cool!

    Dont overlook the choppy water at heads of pools, or riffles, or whatever you like to name them. In the Kalama for example - fish will be hiding in that very choppy water (that is also exponentially higher in oxygen content). The chop provides cover from over head.

    Big waters....the usual haunts will hold true: like Tailouts!

    You can go a little more natural on the flies (bearing in mind that there is still no magic fly that will always catch steelhead) but there are some that work fairly dag gone well. Hmmm.........I dont know what else to say. There are other folks WAY more knowledgeable than me on this subject. hope this helped a little....

    Jay
     
  3. BOBLAWLESS

    BOBLAWLESS New Member

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    Word. Jay, you just stole all my ideas. I would add emphasis to the crack of dawn and the last of the light thing. The fish move around a lot then and if they come upon your fly, they may try to tear you a new belly button.
    Bob, the I sure do love summer fish.:professor
     
  4. Old Man

    Old Man Just an Old Man

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    Dry fly fishing says it all there is nothing to compare to to taking a steelhead on the top. And yes I do catch fish but don't talk about it. I call myself the fishless wonder but I'm really not that way. I just don't like to talk about what I catch or take pictures. All my pictures are in my head.

    God, I'm gonna have to quit taking off like this everytime I answer a question:beathead :beathead :beathead

    Jim:beathead :beathead :beathead
     
  5. Brian Simonseth

    Brian Simonseth Banned or Parked

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    Summer Steelies


    There is something special summer steelhead is it t-shirt weather or those silver slabs darting back and fourth and dance on top of the water. It’s about being out there, no matter were you are from, north of the border (Canada) to the southern border (Oregon). The magic of those fish dancing on top of the water make my hair stand up on back of my neck (I would of said top of my head, but there hasn’t been hair there for years!). I hope it make yours hair stand up too! From west coast of Washington to Idaho, where there are summer run steelhead that’s were you will find me. I hope you too.


    :)
     
  6. Big K1

    Big K1 Large Member

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    Summer runs rule!!!! It's gotta be a double.:smokin

    Kevin
     
  7. mcoomer

    mcoomer New Member

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    So essentially I will find the summer steelies in the same types of water. I know that some rivers fish better than others for summer run fish. What are some of you favorites? As for patterns, a friend of mine has been tying some up for me and he has been tying a lot of those Teeney nymphs and variation of them. He too said that sparser, more natural patterns work well in the summer. Let me know if there is anything else I should know about fishing the summer run.

    Thanks,
    Mike
     
  8. Matt Burke

    Matt Burke Active Member

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    "Let me know if there is anything else I should know about fishing the summer run."
    They Suck! I caught my one and only Steelhead Aug. 28 2002. It was a bloody summer run out of the Deschutes in Oregon. Almost two years now, I've been trying to catch my first WA Steelhead. Since then I have spent thousands trying to get another. Learned to Spey cast and haven't touched a single hand rod since. Nine Spey rods, thirty plus reels and line, hours and hours on the damn river. Over a hundred hours each year. What could possible drive someone to do this for such a long time with no success? What could make me endure the humiliation and the sacrifice? A bloody summer run! And if you catch one, you will be damned too.

    Matt Burke
     
  9. mcoomer

    mcoomer New Member

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    Gee Matt, I get the feeling that you're holding back a bit. Why don't you tell us how you really feel?:+

    Mike
     
  10. Old Man

    Old Man Just an Old Man

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    I have just figured out what your problem is. Quit using a spey rod and go back to the little rod. I think that I'm ahead of you on steelhead. Lets see,One out of the Foss W/F on a black humpie size 14,Two out of the Beckler one on a Stimulator size 10 and the other on a size 14 red ant. And all on dries, what a blast. It just goes to show that you don't need big flies to catch big fish,but it helps to be in the right place at the right time.

    Jim
     

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