The Swang

Discussion in 'Spey Clave' started by Mark Bové, Nov 12, 2008.

  1. inland Active Member

    Posts: 592
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    Ratings: +45 / 0
    Duff,

    I am talking about spring-summer-fall run fish that are river maturing. Not the ocean maturing ones you keep including.

    I don't know Bill. Never met him. Only know what he has written. My friend, is indeed an ace rod, is an old aquaintance of Bill's. I won't bore you with this gentlemans results with his favored dryline methods since you will only call BS anyway.

    Nonetheless, sooner or later, I too will fish only the dryline year 'round. It really is a kick in the pants.

    Justin,

    No...don't think I am missing out on anything. That was no tips for summer runs since '99. I don't think you are missing out on anything. This whole debate stems from you conveying, with STRONG conviction, the dryline (and on/in/near surface presentations) only results in a few fish/season. Which simply isn't true.

    Greenmuddler,

    I agree that many surface takes are as you describe. And I also think it might be due to the distance traveled and then return to their lie. I also think water speed has something to do with the 'instant on' feeling. But I have caught so many over the years (with the floater) that are indistinguishable to that on a tip. So I really do think we are talking more about instances then averages.

    William
  2. KerryS Ignored Member

    Posts: 6,698
    Sedro Woolley, WA, USA.
    Ratings: +1,744 / 0
    Huh, I wonder how the hell Ralph was catching fish from the Skagit that were rivaling record steelhead caught else where? Must have been doing it with a freakin' blue winged olive swung off a floater.
  3. Coach Duff Banned or Parked

    Posts: 1,272
    Kailua Hawaii
    Ratings: +6 / 0
    I fish the dry whenever I feel it's got a chance. From December to March, I never feel to good about it in Western Washington up North. I've played a bit, hooked a few, (very few) and gone back to T-14, Skagit heads and what I know works. From June to November I'll fish the dry line hard but once again if I don't like the way things feel, will drege a bit. I have found some pretty trouty wild summer runs over the years, (the SF Stillly fish being one race I've had luck on- had a 26 fish month in that baby years ago all on the dry line) in Western Washington but if I really want to go somewhere and really chase steelhead with floating lines and surface techniques I head north or east. It's steelheading and fun to talk about, no matter what is said. The bottom line is that if there are actually steelhead around in good numbers, you can get away with all kinds of shit. Were I am from, we don't have that luxury. If we want to hook fish year round consistently we have to do what works best at that time with those temps in that water over the few wild fish we left.

    PS Kerry your last post makes no sense. Ralph was catching steelhead on the Skagit yes, but until he found the Slough were he started hooking them regularly, he caught them in winter NEVER. A few here and there at the very best. I don't take an isolated incident or a once every 4 months thing and call it successful or a tecnique that needs to be spread around. Just as when I lived in Washington I didn't hook 9 fish a year and call myself a pro or expert like some folks do nowadays. That's a decent month or two at best. Yes, swinging.
  4. sothereiwas Member

    Posts: 304
    Issaquah, WA
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    I'm definitely the odd man out when it comes to my generation of steelhead fisherman. I love fishing a floater, I know it costs me fish. But the fact that everyone around me doesn't have the confidence in it to even bother west of the D makes it that much more rewarding. A lot of the rivers in SWW are not large and taking fish on the surface when water temps are in the low 40's come as no surprise to me. It was the way I was raised. I still get the "were you fishing a floater" " did he come to the surface" comments from my old man.

    I'm always up for a new challenge. I have 2 things left on my list in the steelhead dept.

    Take a winter fish with the greased line technique

    Take a fish on a dead drifted dry.

    Too each his own. I can only speak form personal experience. :beer2:
  5. inland Active Member

    Posts: 592
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    Ratings: +45 / 0
    sothereiwas,

    You are definately not the odd person out. Most have enough common sense to stay out of these inane discussions. Not me. Always like a good steelhead debate.

    William
  6. Verne Member

    Posts: 76
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    Ratings: +6 / 0
    The old-timers did indeed fish for winter steelhead with flies and sinking lines, they used silk lines which weren't greased until the wetcel lines came out in the 1950's. Judge Ralph Olson won the "Field & Stream" fishing contest for western rainbow trout almost every year with skagit steelhead caught on his "Lady Godiva" fly or "Orange Wing" during the 1940's. Enos Bradner and Roderick Haig-Brown wrote extensively of fishing with flies in the winter with silk lines. I began fly fishing for steelhead with an old silk line, but I gladly changed to the wet cell Hi-D full sinking lines and then to shooting heads. I fish with sinktips when I think it is necessary, but greatly prefer cating and fishing a full floating long belly line.
  7. Coach Duff Banned or Parked

    Posts: 1,272
    Kailua Hawaii
    Ratings: +6 / 0
    Well said. Duffer

    PS Don't forget that more than one of our esteemed greats from days past may have fished floaters in Western Washington, but if you ever would have picked a fly out of their box they actually fished, it would feel a bit on the "leaded" side.;) Really leaded. I know of two right off the top of my head. It's all good, and disgreeing with other good anglers is good times and fun to learn from. Tight lines and good steelheading to all. Coach
  8. Coach Duff Banned or Parked

    Posts: 1,272
    Kailua Hawaii
    Ratings: +6 / 0
    And Verne, a weighted fly with a half pound lead and a silk line is the same thing as a sink tip and an unweighted fly. I guess you missed that. And if the boys were fishing silk, with no weight in winter, they weren't catching many. Unless they found a slough or side channel where the fish spawned and sat around for months on end. But once again, here we go with isloated incidents and low percentage techniques and a fish hooked every once in a while or lightening striking twice somewhere becoming all of a sudden go to tactics. That's why all of those guys shitcanned those silk lines and floaters in winter as soon as possible right? Tight lines anyways. Duffer
  9. HauntedByWaters Active Member

    Posts: 2,746
    Bellingham
    Ratings: +103 / 0
    Here is a weird tidbit for you guys to think about:

    There are two rivers I fish a bit for steelhead and they are so small they are more like streams and their size makes them tricky for the swing.

    After a couple seasons fishing with my buddy who used a jig and float and caught A LOT more steelhead than me on these streams, I decided to pick up indicator fishing.

    I normally use those sort of magenta colored indicators you can buy most places and the crazy part is, I have risen several steelhead on the indicator as it dead drifted. It is usally in a slow seam next to deep water and in the months of Jan and Feb when things can actually be warm and wet. It has almost always been when the river was rising rapidly from the warm rain and so was the water temperature.

    I have also hooked up with most of these fish by staying calm and gently lifting the indicator out of the fish's mouth and not moving fast as to not spook the fish and putting on a magenta fly and dangling it in the same area just under the surface where the take occured. I can dangle like that because like I said, this is small water.

    I am tying up some bombers in magenta to be my indicator and adding a hook for these fish this season.
  10. sothereiwas Member

    Posts: 304
    Issaquah, WA
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    Now that is cool. I have done next to no nymphing for steelhead, but have heard of this happening form a few guys I know.
  11. Jergens AKA Joe Willauer

    Posts: 2,141
    Twin Bridges, MT
    Ratings: +19 / 0
    ive seen this as well. was drifting the upper sol duc last winter (mid-feb) and watched my buddy have a fish come up and swipe his bright orange bobber (indicator). we were moving along quick enough that there was no second chance, but it was plain as day this fish ate the bobber. i agree with kerrys, there are not absolutes in steelhead fishing.
  12. Runejl Josh

    Posts: 390
    Bellingham, Washington
    Ratings: +6 / 0
    North Fork Nooky mid December I had a big ass Steelie take my indicator 4 casts in a row Jaws style. This was my only encounter with a steelhead on the Nooksack ever while flyfishing. I finally tried dangling an orange fly to no avail.

    While fishing the Methow 2 or 3 years ago a friend and I were corked by a gentleman who proceeded to hook up to 5 or so steelhead, a little frustrating but I approached him to ask for advice which he freely dispersed. His advice was to get rid of the tip, lengthen my leader and fish a smaller fly. We fished through the run once more and rose a couple fish (none hooked up).

    Will steelhead rise up, yes. Do they normally hang around on top on the westside in the winter months? NO. There are alot of approaches to catching these fish. And no matter what tactic we use many of us catch very few (me).

    I really don't understand arguing over purity etc. Only fishing waking dries during December would seem pretty silly to me, but not giving yourself the chance to experience a surface take when the fish are more willing would seem like you would be spoiling your chances at some new excitement also.

    In the mean time I will keep spending countless hours on the river trying for my one steelhead a year.

    This was a good thread about how to effectively fish the swing. What happened?
  13. Steelie Mike Active Member

    Posts: 1,600
    Camas, WA
    Ratings: +24 / 0
    Wow, reading the last twelve hours of post game me a headache!

    The more I know about steelheading, the more I realize I do not know!!! That is why I love this shit!!!
  14. East Fork Active Member

    Posts: 1,200
    Vancouver, WA
    Ratings: +2 / 0
    True words Mike. The only thing we know for sure about steelhead is they are born in fresh water, go the ocean and return to spawn. Everything else only applies to some of the fish some of time.
  15. TallFlyGuy Adipossessed!

    Posts: 869
    Vancouver, WA.
    Ratings: +44 / 0
    Ah Don and Mike, such happy and diplomatic good ol'e ye are! ;)

    Blessed are the peacemakers :)
  16. Verne Member

    Posts: 76
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    Ratings: +6 / 0
    The reason that everyone switched lines wasn't because silk lines didn't sink well, it is because waterlogged, sticky lines didn't cast very well and rotted out quickly. They sink fine if unevenly. I don't recall anyone using weighted flies for winter fish, and the original patterns don't call for weighting, they did tie them bigger than is currently favored. It is true that fly fishermen go through different stages, I know I did, first where you want to catch a lot of fish, second where you want big fish and finally where you want to catch fish under your own terms. At the present time I would rather catch one or two on the surface than dozens fishing deep.
  17. Will Atlas Guest

    Posts: 0
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    actually a good friend of mine fishes with Bill from time to time and it is my understanding that he has started using tips for some of his winter fishing.

    Will
  18. Ed Call Mumbling Moderator

    Posts: 17,395
    Kitsap Peninsula
    Ratings: +1,355 / 9
    All the mags i have read that mention dry line fishing for steel list Bill McMillian and his son. I'm sure it is likely that they do fish other methods, but they are highly regarded as experts in dry line fishing for salmon, even with heavy flies swung deep on longer leaders in faster and deeper water. I was just reading one of those print articles while on the shitter while simultaneously reading the banter here going back and forth. Everyone is an expert at something, at least they think so, just ask them. I'm an expert at knowing that I'm not an expert at anything fishing related. Eventually, the discerning reader will have to extract useful tidbits out of this back and forth and hopefully the end result will be knowledge about swinging tips and dry lines and then I can make up my own mind of which method of futility I prefer to not catch large native steelhead on pristine western WA rivers in the middle of winter during a snow or rainstorm.
  19. Mark Bové Chasin tail

    Posts: 520
    Spokane
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    I just like to fish, as I am sure you all do too. Will, you will always one up me, so touchet and enjoy your time spent drylining. I will be more than happy fishing my way, just as you enjoy fishing your way. :):thumb:
  20. rick matney Active Member

    Posts: 1,302
    Bozeman, Montana
    Ratings: +3 / 0
    I like to fish. :)