winter fish

Discussion in 'Steelhead' started by golfman65, Mar 5, 2012.

  1. golfman65

    golfman65 Guest

    You know...and some of you do...talking to a bud who is selling off all his stuff as he's tired...T I R E D.
    I say tired...of Washington state's closures..
    You can talk till your blue in the face but the reality is, for me anyway...I fish the winter steel simply as something to do to kill time till I can for summer runs...

    I always looked at winter, especially the Jan. Feb. months (and march now it seems) as a crap shoot as far as weather, water height, Temps etc. Kind of cool or rather interesting at times being out in the shit and a decent way to test your rain gear well...

    It seems lately I've had the itch enough that I look forward to my one day or weekend off to fish...If as the season wears on I get a bit fed up or burned out..I take my 000 or 2wt along and fish some creeks, back sloughs and ditches....for cutties, whitefish or even squawfish...don't care, they bite and fight and it's a hoot..

    Don't dig the big sticks anymore anyways so fishing smaller lightweight rods and swinging the fly properly gives me enough pleasure as do the rivers I fish, at least till the rivers and weather warm up some and the hunt can be on for aggressive fish again..

    He said..."All we got is winter fish"....but I think for the amount of time you drive to the coast etc. you could find summers as well soon enough...Funny thing too..by this time of year I'm done tying up winter flies and am back to tying my summer ones and trouty flies...When the temp hits the 40's again I'm going to riffle hitch some bugs and see what happens...


    Anyways...Your thoughts on this season??
     
  2. Steve Call

    Steve Call Active Member

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    Well, I fished winter runs (hatchery fish) in a few times in December and early January before the closures and then I quit. Mostly this winter I've made an effort to fish for trout - mostly the Yakima - in order to get my "fix" and maintain my sanity. I'm looking forward to learning more about the winter fishery there and on a few other waters that are open. Now it is March and the skwala's are emerging. I'm good.
     
  3. Andrew Lawrence

    Andrew Lawrence Active Member

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    At least for me, I had it pretty good this past January on Puget Sound tributaries. It was kind of a bitter sweet taste in light of the approaching closures. Nonetheless, I will continue to swing flies for winter steelhead on my favorite Puget Sound tributary as long as it is open.
     
  4. Old Man

    Old Man Just an Old Man

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    If all one wants to do is fish for just Steelhead, then one is in for a disappointment. One should broaden their wants to trout. Lots of places to fish for trout over on the wet side. But nothing is close in as you have to get out and search for the water.
     
  5. ralfish

    ralfish Active Member

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    For me steelheading is all about winter fish. The weather and challenging conditions and fishing flies that take have wings on them that take longer than 15 minutes to get right, defines for me what it means to be a steelheader. Chrome, and clean as they come, translucent fins, working their way in on the high tide following the rain swollen water of their birth place. Nothing better than that.

    I spent 15 years fishing an empty river, just living on the memory of what it once held. Luckily for me, I did fish the place back in the day when there were fish around. We fought many battles over logging which we lost and admittedly I had to take a break from the place because of that loss and the sadness of seeing the huge stumps where once 500 year old trees stood. Imagine the thrill now though, seeing fish return over the last few years. Until recently I hadn't clued in that I wasn't the young buck anymore that could take the punishment of days on end hiking and camping up there in the winter, fishing by myself. As I get older it becomes more about the how rather than how many.

    Fishing summer runs is just icing on the cake. They are easy and dont make you work too hard for the reward.
     
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  6. Ryan Nathe

    Ryan Nathe Member

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    My sentiment exactly. Its the challenge and the isolation that make it what it is for me.
     
  7. fshnazn

    fshnazn Member

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    Terrific post, Ralfish.

    I'm with Ryan on the "solitude"

    Adrian
     
  8. Jeremy Floyd

    Jeremy Floyd fly fishing my way through life

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    It isn't JUST the challenge, but the reward for sticking it out, that makes winter fish worth the time and effort. You dont normally get big, hot fish, that rip up to surface any other time of the year in Washington.
     
  9. Klickrolf

    Klickrolf Active Member

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    Oh yes you do...or can!! There are places where big fish roam during the summer, in Washington State.
     
  10. Sean Beauchamp

    Sean Beauchamp Hot and Heavy at yer 6

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    Sorry guy but some of the biggest steelhead hooked anywhere in the world during any season are Washington winter run natives. Truly chrome, truly wild steelhead one high tide away from eating squid in the open ocean are something so special they cannot be explained. Big, dynamic, glacial water under the influence of an unstable weather pattern. All the elements are in play, the game is in constant motion. So many rivers, so many floats, so many runs, so many variables.... It's the real deal.
     
  11. golfman65

    golfman65 Guest

    Very interesting replies...It's funny, I know where Ralfish is talking and that's a very special place..and fish..Haven't made it there this year so far but always recharges my batteries when I do...I consider that almost my spring time spot..if you can call what we get here spring?

    Since I've only begun exploring the coast, every trip is a new experience as is finding those special runs...but my luck has been horrible weather wise as have those stinking 4-6 hour drives each way with the ferry so far this year....I would love to spend some serious time over there...but being new to it, I also look at Oregon and wonder if it wouldn't be worth a shot as well since the drive time is the same?

    It is interesting to hear who likes what though... I do like to press the "easy" button...like wet wading in shorts and fishing flies that I at least understand why a fish would take it...instead of wondering why the hell anything would hit some of my winter ones, and in the back of my mind thinking of it more as a lure then fly...While it still took awhile to tie and is feathers..pretty as they may be...I haven't learned enough in this game of the winter fish to fish or rather haven't gained the confidence yet to fish flies I enjoy and can understand tying...if that makes sense?
     
  12. ralfish

    ralfish Active Member

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    Start fishing nice looking flies that I know you can tie instead of the confidence shit you think are the only things they eat. Flies that have some history and soul....think Syd...or newer Dec versions...you won't feel dirty, they fish well and when the hook up comes, no one will be able to wipe the shit eating grin off your face....
     
  13. T Dave

    T Dave Member

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    Patience Paul. Best to use your confidence gear and flies until you become confident pursuing winter steelhead. Once you're over that hump, go nuts trying more challenging techniques and equipement to keep you on your toes. Skipping steps in your progression can lead to frustration and disappointment. Now that you have a nice boat, finding someone down there to partner up on some drifts would kick your winter steelheading blues into shape.
     
  14. Olive bugger

    Olive bugger Active Member

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    At my age, I have all the confidence I need....until the cold water hits my goands.
    Then I am done.
     
  15. golfman65

    golfman65 Guest

    I should say...I fish every weekend....and while I've changed how I fish, two flies I hear recommended for my method is a winter's hope and moal....I don't dig the moals that much anymore...I carry a couple but for the most part fish my waddington ties...Flies like TDave showed etc. I find I can make the fly move better so don't have to rely on the material to do that as much...and like my longer lines now and they give me much better control over that then a short headed ones..

    Being doing this long enough but I still appreciate every day I'm out there..so don't get me wrong on that part..I also for the most part get a kick out of fishing in the shit...but man, these past four weekends have been hard for me....Yes, I have my spots that still fish and aren't blown...but 38* water temps and the constant wind and rain have my gonads tighter then a drum as well...

    I know spring is right around the corner and for that I'm grateful...I take a lot more pride in my ties now Ralf then those old flies...I got that part of it...but damn, I am chomping at the bit to see my bugs and fry starting to move again....I haven't seen even a small hatch in awhile...(probably from the freaking gail force winds)..

    The coast is calling but has been blown on my attempted trips over so I make do with what I got near me...not the river of shame but other spots...It's time to head up to a couple sooner then later...but if you enjoy wearing all the layers and slugging it out with the wind and rain like we have this past month...Your a better man then me..bring on the time change..bring on feeling those warmer thermal winds blowing up stream...bring on some life again returning to the flows...Hell even the bears are better then looking over my shoulder for that damn couger that's been haunting my runs!!!
     
  16. ralfish

    ralfish Active Member

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    I didn't realise TD fished for winters....but I'll stick with what I said about Syd or Decs flies. No challenging techniques ( unless he's referring to the fly tying) equipment(?) or skipping steps, just learning to read water and how and where to fish. I dream about 38* water this time of year... There is lots of life coming out of the gravel. Fry have been out of the gravel for a couple of months up here because of the mild winter and warmer than average water temps, making for some very well fed sea run bulltards (dry line fry pattern on the surface, first or last light). The weather, well, take it as it comes but if you want a challenge, explain to the physio why you have a pointy end on the crutch...
     
  17. T Dave

    T Dave Member

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    To clear up your confusion, I made no reference to you outside of your recomendation to fish classics, which is purely a personal thing that will do nothing to improve his confidence chasing winter fish.....and, I've spent plenty of time out steelheading in water less than 40*.
     
  18. ralfish

    ralfish Active Member

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    Dave , you were talking about xgman gaining confidence chasing winter runs. There's a bit of a difference between how summer run and winter run fish respond to flies and its not just water temperature related. It would have more to do with the amount of time each race spends in fresh water both prior and after saltwater migration...
    ---------------------

    If the only fly a guy uses is a back 4'' marabou shank then thats what he will catch steelhead on, and thats what he will have confidence in. If all he uses is a lady caroline, then thats what he will catch steelhead on and thats what he will have confidence in. Point is, until someone learns to read water and learns how to fish various water types effectively, he will always be second guessing himself.

    Back to xgman, I know he takes the time to tie bugs and enjoys the time he spends in his mancave. He'd enjoy figuring out how to get proportion down tying some of the classic bugs that were developed in his neck of the woods specifically for winter run fish. He had the casting and basic tying skills already a few years ago but had no confidence in the method because he thought it was more important to cast to the other side of the river. Furthermore, as you develop tying skills it extends the enjoyment of the whole getting ready to go fishing deal. When that first grab finally comes on one of those flies, that grin will stay there, and in his own words, he won't feel dirty. No, instead he'll of joined an ever shrinking fraternity of guys that went before him, that figured out you don't need to go with big heavy junk to catch steelhead. That there is some kind of special fun getting winters on classics that used to be the staple for a reason...
     
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  19. golfman65

    golfman65 Guest

    winter 019 (Medium).jpg my classics SUCK!!! I give up, the wings never turn out and they swim like tards in the water...I go with more modern versions of the winter hope etc.

    Interesting about the fry.....
     

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  20. Eric Tarcha

    Eric Tarcha gear whore

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    those look just fine Paul. I would fish any of them with the utmost confidence...

    i really like the "modern" winter's hope fly on the shank...sweet!~
     

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