Winter steelhead help!

Discussion in 'Steelhead' started by ksherk, Nov 29, 2009.

  1. ksherk Kyle

    Posts: 9
    seattle, wa
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    Been a while since I've been on this site. Long enough to forget all of my log on info and whatnot. I just got laid off from my place of employment after 5.5 years and I hope that I'm stareing at a winter that will be my beginning learning how to Steelhead fish "wading style". I live in Seattle and I'm looking for suggestions on when, where, how etc... I currently have what I assume would be light gear (5/6 weight non-spey) would be my "burliest" of rigs. Heck I'll give it a chance, I have a solid understanding of nymphing and "mending" and whatnot but I would relish the opportunity to pick up on any suggestions and would really appreciate the opportunity to meet up at a river and "shadow" someone who wants to show me the ropes or point me in the right direction. I'm trying to look at this whole layoff thing as an opportunity, hopefully someone out there will point me in the right direction. I'm not looking for a new fishing buddy, just pointers.


  2. ksherk Kyle

    Posts: 9
    seattle, wa
    Ratings: +0 / 0

    It might be worth a note that I only intend on (hopefully and only if it's somewhat easy on the fish) procuring photos, if at at all possible, of any river fish caught. I get my "food fill" of fish via Alaska and the Sound.
  3. wet line New Member

    Posts: 2,313
    Burien, WA, King.
    Ratings: +0 / 0

    You are going to hear that a 6wt is too light of a rod and probably is. A 7wt is probably the lightest to be exceptable. However you fish with what you got. Hope for a smaller hatchery fish and hang on!!!

    For winter fish of hatchery origion you are better off numbers wise to fish near the hatchery of origion. On the Snoqualmie this would be along Fish Hatchery Rd on the north side of the river above Fall City or along the David Powell Rd on the south side of the river above Fall City. Up by Reitter Ponds on the Sky is another place to check out.

    Personally I don't like fishing a rising river. Just as a river starts to drop in my opinion is prme time. However fish can be caught in almost any condition and you sure as heck cann't catch a fish sitting on the couch. Even in high water, non flood stages, it is benefitial to go and explore and find access.

    Something I do believe in is to pick a good area and fish it alot. Note where you get takes and remember them and figure out why fish like that kind of spot. You can transfer that knowledge to other places. If I know fish are holding in an area I will present a lot of casts through that area. I don't necessarily buy into cast and step down at all times. I will change flies, size and color until I am convinced I am on fish that are not interested in taking anything. A case in point, several years ago I was situated along a pool with great visability and could see a dozen or so steelhead at the head of the pool. It took well over 20 casts to get a take! I could watch my presentation float right into a specific fish and it would just slide sideways!! Finally I had a drift coming right at my targetted fish and another fish on the other side of the pool raced across the pool and took the presentation.

    wet line Dave
  4. Evan Burck Fudge Dragon

    Posts: 6,437
    Duvall, wa
    Ratings: +1,616 / 2

    I would highly suggest against using anything lighter than a 7/8wt. If you hook in to a native fish, its chances of survival are severely decreased when you try to fight it on light gear. Instead of getting it in, and getting it back on its way as fast as possible, your only option is to fight the fish until it can't swim anymore, then drag it in on its side.

    I know you're jobless and money's probably an issue, because I'm in the same boat. But if you're serious about wanting to give this a go, keep an eye on the classifieds for inexpensive 8wt setups. I'm sure even posting a want ad on the classifieds here with your budget and what your after would turn up results.

    Edit: and being laid off will be the best thing that ever happened to your fishing :thumb: It definitely was for me
  5. Salmo_g Active Member

    Posts: 7,470
    Your City ,State
    Ratings: +1,609 / 0

    You're in pretty good form, being just laid off, to become a trout bum, or steelhead bum, if that's your objective, or fate, or whatever. You'd be better positioned to become a steelhead bum if you already had some suitable gear. If you don't, take your savings, if any, or first unemployment check and purchase the requisite steelhead gear. Otherwise you ain't gonna' be in the game. PERIOD. If you need some bargain gear, an online mail order place known as Sierra Trading Post has some good stuff on sale right now. I just ordered a new pair of wading boots yesterday for 1/2 price, so I'll have 'em when the current ones wear out. There are good values on waders, boots, and 8 wt. rods. A decent steelhead reel will run you $100 - $150, but I don't know if they have any. The thread search you're going to do will turn up some good recommendations in that price range.

    Since the value of money has just gone up for you, it will be worth your while to peruse and search this forum for all the recent and not so recent "how to fish good for steelhead" threads on this forum. There are many, and at least one extensively detailed one around this time each year. From those and from reading a few books like Trey Combs, Deke Meyer, and Dec Hogan you will obtain the paper and cyber knowledge you need to get started. The rest comes from OJT with TOTW, which tests the measure of your commitment to winter steelheading.

    Other pointers, to help you take maximum advantage of your situation, read up on where to be and when to be there (and it ain't on the Sno-fuckin-qualmie, sorry), then after cashing your next unemployment check, purchase a week's worth of food or booze, whatever it is you get by on, and gas up your wheels, load up some camping gear, cuz hotels are off limits for the unemployed, and your new steelheading gear, and head for where the fish are. At this time of year, think early hatchery winter run steelhead. Head for the OP, camp out on the Bogie, Salmon, and any other place you get word that might be hot. Talk to fishermen who are catching fish, not the ones getting skunked like you, and the WDFW creel checker, and try to get to the next hot spot just before it gets hot. Repeat this process each week as the unemployment checks roll in.

    I hope you tie your own flies. Buying flies is unbecoming of the unemployed. If you follow this advice, you''re gonna' need a bunch. Also, if you follow this plan, you're gonna' be a successful steelhead bum before the unemployment checks stop coming and you have to go back to work. Good luck, and I hope you make the most of this opportunity.

  6. Itchy Dog Some call me Kirk Werner

    Posts: 3,729
    Ratings: +422 / 0
    Probably be easier – definitely cheaper – to avoid the perils of temptation altogether.
  7. Mark Moore Just a Member

    Posts: 734
    Vancouver, Wa.
    Ratings: +66 / 0
    A friend of mine once advised me that sin always takes you farther than you intended to go, keeps you longer than you intended to stay and costs you more than you intended to spend.....I had no idea he was speaking of winter steelhead.
  8. fishbadger Member

    Posts: 196
    Gig Harbor, WA
    Ratings: +6 / 0
    Well said MM,

  9. Zen Piscator Supporting wild steelhead, gravel to gravel.

    Posts: 3,076
    Missoula, MT
    Ratings: +13 / 0
    True words. I have nothing to add.
  10. flybill Purveyor of fine hackle, wine & cigars!

  11. Gary Thompson dirty dog

    Posts: 3,891
    East Wenatchee, WA
    Ratings: +131 / 0
    Dress in layers esp. around the nut sack and feet.
  12. KerryS Ignored Member

    Posts: 6,697
    Sedro Woolley, WA, USA.
    Ratings: +1,744 / 0
    I've got one thing to add to SG's comments; unemployment checks can be collected in the Virgin Islands.
  13. Blake Stedman Member

    Posts: 47
    Bothell, WA
    Ratings: +0 / 0

    For Steelheading...i find knowing which fly to use in what water and conditions is very important. '' (link below) provides a great deal of info that you will find quite useful! Good luck my friend...and tight lines.
  14. Steve Saville Active Member

    Posts: 2,482
    Tacoma, WA
    Ratings: +312 / 1

    Agreed but not a good thing to fight a fish until it can be dragged to shore. That builds so much lactic acid in the fish's body that it is hard for them to recover and if it is a fish you can't keep, then you are stuck with a bigger problem of having killed a non-retainable fish. Be very careful with the notion because if there is a warden nearby, you have bigger problems than being unemployed.
  15. Nick Clayton Active Member

    Posts: 2,842
    Ratings: +1,116 / 4
    I think you should save yourself some money and heartache and just start smoking crack instead.

  16. jsuyes FFF-CCI

    Posts: 153
    Kent, Wa
    Ratings: +3 / 0
    I will add one other thing to this list. Learn to Row. I own a drift boat and I am always looking for fishing partners that can row. I'm always looking for people to take fishing who can row a drift boat down a river. I'm willing to teach people to row too. I hate always being the guy who has to do the rowing.
  17. Derek Day Rockyday

    Posts: 567
    Ratings: +146 / 0
    If you don't tie flies, get craft store beads and a couple of bottles of cheap nail polish and paint your own beads. Get a bottle in pink, orange and red. That, some BB shot and a couple of packages of #4 hooks and you'll be set for a while. Nymphing will be more easily accomplished than casting heavy flies on that rod. Also, if you don't get a heavier rod, you should use heavy leaders (12-15lbs) and push your little 5/6 wt to the brink. Play the fish from lower in the rod by keeping the tip closer to the water. You will be more likley to loose a fish this way, but less likley to kill one as well. If you choose to take that light of a rod out--be willing to sacrifice it to avoid killing a fish.

    That said, I would sugest a heavier set up. And don't overlook a pfluger medalist for a new reel--they're cheap and more or less bomb proof. Don't be be intimidated by the complexity of these responses, people really like to give thier two cents when it comes to steelhead.

    Jump into the steelhead game with both feet when you have the chance--your life will never be the same, and you won't regret it--I promise.
  18. Leopardbow Member

    Posts: 483
    Ferndale, WA
    Ratings: +1 / 0
    One word - flask. Takes the bite off the chase. Enjoy the river, the time off, the scenery and the solitude. The econcomy blows, so take in the moments you have on the river.

    Sorry to hear about your layoff.
  19. Daniel Nelson BAMF

    Posts: 375
    Ratings: +0 / 0

  20. East Fork Active Member

    Posts: 1,200
    Vancouver, WA
    Ratings: +2 / 0
    I have a Lamiglas 9' 7/8 wt with a cracked fighting butt that is otherwise fully functional. I'll sell it you for the cost of the freight - say $20. If you want it, PM me your mailing address. It's not pretty but it works.