Winter

Discussion in 'Steelhead' started by Sean Beauchamp, Apr 19, 2014.

  1. David Dalan 69°19'15.35" N 18°44'22.74" E

    Posts: 1,904
    Walla Walla, WA
    Ratings: +737 / 0
    I got to fight the biggest buck of the season on the bottom 1/3rd of my rod after it exploded...and I decided to keep fishing. Damn near had it landed, and lost it to snapped tippet. I knew the knot was sketchy, but I figured I was leaving soon (rod had broken) and the odds of a hookup were small. I did get a great look at him, and managed to recover the rest of my rod. He was wild, so I figured he was close enough (2' or so away in clear water) to count as good enough. I could have babied the leader and fought him till he was a corpse, but I'm not interested in that.

    Rest of the season was a real treat. I tried some methods I don't usually use, feel like I developed a low grade mastery and caught fish when I am certain I would otherwise have been skunked.

    Fished some new water, found some new holes.

    Even made it to the OP at the end of the season. And other than seeing people launch and quickly vanish, we never had another angler closer than a 1/2 mile the whole day. I must really smell bad or something.

    Cannot complain about this winter.
    Cruik and underachiever like this.
  2. Evan Virnoche Guest

    Posts: 0
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    i learned if you wanna consistently catch steelhead start centerpinning
  3. Andrew Lawrence Active Member

    Posts: 734
    Renton, WA.
    Ratings: +100 / 0
    Ok ... I will bite. Let me first start off by saying that I pursue steelhead with both flies and gear. My preference for gear is to fish a center pin using either a dead drift presentation, or swinging spinners (with and without floats). Sure, using different methods has expanded my knowledge of these fish, and has probably helped me learn a thing or two that I would not have if I had confined myself to only using flies. Although I enjoy both, I prefer swinging a two-hander and having a steelhead crush a fly that I tied myself. That's why the majority of the time, I'm swinging flies. With that said, I did not start catching steelhead consistently on a swung fly until I put in the time and paid my dues. I hope that I did not come off as condescending. That was not my intention. If I did, then I apologize in advance. Just my two cents.
    Chris Johnson and sopflyfisher like this.
  4. Evan Virnoche Guest

    Posts: 0
    Ratings: +0 / 0


    Andrew i 130% agree with you. swinging is my favorite, but not every river is best suited for a swung fly which you grasp already and my thick skull started to understanding this year. I think the greatest thing i learned this season was when to use the pin vs swinging.

    I cant even begin to count the amount of time in my first season of dedicated steelheading how many time i said oh 4-8 feet deep slow moving water and just beat the hell out of it not knowing what the structure was underneath. it looked sexy but for all i know it could have been a sand bar. There are reasons fish hold where they do finding them on your own is a crapshoot.

    I think one of the best things pointed out to me was fish traps involving riffles and heaavy rapids. a swung fly will only fish the lip and tailout if it even swing well at all. Enter the pin i can penetrate these buckets and fish hard edges that would normally pull on my line like crazy
    Andrew Lawrence likes this.
  5. Cruik Active Member

    Posts: 459
    Seattle, WA
    Ratings: +141 / 0
    I had a decent year, I'd say. Not as many fish on the swing as I would like. On top of that, I'd say that most of the fish I caught were on the small side. At least half the fish I caught were in that 4-6 pound range. But I did manage to fish some cool water and a couple larger fish. This year, I focused more on exploring, and was able to fish some new rivers and some familiar sleepers.

    On one such river there's a fairly inaccessible canyon stretch. I dropped down off of a logging road and bushwacked to the downstream edge of the canyon. What I found was two incredible pools with awesome tailouts. I peeked around a tree up off the water for a few minutes to get a better feel for how/if I was going to swing the first one. As my eyes adjusted, I saw two fish sitting in the tailout. "Fantastic!," I thought. Then something started flashing in the water about 40 feet upstream. It was a large hen digging a redd in what I would have thought was perfect holding water. It was 6 feet deep with some boulders, and just off the main current. I sat there for a few minutes watching her dig, but it was kind of a bummer. This run was the closest to a sure bet I've ever seen. I definitely didn't expect to be fishing over spawning fish in February. I sat there and tried to figure out if I could fish any part of the run. I didn't want to disturb the spawning fish, but this was a big run and I knew there were more fish in it that weren't actively spawning. Swing-stepping my way through was certainly out. So I unpacked my gear rod, went downstream and cast up the far back and let it come down along the rock wall and through the scoured bowl that usually forms just downstream of the rock walls. It was really the only part of the run where I thought it would have been truly separate from the spawning operation going on in the near-side of the run. I immediately hooked a fish that shot down through the riffle. It bull-dogged me quite a bit and brought me even further downstream. It was a beefy 34" buck, my biggest of the year. At the second nice pool, there were two different fish digging redds in the tailout, so I watched for a few minutes and decided there was no way to fish without disturbing what was going on in the tailout. I had two more solid grabs on the swing in lower runs, but missed them both.

    That's the most memorable day of my season. I still can't believe how many fish were in that stretch of river. It also really makes me wonder about how often I'm fishing over spawning fish. The only reason I saw the digging in the first place is because the water was clear and I was sitting up over the run.
  6. plaegreid Saved by the buoyancy of citrus

    Posts: 554
    Renton, WA
    Ratings: +623 / 0
    I couldn't catch a cold, but it's my first season with the two hander, so a whole pile of learning happened. Tried new water, tied new flies, figured out that tips matter, all in all a good time.
  7. sopflyfisher Active Member

    Posts: 718
    Where the fish are located
    Ratings: +430 / 0

    good thoughts and reflections. classy. cool you got to check them out doing their thing. extra cool you were selfless enough to leave them be. well played.
  8. Andrew Lawrence Active Member

    Posts: 734
    Renton, WA.
    Ratings: +100 / 0

    Good for you man! : )
  9. Achilles Member

    Posts: 129
    Washington
    Ratings: +24 / 0
    I found several walk in spots had been visited by someone with a chainsaw who was clearly invested in keeping people away from the river... Just love the wild and beautiful Olympic Peninsula.. What's happening out there?
  10. danimal Inglorious Twohander

    Posts: 71
    michiana,SW lk mich
    Ratings: +10 / 0

    They are the solution to the worlds problems. We just need the fishing industry help to take care of the steelheads problems first.

    Hello , Im a steelheadaholic , and I cant help myself.
  11. freestoneangler Not to be confused with Freestone

    Posts: 3,969
    Edgewood, WA
    Ratings: +706 / 1
    Two hatchery studs on the Cowlitz in 3 trips. The casting is as ugly as ever, and I can never tell whether the odd looks from the gear guys is because of my casting or that someone actually thinks fishing this way is fun or efficient.