Discussion in 'Steelhead' started by ChrisC, Nov 30, 2009.
“Treat others as you yourself would wish to be treated.”
best statement of the whole blog
Geez, it's funny what they teach you in kindergarten applies to the rest of your life in all facets. If only all could ????
nicely put, Mr Hixson.
I was at a very crowded place last weekend and got lowholed by an experienced DHer who I recognized and had spoken with before. Biggest problem was I was fishing short with a switcher, looking for fish on the inner seam, and he waded in with a big stick below me and decided he was going to wade where I was fishing, and sieve the water below me with the big stick and slow swings.
I hinted a bit and got ignored, reeled in, waded up to him, and let him know how disappointed I was with him. Never raised my voice, never cussed, just told him like it is.
Just because it's crowded doesn't mean we ignore each other. Had he come in above me he would've gotten a greeting and a dram. Plus virgin water outside my short swing. So experience doesn't necessarily denote grace.
Thanks for posting this link. Hopefully, it will get folks who are not aware of this standard Atlantic Salmon and Steelhead fish through the run by starting at the top, taking a step or 2 every cast or 2, and ending at the end of the tailout or bottom of the run. This works wonderfully for anadromous fish like Atlantic Salmon and steelhead because the fish move through a run or hole on their way upriver; thus, anchoring in one place doesn't increase the odds of hooking a fish, nor does fishing through decrease the odds of finding a biter.
Like the blog article says, any person, using any type of equipment (gear, spin, fly, bait, lure, yarn, plugs) can fish a run this way and nobody ever gets in anyone's way and all have a good, pleasant day on the river. And if there are folks already in the water fishing through (which is what it is usually called), simply wait until the person at the head moves down 100' or so and start in behind him. Simple, elegant, easy, and effective way for everyone regardless of gear type or skill level to enjoy a day on the river.
Granted, this type of fishing through is foreign to the vast majority of trout fishermen, bass fishermen, pike fishermen, carp fishermen, etc. But keep in mind that these fish tend to stay in one run or hole of a river and that they also have areas within the pool, hole, or run that are feeding stations, things which steelhead don't do.
This method has been the standard way of fishing for Atlantic Salmon regardless of the country for something like 300 years. And as Salmo pointed out, it was the way fly fishermen at least, and most gear and spin fishers as well from what some of the old timers I've met have told me, fished in years past. Too bad it is not the norm anymore, but there is no reason it can't be. If those of us who post on this site and all those who read it but who are not members of the site all decide to fish through like this, just think of how much more pleasant a day on the river would be.
I've fished many rivers and places where this fishing through was practiced by nearly everyone. I've fished runs on the Sol Duc, Queets, and upper Hoh where gear, spin, and fly guys all fished through the run and all had an enjoyable time on the river and some fish were caught too. I've fished the NF Stilly many times on a summer weekend where there was a line-up (i.e. people waiting their turn to start at the top and fish through) and not a person got angry at having to wait, everyone got along, and people even talked to each other in a very pleasant manner while waiting their turn.
I've experienced it on the Wenatchee, including this fall including sharing a run with a fellow fishing spoons and another one fishing yarn on a gear rod and my adult son and I fishing a 2-hander with a fly. I've seen this on the Sauk/Skagit as well, including with folks fishing with gear equipment. Interestingly, the gear guys, spin guys, and fly guys all got along with one another and all had a good time simply by each one fishing through.
Ahhhh, if only everyone steelhead fishing fished through.
I generally agree with cast and move down but there are some exceptions we need to consider. There are areas where a single cast will not cover all the holding water and it may take several casts to cover the area. Maybe it will take 10 or 15 minutes to make all the presentations. Even if there is but a single prime spot 3 or 4 casts are ok with me.
Summer fish will move further for a fly than a winter fish and tend to be a bit more agressive so fewer casts in the immediate area are needed. Winter fish in general need the fly in their face and it may take a few casts to get the fly where one wants it.
To sit in one spot for a great period of time IS counter productive. Just move around and down and go fish. You aren't low holing someone who is anchored to a spot!
If you are a person who runs down a river and covers a lot of water in a hurry don't get upset with someone else who fishes slower and more methodical and vice versa. Life is way too short for that!
wet line Dave
Great article guys that really gets me thinking.
As originally mentioned in the article, the rotation method or moving downstream is rarely practiced in the Midwest, at least where I have fished thusfar.
I fish a fairly crowded and well known river in WI and a few weeks back I hooked up on a nice male steelie. After landing the fish, I thought there must be more in the same area so I kept casting until I hooked another. Now on this stream, most nymph, use egg imitations with indicators or the ever popular chuck and duck. Swing flies is not as popular here unless dealing with high water conditions. I've never once seen anyone move out of a hole before or after catching a fish but this honestly makes me wonder....should I have moved after catching that first fish or would I have been a fool to leave a productive area only to have the next guy move in and sit in the spot until he was ready to leave???
I'm not sure and not trying to play the naive guy for my own benefit but as I mentioned before, growning up on the east coast and fishing there and now the Midwest, I've rarely if ever seen this hole sharing concept utilized. Normally it's you arrive first, you have the hole until you decide to move on. Again, maybe it's right or maybe it's worng but that's the default for fishing the rivers I grew up on and frequented. At least now I am aware that if i ever head out to the west coast there is a different standard expected.
There is no rule or regulation for rotation fishing on a pool for steelhead anywhere that I know of. What we have is local custom or local tradition. However, not everyone subscribes to the local customs, either because they are not local, not informed, or don't give a shit about what may be customary, instead preferrring to do whatever they please, irrespective of the effects their behavior has on other anglers.
In your example, where the angler who arrives first owns the rock, so to speak, you might have been foolish indeed to leave after landing your first fish, since other anglers may have taken your place and become wed to the rock and not given you another chance all day.
Life, along with fishing, is more complex in our highly mobile and transient society. In the past, local customs, traditions, and ethics essentially enjoyed something equivalent to the force of law. Not so anymore, where even the letter of the law and its intent frequently receives minimal respect or adherence.
What works best for me is to communicate, or at least attempt to, with other anglers about intentions and expectations. If I fish around others, I try to do so only to the extent that our intentions and expectations are compatible. After that I leave.
Again, if I see someone in a particular spot, I give them plenty of room to continue doing what they are doing without my intrusion. On the beach, on a party boat or another crowded venue, moving in on a guy is called "mugging" and just not worth the hassle it causes. Loads of places to catch fish, no point in trying to stand on the next guy's shoulders to do so.
As far as the rotation method...I really don't have any personal experience but would not be adverse to using it. All the rivers I fish now are so small that the runs and holes don't readily accomodate more than one or two anglers anyway.
The closest thing I saw to the rotation method was at the Ballfield on the Salmon River. The pool is basically a large bowl-shaped basin with water flowing in at the top and out at the bottom. There was anywhere from 50 to 75 guys all around the hole, plunking away and sliding down here and there. The worst part was that one guys hooked up on a salmon, another guy set cause he thought it was his fish and subsequently the fish broke off. The guy who lost the fish was angered and threaten to fight the other guy who set the hook. A minute later, the guy who lost the fish, drops his rod crosses the river and gets right in the face of the guy who seemingly made him lose the fish. They started jawing and shoving and no one down in the hole was doing anything to stop it. My wife, father-in-law and I watched from the high cliff overlooking the hole, as there was no way we ever thought about entering that madness down there. If that's fishing I want no part of it.
That was three years ago and the Salmon River was incredibly low...thus having a majority of fish holding up in deep pools. I watch salmon move out of the way of 4lb mono and tiny egg patterns that trip. For my wife, father-in-law and I the trip turned basically into a sight seeing trip, as too many salmon-crazy anglers were doing anything to catch or snag a salmon. No point in being subjected to some of the A-holes that were on the river then. In that great hole I identified above, one very intoxicated angler (8a.m.) preceded to yell, "Anyone who wants to fight can come over here and I'll kick your arse". he was pretty big so everyone ignored him but the craziness I saw on the Salmon River those few days was almost enough to make you stop fishing. You are right, it was gruesome to say the least.
Those guys are just being dumb... The rules are different between the gear and fly guys, and to expect gear guys to "understand" fly fishing rules is just dumb. In general gear guys are *way* easier to deal with cause the tend to post up on a single spot... Fish down to them, ask it's okay to go a bit downstream, continue fishing....
The only folks that really piss me off are the sledders and drift boat guys who fish through runs on rivers with limited bank access. I mean seriously, you can access *miles* of river that bankies can't hit, and you feel it's required to beat on the only water they can get too?
some fly guys in boats aren't much better. Case in point, Sunday on the Skagit, a couple of fellows and i walked down to a run to fish and there was a boat there with a couple of dudes eating lunch. I popped out of the brush and got the "Ummm, we are about to swing this run", to which i replied "the whole run, do you mind if we work in?"...mind you this run could be worked by 10 guys for 2-3 hours no problem as it is a huge run... To which i got the response, "Sorry, there is not much swinging water on this river." !!!! ummmm ok. so we left.
On the edge of a grey area there. Eating lunch is not occupying a run. However, resting a run could be, and eating lunch while resting the water isn't uncommon strategy. Seems like the situation was open to negotiation. The run was technically unoccupied, you guys were bankies, they had a boat. And saying there isn't much swinging water on the Skagit is bullshit. That's the sort of remark that would send me to the head of the run and begin fishing.
My guess is they thought they'd see if they could bluff you out of that piece of water, and it worked. Food for thought.
yeah, i wanted to ask them if they knew what river they were on.
Them being in a boat and then spouting off some bullshit about no water to swing really pissed me off though. They obviously had access to tons of good water while us bankies had relatively little (i know there is a lot of access to walk in on the skagit, but relative to floating it is little) and then they dont even want to let us fish the top or bottom or work through after them.... just kind of bush league.