So I am almost to the pt of only fly fishing for steelhead

Discussion in 'Steelhead' started by sandspanker, Feb 13, 2013.

  1. hydrological

    hydrological beads are NOT flies and snagging is just ghetto

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2011
    Messages:
    572
    Likes Received:
    116
    Location:
    inland
    we all fish for different reasons. if you are a bow hunter, you know about the thrill of the chase. every good cast, every time i feel that electricity on a great swing, i get a rush that i could never get, even if hooked up to a steelhead on a nymph, or bead, or gear. so, for me, when eventually i do get a just a grab, its better than 10,000 fish hooked, or even landed. and after days on end, to finally hold 10 or 15lbs of perfect, wild chrome, and feel that tremendous kick on the release, i feel like i just shook hands with sasquatch.

    the tug is the drug;)
     
  2. Achilles

    Achilles Active Member

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2011
    Messages:
    153
    Likes Received:
    25
    Location:
    Washington
    Directly to the point.......
     
  3. Achilles

    Achilles Active Member

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2011
    Messages:
    153
    Likes Received:
    25
    Location:
    Washington
    I really liked golfman's post above. I like guys like Jerry. I have a similar story that is probably tangential to the post but thought I'd share.

    I was 15 when I caught my first steelhead on my 6 weight fly rod. 6 lb leader, floating line, reel with no drag, etc., bare bones. I felt as if I achieved the greatest feat of any human in the history of earth. I finally landed the fish and it was getting dark in the canyon. It was a very warm day but was starting to get cool. Bats were starting to fly around and you could see them against the blue-black sky. Nobody was around to witness my monumental and spiritual achievement but I felt so elated I did not care. I was so happy I probably would have said that day that I could now die a happy man. Since that day I fly fish probably 95% of the time and 100% of the time I wish I was fly fishing. I tie my own flies, incorporate things I've learned about my rivers and my fish into my patterns, and I feel more connected to the whole thing. That being said, I love to catch fish and I still think I'm going to catch one on every single cast. Of course, I don't. I usually catch them when I decide to take a gear rod and always tell myself "Oh yeah, he was hanging below that rock in 3-4 feet of water, could have got him on my spey rod..."

    I know a lot of gear fisherman that feel just as connected to steelheading as I do so it's not a fly-only club.
     
    Dorylf and Cruik like this.
  4. Shad

    Shad Active Member

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2010
    Messages:
    366
    Likes Received:
    351
    Location:
    Elma, WA
    Catching steelhead is cool, no matter how you do it. I don't like drift fishing (too much breaking off and retying), but I enjoy fishing spinners and spoons from time to time. Gives me options, which lets me catch more fish and learn more about steelhead behavior in the process.

    On any given day, I let the river conditions and my fishing destination determine what gear comes along. If I'm fishing down low, in moderate to low flows, I'll pack a Spey rod and a variety of tips. If crowding or conditions dictate that I will be fishing up high, I usually bring a one-handed 8-wt. and a spinning rod. Down low, there tends to be more classic swing water, with fresh, moving fish, so I don't feel compromised with only the Spey rod. Up higher, my local rivers are mostly a drop and pool affair, so the two-hander is tough to fish effectively in most spots. Also, up higher, the fish are often holding in lies for extended periods of time, so they sometimes need a variety to coax them into biting.

    Lately, it's been a boat parade on the lower rivers, so I've been up high, nymphing and retrieving spinners, with the occasional swing session when it presents itself. On three occasions, I've had to dig deep into the arsenal to get bit, with a different presentation winning the day each time.

    I caught two nice fish in the same sneaky piece of water on two consecutive trips. The first time through, I was nymphing through some water that looked a bit fast but had some potential. I noticed that there was one area in the drift where the indicator slowed to a perfect pace, and everything fell into line. I didn't know if there were fish present, but I knew I was fishing effectively. After pounding it for about 15 minutes, I picked up the spinning outfit, which was set up with a #3 brass Vibrax. First cast, two cranks, and WHAM! 14 lbs. of chrome hen running wild. She was a beauty, and she tasted great! Two weeks later, to the day, at the same spot. Water just a bit lower. Started off with the spinner. No love. Set up the one-hander with a medium tip and a marabou spider. Second swing through, I felt a couple very fishy bumps. Next swing, almost at the hang down, a jarring grab almost took me off my feet. Nice, colored-up buck of about 15 lbs.

    Sorry about the long-winded, sort of off-topic reply, but I was especially proud of catching those fish, each on a different type of gear. My point is that, while I do think you should spend some serious time swinging flies until you figure out what makes that presentation work and in what type of water, I don't think you should hang up the gear rod forever. I've learned that steelhead are great biters and will eat flies, gear, and bait indiscriminately. What they will eat in a given situation seems to vary a lot, and it sometimes comes down to what offering presents best in the present location, under the current conditions.

    Fish that come to the swung fly are often the most memorable, but I find getting them on hardware to be almost as much fun and challenging in its own way.

    Have fun!
     
  5. Befishin

    Befishin Member

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2004
    Messages:
    47
    Likes Received:
    8
    Location:
    Montesano, WA
    Boy your not kidding about the boat parade. I think the boat manufactures are makeing a killing. But, the only way to access the whole river and finding fishy spots is by boat. Finding bank areas that are not packed is tough. "High up" is about the only area that a fly guy can have any elbow room on our GH rivers.
     
  6. jsrskeena

    jsrskeena New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2013
    Messages:
    2
    Likes Received:
    1
    I was a gear chucker for many years and switched to the 2 hander last summer without any knowledge of fly fishing whatsoever.It has proved to be quite the challenge and very frusterating at times.I landed my last steelhead in early Oct and havent had one to hand since and i have put alot of time in!!! For me i will never chuck gear again as there is nothing like hookin up with a steelhead on the fly....For myself the challenge of getting a steelhead on the fly is extremely rewarding,its not a numbers game anymore its about waiting for that tug that takes you by complete surprise and gets your heart pounding.As I continue to fly fish I keep asking myself,why wasnt i doing this 20 years ago,to me,theres nothing else like it....
     
    hydrological likes this.
  7. SOPoker

    SOPoker Banned or Parked

    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2012
    Messages:
    26
    Likes Received:
    16
    Location:
    Olympic Corrections Center, WA
    I am with you on this one. I basically don't use any of my gear rods anymore. Once I learned how to nymph Fire Cured Eggs under an indicator with my spey rod it was Game over. It took a while for me to learn how to cast without flinging the eggs all over the place, but now I love to show up to a crowded drift and watch people get all big eyed when I lay out a long cast with a fat blob of roe being chased by a thingamabobber, ker splash! It's all about the Grab!
     
    sandspanker likes this.