Steelhead season observations

Discussion in 'Steelhead' started by Will Atlas, Apr 2, 2008.

  1. kodiaksalmon

    kodiaksalmon Jeff B.

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    Slow (for me at least) here on the West End. Can't speak for everyone, as I don't travel the circles, but only go off what Dave and Curt tell me in at the shop. They say it's been a slower, weird year, which makes me feel better because I was beginning to hate myself for not doing very well. My two hand casting though, has benefitted from my fishless hours spent on the Sol Duc.

    But I'll admit, my mind has already moved on to the summer when I transfer back to Michigan and get back to what I know-pike and muskie. I've got a boat bought and flies tied.

    [​IMG]
     
  2. HauntedByWaters

    HauntedByWaters Active Member

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    Where do I start? HMMMM….Buddies in Burlington, Deming, Ferndale, Bellingham, born and raised there, would completely disagree with you on that one. Crowding on the Nooksack this year blew us all away.

    You assumed I was talking the Skagit but you would be wrong. I actually noticed less crowding this year on that river. Also, what makes you assume I am talking spey and even fly fishing for that matter? I am talking anglers as a whole in greater numbers.

    As previously mentioned, it is the rarity of steelhead that is driving the steelhead craziness. The new generation of anglers may not be meatpackers like they used to be, they are c&r trophy hunters with digital cameras.


    You are the only one sounding like you are trying to be an old dog to me Coach. How can I “date” myself? I grew up fishing around here. It isn’t a matter of a “date” or anything like that. It is seeing more anglers all the time PERIOD. All I can do is bitch about it and that is what I plan to do.

    Yes maybe there were more anglers before I was born and the numbers dropped off like you say but they are coming back.

    As I said I wasn’t bitching about people fly-fishing. I was talking about anglers period and, again, I wasn’t talking the Skagit for the most part. These were assumptions you made.


    I do when I can get the time off work.

    I could find fish year round if I was born a millionaire and didn’t have to work. Also, I have never made any claims to be a great steelhead angler on this site. I don’t know what gave you this impression. I will claim to be good at it or at the very least effective. You could call me a huge steelhead fan but that is about it.

    Yeah and this is exactly why they scare every fish in the river, because they stand in the good holding water and/or slash the water like crazy. I will admit on the Skagit things are different when it comes to spooking because it is so big but on rivers like the Nooksack which can go gin clear fast when it freezes, crowding spooks fish.


    I don’t know why you have such a bone to pick with me all of a sudden but f-off you prick. You live in Hawaii for Christ sakes.
     
  3. PT

    PT Physhicist

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    I fished the Sauk quite a bit this spring and noticed a couple of things. There was substantially less pressure the days I was on the water. And, there were substantially fewer hook-ups than previous years.

    My conclusion.... Less fish = less pressure.
     
  4. GATOR9

    GATOR9 Hey you guys

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    I sure am glad I live on the East side of the state where 99% of my fishing is done or out if state and I really have no reason to go out of state unless I lived on the West side. Too many fisherman over there with an anger problem and that is based only on what I read here. Man, you guys really have some issues over there and I guess it is due to heavy population, that is just way toooooooooo much stress.
     
  5. Be Jofus G

    Be Jofus G Banned or Parked

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    Dude, People fished for steelhead this winter? I saw 4 people on one trip and that was the max in any "above novice" access runs I went to. Most of the time I had the rivers to myself any time I hiked more than 50 yards. I actually found room to fish reiter from top to bottom during the Brat run and for any one who's never fly fished there, that NEVER happens. Holy Krap, that was cool! I've never fished through a meathole like that with baitcasters fishing through on both sides like that with me. It gave me hope for the human race. As for the fishing, I had a terrible year since I couldnt work the prime water condition days into my schedule. :beathead:
     
  6. junebug41

    junebug41 Junior Dave Monti fan

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    I went about 0-for-15 in winter steelhead trips. Didn't even hook a fish anywhere I went. Fished the OP and most of the rivers from Seattle north to the Skagit. Up to a total of about 0-for-40 in steelhead days now all told. I figure I'll give it one more year of honest effort, then go back to being a trout fisherman exclusively.
     
  7. Hillbilly Redneck

    Hillbilly Redneck wishin i was fishin

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    I did pretty good out of the Sauk in March. But I didn't fly fish at all. My brother borrowed my 8 weight for a trip to Patagonia and I haven't gotten it back yet. Only took my boat out once. Most trips were just a few hours hitting spots on the middle and lower river. Very light pressure during the week. I probably fished a little more than normal knowing it was a short season. Went out Monday afternoon and there were guys standing in every hole all the way down to the Gov't bridge. Everyone trying to get their last fix in.

    Fish were small for me this year. Quite a few 6-10 lbs. Only a few nice teeners. Hooked a big buck Monday that looked to be the biggest of the season... but I lost it. It was a low water year, but the days it wasn't gin clear it made a big difference. A lot of the fish I hooked in heavy water that would be difficult to fly fish. I would agree that lots of people don't seem to know what their doing or don't know the river very well. I see people fishing goofy spots all the time. Gear and fly fishers. Boats and bank maggots.

    The early hatchery season was decent but I just don't put as much effort into catching winter hatchery fish. In fact the only memorable one was on Nov. 30th as the sun went down on the N.F. That may have been the last time I went fly fishing.
     
  8. John Dougher

    John Dougher Member

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    I read in the Oregonian this morning that winter steelhead return for the upper Kalama river hatchery was the worst in 30 years.
     
  9. Rob Zelk

    Rob Zelk I swing, therefore i am.

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    Tell ya what, I'm about to sell my speys, or move somewhere where its worth the gas money. This is ridiculous. Especially when the runs just fished so dam nice, and no one was home. Those who caught fish either know what their doing, or just simply got lucky. Right time, right place, and it doesn't matter what kind of presentation you give. I know I'll at least hook em if they are there. And most the season they just weren't there, maybe I was extremely unlucky and just fished the sweetest water when no one was home. But I have friends who are excellent gear fishermen, as good as any anywhere, and their reports of low catch rates weren't just an illusion this year, usually around end of March its 6-10 fish days for them, this year 0-4. This year, like some of you posted, numbers seemed to be around half of what they were last season. They need to outlaw all fishing from boats, and stop the netting, and there will be some hope.
     
  10. SeaRun Fanatic

    SeaRun Fanatic Active Member

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    Ahhh, Coach... how does your chest stand up to all that pounding? Back in the day, did you also have to walk 25 miles in a snowstorm with bare feet and no jacket just to even get to the river to fish?:rolleyes:

    But to the point of the OP, I hooked a ton of fish on the fly after Jan. 1 and hardly saw a soul... by mostly ignoring the steelhead "mystique" and fishing for other species! :thumb: Sadly, only one fish hooked when actually targetting steel.
     
  11. SeaRun Fanatic

    SeaRun Fanatic Active Member

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    Yeah, Rob... I think my one fish was one of the lucky ones, what my buddy and I call a "booger fish"; stop to pick a booger, pay no attention to your drift and WHAM! Fish on!:cool:

    As for hope... not so sure...bawling:
     
  12. Zen Piscator

    Zen Piscator Supporting wild steelhead, gravel to gravel.

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    The west side was ok to me this year, i got 3 nates to hand and about 12 or 15 hatchery fish, however I only went when I had good reports, and from up and down the coast the fishing was spotty.

    On the east side the A-run was more normal than last year, fish in the fall and spring as opposed to just spring fish and hardly any fall fish last year. The a-run was larger than average with some very nice wild fish in the mix. However the b-run and the clearwater system in general was much slower than last year with probably 1/2 the caught compared to last year for me.

    I think the west side winters got hit by something because several of the sw washington tribs had sadly low returns of wild fish and hatchery fish numbers far below average. The Kalama and Elocoman rivers did not meet egg take, nor did the Cowlitz to my knowledge, although I am not sure on that one.
     
  13. Coach Duff

    Coach Duff Banned or Parked

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    Hey Sea Run Fanatic, I was saying that there has been far worse pressure in the past, way before the explosion of flyfishermen and spey rodders. If the fish return which they did with a vengance in the mid 80s, the gear fishermen with their plugs and slinkies in their closets will come back out on the rivers. Add that to the growing numbers of spey fisherman and yes, then we'll see pressure. In the meantime, you can sit on your ass behind your computer screen and roll your eyes. The sarcasim was a real stab in my heart. I can't wait to see the real heavy stuff. :eek:
     
  14. clackaman

    clackaman aka T Colagrossi

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    I'm going to ignore all the posts and give my opinion.....I fish every way possible, spey, single hander and gear...I for the most part fish the skagit and know for a fact that this season SUCKED out there, even the gear guides that know the river up and down were dumbfounded on the lack of fish. By no means am I a fish biologist or anything like that, but the poor fishing on the skagit wasn't because of the pressure, I saw the same amount of people if not less on the river this year than the two years prior and those years produced more fish....the water was low all year and my thoughts are that with the exception of a couple weeks there was no big push of fish. After hearing words from guides such as Rob Endsley those fish haul ass up the river when the water is clear and low as it was all season. I think the numbers might have been lower, but for the most part the fish were just not holding, which in turn doesn't allow us time to swing a fly, or toss a yarnie in front of them.

    For what it's worth....those are my thoughts.

    Hopefully next year is a hell of a lot better, or at least we get a full season.
     
  15. cuponoodle breakfast

    cuponoodle breakfast Bigfoot is blurry

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    No kidding. I got a late start Monday and saw 7 guys in the water when first got a look at the river. I fished one long run and had 4 drift boats and 3 pontoons go by me, plus three different people came and went across from me and three guys stepped into the run below me. F that, I drove down to the Skagit and found fewer people.

    The number one mistake I see flyfishermen make is that they don't target fly water. Lots of water that holds fish can't be effectively fished with a fly. With gear guys, a lot of them camp out and spend way too much time in one spot.
    Goofy spots are cool as long as they don't take up a bunch of time and they can be fished effectively. I'll make a cast into an odd spot while walking or floating to the next run but won't spend 45 minutes fishing through a whole run that looks like crap.