The First Winter Steelhead

Discussion in 'Steelhead' started by Ken Hunter, Nov 7, 2004.

  1. Ken Hunter

    Ken Hunter Member

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    A friend of mine and confirmed bait chucker tells me the steelhead season starts 12-01 at Fortson. He and his friends stand nut deep in cold water protecting their 4 feet of teritory for the whole day. He says that most of the fish are summer runs but some are early winter run fish, maybe 1 out of 8 or 10.

    My question is towards catching these early fish in the lower rivers or even the salt water beach areas.

    How early and how low in the river can we expect to catch these early fish? What kind of low river or saltwater technics work?

    Ken
     
  2. Luv2flyfish

    Luv2flyfish Another Flyfisherman

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    In Steve Raymond's "Steelhead Country" he talks about the mouths of small no name creeks that drain into the sound that stack up with steelhead. I could only imagine what a steelhead IN the salt water would do. Where to go or how to do it...... :confused: beats me, but it sure sounds cool!
     
  3. Jerry Daschofsky

    Jerry Daschofsky Moderator Staff Member

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    Well, a good majority of steel in the rivers that I fish will be summerruns still milling around. But we have had fresh winter steel come in late October/first of November. Best way to catch them down low is a gob of eggs with a clown spin n glo, make sure you put a couple beads between the hook and spinnglo so it doesn't foul up.

    OOPS, read gear chucker. Nevermind. LOL. ;)

    Actually, I never had much luck in the salt for steel. Only the occasional, and those were accidental, not targeted. But in the lower rivers (which you'll find them now occasionally, depending on where you're at and if the fish move in). Just do a wetfly swing. Flies are up to debate, or the area you're fishing. If it's closer to the salt, I do like "imitation" patterns. General Practitioners, other shrimp patterns, etc. But up the rivers, I use more traditional flies (green butt skunks, purple perils, showgirls, and my own creations). My all time favorite steelhead fly of course is the pink bunny leech. But have friends who have caught as many on their own patterns in same waters (one guy only uses polar shrimps and swears buy them).
     
  4. cuponoodle breakfast

    cuponoodle breakfast Bigfoot is blurry

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    Not many winter-runs around yet, so they'll be pretty scarse in the salt. Whidbey Island beaches are popular for intercepting migrating steelhead when the run gets closer.
    Somebody I know got a hatchery winter run out of the Skykomish last weekend. My earliest was a Sky hatchery fish the day before Thanksgiving four years ago.
     
  5. Old Man

    Old Man Just an Old Man

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    Why wait until the first of December and then go and stand nut deep in icy cold water. Go there now and hit it with your 8wt and some bushy flies and you won't have to stand in icy water nut deep protecting your 2' space. When the fish are there in Decenmber they are also there in November. So why wait.

    Jim
     
  6. Ken Hunter

    Ken Hunter Member

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    Jim

    That's good advice and that was my plan. That place will be too busy with bait chuckers in December.

    Back to the beaches. I talked to a local last year at Ft Casy and he was fishing the spin-glow hoochi set up. His success rate was typically poor for the amount of time spent. He did say that he new of what he called an oldtimer that fished a maribou jig under a float with good success. He was said to have fished this rig off the beaches well into July.

    Some people have recomended a sinking line fish the same way as the gear chuckers fish the spin glow. If the float set up works, why not fish floating line with an indicator above a weighted fly?

    By the way, Steve Raymond seems to be dead set on bright orange flies in the estuaries.

    Anybody have any thoughts on this method?

    Ken
     
  7. Backyard

    Backyard SANCHO!

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    Some very fresh and big winters have made their way into the Snohomish system already. With recent rains puting the sky forks and tribs into shape they have made a mad dash. Just this last Friday me and Nate Turner of Montana fly co, hit a sky trib and had an amazing day nailing the winter s.h and bulls that were hanging down below the chums holding in the deeper runs.

    We even got to eduacate a group of kids on a field trip that stopped by, about salmon spawning cycles and some other stuff that they were all ears about.


    But I still can't wait till december when it starts getting hot.
     
  8. spanishfly

    spanishfly Steelberg

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    Off topic, but Backyard sweet website!
     
  9. miyawaki

    miyawaki Active Member

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    I have tied "shrimpy" type flies in orange and yellow with lead eyes on #2 Mustad 3407 hooks and fished them on an intermediate slime line for steelhead in the salt. I usually wait until the rivers are in spate around Thanksgiving and fish Bush Point. Don't wade past your knees and make quartering casts downtide retrieving in short strips very slowly. The fish are not out very far and are following the shoreline. Otherwise, it's about the same thousand casts you'll make in the river to catch one in the saltchuck.

    Leland.
     
  10. Ken Hunter

    Ken Hunter Member

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    West Whidby seems to be the only place people fish for the salwater steelhead. When the tribes use to net the mouth of the Snohomish, I've heard that they netted the east side around Hat Island to get a chance at the most fish.

    I saw a post at one point saying the beach at Mukilteo had the right slope. I've fished Kayak Point and Warm Beach but I guess I am still working on my first thousand casts.

    Somehow a better way is out there. Perhaps the fish just scoot on up the shoreline and it is just hit and miss untill the get to the estuary.

    Does anyone have an idea for the better mouse trap?

    Ken