Whitefish

Discussion in 'Fly Fishing Forum' started by Ron Simpson, Oct 21, 2013.

  1. MountainR

    MountainR New Member

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    So I consider whitefish to be a nuisance fish... In the last 9 years I was in Idaho they never made it on my fish count (i.e. I'd consider my day skunked if I only caught whitey...) I still C&R them because they're native but I've certainly never targeted them. Is there something I'm missing here? Are they different from ID to WA?
     
  2. Jim Speaker

    Jim Speaker Active Member

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    Nope. There are multiple species of whitefish but the moving water ones being discussed here are Mountain Whitefish... the same fish.

    I don't count them either, and they are an afterthought. As in, "ya had a 20+ morning on Rock Creek... oh yeah and a bunch of whitefish."

    They don't fight too bad, and are listed as a game fish. They're better than no-fish, but they're still whitefish!
     
  3. golfman44

    golfman44 4-Time Puget Sound Steelhead Guide of the Year

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  4. MountainR

    MountainR New Member

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    Ha! Thanks that's what I thought...

    Kinda a funny story was "volunteer guiding" for an event in SV Idaho and had a couple of complete beginners to teach. One of them caught a decent sized whitefish as his first ever fish on the fly and I had to keep reminding myself not to say "it doesn't count, its a whitefish" needless to say he has a photo of himself with a 16" whitefish and a huge shit eating grin...
     
    Alpine4x4 and astrofisher like this.
  5. McNasty

    McNasty Canyon Lurker

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    ahhh yt's. my best cure for cabin fever. if anyone feels like some 100+ fish days this winter i got schools of em by the thousands about 3 minutes from my door.
     
  6. Tim Lockhart

    Tim Lockhart Active Member

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    Best way I've found to catch whitefish...go steelheading :D
     
  7. Travis Bille

    Travis Bille Active Member

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    Now that I live in Northern CA, I seriously miss whitefish. I was always more than happy to catch them on the Yak, Deschutes, or Crooked Rivers.
     
  8. robl

    robl Member

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    Whitefish have saved many a slow day for me. They tend to hold in medium flow/slower water about 4-6 feet down.

    I agree . . . . beadhead anything should get you into them. Size #14 of just about everything has always worked for me.

    Dark gold beaded hare's ear has what has worked best for me, another great choice is a red copper john.

    Also have caught many many many whitefish on hopper/dropper with a beadhead down about 18 inches. Lots of fun.
     
  9. Steve Slater

    Steve Slater Active Member

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    I'll make another plug for smoked whitefish. Really delicious. And many WA streams have special whitefish seasons during the winter, which means I can fish some of my favorite smaller rivers and streams legally, as long as I'm following the whitefish gear rules (basically, hook size 14 or smaller). Smoked whitefish is a really nice thing in the middle of winter.
     
  10. Brian Miller

    Brian Miller Be vewy vewy qwiet, I'm hunting Cutthwoat Twout

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    I landed one rather large Whitefish in a local stream last Sunday on a #14 Prince trailing 24" below a #8 EHC. My partner regards them as a trash fish but I was excited about it for a couple of important reasons. Though just slightly larger it fought much more vigorously and longer than several similar sized Cutts and Cut-Bows I landed; all on my TFO Finesse 3 weight :). Also their presence serves as an indicator of a river's overall health since they require high water quality, tend to feed off the bottom, and are used as a food source themselves by other fish and animals. I have tried to enlighten my buddy and hope him stepping up to net it for me when it kept running from my net will help him see they are a valuable resource, are fun to catch, and deserve respect.
     
  11. Old Man

    Old Man Just an Old Man

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    I was fishing the Beaverhead about a week ago. It was toward dusk and the fish were tailing and rising. They wouldn't hit my flies for nothing. I talked to guy that was there the next day and he told me they were Whitefish. These were feeding off the surface.

    I decided that I didn't want to put up with them so I didn't fish the next day. That kind of puts off that they are bottom feeders.
     
  12. MountainR

    MountainR New Member

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    I've pulled them off of drys before and mid feeding column... Rare but its happened.
     
  13. generic

    generic Active Member

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    You're right OMJ. Most think of them as "bottom feeders", but they come up to the surface more than folks think. In fact, I'd bet that most people (even guides) have been 'fooled' by what's surfacing, especially on rivers that have a high population of them.

    I've been with friends (who were guides for years) on two different rivers in MT, and we fished for them thinking they were trout. Usually, in bigger rivers like the Clark Fork, they are easier to identify because they kind of "pod up". If you spend enough time on the water watching them, there's kind of a little "flip" of water after they surface, and not that big of a swirl, or as many bubbles as if it were a trout taking something off the surface. It's hard to explain really. The choppier the water is of course, the harder it is to notice.

    We'd catch them on the Blackfoot all day, every day on the surface if we wanted to, but they seemed harder to hook that way, than just bouncing a nymph.

    Catching them in the fall (at least on the Blackfoot) was just as much fun as catching trout. I think it's because they were in spawn, and perhaps a bit more frisky.
     
  14. Nick Clayton

    Nick Clayton Active Member

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    Must have caught a thousand of them camping on the Clearwater near Queets growing up. This thread makes me want to go find some and smoke em up. Never did try eating one
     
  15. Golden Trout

    Golden Trout Active Member

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    You have unleashed the "West's best kept Secret". Most of my steelheading adventures have ended up being whitefish days. Usually the morning begins fishing three pools that have given up a steelhead once in a great while. Off comes the 3 or 4X tippet and on goes the 5X and very small dry flies. Size 20 griffith gnat has its days when a midge hatch is on. No hatch equals an egg pattern which white fish can seem to resist. Keep the egg patterns small, as in size 14 weighted with a bead covered with bleached out egg colored yarn.