What has happened to "traditional" steelhead flyfishing?

#16
I agree with bhudda, ssickle, ibn and Gabriel Burgi nymphing for steelhead and salmon for that matter can be very fun and better suited than swinging in certain types of water. I love to swing a fly too, theres nothing better than a take on a tight line, especially a dry line. I think there is a place for both, and when one method better suits the other I try to use it, plus it keeps the day interesting, ie using different techniques. During a day of trout fishing i like to switch between dry flys, nymphs, streamers, and swinging wet flys, Steelhead are just beatifull searun trout after all. Anyway relax and fish the way that makes you happy and quit worrying about how the other guys are, because it's likely that's what they are doing.




Andrew
 

TomB

Active Member
#17
Damage control:

Please don't hate me guys....sometimes it takes sticking your neck out there and getting your head knocked to realize it shouldn't have been there in the first place.

-Thomas
 

Nailknot

Active Member
#18
I can vouch for Tom's experiential nature- he actually took a canoe down the Sauk! So this stuff is kids play for him. Decent question though, even if it has been re-hashed a million times. Now Tom- tell the fellas about your canoe adventure?
 

Zen Piscator

Supporting wild steelhead, gravel to gravel.
#19
Tom,
Im not trying to bash you. It is a valid topic and makes for great discussions in my opinion. Thanx for the post.

Jason,
Thank you. I think nymphing is a nessesary method in many cases, or atleast if you want to catch fish often.

Peace,
Andy
 

Charlie Erdman

In search of steel
#21
Some things to think about Tom:

come over and fish some eastern wa rivers for steelies and try swinging flies (nearly impossible)

as zen said, nymphing is the only way to go here for steelies

I dont understand why some people get an elitist attitude with certain methods of fly-fishing?

I have enjoyed reading the posts, as everyone will have their own opinion on the topic, so I like the intriguing post. thanks

charlie
 

TomB

Active Member
#22
Cuponoodle: no, it wasn't me this time....although strangely, the canoe I flipped on the upper sauk was red too. Scary stuff.
-Thomas
 

headstrong1

youngish old guy
#23
Swinging takes more skill to do well, and certainly can be just as productive as nymphing even here on the eastside. If you nymph and it works great. Small hooks are easier on the fishes mouth. If you've never tried it, catching a hot steelhead on the swing is a real thrill. I would argue more exciting than seeing your indicator stop.
 

KerryS

Ignored Member
#24
stripedbass44 said:
come over and fish some eastern wa rivers for steelies and try swinging flies (nearly impossible)
Please, what rivers are you speaking of? I have fished a few of the eastern rivers for steelhead swinging flies and have had a blast. If sink tips are not appropriate then I use a floater. In my opinion nothing beats waking a dry and have a steelhead demolish it.

KLS
 
#25
Tom I think it is a valid question and fun to rehash once a year. Let me borrow your flame retardant suit for a second...


Nymphing is incredibly difficult to become great it. Gear fishing is not. I really do not see the difference in drifting a stonefly nymph or an egg. They both are naturally occuring and imitate a food source. I'd love to see you nymphing as you make it sound easy and a "sure-fire" way to hook fish. I once thought the same.....
BS on that. Find yourself a really good gear guy and watch him. Some of these guys are way more skilled than most of us flyfishers.

Bobbers are a crutch. I have nothing against nymphing for steel but at least do it without the god awful indicator. That is a challenge. For me I fly fish because it is the hardest way to bring a steelhead to the beach. I spent more than enough time as a kid watching a bobber. It just is not appealing. Bobbers screw up the best part of flyfishing...the cast. Why force a gear tactic into our style of fishing? Get yourself a bait caster and float.

I swing 99.999% of the time. I feel it is the most challenging way to fish. You are bringing the fish to the fly and not the other way around. Nymphing is just repeatedly cramming the fly down the fishes face until after the 100th time it decides to take. I feel better knowing my fly was tracked down and taken by the steelhead...not me forcing it to do so.

I can show you 1 guy good at swinging a fly for every 10 good bobber fisherman. It is not as easy as casting and mending and takes a while to learn the correct way to approach and fish a run. You can teach a guy to watch a bobber in one day. It takes several years to become proficient at swinging and I learn new things every day.

Yes eggs can be a natural food source but that is the other great thing about steelhead. You do not have to (or need to) match the hatch. Steelhead flies open up worlds of creativity and it is satisfying to take a fish on a brightly colored spey or full dressed salmon pattern. These flies do not imitate a thing and that is the beauty of it. Steelhead are not just another rainbow trout and are one of the most regal game fish that swim. They deserve our best efforts and a hunk of yarn on a hook cut to an egg shape to me seems a half ass way to go after them.

It is just sad to see a lot of new guys coming into the sport and treating steelhead as just another rainbow that they would find in Montana. They are much more than that and anyone who has hooked one knows this. Learn to swing a proper steelhead fly and while you may struggle at first in the end I think you will find it a most satisfying way to fish. I do not expect most people in this 'give it to me now' society to understand but one can always try.

In the end like others have said it is whatever you want to do. I bear no ill will to a guy fishing an indy rig and believe everyone has the right to do what they want. I will not turn my nose up at you or treat a bobber guy with any disrespect on the river. Just treat the fish with respect (which Ibn did a great job of in his photos) and we are cool. If they are having fun so be it. I just think they are missing a great part of our sport. The history and tradition of fly fishing is highly important to me and I feel we may be losing site of it.

Back to my bunker to hide for cover...

-sean
 

o mykiss

Active Member
#26
sean said:
BS on that. Find yourself a really good gear guy and watch him. Some of these guys are way more skilled than most of us flyfishers.
I agree with this. Don't knock a gear guy until you've seen a few really good ones in action. But why are you more willing to respect the gear guy's craft than that of the flyfisher who nymphs?

sean said:
Bobbers are a crutch. I have nothing against nymphing for steel but at least do it without the god awful indicator. That is a challenge.
Yes and no. Bobbers make it much easier to detect a take, but they're a helluva lot harder to cast. I think someone who can gracefully cast a indicator/nymph rig has had to work pretty hard to master that skill.

sean said:
I swing 99.999% of the time. I feel it is the most challenging way to fish. You are bringing the fish to the fly and not the other way around. Nymphing is just repeatedly cramming the fly down the fishes face until after the 100th time it decides to take. I feel better knowing my fly was tracked down and taken by the steelhead...not me forcing it to do so.
Nymphing doesn't necessarily have to be "cramming the fly down the fishes [sic] face". The nymphing technique is abused by some in that way, but the "traditional" swing can be too, if it's used to continuously run a fly past a spotted fish until you smack him on the nose.

sean said:
I can show you 1 guy good at swinging a fly for every 10 good bobber fisherman. It is not as easy as casting and mending and takes a while to learn the correct way to approach and fish a run. You can teach a guy to watch a bobber in one day. It takes several years to become proficient at swinging and I learn new things every day.

I agree to a limit - I think catching a steelhead nymphing is easier than catching one swinging. But merely because an average nympher can often outfish a good swinger doesn't mean that it doesn't take a fair amount of work to get really good at nymphing. I don't think nymphing well is nearly as easy as you make it out to be. A really good nympher has had to work to get good at his craft. See your comment above on gear fishers - show a little respect for the guy who has worked hard to become good at nymphing.

sean said:
Yes eggs can be a natural food source but that is the other great thing about steelhead. You do not have to (or need to) match the hatch. Steelhead flies open up worlds of creativity and it is satisfying to take a fish on a brightly colored spey or full dressed salmon pattern. These flies do not imitate a thing and that is the beauty of it.
Ironically, that is what makes your view of "traditional" techniques more like gear fishing than nymphing. Most "traditional" steelhead flies are basically lures.

I don't know why I feel like being an apologist for steelhead nymphers, since as I said before I don't really like the technique myself and do believe that taking a steelhead on the swing is a lot more fun, but I'm willing to acknowledge that it takes quite a lot of skill to do it right and do it gracefully.
 

chadk

Be the guide...
#27
O Mykiss - my thoughts exactly....

And I point back to Bob's post about "traditions". I fly fish for the aesthetics, and because in many situations it is offers the least impact on the fish, and at times it is much more effective, and because I got addicted to taking air born trout off the surface with dry flies. Heck, if it wasn't for dry fly fishing, I may still be fishing gear 100% of the time. Being courteous, responsible, ethical, and environmentally conscious is more important to me than 'traditions'.

"For me I fly fish because it is the hardest way to bring a steelhead to the beach. "

I bet I could find ways to make it even harder for you. For some reason, I just don't buy this line of thinking... But if you are suggesting you appreciate the art, skill, and craftsmanship involved in our sport, then I would go with that.
 
#28
I bet I could find ways to make it even harder for you. For some reason, I just don't buy this line of thinking... But if you are suggesting you appreciate the art, skill, and craftsmanship involved in our sport, then I would go with that.
Chad I can live with that. Much more succinct than my rambling. :)

-sean

ps I never said a bobber guy cannot be deadly at catching fish just like a good gear fisherman. They both take skill to get good and are quite similiar in approach. Just not my cup of tea.
 

Bob Triggs

Stop Killing Wild Steelhead!
#29
Tom's original post on this Topic was not accusatory or attacking, it was not controversial. he asked some good questions and a few people read him wrong and got it wrong, and responded inappropriately to the original thread.

All one had to do was share their own side of things, not attack him for his topic; which, as a moderator here, I did not find offensive or disruptive in the least.
 

Big K1

Large Member
#30
The swing is the thing for me! Personal preference thats all. I use a 2-hander 100% of the time for Steelhead and indicators and 2-handers just seems wrong!
Nothing beats the pull on the swing!