What has happened to "traditional" steelhead flyfishing?

Andy D

Active Member
Have we already defined "traditional"? I have quite a number of steelhead books. A number of the older books suggest using flies tied on heavy hooks or weighted, cast up stream and dead drifted until down stream and then swung. Sounds like some form of nymphing to me.

Here is one of the first books written on steelhead fly fishing. It suggests using bait for winter fishing. Is that traditional?
 

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Buzzy

Active Member
Keepin’ it alive in WA...some day y’all may get to practice what has been debated. :p:D
Want to place odds? Ain’t going to be nymphs, beads, bobbers, skaters, swung, swang, floater, sink tip, centerline, bait, spoons or anything on “my” local* rivers: EVER. Yes - glass is more than half empty.


* Wenatchee, Methow, Okanagan, Similakameen.
 

gt

Active Member
If you are fishing deep fast pools, you are not looking at prime steelhead waters.

Dead drifting is what I have always chosen to do, no bobber for me.
 

Jeremy Floyd

Veðrfölnir
I think the actual problem is that some folks seem to need others to fish like them to feel “complete”. They also expound at, bully and mock, those who don’t reinforce how good they used to be.

To these folks I say “Go enjoy your fishing, and I’ll enjoy you shutting the fuck up while you’re gone”! I also take my own advice...
 

wetline dave

Active Member
Jeremy, I pretty much agree withyou. Back when there were actually some steelhead to catch it was especially true. If you were on the bottom end of a river it was a plunking show or long slow stretches. Travelling water was pretty much drift fishing. Today there is no traditional fly fishing for the simple reason there are no or not enough steelhead in most of the rivers to support a viable fishery. The vast majority of Puget Sound and Hood Canal rivers no longer even have steelhead.

The Cedar river at one time had decent numbers of winter fish but the sea lions and a no balls game department wiped that fishery out. It is hard to comprehend now that one winter I punched out my card on the Cedar. The Green was a tremendous fishery with upwards of 18,000 sport caught fish a year. Are there even close to that number of fish caught in the entire state in a year today.

Today we don't even have scraps to fish for. Mostly just memories. quess that is why I haven't target steehead in the last 20 years.

Dave
 

Rob Allen

Active Member
Have we already defined "traditional"? I have quite a number of steelhead books. A number of the older books suggest using flies tied on heavy hooks or weighted, cast up stream and dead drifted until down stream and then swung. Sounds like some form of nymphing to me.

Here is one of the first books written on steelhead fly fishing. It suggests using bait for winter fishing. Is that traditional?

I hold to what Bill McMillan wrote in his book regarding the use of his stone nymph pattern. I'll have to paraphrase, : i don't use it much anymore because it's too easy."
 

Andy D

Active Member
I hold to what Bill McMillan wrote in his book regarding the use of his stone nymph pattern. I'll have to paraphrase, : i don't use it much anymore because it's too easy."
The way he described how to use his paint brush was in the manner I wrote above. And if anyone employs traditional tactics it's bill McMillan
 

Rob Allen

Active Member
The way he described how to use his paint brush was in the manner I wrote above. And if anyone employs traditional tactics it's bill McMillan

I hooked my first winter steelhead on a paint brush at a run called Skeltons on the Washougal. As it turns out on a 9'6" powell fiberglass 9wt that Bill built for my dad, this was probably 1986 or so.

Couple things to remember.

Bill's technique was to use lots of techniques

Also Bill did most of his fishing on small streams like the Washougal. I doubt he fishes the Skagit with a paint brush on the dead drift very much.
 

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