2020 SRC Season Review

CreekScrambler

Active Member
*Couldn't jam this in the trip report section for lack of photos*

*topic migrated to something more interesting than initially posted, title updated*

I went out on Friday for a full day on a certain SRC favorite for an early morning salmon attempt to be followed by sneaking around for SRC water. The gear guys weren't getting anything out of the narrow slot that they were working, so I went down the river to work a couple other spots with the two hander. After about two hours, I started getting antsy for trout and went back to the lot. Found a ~7' multi piece aluminum oar in the river on the way out and left it by the entrance to the park from which I accessed the river. Hopefully it found its way back to its owner.

This was my fourth trip to this river, and after plenty of reading and tying with a brief taste of success on my previous trip, I spent the day consistently catching a nice mix of SRC and resident rainbows, with SRC representing the majority of the catch. Lots of deer and raccoon prints along with bear prints and piles of berry-laden scat. Makes one ponder how far away Yogi and Booboo really ever are while we flog the waters deep in concentration. One dude I ran into announced as he passed on the bank that there was a bear in the pool around the next bend....this news brought an end to my excellent day out.

One particular side channel created by a large logjam at the head of an island produced a series of 4 fish with the last being a hefty SRC that took the full cork of my 5wt when he started bulldogging in about 5' of strong current...I couldn't budge him and paused to think tactics for a moment. My choice was over losing him to the logjam by letting him run in the tiny side channel or drag on the stalemate with a mere 10' of line to the nail knot. He managed to spit the hook, saving me the pain of having to choose. Still a glorious fish that put the healthy 16-incher of the previous trip into perspective. Maybe hand-lining him in would have resulted in a favorable handshake.

Just wanted to say that I've had a blast working this river and digging for information in my personal fishing library as well as this forum. My slim orange dubbed reverse spiders and bulkier red reverse spiders brought fish to hand all day long and the entire process has really opened my eyes to the awesome opportunities we have for these excellent fish. I had somewhat prepared for an underwhelming experience and had started losing steam after my second unproductive trip targeting SRC. I've improved my water reading and subsurface fishing techniques in the process of learning to use spiders as a great SRC wet fly. I'm currently inspired to tie and try some October caddis wet flies for the Yak this coming weekend after a few seasons of lackluster fishing on the grande orange dries that are so popular. I'll still tie some dries for this trip, but I'm thinking streamers and wet flies will be the ticket.

Any big a-ha moments across the forum for SRC? Any other species that took a few trips to get the hang of are welcome, too. For me, it was swinging wet flies and reading water. The old way was attractor dries and attempting to fish pocket water. I'm glad to know that searching likely water subsurface with something besides a streamer can still be plenty of fun.
 
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wetswinger

Active Member
I was a dry fly guy for years. Then a local fly shop friend, in SLC, UT, got me out to try soft hackle techniques. What a blast. Was my passion before moving back to Puget Sound. This is a way to round out your arsenal. Hares ear and Pheasant tail tied soft hackle style kill'em. Red or Orange butt also...
 

CreekScrambler

Active Member
90% of what fish eat is subsurface. Once one realizes this hookups improves...
I've been aware of that my entire fishing life....it was only in the last few seasons that I've gotten with the program and started actively fishing the smallish *feather* & *color* type patterns. I've definitely tied up plenty of SH hares ear and SH pheasant tail in a few color variations (light, dark, and olive). They've taken up a permanent spot in my boxes.
 

Brad Niemeyer

Old School Member
CS:

Glad to hear you are doing well for SRC. My luck has not been so good. 5 trips with no searuns actually landed. Not even sure if the few LDR fish were cutthroat. I did land a feisty little rainbow while swinging the spider. My secret river was not productive last year, so I was hoping it would bounce back...getting discouraged now. I spent a few years dialing in the spots, timing, and patterns...It was really great a few years ago.
 

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CreekScrambler

Active Member
I like that bead head spider, Brad! My bead selection practices are reduced to harvesting beat-up retired flies cuz I can't bring myself to spring for some of the nice ones that are available. I zapped together some large caddis orange bead head soft hackles last night to round out the batches of Guinea and Orange wets and dark hair wing wets. They're not the picture of consistent tying, but I really like the rusty brown soft hackle I used. They'll all fish this weekend.

Not trying to rib you about split shot at all, but how does the split shot do on the swing? I've avoided split shot and gone with either beads, lead wraps, or sparse/dense flies after too many donations to the stream bottom. The tippet abrasion aspect always gave me the heebie jeebies, too.

For fishing spiders, I'll high-stick/dead-drift and then follow downstream with the rod tip into a swing. The fish seem to come uniformly on the swing or hang-down, and I count on the dead drift/high-stick to achieve depth with a wee bit of contact with the fly. I've never had success with the classic pulsing/stripping action in frog water and heavy structure.

Bummer about the lack of action after 5 trips. Hopefully your secret river gives up some goodness before the rains show up to stay. My local favorite dried up late one summer a few years ago and has refused my efforts since.
 

wetswinger

Active Member
My main goal in fishing wet-hackles is to get the swing right in front of my target, weather it be a rising fish or suspected holding area. Holding areas could be anything from an eddy or seams between different currents, to a rock or a visible fish. Could be a long slow area where I would swing and then step a few paces and swing again to cover it all. The classic technique is to get the rising swing. Wet hackles imitate insects rising to the surface to emerge. So it behooves you to mimic this. I always fish downstream even if walking up the river bank. Cast at 90 degrees or slightly downstream. Cast a loose pile or do a major upstream mend. The idea is to have no tension on your line so the fly and line will sink. As the line becomes taught the tension will cause the fly to swing and rise to the surface at the same time, hopefully in front of your target. When done right it is a thrill to get your tug. Keep your tip down and it may hook itself. A gentle strip set can help. I use floating line and will change to dry flies if a hatch occurs, but usually wet-hackle will also be productive in a hatch as the insects and fish are both active....
 

CreekScrambler

Active Member
I really dig the sense in targeting a visible hold with a swinging wet fly. Practicing this in low, relatively clear water with an easily spotted fly has been instrumental in understanding how the fly fishes. It really helps when you have to fish a spot that isn't totally visible but are confident in the fly fishing properly. The tight line grabs and the ability to go back to accurately re-try a missed bump is icing on the cake. I tempted a few customers on a second presentation with the precise length of line re-cast. Both methodical and sensory.
 

JayB

Active Member
I kept hooking SRC's on hot-pink hotshot comet while swinging for coho last year, and now I often swing one through fishy looking water when the more conventional stuff fails to stir up any fish. Not a sure thing, but it's saved the day more than once.
 

Matt B

...
WFF Supporter
I had a good day fishing for searuns on a lower river recently, after a couple years not fishing them in freshwater. Man was it fun. I had success with floating line and reverse spider and a sink tip with a hot pink butt Knutsen spider. That was a hot ticket.
 

kmudgn

Active Member
I was a dry fly guy for years. Then a local fly shop friend, in SLC, UT, got me out to try soft hackle techniques. What a blast. Was my passion before moving back to Puget Sound. This is a way to round out your arsenal. Hares ear and Pheasant tail tied soft hackle style kill'em. Red or Orange butt also...
Use a soft hackle as a dropper off a dry. Very good technique which can result in many fish. Also, tie some purple soft hackle. Not often a recommended fly, but another one that produces well
 

CreekScrambler

Active Member
Use a soft hackle as a dropper off a dry. Very good technique which can result in many fish. Also, tie some purple soft hackle. Not often a recommended fly, but another one that produces well
This is something I'm really considering for this weekend, especially if I'm going to end up with more dead-drifting than swinging. Purple bodies or both hackle and body?
 

CreekScrambler

Active Member
I kept hooking SRC's on hot-pink hotshot comet while swinging for coho last year, and now I often swing one through fishy looking water when the more conventional stuff fails to stir up any fish. Not a sure thing, but it's saved the day more than once.
Hotshots are a pretty outrageous looking fly. I had never seen one until recently and it just plain give me the chuckles when I see one.
 

Matt B

...
WFF Supporter
A cranefly has worked as dry for me on river searuns.
 

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Brad Niemeyer

Old School Member
Looked like a great day for SRC...Struck out again. Pretty much convinced that there are no Sea Runs in my favorite holes yet...I would have picked up at least a small fish in 6 outings. I'm fishing midway up the system, so maybe the weekend rains will bring them up?

I did land this gem of a fish! Thought I had something super special like a bull trout or a sluggish king until it became obvious it was a large-scale stone sucker. Sad thing is this is my biggest fish of 2020
 

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