Where to start

I am new to this forum, but have fly fished since I was a kid.

I lived in Tacoma in the late 80's while stationed at Fort Lewis. Retired from the Army now and living in Colorado Springs. While we were at Lewis, several members of my wife's family moved to Washington. They live on Camano Island. My brother-in-law is a fireman at Boeing and likes to fish. I don't get up to see him often - like the pinks we seem to return once every two years. On my last trip to Camano in 2000, I tried to do some fly fishing with him. I moved a nice summer run on the Stilly near Oso on the swing, but no hook up. He saw the fish and that got him interested. I've given him an 8 1/2 ft 6 weight and he has a reel now. We'll be back up this summer, probably in mid-August. I would like to get him out again with the fly rod and have some success. Any ideas where we might go? I know it's not the best time of year. He does have a boat, so salt is an option. I may also have an opportunity to fish on private property near Concrete. I have 4,6 and 8 weights - all nine feet.

Would appreciate any thoughts. I would be happy to exchange information on the South Platte. It's about an hour from home and I hit it pretty frequently.

This is likely going to be another good year for coho, and mid-August is a good time, particularly in that area. Especially from a boat, you should be able to reach a lot of productive spots all along the mouth of Port Susan, the southern end of Camano, and the west side of Whidbey Island. Look for cobble points with current breaks. The tide changes will be best, and some spots will fish better on the flood, some on the ebb.

Bush Point, Lagoon Point, the beach in front of South Whidbey State Park, and Fort Casey on southwest Whidbey are all proven and popular spots. Kayak Point and any of the points south to the mouth of the Snohomish in Port Susan can also be good (watch out for closed areas around and near Tulalip Bay).

Your 8-weight is perfect (the 6 will work with ligher flies). Use fast sinking shooting heads and size-2 clouser minnows in chartreuse and white and pink and white, or smallish, thin baitfish imitations to match local candlefish (olive back, white belly, silver flank w/ copper highlights). You may also want an intermediate line on hand just in case, but the sinking line is a must.

If it's anywhere near as good as last year, you'll get your brother-in-law sold, no doubt about it. Have a good trip.

Thank you for responding. My brother-in-law did send me a photo of a nice silver that he caught in mid-September in the Sound. His accompanying message sounded a little unbelievable - he said that the water was teaming with fish on the surface. This was off Camano - he didn't say where. I thought that mid-August was too early for coho. Thanks for the tip! We tried steelhead last time because after much research prior to the trip and talking to the staff at Skagit Anglers, that seemed like the best bet to hook into a trout without having to travel to Yakima. Do you know anything about the summer run on the Stilly? I understood that they were returning to a hatchery - I recall something about Doe Creek? After reading many of the posts, it's reassuring to know that even those fly fisherman that live in Washington have similar interests and difficulties in getting going. Thanks again.

Mid-August is not exactly the tenderloin of the season, but there will certainly be coho around.

I don't do much summer-steelheading; there are plenty of guys on this BB who can tell you more about the particulars of the Stilly than I can. I think you're referring to "Deer Creek," which was the main spawning tributary for the historical run of wild summer steelhead on the NF Stilly. Unfortunately, that run has been nearly decimated. What's left is a small hatchery run to some aclimation ponds at a place called Fortson.

My impression is that the blush has long since gone off the rose on the Stilly. I think those who still fish it do so for its beauty and its history (it is the oldest "fly-only" river in the west -- maybe the country -- and the first steelhead river to earn that designation). It's a river celebrated by Haig-Brown and Zane Grey; much of the history of steelhead fly-fishing was written on the North Fork. Unfortunately, the river is now only a shadow of itself. It is still technically possible to catch a steelhead there, although I think August may be a little late (but again, others would know more). Mid to late Augsut may offer shots at sea-run cutthroat in the lower reaches of the mainstem.

At Camano, you're about three hours from the good fishing on the Yakima. In mid-August, high flows (for irrigation) make the river virtually unwadeable, but good bank access is available through the "canyon" section (ask any fly shop). Though I imagine regular fishing on the South Platte would make a trip to the Yak a bit dissapointing.

I fished the Cheeseman Canyon section once about 11 years ago, and got spanked pretty badly. Maybe you can tell me if I would have been better off fishing at Deckers.

I stay away from Deckers and Cheeseman. Competition is pretty fierce. I fish the South Platte below Spinney - the Miracle Mile - and in Eleven Mile Canyon. Like the Stilly, the river is a shadow of itself before WD, however, there are plenty of fish. DOW restricted the top of 11 Mile to flies and lures only, catch and release, last spring and we've already seeing a big improvement. It was a tough fight. The non-fly fisherman among us(trying to be polite because I used to be one) wanted unlimited access through the Canyon and had a very organized campaign. However, several of the local fly shop owners rallied their customers, and we have a pretty strong TU chapter, too. We were able to make our case. Unfortunately, that improvement has also brought more competition, but not as bad as Deckers or the Frying Pan. Largest spring fish last year was a 27" rainbow; largest fall fish was a 22" rainbow. Did really well this winter. Lots of surface activity on midges. It's frustrating to do so well here and then head up to Washington and put in several days on the water without much luck. I just subscribed to the Creekside Angling Company's fishing report mailing list and hope to get more information from them. Thanks for all your help. I've already got more good ideas for this trip than I had from two months of research last time :THUMBSUP

Tight lines.



You mentioned the "Yak" as being unwadeable in the summer. If you fish the upper river it's very wadeable. I like fishing up around Easton. There are big fish up there also. Access is somewhat limited but you can find places to get on the river if you search. Jim S. :COOK

Thanks for responding. My fishing buddy used to live in Yakima and I'm pumping him for information on the "Yak". Of course, it's not real current stuff - it's been several years since he lived up there.

What about fishing around Concrete? Know anything about that? My other brother-in-law says he remembers fishing up there as a kid and catching trout. His dad still owns some property up there. I guess we're talking about the Skagit River up there? I'm going out to try to get a Washington map so that I can keep up with all these ideas.



Well up around Concrete, you have several lakes. How good they are I don't know. There is Grandy which is open year around. There is Volger which is a fly fishing only lake. You have Baker lake and the little lake along side called Depression lake. If you drive farther up into the hills you have a few creeks and rivers up there to fish. Maybe I'd better shut my mouth before I give away too many secrets. But to me they're are not secrets I had to find these places by myself. Most lakes don't open until the general opener, but you can find one otwo that are open if you check the regs. Jim S :BIGSMILE

Okay. I don't think we'll be getting off the track too far, though. Besides, it's nice to have those special places. I may get back to you on the Yak, though. Thanks again.


Now we are talking stuff of dreams. Every time I go back I think "this is the year I'll go out to Neah Bay." Before I made my last trip, I talked to a guy on the phone that guides fly fisherman on Neah Bay. Don't remember his name, but he was booked for the days I was going to be there.

In thinking about it, these are the things that have kept me from going in the past:

a. No boat. (Problem may be solved now since brother-in-law has boat. It's about 12' though; not sure it's big enough?).

b. Didn't have salt water fly gear. (Problem solved).

c. Didn't know where to stay. Anticipated driving from Camano one day, spending the night, fishing half a day the next day, then driving back. (Still a problem).

d. Didn't know how to fish for silvers. (Still a problem, but maybe can get help from this BB, or hire a guide).

Any ideas about item c? Also, if we couldn't drag his boat out there, know anyone that guides fly fisherman? Thanks.

Cheis Bellows guides flyfishing trips out of Neah Bay. I know Chris, a great guy and a fine angler. If there are fish to be cuaght, he'll put you over them. I can't remember the name of his guide srevice at the moment. Try a web search for Chris Bellows. If you can't find him, get back to me and I'll look it up. (or maybe someone else around here has more brain cells left than I do)

Neah Bay is a long overnighter from Camano. I certainly wouldn't discourage you from going out there if you want -- it would absolutley be worth it -- but I would reiterate that you're likely to find first rate fishing right our your backdoor at Camano. And I don't think I'd do Neah in a 12'.
I spend a good amount of time fishing up there in the summer. its certainly worth the trip. people might think I'm crazy but I am way more impressed with neah bay sekiu the last 2 years than spending all the money hiring a guide and fishing vancouver island. not a hook up in 3 minutes something is wrong. dont hire a guide. if you can fly fish at all rent a boat at olsens resort in sekiu. big salmon resort in neah bay is run by indians now. its gonna be upgraded. badly needed. but if they rent boats up there than there you go. if you serious at the time email me and i'll get you a copy of the shoreline with all my hotspots that get me fish. light tackle/fly guided trips up in that time frame will cost you serious money. unless you want to spend that. Ben
Thanks to everyone that responded to my query. I've spoken at length to my brother-in-law and we have a tentative plan. I'll post again in the near future once my Washington map arrives.


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