Hood Canal - Fishing out the Year

Steve Rohrbach

Puget Sound Fly Fisher
Steve Knapp found a new J-Vice under his tree and I don't think he has slept since Christmas. You may have seen some of his recent work on the Historical Cutthroat Fly thread. We decided to head back to Hood Canal today to test some new flies on the Coastal Cutthroat and Resident Coho we have encountered in recent weeks. The fishing was not hot, far fewer fish than we have seen recently, but those that were present were hungry and aggressively took our flies.

Two of Knapp's new flies produced nice Cutthroat. The first was a great topwater take on an Olive Puget Sound Slider that he tied. The other memorable fish was a Cutthroat that slammed his Lambuth Candlefish just subsurface. We both watched this fish explode up from the bottom to inhale the fly.

I was playing with my new Winter's Hope Flat Wing fly and several fish approve of the new fly. I couldn't resist fishing the Arctic Fox Clouser for a while at slack tide which was rewarded by some nice fish. The last 30 minutes involved testing a Puget Sound Slider tied in Mickey Finn colors. This pattern is usually the first fly mentioned by most fly fisherman in BC. I told Steve it was my last cast as we needed to be at the marina before closing. Twenty feet from the boat a fat SRC attacked the fly. The final photo shows the Rainey's Pencil Popper in his mouth.

We have had some great fishing this December. The cold rides to the Canal have been well worth the great fishing.

As I wrap up a wonderful 2011 I want to thank my friend Roger Stephens for his inspiration and unfailing support in designing, testing and fishing topwater patterns. I look forward to many outings in the new year. Steve Knapp has become a great friend and fellow saltwater fanatic. He has attacked tying with passion and is enthusiastic in growing his skills. Thanks for all of the memories and keep working on your list of things you want to accomplish next year.

Happy New Year to all of you who make this such a great resource.


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Great report and pictures as usual! Glad that you are still get some good top water action. Looking forward the sea-run cutthroat fly swap and fishing trips with you in 2012.

Happy New Year to all how post in the salt water forum and may you all have many memorable fishing trips in 2012!


Jim Wallace

Smells like low tide.
Yes, thanks for the report and pics! That was truly a fine way to end the year! I really like the look of Steve Knapp's Olive Puget Sound Slider.

Steve Rohrbach

Puget Sound Fly Fisher
Chris, your incredible kayak videos have inspired me to purchase a GoPro. I also remembered how much I love Galactic and am now hooked on Trombone Shorty. I have catching Black Rock Fish at Neah Bay and Neah Bay Coho on the Puget Sound Slider on my list for next year.

Jim, Steve Knapp has become a fly tying machine. His Fish Skull bait fish pattern has become a consistent producer.

Dry Fly Larry, we are both tying your Popsicle Stick, Steve on a hook and me on a ProTube. I also took the liberty of tying it as a Slider. We hope to join you on a Hood Canal beach this year.

Roger, get ready for some top water action this year. Looking forward to working on the presentation for the FFF Conclave.

HNY. Steve
Thanks Steve, great break down of our day. Couldn't have been a better way to end the year. I have a lot of tying to do after that outing.

Anybody who wants a fantastic top water pattern needs to check out Steve's Puget Sound Slider. It is a badass fly. We have been testing it for a couple of months now and both of us are convinced. This fly was getting viscous strikes when Steve was still developing it and it was 4-5" long. I have some of the original's I tied in my gallery, all of which attracted fish, but hookups were few and far between. It has been chopped down to about 3.5" and the SRC/Rezzies want to kill it. With the coloring of the head you can have a slider ready to copy anything out there, as well as just plain attractor colors. It's relatively easy to tie and fun to fish.

By far, the best SRC fly that has been developed this year. It's going to be in everybody's box before long. Hopefully Roger, Steve, and I will get some great video of this fly in action and be able to make some fun videos this year.

I want to say thank you to all of you guys on the Salt forum. I had an absolutely incredible first year of fly fishing. I caught my first fly caught fish at the Narrows on Feb 2nd 2011, a beauty of a Rezzie. This fish was because of you guys and your incredible info posted. I met my friend Chris Mcnaulty here and we have had tons of frozen and fishless adventure out into the salt trying to catch the amazing Searun Cutthroat, ultimately successfully. Since then I met Steve R at the Puget Sound Fly Company tying with Roger. We have become great friends and he has mentored me in the ways of Puget Sound. Steve has guided me to many SRC over 16", Pink salmon, resident coho, ocean coho and chum (neither of which I brought to the boat). Without his insight and lifetime of dedication to this fishery, I wouldn't even be close to where I am now.

I was also able to spend a week back in Massachusetts where I'm originally from, chasing largemouth and panfish on the cranberry bog ponds I grew up fishing, only on the fly this time. I will always love chasing those species, especially on the surface of course. I was also able to hike into the Swift River in Western MA with my father and brought 2 small, but wild brookies to hand on drys. I had to crawl on my hands and knees to sneak up on these beautiful fish.

All right enough BS, lets get ready for this year. Thanks everybody.

Dale Dennis

Formally Double-D
Steve R. and Steve K. great report and a great way to close the year on the salt. Your top water innovations are inspiring, looking forward to the Swap.

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