I have never targeted hummies in the rivers but have caught a few incedentals over on the O.P. I caught mine on black flies with a little flash. Probably about a sizes 2 to 1/0.
I have heard that the fishing for flyanglers is better up high on the stilly as opposed to the mouth but i dont know.
What did you try doing last summer that didnt work?
Humpies are easy to catch, just look for rising fish as they'll let you know where they are. Humpies, like most salmon, travel in pods that vary in number. Your best bet is to place your fly in the middle of the group and then use 6 inch strips to retrieve your fly. They seem to be equally aggressive in Salt or in fresh water. In fresh water, I would hit them as low in the system as possible as they will be much brighter.
I've had humpies hit my fly on the surface but have had more hook-ups using flies with dumb-bell eyes. Flies tied with chartreuse and/or cerise are always good.
Pinks are generally aggressive and fight pretty well. Although they can be caught on 5 and 6 weights, I'd suggest using a 7 weight so that you can get them in without wearing them out. It's often possible to have 30 fish days.
In Hood Canal, the Pinks start running in late June, and early July. They then seem to run a little later as you work up the coast. That said, you should have 2-3 months worth of good fishing for them if you're willing to travel some.
Get in touch with me in August I'll show you a couple of spots on the lower river that aren't crowded with the hordes of metal slingers. Start tying up some size 8 and 10 flies.
Tail...small bunch of pink marabou
with or with out a silver bead for the head.
And for good measure tie some up the same way in white, yellow or chartruese.
Might as well throw in a bunch of pink bunny flies too.Pretty much the same as a bunny leech only pink. Small works better than big in the Stilly, so don't get carried away on size.
They are not called pinks for nothing. Think pink, tie pink, and be pink. Red is not bad either. For some damn reason known only to pinks, pink is where it's at. Never fish any other color. Does not matter what, just so it is pink.
Hatcheries that raise pinks are a good bet but you might bump into them eleswhere. Tight lines to you, my friend.
The lower stilly doesn't open until September 1, but until then I would concentrate on the mouth of the river in the salt, or on neighboring beaches. In the salt they are usually fresher and fight a lot better too. When the river opens, try to find pods of fish that are stacked up and not moving upstream. These waiting fish will bite much better than moving ones.
I use a 6wt for humpies, loaded with a 10 ft sink tip. This in combination with a dumbell eyed fly is usually enough to get down to the fish in most conditions. On rivers they usually only take the fly when it's being stripped in on the downstream swing. Sometimes different retrives will work at different times, but a steady retrieve with about a 6-8in pull usually works good, in the fresh and salt. All my humpy flies have dumbell eyes, which helps to prevent snagging since the fly rides upside down, and the weight also helps to get down to the fish. Anything with pink in it and also in combination with white should work and keep it small like a #6 or #8. My favorite is a pink/white clouser.
If your not catching anything sometimes its because they're just not in the mood to bite. 2 years ago I remember fishing all day only to take a couple fish, then a week later I caught about 40 in a couple hours of fishing. Thats the way it goes in rivers and estuaries sometimes.
PINK for Pinks! I only use pink flies-- marabous w/ lg dumbell eyes or muddler tied w/ pink deer hair/tinsel body for skating, cause they will come to the surface! Fish either on floating line and long leader--- then you cast cross current over targeted fish pause---strip---pause---strip---bam fish on. Good luck---Jon