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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
A few of us fished the Sky on Saturday. The word is out that there are no fish in the river; we didn't see a jet boat all day, and there were only a couple of trailers in the Sultan parking lot. The only group of gear guys we saw were shut out while we were there. We managed to be first in Buck Island even though we arrived at 7 am.

As for the IRS hole: I haven't been there since last winter but they have a new gate up and several signs saying no trespassing. It was always private land but there seemed to be permission (and a well-beaten path) to walk around the gate. Someone (maybe the owner, maybe not) was opening up the gate when we drove by so I stopped and asked if we could fish. All we got was a smile and a big no. They have done some construction there too, just over the rr tracks. It's too bad, because even though people tell me it has filled in over the years, I always found IRS to be a good hole, especially in high water when it would fish down for over 100 yards. There was also some good water down the bank above the main hole where I have caught dollies.

As for the fish (here's the good news): we found several dollies in the river and landed a couple. I also had two strong strikes that I believe were steelhead, one of which was on for a few good head shakes and about 5 seconds before my black / blue GP pulled out when it thrashed on the surface. So, I now believe that there are some fish around, even though we didn't land any. Tight lines.

Circlespey
 

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Nice to hear you had some pulls circlespey. It's a shame that the bank access is gone at IRS. The riffle has been good to me along with the riffle and run at the Island pool above IRS. I have hooked Spring fish at IRS while my family picknicked on the bank. The top of the riffle is still great water but you have to be careful not to overcast. The bottom half of IRS is spey country. The farther the cast the better. Few anglers bother to fish the bottom half of the pool and the tailout. It's a mistake. I have hooked more fish in the last few years in the lower half of the pool than at the head.

More water is pushing along the South bank at IRS. Have begun rowing across after I am done with IRS to swing a line from the South bank as well. The south bank is 4-6 feet deep with large rocks on the bottom and a nice tailout.

Have been catching more dollies than ever this year in the Sky.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I agree on the dollies; I catch more every year on the Sky. I haven't seen a really big one yet like I see on the Sauk or the Hoh, but I suspect that will come.

Your descriptions of the water around IRS are making me more and more likely to break down and buy a pontoon boat for the Sky.

Circlespey
 

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I bought an 8 foot Creek Company pontoon boat from Cabelas for $350. It's perfect for the Sky. My usual drift is Thunderbird to Ben Howard. I keep my drifts short so I can spend time getting to know the river. Have stumbled across some sleeper runs in that stretch which don't get fished often but produce just enough surprises for me to keep coming back.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
How do you arrange the shuttles? Or are you always with another person with a big enough rig to hold two pontoons? That's what always keeps me from making a similar investment; I usually am fishing solo.

Circlespey
 

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My Previa minivan is big enough to hold two Creek Company pontoon boats when they are partially deflated. The creek company boat also fits into the back of a Subaru when partially deflated and when part of the frame is taken down. It has a system of component parts which clip together.

When I am by myself I use the boat to cross and fish the river at Thunderbird. You can also walk upstream and fish the tailout above Thunderbird.

I have drifted by myself from Thunderbird down to where the side channel cuts against the road above Ben Howard. It's a 1.5 mile walk back to the car however.

Am always looking for people who want to shuttle so keep me in mind if you get a boat.
 

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I struggled with the same debate about getting a pontoon boat, but the closing of access points helped convince me to make the purchase.

The shuttle thing sometimes limits my ability to get out but the key is to convice a friend, that fishes the same way as you, to make the purchase or have a very nice wife that doesn't mind driving to the river at 5:00 am.

Anyways the point I am trying to make is that the pontoon does open up a lot more river and also allows greater flexibility in doing short vs traditional drift boat launch to launch floats.

Good luck.

Terryd :thumb
 
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