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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Sorry guys about the title, I couldn't help myself.

DAY 1.. 6:00 AM

Dropped the wife off at work Wednesday morning and headed out to the Skykomish. The rain had stopped a few days ago and reports of fresh fish caught got me motivated.
The drive up US2 wasn't too bad this morning, the long row of headlights from cars containing coffee laden drivers heading to work was fortunately heading westbound.
Continuing on through Monroe, Sultan, Startup and then Gold Bar, I decided to head to a spot off of the highway that was on the opposite side of the Reiter hatchery, knowing there would be a lesser chance of tangling up with someone or having my backcast smack someone from behind. All geared up, I locked the car, turned my headlamp on and hit the trail through the woods.
The morning was very cool and crisp, and fortunately not at the temperature that would freeze up the guides. A couple of minutes later, some hopping over fallen trees and a careful walk down a switchback the river finally came into view. Looking across to the other side, I noticed in the still darkness a handfull of headlamps from other hardcore fishermen who beat me to the punch.
Stepping over rocks and roots while pushing away brush I headed further downstream along the river to a tailout where I could make some decent backcasts and not worry about hitting the brush from behind.
The water looked perfect and guessed the visibility to be at around 3 feet. Under my lantern I strung up my stick, and while it was still dark, decided to tie up a glowing egg pattern.
While fumbling away at getting set up, a couple of gearheads pass by, heading to farther parts downstream which drew my curiosity because I had never ventured farther down, having been successful in the past at my current spot.
After a few attempts at tying poor knots, testing them and having them break, I finally get a good one and start probing the water.
For years i've fished successfully these areas with a float / jig rig like the rest of the gear guys, but this time I wanted a bigger challenge and the additional satisfaction of catching a steelhead "on the fly". Hopefully this would be the morning...
Casting to slots above the tailout I proceded to the pocket water making all kinds of presentations to no avail. Casting upstream, halfway out or 1/4 down and mending my line to slow the fly down, casting halfway out, letting it swing then holding the fly at the end and letting it dance, then slowly strip it in. Using my intermediate line I felt would get it down to the right depth, but it was a bear to control when different current speeds were playing games with the line, speeding up the swinging fly when I was trying to slow it down.
On occasion I could hear the "whoop" or loud banter from the guys on the other side, who were hooking up and playing their catch, and it made me more motivated and focused with each cast I made.
Pretty soon it was light enough to see the folks on the other side, and I'll tell you I was very glad to be where I was at.
Roughly guessing at 800 to 1000 feet of shoreline on the hatchery side there was a gear guy for every 15 to 20 feet of real estate, and I am not exaggerating. In my 26 years of fishing along this stretch, I had never seen so many people fishing on the river at once!
Fortunately enough, I saw a handfull of them catching fish. Unfortunately I wasn't one of them, although I had my chances. One time during the section I fished the flash of large fish caught my eye as the fly neared the end of the swing, but it didn't take.
With all of my current attempts unsuccessful and thinking about the fishermen I saw earlier disappear downstream, I decided to check out this unfamiliar spot.
The "cable hole" as the locals call it, historically is a productive spot on the Skykomish. It is a longer walk from where I usually fished so I never bothered to check it out in the past.

It's a beautiful stretch of water. A long stretch of seam water of perfect speed for about 500 feet strewn about with rocks the size of basketballs and larger, then ending with some nice pocket water at a tailout, and with just enough back casting room from the fly robbing brush.
When I got there I met the two guys I saw earlier and asked how they did. One of them proudly showed me his "limit" of beautiful, fresh hatchery brats.
Wanting to give this new stretch of water a try I continued further down, passing others who were successful as well. Finally getting far enough away I worked my fly through some nice pocket water but to no avail.
Even though I wasn't successful that morning it was encouraging to see others that were...

DAY 2...

Got up Sunday morning at around 5:30, loaded up the truck this time, and headed back out to the Sky, proceding cautiously as the back roads showed a little frost. Once I got onto the highway though the roads were in much better shape as the state rigs did a good job deicing the overpasses and ramps.
I arrived to the same location as previously, as was the routine heading to the river. This time though as I got out of the truck I was struck by a biting wind and I thought to myself, "DAMN...Today is going to be a cold one". For those who have fished this section of the Skykomish before in the wind, they know what i'm talking about. As the wind blows down the valley it "funnels" down the river and along the tree line. At times it can be downright nasty, especially if it's snowing or raining!
While walking to the river I occasionally looked up to the cloudless star filled sky and over to a snowy ridgetop to the north, just light enough to distinguish it from the sky... Spectacular.
Today the water level was lower and visibility was around 4 feet which mean't smaller patterns to spookier fish.
This time I decided to head straight to the "Cable Hole", and for a couple of hours I had the whole run to myself. :)
And it would have been a better morning had it not been for that pesky wind. The whole time there I guessed it averaged around 10 mph with an occasional gust of up to 20. Fortunately I was layered up and it didn't rain or snow, but it was a challenge trying to punch through it and again manage line control with numb fingers.
As the morning progressed and the sun came out it warmed things up a little. At times I would scan across and up the river to see if others were more successful.

A few hours later finishing the run fishless and hungry I headed back to the truck, drove west, and stopped into the Sultan bakery for some tasty apple cinnimon rolls and hot coffee.
The drive back home was much sweeter after that!

Richard
 

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Whenever I fish the Hwy 2 side across from Reiter I have my daughter drop me off and pick me up a set time later. Too many tweaker incidents in the pullouts by the guard rail. I know 3 guys who have had their rigs broken into in the past month. I normally fish my centerpin with a float and jig there as the pocket water is a bit quick and if you're not careful will eat fly lines.
 

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Just an Old Man
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When I fished gear me and a buddy of mine tried fishing Reiter. We got there and we were the forth car in the parking lot. My buddies wisdom said the we should fish upstream of the inlet. We fished there until it was light and then we walked down stream to where the others were. There were fish all over the place while we didn't even have a bite. I never fished with him again
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Whenever I fish the Hwy 2 side across from Reiter I have my daughter drop me off and pick me up a set time later. Too many tweaker incidents in the pullouts by the guard rail. I know 3 guys who have had their rigs broken into in the past month. I normally fish my centerpin with a float and jig there as the pocket water is a bit quick and if you're not careful will eat fly lines.
I know the spot next to the BNSF overpass is risky. So far I haven't noticed any problems where i've been at farther up, and I like to make it not worth someones effort to break into my vehicle by having it empty.

By the way Wolverine, how do you like your centerpin setup? I've been looking at those lately.

Richard
 

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Richard, I have a couple of Sage pin rods with Islander pin reels on them. They work really well with floats and jigs in our rivers. I've gone to smaller jigs the past 2 years and have had more success than with the larger ones. I'm partial to pink, pink/white, peach, peach/pink, and nightmare colors. The casting learning curve can be a bit tough, but a few U-tube vids and a couple of pin casting/fishing cds really help the learning curve.
 

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fly fishing addict
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can fishing for steelhead above rieter be productive or is that as far upstream as the fish travel for spawning?
 

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can fishing for steelhead above rieter be productive or is that as far upstream as the fish travel for spawning?
I was curious about the same thing and asked this question of one of our local shops. There reply was that although a few fish may stray, the most productive water is going to be up to and at the hatchery during the winter months.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
can fishing for steelhead above rieter be productive or is that as far upstream as the fish travel for spawning?
Yes it can Eric.

As a matter of fact there is a feeder stream 1/4 mile above that the hatchery uses in thier ponds and some of the brats will travel up farther to the mouth of this creek.
Although I like to avoid that side of the river, I've heard it can be productive there too.

And to go even further with your question, my first steelhead I ever caught was a beautiful summer run native off of one of the tributaries near the Money Creek campground.
 

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Thanks guys. Friday morning is going to be my first time fishing for steelhead on a fly so im not expecting a whole lot. I figured I was going to be in Index anyway so why not swing the fly on the river for a while
 

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Nice pics and post Richard. That wind up there can be brutal!!! I do love that side of the cable hole too...when its not crowded...which its always crowded this week with everyone out enjoying their new toys! I've never had any issue with break-ins there but then again I don't leave anything in view to take...My truck is totally void off everything except for what it came from the factory with when I walk away from it.

Eric I've seen and caught hatchery fish all of the way up to the forks in the winter...so some of them do go past the hatchery. I doubt the numbers are anywhere close to the number that stop at the hatchery though.

Christian
 

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Great Read, and a 'Blast from The Past. Used to fish that section of the river 'waaaay back in the day' (1983 and back) and preferred to fish across from the hatchery rather than 'fight the crowds (yes, even then). Still have all my 'old river maps' from that time frame so will have to pull them out/dust them off and take a 'walk down memory lane.'
fae
 
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