Washington Fly Fishing Forum banner

Winter has come and gone

3459 Views 40 Replies 15 Participants Last post by  golfman65
The cold dark days of winter have come and passed. Eight oclock sun rises, 3 oclock shadows coupled with snow storms, and fog filled morning on the river. Long hours with few tugs, swinging down dirty and deep with big flies. These last 5 months have been my favourites in the year. But what comes must go, and now the suns rays lay waste to the snow causing it to melt and the rivers to blow. I'm waiting . . . for the chrome rockets fresh from salt to start entering the rivers once again. Summers are going to be here sooner than you think. Who's ready, and with what? What's your setup? How do you fish it?

Personally i swing a beulah 6/7 switch, with a dry skandi or poly leader on a skagit. No nymphing here
1 - 20 of 41 Posts
I don't treat summer runs much different than I do winters. Sage 6126, home made Skagit style line with 15 foot sink tips and swung flies. Depending on which river I am fishing I will put on a grand spey and fish dries from time to time. I also fish a 5126 with home built Skagit line.
I like early morning or late evenings with a 7 wt 13 foot rod and a Skandi line with short tips in tow. Fly choice is small and earthy colored traditional. But hey what do I know, I just fly a Space Shuttle part time.
Kerry what's the length on your skagit? And how many grains? I'm thinking about getting the 12'6 beulah 6wt platinum. I love their rods and i've never had a problem . . . EVER with them
Early summer is the same as winter - 11' 8wt TFO switch with custom short Skagit and 6' T14 tips (or 9' for flies w/o eyes). Later I move to Scandi heads on my 12'6" Deer Creek and floating poly leaders. Flies sound similar to Stewarts - my 'go to' is a blended brown/green dubbing body with natural pheasant and partridge in #6 or #4.

Stewart - I'm beginning to think you're bipolar. Time to land the Shuttle => :clown:


Dunno what the grain is. I think the belly length would be about 22 to 23 feet. The line is made from a 12 wt. DT with a bit of the taper left on the back end of the belly. I use 15' 95 grain (7 wt.) tips. I likely started off with 24 to 25 feet of belly and cut it back until I liked it. I do remember using 109 grain (8 wt.) tips but found them a bit to much for the rod.
I dunno about where you're at, but up here, it seems that until the water is gin and low as can be, they still hit the black/blue and pink stuff.
I dunno about where you're at, but up here, it seems that until the water is gin and low as can be, they still hit the black/blue and pink stuff.
I'm with you on that one younggun. I usually stick to my winter set up until the river start to clear and drop. Bunnies and t 14 do the job. Usually by July I start the transition to my summer rig, either my Z 7110 and sink tips or floaters to match the water, or the 7136 for a bit bigger water.
i'm not changing a thing. still tryin to get my setup and casting dialed. 13' 7/8 deer creek. dropped down to a 570 compact skagit from a 600. 6', 8', and 10' tips in both t14 and t8 and 12' 9wt tips in type III and VI. leeches, marabou's and intruders until the water runs low and clear (which could be early with no snowpack). then i'll probably drop the spey and run my 796 RPL single hand, floating lines and weighted flies. love castin that rod. im gonna experiment with building some single hand spey lines for that rod. i got a scandi setup for the spey. maybe the big D, but the puget sound rivers dont need the spey at low flow IMO.

the boat and bead rig stays the same!

now through june ill be southwestin it. in june through early july i'll be on the sky runnin tips and dirties. but i'll probably gonna spend a bit a time on the NF stilly for the sake of history and for the chance to tail a deer creek native before they are gone forever. single hand, floater and a muddler for the sake of purity on that river. socks, sandals, and swim trunk stylin!
See less See more
Here in my corner of the Greatlakes the steelhead have come and gone now and won't be back until August when the Skamania arrive and the "A" runs of September . The rivers will be "gin" clear and on the low side . Primarily I use a Guideline 12'6" 7/8 LPXe with scandi-style shooting heads in the 24 gram range ..... mostly Guideline PT's and DDC's . A 7/8 PT or DDC cut at 11.5m for the finesse stuff , or an 8/9 version cut at 10m for the bigger/bulkier offerings . With this set-up , I fish typical steelhead water , runs and pools . For pocket-water and deep channel type stuff I use a Loop LTS 1197 two-hander with either a Rio AFS 4/5 with 8' cut off the tip and looped for 10' Versi-Leaders or a home-made "Frankenstein" shooting head . Both lines weigh in at 19-20 grams , but the Frankenstein SH has a very aggressive taper and sinks like a rock !! It's meant for throwing large shanks and streamers to bottom hugging chromers in the faster currents .

In between the steelhead seasons , I swing for smallmouth bass and walleye at the bottom end of a favourite steelhead river . For this , I use a CND Solstice 13'4" 6/7 , matched with a CND 6/7 GPS mid-belly . The smallies love to take a Dee or a Spey on the swing , while the walleyes prefer the shanks .

Regardless of the species or time of year , like Young Gun , it's on the swing !!

See less See more
Missing Winter? Come visit us here in the very southern end of Oregon. It snowed (and I mean reallllllly snowed) around us every night (and some times during the day) in the hills surrounding Ashland. The only 'good news' with that is the freezing level stayed at 1,000 to 1,500 feet above the valley floor so we just got rain (or a mix). That said, the hills/mountains around us were getting from 6" to 18" of new 'white' every day the past 10'ish days.

Actually a good thing as we need every bit we can get.

are you still managing to hook chromers? i know of 2 summer runs already by buddies. They're coming!!!
I too have a beulah switch 6/7 that is my summer rod. i am also upgrading to the 12'6 platinum cuz it is just soo nice. on my switch i run an elixer with a 10' floating polyleader and small, natural, buggy flies. if tips are needed i also have a 20' 380 custom "elixer skagit" built by Bruce berry. i usually run 10-12' tips with this setup and can easily cast pick yer pockets 60-80 feet. i am pumped to get the 12'6 6wt platinum, i like it better than anyother 6126 currently out there. The 12'6 is going to be strictly dry line and bigger water. see you all at the Sandy!!
Bruce is the man, from day one he's treated me like he knew me for years. Great friend on mine now, i enjoy the chats we have about fishing, they just make me chuckle when i think back on them.
No nymphing here
I love to nymph, you gotta problem with that ?
No, but if i was going to dead drift i'd do it properly, grab my centerpin, and lamiglas and a piece of bait.

I bought my spey rods to swing.
Properly according to who? What is wrong with nymphing with a spey ? Why is it not " proper" ? Tell us all -
Because in my eyes i find it ineffective to think that with a couple bb splitties you can expect to get down in the same places as i can with a piece of pencil lead or 5 magnum split shot. I have a centerpin, and mono mainline, and can roll the presentation down seams and etc. better than i believe you can a indi. fish. Aswell, my casting is also much more efficient and effective in covering the water with a centerpin.

It may not be the 'proper' way in my eyes, but why buy an expenssive spey rod, spey lines, reels, and go and ''bobber'' fish? If its for the 1:1 battle and centerpin is the same thing, they have no drag and no gears. You can fish artificials with gear, if you want too.

I didn't post the comment saying i hate indicator fishermen, nymphing, and such. I do it ALOT for trout, but when fishing steelhead i swing the fly. I did not try to offend anyone. This is my view on the situation, i hope this wont blow up into a large arguement.

I'm going to leave it at this :
There's a class of jerks out there with a holier than thou attitude that they are better than others because they swing and don't use an indicator . As long as it's legal and ethical it doesn't make two shits how one fishes . This comes up from time to time on these sights . No one is any better or smarter or skilled or anything because he or she swings instead of indicator fishes, it's simply a personal choice made by all anglers to use the method they want to use for whatever reason they choose. Making comments that show elitism by scoffing at an other's chosen ways/techniques to fish is garbage and serves no purpose whatsoever as it only divides the masses . Search "Roots, an essay from steelhead country " on this forum and you'll see what I'm talking about-

BTW, I used to indicate, but now only swing . You won't see me make any comments about it beyond that. I know a steelheader or two who primarily swing but under rare circumstances will use an indicator . The last thing I'd ever do is feel superior to these guys as I could barely carry there jock in the realm of true steelheading - Enough said-
See less See more
Wanted: Popcorn and a Coke with lots of Ice.
1 - 20 of 41 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.