SUMMER STEELHEAD FLY FISHING As an angler of all fishes my true love are steelhead, everything about them fits my persona and lifestyle follows suit. In the 80's they were common place on the rivers of the Puget Sound namely the Green river flowing through Auburn and we fished in the Gorge. Although, according to WDFW Biologists they was never a wild run in the green, it sure seemed like a riverine habitat that would of supported them. Now with the hatchery systems falling from grace even non-wild rivers go unplanted to a large degree. We commonly fished the run all summer with the cooler times being best as water temps rose above 60 during heat waves. Many of my days would be played out hiking the George and fishing skaters/wakers and dry lines in tail outs then riffles and then any shade as the day progressed. In those days location was key, and secrecy a must. I admit having some coveted private access into the Gorge was helpful. Those runs as with many Puget Sound summer runs will only return to fishable levels with the resurgence of hatchery plants. Programs that have been deemed the devil by some special interest groups. I get lucky once and a while dogs are a fishing must have Loving the summertime Its been since the early 90's that I have pursued the summer run steelhead in actual summer. I have whittled the season down to concentrate in the fall when the Columbia river tribs would be open and fishable numbers existed. Last summer I started fishing a few times a month on the Cowlitz, and again this year quite a bit more. The resurgence of fresh run summer steelhead is addicting and the hard fighting fish are running strong in most of the Columbia tribs and even in the northern Puget Sound tribs are seeing some return of hatchery and wild steelhead. I have dropped the trout rods and picked up the 6wt spey far
As we progress or gain experience in reality we learn things that are only discovered with LOTS of time on the water. Some in business call it the 10,000 hour thresh hold. There comes a point in experience that many thing become second nature. In the fishermen guiding field its as simple as effortlessly dodging rocks on a rapid, seeing and fishing current seams un noticed by most others or when to dip the net and when not to. All these things take time and understanding. Many go unshared or even un noticed by others. The other and most important aspect in experience is Responsibility. We as guides are responsible for the safety our guests, there enjoyment on the water and sometimes there effectiveness in catching the quarry. Perfect hook point, upward and to the corner. But what I feel the need to SHARE with you is the responsibility we have as guides and all anglers alike the care of our sought after prize. It used to be that just the style of angling was often considered and effective tool in lowering our effect OF angling on Salmon Trout and Steelhead. I choose these as there in the hot bed of topic and also what I know about the most. We as anglers really don't know how effective other styles are unless we have done that or experienced that. Many guides have never swung a fly for steelhead, many others have never floated jigs or hung bait under floats or experienced plunking. But we find it so common for the general fishing public to assume what is happening in a day on the water with alternate methods. At this juncture we can say the most common problem with the management of our iconic species is KILLING them. Plain and simple, we don't want to kill the ones that are least in volume or the ones we cherish the most. This post wont be about tribal issues or WDFW management
Shortly after winter spring steelhead season I wander off to do some fun fishing in the Yucatan Peninsula and Baja California Sur, or simply East cape as the Rooster aficionado angler calls it. The Yucatan trip to Ascension bay was plagued with high winds and not so enthusiastic tarpon. I did manage a few fish and presented to a couple willing Permit but beyond that our good fortune was limited to the fantastic service at La Pescadora Lodge in Punta Allen. Jose the head guide is the next level individual that understands more about the area's Permits than the Permits do themselves! I will just have to call a do over on this one, already have my dates on the calendar! East Cape fished very well for us with the Dorado bite on pretty much daily. The Roosters were far and few in between and really only seen a couple for the short work we offered on them. I fell off the high horse and went trolling a day and did pretty damn well with a few Wahoo, a Marlin that followed us for a mile and Dorado that came running from a hundred yards to crash our baits. Its the damdest thing we could see them leaping from the left or right and attack our trolled offering. It is something that is as exciting as skating a dry over the sweet spot. Our friend the 10 foot shark I learned more this season than the last five, some real fish catching experience that will be useful for the years to come. Basically why I love going to new places, the learning curve is fundamentally the game. Back to reality and the trout fishing world on the Yakima River...that will be in the next posting, Yakima River Drakes, the time is now! Fathers Day special 15% off trips booked by June 15, used anytime! EM jeff@Brazdasflyfishing.com and add "Fathers Day" in subject line... Gift certs available. Thanks for following!