Go for the grab1
There are a few things that happen with a rising river...
1. Stale fish perk up
2. New fish move in
3. Flows go up
4. The river blows
5. River drops
6. Fish are happy
7. This happens all over again 5 days later
In the last 8 days we have seen around 7" of rain in the Klamath/Trinity basin. Fishing picked up and was good until the rivers blew. It then dropped into shape and no more than a day later we get more rain. Rivers rise and now on the drop. I anticipate good fishing this next week. We should still have some good numbers of half-pounders around and some new big November freshies moving into the system. November can be a great time to hook up with one of those big late fall runs or even the bright early winter run steelhead.
Go for the grab!
Been on the water the last ten days now and have seen a variety of fishing conditions on both the Klamath and Trinity rivers. Fishing has been very hit and miss but we are finding fish most days. If you fish hard throughout the day, especially during low light periods you should be able to find a fish or two that are willing to move to a swung or skated fly. Hot flies the past week have been October Hiltons, Silent Assassins, Undertakers, and muddlers.
We are in need of a weather change to get rid of this high pressure that seems to be making fishing a little tougher. Temps are suppose to cool and even a chance of rain here soon. This should suck more fish into the system and perk up the ones that have been around for a little while. The next 2-3 weeks should see some of the best fishing of the season.
John Putnam with 1 of 4 he and is brother in law hooked the other day.
A hard pulling hen that fell to an October Hilton
October Sunset on the Lower Trinity
Go for the grab!
Fall is almost here and we are looking at another great season for steelheading on the Klamath and Trinity Rivers. We have seen good numbers of steelhead pushing into the lower Klamath over the last couple of months with numbers increasing in the last two weeks. We have seen some really nice half-pounders and adults taken on both the Lower Klamath in the glen and the lower Trinity below Willow Creek. As water temps begin to cool in the next week or so, there should be more fish pushing in making for some great swing fishing for steelhead. The early reports from the DFG weir in Willow Creek show very good numbers of both wild and hatchery steelhead moving through the lower river. As these numbers increase in the following 3 weeks we should see an excellent return of steelhead in the mid-lower Trinity river for Spey fishing in October and November. The same can be said for the Klamath. October and November are prime months for floating line fishing both the Klamath and Trinity Rivers. This is our favorite time of year to experience steelhead on skated dry and swung wet flies on or near the surface. We have a limited number of prime dates open in October to experience California’s finest Steelheading.
Available Dates: October 19, 20, 21, 22, 27, 28, 29, 30
Go for the grab!
This two day school is for four students. The school will give students one on one instruction with three different instructors.
Dates for the schools are –
December 11 & 12, 2010 Full
December 18 & 19, 2010
Cost is $450 for the two day school with lunch and equipment provided. If you have any questions, feel free to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Sage is also going to be replacing the popular VT2 series speys with the new VXP spey rods. They will be offered in a 12'9" 6 weight and 13'3" 7 weight. This new series will be at a similar price point to the VT2 rods but with a redesigned blank and better components. If they are anything like the VT2's they will pretty much cast themselves! Both new VXP models will be great rods for steelhead fishing throughout the Pacific Northwest. Really looking forward to putting some time into the 6129!
Looking forward to playing with some of these new toys this fall on the lower Trinity and Klamath rivers.
I have heard a few nice reports coming from the Trinity for summer steelhead. The water is slowly dropping and around 750 cfs from Lewiston. These summer fish are headed for tributaries so I would focus ones efforts on the mid-lower river. Early mornings and evening are going to give you the best shot a a chrome wild summer run. I would fish anything from a skated muddler or dry fly to October Hilton's, Duck Turds, Silent Assassins, and Undertakers. Good numbers of fish are already showing on the Klamath and Trinity and we anticipate great fall fishing. I have some October dates still available for prime time fall steelheading on the Lower Trinity and Klamath Rivers. Email if you have any questions or to book a date.
Fishing up here on the upper Nush has picked up. With more salmon entering the system everyday we are seeing better trout fishing. The egg bite has picked up in the last couple of weeks and the mouse and streamer fishing has been great! Thus far the hot streamers have been a natural BellyDancer, Hickman's Egg Stealing Sculpin, and Silvey's Sculpin. About the only mouse I have been fishing all season is Mr. Hankey but if I had another choic, the Morrish Mouse would be a close second. Will post some pics shortly. The only thing we could use now is some sunshine and warm weather. I have had enough overcast and rainy days until December!
1. Bugs, they really are a bitch. Deet helps a little with the mosquitos but the no see ‘ems and white sox could give two shits about this stuff.
2. Cleaning out the shitters. I could just about throw up everyday I have to take the shitter bags out and clean the john’s.
3. The price of booze. $40 for an 18 pack of Bud Diesel and $40-60 for a bottle of shit Whiskey. Almost not worth a drink here and there.
4. What I wouldn’t give for a bagel, burger, or DiGiorno pizza right about now. The DiGiorno would go well with my $3 can of Bud Diesel.
5. Women worried about their hair and make-up in the middle of BFE! It really it kinda funny!
1. I don’t have to listen to latest news or political bullshit about how effed up our country is.
2. 24 hours of light
3. Wildlife: Bears, Moose, Wolverines, Eagles, and Osprey
4. Not having to deal with traffic or idiotic people. The only traffic within sight is that of another jet boat heading up or downriver of camp.
5. Leopard Bows
6. Huge grayling
7. Epic mouse and streamer fishing
8. Campfires, music, and Dave’s classic bush stories
Fishing up here on the Nush has been hit and miss the last few days. When it has been warm the fishing has picked up. Today was another one of those cold rainy days when the fish just weren't too grabby. We were able to find a few nice fish on the swing with a 6 weight switch rod. Most fish have been coming to olive sculpins and white smolt patterns. Lots of salmon smolt working their way out the system right now and the big bows and dollies are all over them.
Land of the midnight sun! The last week zipped by working long hours into the midnight sun getting camp set up and ready for clients. The first few days up here on the upper Nush were spent working late getting weather ports (aka fancy tents), the main hall (Kimer’s cook house), and boats ready for jetting the river. Hours of “detailing” have been spent the last two days making this place look real good! Lots of weed eating, raking, and graveling walkways have this place looking like the Ritz Carlton in the bush. Wish I had some before and after photos to share but I don’t so just try to imagine.
The bush is a special place. After a week here I can now see why Kris is here for his seventh year of guiding and why Kim, Dave, and Camille have been running this place for so long. We are over 45 miles from the nearest lodge/camp, 100 miles from the nearest city, Dillingham (not much of one), and there is no one else around with the exception of a few bears, moose, wolves, and big hungry leopard rainbows. It is truly God’s country! We don’t have to deal with stop signs, red lights, idiotic drivers, or idiots from the outside world for that matter. You don’t get the latest news unless a client informs you at camp. You don’t have to listen the political bullshit such as healthcare and the BP disaster! The only things we hear are the birds calling, wolves hawling, the wind, and a little Neil Young thrown in here and there.
Speaking of bears, we have had one in camp for two days in a row. A pretty good size Grizz that snuck up behind us during our evening B.S. session by the fire. Kris and Nice turned around and the damn thing was less than fifty feet from us near the cook tent. We all ran for guns as the bear grew pissed. He snarled a bit and the hair on his neck stood straight up! We got hit to leave camp but not before he was hit in the ass with a rubber bullet. Damn thing showed up in front of the shitter the next morning but left before I got a look at him.
We have spent little time fishing but there wasn’t much too miss the first few days. Heavy rains brought the river up and blew it out. It has since been on the drop and clearing a bit and should only get better. The little fishing we have done has been under the midnight sun for an hour or so before bed. With cold, off color water, fishing has been tough. Head ‘boss’ Kris Kennedy hooked a couple of pigs on McGeary Creek during the first fishing hour but since then it has been a rainbow here and there with a few dollies in the mix.
We have had clients the past two days and they are great dudes. Everyone has hooked fish so far and it should only get better with warming water and weather. We have seen big leopard bows, dollies, and a couple of big grayling that have eaten #4 streamers. So far white smolt patterns and streamers have done the trick. If I was heading up this way in the near future I wouldn’t leave home without Garrett’s Natural Bellydancer and TFS King Smolt. Not only have these flies hooked some nice fish but the white makes it easy to follow and see fish react to your fly. Until next week, enjoy reality and I’ll be enjoying the bush!
In the next four months this blog will detour away from steelhead and focus on my journies guiding for trout and salmon in Alaska. I will be working for Dave and Kim Egdorf at Egdorf's Nushagak Wilderness Camp. I am pretty stoked about this opportunity and it will be fun to chase trout with big streamers and mouse patterns. I will be in Alaska from June 2nd till about September 28th. Upon return I will start guiding the lower Trinity and Klamath rivers on October 5th.
Depending on how good of a satellite internet connection we have at camp, I am hoping to do a weekly post with pics on guiding/fishing in Alaska. More photos can also be viewed on my flickr page http://www.flickr.com/photos/42959397@N08
Guiding two-handed spey fishing and working in a fly shop part time, the biggest question that gets asked is the same one over and over again! What is the best line for my spey rod? Sometimes this can be tougher to answer than one might think. Let me first start by asking you a few questions to make this easier for both of us...
Where do you like to fish?
What time of the year?
Do you like a lighter load or a deeper, heavier load?
Do you like a more traditional longer length line or shorter shooting head line?
Do you want this line to be extremely versatile or excel in a specific area?
The reasons for these questions is that right now in the two-handed market there is a lot to choose from in rods, reels, and lines. While there are very few "bad" spey rods being built these days, there are spey rods that will feel/cast like shit when they improperly lined. The biggest key is finding the Spey line to fit your needs.
Let's now jump right into the various types of lines available to the consumer.
Old School, aka Long Bellies and Traditional Spey Lines:
These are the lines I learned to cast with almost 10 years ago. These are a more traditional spey line with head lengths in the 52-85' range. Great for casting flies longer distances on large rivers. They require a lot more back casting room and do well with flies in the #1/0-#10 range. Good luck with a big string leech or intruder though! These lines are popular on summer/fall steelhead rivers like the Deschutes, Clearwater, Thompson, and Klamath rivers. These lines have evolved a bit over the years and are now a little better to cast. Here are a few popular ones for anglers to consider in the 7-11 weight range.
- Rio Windcutter(old standby)
- Rio Powerspey
- Airflo Delta and Delta Long
- CND GPS
- Nextcast Winter Authority and Fall Favorite
These lines are shooting head style lines that have a lot of taper to them. They range in length from 28-44' and are designed to have good turnover with small to medium size flies. These lines gained popularity in Europe and in the last few years have made a big splash in North America on rivers like the Deschutes, Trinity, and Klamath. These lines are easier to cast than traditional spey lines but not quite as easy and forgiving as Skagit lines. Here are some popular Scandi heads in the 5-9 weight range...
- Airflo Compact Scandi
- Beulah Elixir
- Guideline Powertaper
- Rio AFS
- Vision Ace
Here's what I think can be some of the most versatile fishing lines on the market. A line for all season and all conditions. Skagit lines were designed to throw large flies on heavy sink tips in the Pacific Northwest. What many don't know is that if you take a lighter skagit head, add a 7.5-10' floating tip that is equal in grain weight to the skagit head you would use to throw sink tips and big flies, you get a great line for summer/fall dry line fishing. For example, if you throw a 450 grain skagit head for sink tip work, you would want the total length of your skagit head plus floating tip for summer/fall fishing to equal 450 grains. Skagit heads vary in length from 20-34' and can fit switch/spey rods from 5-12 weights. The following are some of most popular skagit lines on the market at the moment.
- Airflo Compact Skagit
- Beulah Tonic
- Rio Skagit Flight
- Rio Skagit Short
All of the aforementioned lines are great for the two handed rod. Some will excel in certain situations where other will struggle. The key is to find the right line for your casting style, where you like to fish, and the time of year you like to fish. Or, if you are looking for one line to do it all, then I would certainly recommend a Skagit line.
Midcurrent has a nice page devoted to fly fishing photographers and links to their sites. Take a moment to check it out.
First off, this fly can be tied on either a shank or a tube, with or without weight. I prefer to tie these on tubes both with and without weight. This allows for fishing in a variety of conditions.
1 1/2" plastic tube.
After attaching thread, create a large dubbing ball near the rear of the tube and tie in a collar of Arctic fox tail in front of dub ball. Easier to take tow small chunks and tie them in one at a time to evenly spread around dubbing ball.
Tie in a schlappen feather and hackle 4-6 turns closely through a dubbed body(I like Ice Dubbing).
Tie in a long thin stemmed marabou feather and make 4-6 turns, picking out and combing back marabou with each turn.
Take anywhere from 12-18 ostrich herls and clump them together. From here, wet them and then using a black sharpie color 6-8 bars to give the ostrich a barred look. Using 3-4 herls at a time tie them in and around the fly, evenly spreading out the herl.
Add some flash to the top of the fly. I prefer flashabou, krinkle flash, or krystal flash. All look good, another personal preference.
Tie in a golden pheasant tippet to create a collar. Schlappen can work as well but I really like the golden pheasant tippets because they are naturally barred and give the collar a unique look. Finish the head, burn the end of the tube and finished!
A few of the reasons the Crippler is so effective is the large profile created by the arctic fox and hackled schlappen. This allows the marabou to breath and keep a big profile in the current without collapsing. The other thing to notice is how the ass end of the fly with the dubbing ball/arctic fox glows in the light(see pic below).
Another pic of a big profile in the water...the sink test!
For more info check out the link on speypages
A lawsuit filed by the Friends of the Eel River to take action against PG&E to stop diverison of water from the Eel River to the Russian river system. During the summer months, as much as 98% of Eel River flows are diverted through PG&E's Potter Valley Project. Hopefully something will happen here and flows will be restored to the Eel, at least during the critical warm weather periods when water is extremely low and warm. This would certainly help prevent some juvenile salmon/steelhead mortality and help increase numbers in future returns.
Keep reading article here
Early March is hard to beat on the California coast. Not sure what it is about March but there are not many people out fishing. Good conditions + very little pressure = good fishing. Catching, well that could have been better. A few fish were around but was hoping for more considering the rivers were dropping and this is typically when the big late season nates begin to show.
A small front moved in late Tuesday and added a little rain and snow to the mix but did not seem to hurt the rivers at all. It actually gave the water a little more of that "steelhead green" we all like to see in the winter.
The grabs were soft and while we were able to connect to a couple, there were a few more that left us wondering, what if? Should I have set, not dropped the loop, or was it just not meant to be? That's why we love this sport. It makes us think every second on the water and then when you start to drift just for a split second, it happens!
I myself, have gravitated towards Skagit lines for almost all my steelheading be it spring, summer, fall, and winter. In the summer and fall months I just swap my sink-tips for a floating tip and 12-15' tapered leader and am ready to fish. Part of the reason for fishing these lines in the summer and fall months has to do with the number of anglers and pressure many of our steelhead rivers now see. I have had to learn and fish new water to try and escape some of the pressure "traditional" runs and riffles see throughout a given day. I find myself fish smaller, tighter spots that don't allow much backcasting room, forcing one to get the fly out there with a very limited to almost non existent back cast. The shorter, quicker load of a skagit line allows one to do this. The second major factor has to do with guiding first time Spey casters into steelhead. Skagit lines allow one to learn and understand the basics of the two-hand casting a hell of a lot quicker than any other line out there. What once cold have taken two weeks for one to learn a single cast, now only takes an hour or less. It simply allows many of guides to guide their clients into fish a lot quicker and easier.
The last couple of years have seen tremendous growth in the spey fishing world. More and more anglers are getting into the two handed sport which has placed an emphasis on technology, teaching, guiding, and fishing. Learning to spey cast with a two handed rod is now easier than ever. When I first started spey casting we were using 14-15' 9 and 10 weights with Windcutter lines. It took me nearly a month to feel confident enough to tie and fly on and fish a run without have to worry about hooking myself in the neck. Not that these outfits were bad, they just took a lot more skill and practice to learn the spey casts. As Spey casting grew, so did rod and line technology.
In the last 5-6 years we are seeing a growth in the use of the Skagit lines. There is a big reason for this, Skagit lines make casting and fishing two handed rods much easier and more enjoyable. Skagit lines were designed by the likes of Ed Ward, Mike McCune, and Scott O'Donnell on the banks of the Skagit/Sauk rivers while trying to find a line that was able to cast big flies on heavy sink tips. Little did they know, that the design of this line would make a huge impact in the world of steelhead fishing.
Rio was one of the first company to design a Skagit taper. These lines were 27' in length and varied in grain weight, 350, 450, 550, and 650 grains. Soon there was a demand for more lines and Rio introduced more lines varying in 50 grain increments. Not long after, Airflo and Scientific Anglers followed suit and Skagit lines gained in popularity.
While many of these lines were great for the 13'6"-15' rods, many were having to modify lines to match some of newer, shorter, lighter Spey rods on the market. In the last couple of years, manufacturers have begun to design Skagits that were better suited to today's shorter lighter rods. Airflo was the first company to introduce a line of Skagits designed to match almost any Spey/switch rod starting at 360 grain @ 22.5' and going up to 720 grains @ 28.5'. Soon Beulah followed with the Tonic that ranges from 22.5 - 27' and match switch rods as light as 5/6 up to 9 weight spey rods. At the same time Rio launched their line of Skagit Shorts designed for switch and small spey rods. Rio's Skagit Short range from 275 grains to 525 grains and are 20' in length. As the popularity of Airflo's Compact Skagit grew, Rio soon followed suit with their new Skagit Flight than range from 425 grains @ 24'to 750 grains @ 31'. Now there are almost too many choices out there for an angler to choose from. This just shows the growth and popularity and Skagit and Spey casting.
While there are many options out there to choose from, it is extremely important to make sure you get the proper line for your Spey/switch rods. The other thing to remember is that not all line recommendations will work for you. Many anglers prefer different loads in their rod while casting. Some prefer a heavier, deeper load(more grains), while others like a lighter load(less grains) and cast more off the tip. If you have had any two-hand casting experience, you should have an idea which you might prefer. That being said, if you are a beginner and have not spent any time with a two-handed rod, it is best to get a recommendation from a reliable source and go with a line that is "middle of the road" as far as grain weight it concerned. Many fly shops have employees that Spey fish and can give an angler a good line recommendation. There is also a decent amount of god info on the internet but be careful not to always listen to the internet experts, aka(speypages forums). Shops such as Kiene's Fly Shop have some excellent and knowledgeable Spey information and can provide the correct Skagit line recommendations.
It all started with ye old plastic red/white. Most of us started fishing ponds and lakes as kids with old red/white. Then some of us might have transitioned into a float, drifting marabou jigs for steelhead on a spinning rod. Now many fly fisherman seem to get into the sport with fly fishing's version of the bobber, i.e. yarn indicator, corkies, thingamabobbers, balloons, and more. The newest revelation being "trapped air technology" such as the Sindicator, Thingamabobber, and of all things Balloons.
With other blogs such as Blanco Honky and Moldy Chum calling the Sindicator "shameless" and "ripoffandduplicator," it makes me think of how many yarn indicators are on the market. My guess would be at least 5 or 6, but we don't hear much about how similar they are. Now there are multiple versions of a balloon, i.e. bobber using trapped air technology and the shit hits the fan. Get over it! I have no problem with people using a bobber, float, indicator, or balloon but it is just not for me. If I was to use one it would surely be on a spinnning rod floating down a seam with a jog underneath. While I would like to see more people swinging flies or casting dry flies to rising fish, most people just seem to get into the sport through indicator/bobber fishing. To me it has almost eliminated the essence of fly casting but for those who just care about catching fish, it does get the job done.
2010 Smith River regulation updates:
Below are freshwater sportfishing regulation changes for the Smith River that will become effective on March 1, 2010.
1. A North Coast Salmon Report Card will be required for the Klamath, Trinity as well as the Smith River.
2. No retention of wild trout or steelhead on the Smith River.
3. The daily bag limit will be 2 hatchery trout or hatchery steelhead with no more than 4 hatchery trout or hatchery steelhead in possession.
4. 1 Chinook salmon and no more than 5 wild Chinook salmon per year.
The other downer of the day happened after we finished our float, we decided to walk into one last run before dark. Upon returning to the rig, I noticed someone had slashed my raft in two different places. In all my years fishing the coast, I have not had many run-ins till now. I have a pretty good idea of who might have done it, as the idiot was watching and heckling us most of the day throughout the float. Rest assured that if I see him again, things will not be pretty!
Yes, it's still raining. We had a break in the weather for a day or two but it has been raining for the most part. The rivers continue to rise and its hard to say when they might be fishable again. We are suppose to have another break in the weather towards the end of this week and it will allow the rivers to drop a bit. The bad news is that there is supposedly another big system working its way in for next week and that will keep us from fishing the coast for some time. The Eel is suppose to peak around 100,000 cfs and then it should start dropping. Lets just hope that we get light showers next week and not a big rain. Then there's a chance we could be fishing in a week or two. Until then, back to the vise!
Silvey's Tandem Tube/Tube Snake: Two different patterns but somewhat similar. Two of my favorite winter patterns to fish. They are easy to tie, have a lot of movement, and flat out work. I guide and fish these flies myself quite a bit. Kudos to Brian Silvey for coming up with a couple of great patterns.
Morrish's Trailer Trash: This pattern works well on both chinook and steelhead. A large profile makes this a great pattern in off color water.
Howell's Prom Dress: Another one of Scott Howell's great creations. This fly sports a large profile, good movement, and plenty of fish. Stay tuned for more info on this fly in a future post.
St. Pierre's Hobo Spey: This is a small and very sparse marabou fly that works well in low, clear water. It has proved to be effective in summer, fall, and winter and comes in a variety of colors.
These are just a few of the many great winter steelhead patterns on the market. All these flies come in different color schemes that all work. Some of the most commonly used colors would be blacks, blues, pinks, purples, and oranges for winter steelhead.
With a good sized storm approaching and the predicted river levels significantly rising, we should see another good push of fish and good fishing once the rivers drop again. The season has just begun and we still have some great fishing ahead of us. Mid January through February are prime time on California's North Coast rivers. I still have some dates available and will continue to email those on the call/email list when I have open dates and fishable conditions. For more information or to sign up for the call/email list, email me at email@example.com