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!
It's been raining pretty good down here for two days now and the rivers are on the rise. Just as a few of the smaller coastals were beginning to drop in, our big storm begins. They're calling for a big one but we'll just have to wait and see what happens. The Eel is predicted to jump to over 110,000 cfs on Tuesday night which could put that system out for quite some time. Let's just hope this storm doesn't materialize like they're predicting. Only good thing is that it will give many of us plenty of time at the vise the rest of this week!
A common question I get this time of year both working in a fly shop and guiding are what some of my favorite winter steelhead flies are? That's a tough one to answer in a shop since most of the flies I fish in the winter are not commercial tied. That being said, there are a lot of great flies on the market that I highly recommend and even fish at times myself. These are in no specific order and are all great patterns that have produced fish in the past.
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.
This last week saw some good fishing conditions on a few of our California North Coast rivers. On and off rain helped stabilize water levels and keep the rivers that nice steelhead green color we all like. While fishing was not red hot, it was what you would expect for swinging for coastal winter steelhead. Hard fighting, chrome fish! I will let a few of the pictures do the talking...
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
As I was driving home last night I get a call from two friends who were fishing different rivers asking if I felt that. Felt what? A 6.5 earthquake hit about 20 miles off the coast of Eureka. Damn! I leave an hour early to try and get home a little earlier, and I miss it! Kind of wished that I had stayed until dark. One of my friends who was wading his last run of the evening said his feet sunk inches into he ground as the ground and everything around him shook for a while. A few seconds later a huge piece of clay/rock slide into the rivers causing the river from there down to blow out. No big suprise there, as I know of a couple of other slides that took place as well. Eureka lost power but it doesnt sound like anyone was hurt which is a good thing. Just have to wait and see what happens to a couple of the rivers now for the next couple of days.
While I have never really geeked on Ed Ward's Intruder and other various Intruder style patterns, they seem to have peeked my interest lately. It may have something to do with the fact that winter steelhead are working their way upriver and I have never hooked a fish on an Intruder style pattern. For a while I think I shyed away from Intruder style flies because it just seemed to be a big fad. You look at speypages and it's all every internet junkie ever talks about. It's borderline ridiculous! I know they hook fish because there is no way guys like Ed Ward, Scott O'Donnell, Mike McCune, and Scott Howell would fish them often if they didn't. In the winter months, I just have a hard time fishing anything but marabous and rabbit strip leeches. These flies just have a lot of movement and flat out work. There comes a point when it's time to try something different.
With many of my favorite coastal rivers blown out and rain in the forecasts for the next week, it's time to sit down and work on a few different Intruder style patterns. I have tied both shank and tube versions and both seem to swim well. Using various materials such as Amherst tail, ostrich, arctic fox tails, and marabou all add "life" to the these flies when swimming in the current. I've been trying to keep these somewhat sparse to give them a translucent appearance with maximum movement. Once the rivers drop and the conditions are right, these flies will get their opportunity. Hopefully some chrome lip piercing photos will soon follow!
Hard to believe it is 2010 already! Right now many of you have probably made your new years resolutions and are ready to get after it and leave 2009 in the rear window. Good luck with all those resolutions and hopefully they make it past the second week of February because like many of us mine usually don't. The only thing I think everyone needs to try and do for 2010 is to get out and fish more. Happy New Year!
Steelhead on the Spey Guide Service provides guided and instructional fly fishing trips for steelhead in Northern California using two handed (spey) rods. We fish for steelhead in the traditional down and across method, targeting the most aggressive fish in the river. Whether you are a beginner or an avid steelheader, Steelhead on the Spey guide service provides you a day of fun steelheading.