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This blog is all about fly fishing for native trout. On it I cover trip reports, fishing tactics, conservation, the latest news about native trout species and much more. This site provides a companion to my web page Nativetroutflyfishing.com.


Monday, December 19, 2011

A false start

Not to long ago, my buddy Craig and I got out to the Olympic Peninsula for to try for the first of the winter steelhead returning to the area rivers. Unfortunately so did everyone else. In fact on the river that we had decided to fish, there was a rig in nearly every pull out and easily over three times the amount of anglers that I have ever seen there. Also unfortunate is that fact that it hasn't rained in any significant amount for sometime, leaving the rivers low and clear and severly limiting our options on some of the other waters that I know.

However if there is a will there is a way and hitching a ride with a logging crew we found our way into the upper part of the watershed above the reach of most other anglers. The water up here was a bit skinnier, and the river worked its way through a bit of a canyon so it looked like we were comitted to a spending a good portion of the day up here. However the water looked pretty good, with plenty of holding water so we got too it. The first few holes looked great and Craig and I took turns covering the prime lies, but didn't see any sign of fish.

Craig working a good looking pool

However before long we came to only of those spots that just screams steelhead and sure enough Craig spotted some. We worked this pod for a good while and I managed to get one fish to take before we lost sight of the ghostly steelhead that seemed to vanish from the hole.

Steelie holding water

Once we figured that the fish were either gone or spooked, we decided to move on and explore a bit more of this part of the river. However a great deal of hiking and exploring this part of the river only yielded one more decent looking spot, which in turn showed no signs of fish. At this point we were already starting to wear on the already short window of winter daylight that we had. So we decided to work our way out of the upper watershed and into some more familiar water.

Once we had worked our way into some waters that were a bit more familar for me, we made a stop at a corner where a nameless tribuatary joins the main river. The hole had treated me well in the past a low flows so we figured we would at least take a look. To say the least it didn't take overly long to spot some fish, as their was a good pod of around 10-15 steelhead holding in the tailout. Craig decided to act as the spotter and I made my way to the far side of the river where I would have a better approach. My first drift went right through the fish with no reaction whatsoever. My second drift got a bit more attention. While I remained out of sight and started it well upstream of the fish as soon as my fly got in range it looked as though a bomb had gone off with the affect of steelhead scattering in every direction. We wondered a the spookiness of these fish until we left the hole and found the remains of several fish in the next run downstream.

Working the pod of steelhead before the bomb went off.

At this point we had one more shot at try to find some sort of fish and found another promising spot downstream a ways. I a little long jam that had newly formed this season, I finally got a solid take from a sizeable fish, but after one initial tug the fish tossed the fly and I was out of luck.

Or so I though, however just downstream I got another take and this time actually got a good hookset on the fish. Right away I could tell that this wasn't a steelhead as my switch rod quickly over power it. However a beautiful native cutthroat fresh from the saltwater was just as good to me at this point and was a great note to end the day on.

As steelheading goes I would have to consider this trip a success, as anytime you can spot some fish and a least get a take or two you are doing something right. Plus it doesn't get much better than exploring some great water with a good friend.

1 comment:

mike doughty said...

great looking water for sure