About this blog

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.


Sunday, August 14, 2011

Eastslope Westslopes

This past weekend the drive over the Cascade Mountains on my way home from work was too much to take without a quick stop for a little fishing. As I hadn't caught any Westslope Cutthroat yet this season, I decided to try a small stream on the east slope of the mountains that I have been meaning to check out for some time. The stream was only about 10 to 15 feet across in most spots, but had a nice amount of holding water so it looked promising. With the water looking good, I rigged up with a dry-dropper set-up and started looking for trout.

Good looking water at the first pool

Good looking water doesn't always mean there will be fish around, but in this case it didn't take long to find the Cutthroat as within a couple of casts I had my first small Westslope to hand.

My first Westslope of the summer

From there the pace remained fairly quick and each good looking pool or pocket would yield two or three of these beautiful trout. The fish were quite eager to rise to a dry fly too and before long I took the dropper off due to their willingness to rise. While the stream was beautiful, it looked like about 15 years ago there were some very poor logging practices in effect and much of the watershed had been clear-cut up to the stream banks and at one time. Luckily the area appeared to be recovering nicely, but when compared with other streams in the area the water temps were noticeably warmer. This warmer water also seemed to have the effect of making the stream slightly more fertile than other mountain streams in the area and all of the Cutthroat seemed to be exceptionally chunky for their size.

A stream-side friend

In an exceptionally nice looking pool for the creek, I rose a fish that was slightly larger than most and after a quick battle I brought what is likely the most beautiful trout I have caught all year in. I must have said "wow" to myself at least ten times as I admired this gorgeous trout and watched it swim back into the depths.

Pictures don't do justice for this one

After covering about a mile of the stream and catching more than my fair share of trout, my desire to get home after a week away finally won out and I reluctantly left this gem of a stream.

A great place to spend any evening!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

After work wanderings

My last work assignment had me back down in South-Central Washington tagging Coho Salmon. However, working with fish all day, sometimes just isn't enough so after my shift I made a point of exploring some new waters. My first place to explore was a beautiful little meandering meadow stream that I had driven by day in and day out when I was down here last time tagging Chinook Salmon, but it had been closed then. Now I finally had my chance to check it out.

The meadow stream

It didn't take long to hook into something, but the first fish which was a brook trout by the looks of it threw the hook mid jump. However, shortly after I hooked into a decent sized trout and brought what was clearly a stocked Rainbow to the net.

A chunky hatchery Rainbow Trout

Apparently this stream is managed as a put and take fishery and all of the fish that I encountered were cookie-cutter Rainbows, that even my 1wt seemed to quite easily out match. These fish were a bit reluctant to rise to a dry fly, but were suckers for a sunken dry stripped back in at the end of a the drift. The beautiful surroundings kept me fishing for a while, but before long the lack luster nonnative Rainbows lost their appeal and a long day of work finally caught up with me.

The next day I decided to explore some bigger water and headed for the local river, which is well noted for its robust summer-run Steelhead population. I picked a canyon stretch that I had been eye-balling on my last trip over and found a few decent pieces of water to fish.

The road into the canyon

I did a combination of nymphing and swinging, but the water was still a bit high and off color and all that I was able to coax out of the first spot were a few smolts. However, on the way out a I got a bit more excitement then the smolts had to offer, in the form of a rattlesnake that decided to cruise right past me on my way up the trail.

A stream-side visitor

As is more common then not when fishing for Steelhead, I wasn't able to find any fish, but fishing beautiful water was still quite rewarding for me.

Vacant Steelhead water

I fished my last spot of the trip on the way home. This smaller piece of water is known to have a healthy population of native Columbia Basin Redbands as well as a few Westslope Cutthroat in its upper reaches. Time didn't allow for a visit to the headwaters of the stream, but it didn't take long to find some nice Redbands in the stretch that I picked.

A spunky Redband caught on a Royal PMX

This was one of those streams where every fishy looking spot seemed to hold several decent trout, all of which appeared to be keen on the dry fly that I was offering them.

Redband waters

I worked my way upstream wet-wading and casting dries into every likely pocket. While their size was nothing special, being between 6-8" on average, all of the fish were brilliantly colored and hard fighting, with some of the larger ones actually managing to take a little bit of line.

A beautiful and vividly colored native Columbia Basin Redband

Given that I had a long drive ahead of me and had already spent most of the day at work though, I had to limit my exploration of this stream to about a mile of great water before I was forced to head back to my car and hit the road.