Steelhead counts are improving over Willamette Falls in Oregon City and that means some good fishing on tap for our Willamette Valley rivers. Coastal Rivers should be seeing fresh Steelhead but with low water conditions right now fishing has been slow. Some Spring Chinook have been caught in coastal estuaries and just a few in lower reaches of freshwater.
Stay tuned for more updates and a series of articles on how, when,and where for Summer Steelhead.
New Strung Guinea Colors
What happens when Senyo visits Hareline? We end up with six new colors of guinea that will be on the must have list for tiers! Our professional Dye Masters have to take full credit for this artistic display of plumage to get our hackles up! Guinea is a great all around feather for collars, tails, throats, and winging. A staple material for steelhead and salmon patterns, guinea is sometimes overlooked for its qualities and versatility in other applications. We thought we’d change that. So with these new colors and a little tier creativity, we see a new style of fly pattern in the not too distant future. Wait for it…”Trout-Truder!” Get tying! Order Code SGF200 Lavender, SGF263 Olive, SGF323 Rusty Brown, SGF343 Shrimp Pink, SGF369 Tan, SGF6 Baby Blue
Lady Amherst Center Tails
The dudes in the dyeing room kept it rolling with two new colors of Lady Amherst tails, now available in Shrimp Pink and Baby Blue! These tail fibers make for a great material to use for winging swinging (yes we did that on purpose) flies or to use as a collar. Add a bit flare, flash, fur, and style with these new colors of Lady Amherst tails to your new steelhead and salmon patterns; you will not be disappointed with the result. Perfect to use on those articulated or tube flies that are a must have for that next Anadromous outing. Additional colors coming soon! Order Code LAC6 Baby Blue, LAC343 Shrimp Pink
Call Creekside Flyfishing to order: 503-588-1768
There are a lot of Winter Steelhead fly patterns for our Northwest waters and they all have caught fish at one time or another. As a Steelhead fly fishing guide for the last 21 years I’ve probably have tried most of them. My best advice is to keep your arsenal simple like 3-6 patterns. One of my favorite flies in the Intruder style of steelhead flies is the Fish Taco. It’s a simple fly to tie and materials are easy to come by. Another favorite of mine is the Silvey’s Extractor. Anything that Brian comes up with will catch steelhead. With all the focus on Intruder style flies nowadays don’t forget the traditional Spey flies as they still catch winter steelhead as good as they always have and in the long run they are quicker to tie (who would have thought that). I favor the Syd Glasso stuff such as the Orange Heron, Sol Duc Spey, Courtesan, and the Brown Heron. I also like Dec Hogan’s Mahoney in clear water conditions. One thing to remember on Winter Steelhead flies are not to overdress them. To many times I’ve seen these beautiful flies that have too much stuff on them and they will not sink well even with t-14 tips and dumbbell eyes. That is one reason I like Spey’s as they offer a big profile but not much body bulk so they will sink well. The hook will be the weight system on these flies and they cast easier….
(Pictured above is a nice winter steelhead caught by Jason Mariner on a swung fly)
My favorite way to fly fish for Steelhead is on the swung fly. Swinging flies for steelhead is simple. Fly fishing for Steelhead is much easier than trout fishing. Why you ask, well I’ll make it simple…Steelhead aren’t feeding! We are not having to match the hatch like we do for trout! Pretty simple stuff….
I’ll try to make this easy for everyone so lets start with steelhead runs. I like runs that are 3-6ft. deep with the flow at a walking pace. These runs can have structure or not as steelhead are always on the move.
Flies: Winter time we usually use larger fly patterns as water conditions run colder so we need something to get their attention. I try to keep my fly selection simple and this is usually 4-6 different patterns for the season. Blue/Black, Pink/Orange, Pink, Pink/Chartreuse, and Orange as far as colors.
Now sometimes we may have to go to smaller patterns when winter flows are low and clear.
Rods/Lines: The sky is the limit nowadays but “Spey” is the way….. Rods in the 13′ range for spey rods and “Switch” rods in the 11′ range work the best. All the rods on the market these days are good. As far as lines go for the “Skagit” lines that will match to your rod. An assortment of sink tips (RIO MOW Tips) to match river conditions is also a must.
Reels: Good disc drive and line capacity….
Presentation: Across & Slightly up to get the fly deep usually just one mend of the line when your fishing a run that 6-8ft deep at a walking pace flow. Runs that are 3-6ft deep at a walking pace flow the traditional down and across will do the trick.
Keep moving, don’t park in a run and fish the same spot. Plan your trips to the coast if you can during the week. Weekends can be tough with boat after boat going through a run when your trying to swing flies.
The most exciting thing when fishing the swung fly is the “Grab” That’s why we do it…….Rich
Part 3 will be on fly patterns and more in depth information on proper presentation.
We are getting close to prime time for coastal steelhead so it’s time for a 3-part series on fly fishing for winter steelhead. Part 1 will be on nymph fishing. Nymph fishing will always be the most productive way. I’ve been guiding steelhead for 22 years so hopefully I can offer you valuable info to help catch steelhead on a consistent basis through nymphing and on the swing with floating line or sink-tip. line or shooting head system. I’ll be talking spey and single hand techniques.
Part 1 Nymphing:
3 - 6 feet deep run, depth varies, bottom
of gravel, or bedrock with a moderate flow; The leader of choice is the RIO Indicator
knotless leader. Too this you will add a 18″ tippet of 1X-2X fluorocarbon. By adding the tippet, the knot
stops the Split-shot from sliding down to the fly. You want to keep the
#7 Split-shot about 18 inches away from the fly. With this system a strike
indicator works the best. Start with the indicator 2 times the depth from your
fly. Cast with slow open loops, you do not want that Split-shot to smack your rod.
3 - 6 feet deep run, uniform depth with
obstructions and moderate flow. This type of fishing situation works best with a right-angle leader setup. About
two-thirds of the ways down the leader you want it to make a 90 degree turn. See instructions below.
A very efficient way to rig yarn for egg patterns is to clinch knot the yarn at the end of fairly short, stiff leader (6′ to 9′ with a tippet of 0X-1X) and then attach the actual tippet (fluorocarbon) to be used by clinch knotting it around the standing end of the leader. This results in a tippet that comes off the leader at a right angle, which allows the fly to penetrate the surface film and sink quickly to fishing depth. This is one method that can be used with a “Thing-a-ma-bobber” , if the angler is trying a suspend a egg pattern in faster water.
Equipment needed: 9-9 ½’ 7-8wt fly rod, 11’ 7-8wt. “switch rod”. Good disc drag reel and a good fly line with the head length of around 66ft. such as the RIO Steelhead & Atlantic Salmon traditional fly line on single hand and switch rods. For switch rods you want to go 2 lines sizes up if you are going to use that line. This type of line works well for roll casting, open looped casts, easy controlled mends and single handed spey casting.
Flies: Gorman’s Bead Head Cabellero Egg sz. 6, size 6 Clown Eggs, size 6 BH Lifters. Keep your pattern selection simple.
Good Luck this season………Rich
If it ever stops raining on the Oregon Coast and the rivers finally get to decent levels there will be good numbers of steelhead available. The Siletz, Wilson, Trask, Alsea and Nestucca Rivers will be the “go to” spots. There are many smaller streams & creeks that will fish well also.After the Christmas holiday it’s time to get serious as the big wild natives will be entering our river systems and these fish can hit the twenty-pound mark. I live for these fish! I hope that ODFW’s horrible steelhead broodstock program on some of these rivers doesn’t put an end to wild steelhead. You can’t continue to “mine” wild steelhead eggs from the river for this worthless program.
To sacrafice wild steelhead in order to make a harvestable fish during the Jan-March season when wild fish return is a joke. Sorry for the rant but bad things will happen with this program in place.
Tubes, Trailers, and Traditionals Tying Class
Join April Vokey of Fly Gal Ventures as she shares some of her favourite B.C. steelhead patterns, techniques and materials. These flies will work as well for our Oregon rivers. You will learn how to use tube flies, straight shanks and standard hooks.
Students are required to bring their own tools, however, all materials will be provided. Gather around our comfortable tying table and observe, evaluate and conquer every tying step as April walks each student through the process.
Each step is explained slowly and thoroughly, providing additional bits of information and alternative techniques along the way.
Learn how you can apply your own creativity to tie unique and effective steelhead streamers that are certain to enhance your productivity on the water.
This course is a participation based course and there are only 12 spots available…Book now to hold your space!
Students are encouraged to bring their own tools, however, materials are provided and the use of necessary tools/equipment may be arranged with advance notice to the shop.
Contact 503-588-1768 and reserve your space today!
Where: Creekside Flyfishing 350 Liberty ST SE Salem, Oregon 97301
Date: December 6th, 2012
Time: 6:00pm – 9:30pm
Cost: $75.00 (Pre-Registration required)
We are booking now for winter steelhead trips on Oregon’s central coast. 503-588-1768 or firstname.lastname@example.org