With all the talk of hooking mortality and how to properly handle fish, I thought I would share some of the best fish shots I’ve seen in awhile. With GoPros and every one having a personal camera, the amount of gratuitous fish porn on the inter web is border-line painful. Nick took these over his last couple of days out, and they blow any other fish-photo out of the water (punny). Yes, we are contributing to the onslaught of fish porn, but feel these showcase the safest way to remember your catch.
We have seen incredible advancements in point and shoot waterproof cameras, as well as waterproof housings for DSLRs. The Chum posts new cameras every few weeks, and it’s time anglers start to take note. In these photos, Nick is shooting with a DSLR and a very badass Outex waterproof case. They are pretty expensive, but the key to epic underwater photography with your big, fancy camera.
Side Bar: No one will every realize you are standing at the hatchery hole, or in your secret spot.
Tube flies are a bit of a different animal when it comes to rigging and organizing. Try these six tips for keeping your tubes in order and ready to go.
Use a compartment box
Continue Reading “6 ways to better manage your tube flies”
From Judge Haggerty: “It is undisputed that hatchery operations can pose a host of risks to wild fish…it is clear that the Sandy River Basin is of particular importance to the recovery of the four [Endangered Species Act] listed species and is an ecologically critical area.” He said that the National Marine Fisheries Service violated the Endangered Species Act and the National Environmental Policies Act when it approved the State of Oregon’s management of the Sandy River Hatchery.”
With the Alsea and other coastal creeks and rivers on the rise, steelhead will be moving upriver. When these fish get in the upper reaches of our coastal rivers, the need for spey and switch rods goes down and the good ol’ single hand 7/8/9 weight comes out. These are our tool of choice for fishing small, pocket water systems. Here is a breakdown of the rods we use.
Redington Path – 9′ 6″ 8wt $129.95- Fantastic rod for the price, responsive and powerful enough for even the biggest brutes without breaking the bank.
Echo Ion – 10′ 7 or 8wt $189.95- Although this rod is on the heavy side of things, the added length of this rod makes mending and line control a breeze. Add the durability Echo rods are known for and you can’t lose.
Continue Reading “Two hands not required – single hand rods for winter steelhead”
The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) is seeking public comment on a proposal to eliminate hatchery steelhead plants as early as next year in three Lower Columbia River tributaries (EF Lewis, Green/NF Toutle and Wind Rivers) to support the recovery of wild fish. These three watersheds would join the Sol Duc River as Washington State Wild Steelhead Gene Banks.
The elimination of hatchery plantings in these three watersheds is the recommendation of three stakeholder groups convened by WDFW over the past two years. Gene Banks are part of actions endorsed by the state of Washington’s 2008 Statewide Steelhead Management Plan and were mandated by National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) to protect wild steelhead in the Lower Columbia.
Wild Steelhead Gene Bank designation does not close a watershed to angling, but does create restrictions placing the priority on the health of the wild populations, not angling opportunity. Establishing Gene Banks would be a solid first step toward limiting the negative impacts of hatchery fish on threatened wild populations in the Lower Columbia.
Comments and suggestions collected during this public process will eventually be submitted to the National Marine Fisheries Service who oversee the recovery of threatened salmon and steelhead populations.
We ask that you let WDFW and NMFS know that you support management actions that implement the best-available science and recover threatened wild steelhead populations in Washington. Read and alter the comments below as you wish, but please make your voice heard in support of protections for wild steelhead.
[TAKE ACTION HERE] – it will only take you a minute or two to sign it.
One thing I have often seen while guiding spey fisherman is that they just wont move. I’m not talking two-stepping here but simply working a run in a methodical and timely manner. Under most conditions I prefer to move three to four feet between casts which has several benefits.
1) By steadily working your way through a run you will cover more water throughout your day than the person who only moves a couple feet every few casts. Remember, we are looking for players, the fish who are aggressive enough to eat your fly on the first pass.
2) Constantly fishing new water it is simply more interesting and I tend to stay more focused as I move though a run.
3) We are not trout fishing – you will not find a steelhead river with 2-6 thousand fish per river mile, so covering water is the key to finding fish.
I do slow down for several reasons.
1) If I know fish are in a certain area and I feel that they are not willing to move far to a fly, I will slow down my pace and work the fly with different presentations.
2) If I feel a grab but don’t hook up I will cast back to the fish, trying a couple of presentations. If this does not work I will mentally note where the fish was holding and make another pass with a new, smaller fly.
By maximizing the amount of water you cover in a day you will swim your flies through more holding lies. When searching for winter steelhead covering water can make the difference, it only takes one fish to turn your day around.
I hooked one…
but I have no idea how to land it.
There has been a lot of talk around here lately about how to properly land and handle large fish – see Gink and Gasoline’s recent post on catch and release mortality and you’ll see why this is important.
Safely landing and releasing can be particularly challenging when using a spey rod so this is how we like to do it to make sure that wild fish we release have a chance to spawn and hatchery fish make it to the smoker. Generally when swinging flies you will already be wading in the river, which is ideal because you want to land your fish in knee deep water.
The method: When I feel the fish is tired out enough to handle, I pull the fish up near the surface and grab the leader as it moves by me. The key is to not reel in too much line, try to have more line out than the length of your rod. Once you have the leader in your hand tail the fish and tuck the rod under your arm. You should have slack in your line at this point so pull some line off the reel if you need to. You can then unhook the fish, revive it if necessary and let it go without ever taking it out of the water. This is easiest in knee deep water so you don’t have to bend over as far. I have landed kings by myself this way and it works great, but may take a few tries and a bit of practice.
This fall Simms released the Slick Jacket – the newest, most advanced rain jacket in fishing outerwear. I was lucky enough to test one this summer at Alaska West and here is the low-down on what I found:
The Slick jacket is constructed with Gore-tex Pro shell blended with elastic, creating a jacket that is waterproof AND has extreme mobile. It is also designed with “pass-thru” technology, meaning you can unzip you hand warmer pockets and reach into your wader storage without unzipping your jacket and getting soaked. There are also no bulges on the front of the jacket to catch your fly line while you swing and step your favorite run or bomb BWOs on your favorite winter trout stream.
Continue Reading “Gear Review: Simms Slick Jacket”
Winter is coming and that means getting down deep where the fish are. This three-part series helps explain your options for swinging through the bucket.
Different density tips
Sinktips are a great way to stay fishing as waters cool into fall and winter. With just a few sinktips, an angler can dial their fishing depth to find that sweet spot where the fish are holding, but without dragging the fly across the stones. Anadromous fish sometimes hug the bottom when they’re cold, spooked, or stressed, but generally they won’t swim deeper down to take a fly below them – so choose a sinktip that will present the fly at the fish’s level or above them.
Continue Reading “Get Down With Sinktips”