Fall Steelhead, Trout and Salmon
The opening day of archery elk has come and gone, that means in less than a week the caddis will start to bust out. We have gotten the rain we so desperately needed and the rivers look great. The next five weeks are, as far as a fly fisher is concerned, fall, and it only happens once a year. Cutthroat and steelhead will glom on a dry fly and the summer salmon will be hungry for the pupa. We already have fall king salmon and silver salmon coming up the river. It looks like, as far as fish numbers go, this could be the best year we have seen in the last seven or eight.
Things could be worse.
Here is the nitty gritty. Right now we have a good summer steelhead return and big numbers of summer Coho, we will know about the cutthroat this week as the bugs start hatching. The Sol Duc around the hatchery will have a Jillion Coho and hundreds of steelhead. These fish aren’t pushovers, but here is a trick or two
If you want Coho and the water is low, two boards or less, try a twenty foot leader down to about 8 pound maxima. Attach a #6 or #8 tungsten bead head caddis pupa and let it sink all the way to the bottom of one of those deep holes loaded with summer silvers. Once the fly sinks, start a medium fast retrieve consisting of 3 to 10 inch strips. DO NOT stop stripping once you have started and watch the water around the fly. If you see or feel anything odd set hard. These fish bite pretty often, but most of the bites are far to light to feel. You have to watch the water around your bug for any sign of movement.
A variation of this technique is to use a clear sink tip and a bead head or any old black or purple leach it may not be quite as effective but you can get away with a 10-foot leader.
My guess is by the second week of October we will be up to our necks in Coho. The early season fish will be the easiest to take on the fly, by mid November the bite will be far better for the gear fishermen.
Contact me to schedule a Northwest Washington Fly Fishing trip! Let’s fish!
Jim Kerr, 360.301.4559
Raincoast Guides, Northwest Washington Fly Fishing Guides