Tuesday, November 29, 2011

It's Winter Steelhead Time - Officially!

There have been catches of winter steelhead for about two weeks, but as of now it is the time where you can go out and target them. Many of the rivers towards the coast are falling into shape, and should fish well for the next several days. My friend went to a coastal river west of Portland today, and the river was in perfect shape (steelhead green), and there were several fish that were taken from bank fisherman. My friend hooked up with a fresh winter chromer before it gave itself a long distance release. At least he felt some power on the end of his fly line! There was also a chrome bright Chinook that he witnessed someone battling before the person with them messed it up attempting to net it.

From here on out you can officially call it winter steelhead season, and that will remain the scenario until the end of March. Winter steelhead season is a time where you can get out and enjoy the outdoors; while most Oregonians seem to suffer from "Cabin Fever". Even on the days where you do not connect with a fish; you are still out in the dreamy Oregon mossy laden forests taking it all in. When you have a day to get out, go for it, because more often than not, you will find yourself gaining more knowledge about the fisheries, and that leads to more success in your steelheading.

Get yourself out there!!!
A Typical Oregon Coastal Winter Steelhead Stream

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Winter Trout Fly Fishing Class

Winter Trout Fly Fishing Class
Brian Marz Guided Fly Fishing will be offering a winter trout fly fishing class on January 7th. Come and join the opportunity to get off the couch and learn how to catch trout in the winter months. The class will be held on January 7th, 2012, and it will be on the McKenzie or Willamette River (whichever has better water conditions at that time) close to Eugene/Springfield. Both rivers are a short drive from the Portland Metro area (1 1/2 - 2 hours), and there are no mountain passes involved; just the I-5 corridor, and we'll have the class about 15 minutes from highway I-5. 

    The class will be from 10am to 4pm, and it will be an "On the Water" Class, but it will not be about catching fish. It is a class; so the focus is on instruction, and fish hopefully will be caught while doing demonstrations, but that is not the point of the class. It is not a guided fishing trip on the river; it is a class! This class is about showing the participants how to decipher winter trout conditions, how you'll want to fish out there, what flies to use, along with how to rig them. A lot of anglers are not aware of the year round trout fisheries in Oregon, and how winter can provide some very rewarding angling opportunities. 

Four anglers will be in the class, and the cost will be $125 per person. Payments must be made in full to be in the class, and if the class is cancelled due to adverse conditions you will receive a full refund. This is a winter trout class; so don't expect nice weather out there, but the class will only be conducted if there are viable conditions to run the class for what you would typically encounter for winter trout fishing. Refunds on individual cancellations entered into the class must be made 10 days prior to the class, in order to ensure someone else being able to sign up for the vacant spot in the class. Flies will be provided for the class, and rod/reel tackle brought to the class also for participants to try out if you do not have a trout rod.

What You Will Need:
-waders, wading boots (studded preferred), 5 or 6 wt fly rod (preferred) w/matching reel & line, Strike Indicators (Thingamabobbers), 3X-5X tippet along with a tapered leader on rod of 3X or 4X, raincoat, polarized glasses, warm clothing for the elements
-A Positive Learning Attitude!!! We are going to have fun out there learning how to fish for trout in the winter months!!

Gorgeous McKenzie River Redside caught in the winter
Fall River Winter Fly Fishing for trout

Fall River Rainbow Trout Caught in winter weather conditions
If you are interested in signing up, email me at fish@mckenzieangler.com, or call me at (541)232-6360.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Lots of Water to Bring In Fresh New Winter Steelhead

With all of the bountiful rain we have had, winter steelhead will be traveling up the rivers in pursuits of their natal waters. During the downtime when you are bummed out about the weather, just think to yourself how the fish are running up your favorite steelhead stream stacking up in numbers.
When waters are on the rise you can make the assumption that the fish are in travel mode. When you see the hydrographs signifying falling water levels, you can bet that it is time to be fishing. The trick is to know what river to be fishing for what water levels work best at a given fishery. Many systems will be flowing like a jet wash, and the fish can only be hugging the banks, while the next river over is smaller and quicker to get in shape. The steelhead will run in every system from a creek sized Gnat Creek to a mainstem Umpqua River or Nehalem. You can assume the smaller creeks will be clear and low much faster than the larger rivers.
Being at the right place at the right time often results in this.....
NW Chrome Bright Winter Steelhead

Sunday, November 20, 2011

First Confirmed Winter Steelhead Catches - Time To Go Coastal

This time of the year is when you are itching for some fresh new steelhead to come into the systems. Yes, you can go to the John Day, Deschutes, McKenzie, Willamette, etc to catch some old summer runs that look like rainbow trout, or you can go coastal for a fish like this.......
Wilson River Chrome Bright Steelhead Caught Last Winter
Typically the first winter run steelhead come into the systems about the time of Thanksgiving, and that is right around the corner. It turns out that I have heard of confirmed steelhead caught from three different coastal rivers west of Portland; so it is time to put your angling efforts towards winter steelhead now. With three systems having put out 2011 early winter steelhead, you can bet that fish are present in many more of them. Typically the early winter steelhead hatchery runs are what dominates the rivers, and places like the Nestucca River, North Fork of the Nehalem River, Necanicum River, Gnat Creek, Big Creek, and the Wilson are all great bets. The biggest hurdle is to fish where the steelhead are, and to get the flies into their zone. Otherwise, they will take your flies if your presentation is in their zone. There are some wild fish to be caught also; so always make sure what the fish is that you are landing in order to make sure that the wild fish remain as unharmed as possible.
Early Wild Winter Steelhead Caught on North Fork Nehalem River Caught In 2010
The hottest early season winter steelhead fishing is starting up; so get yourself out there. If you are interested in a guided trip to show you how to get into winter steelhead, then email me at fish@mckenzieangler.com or call me at (541)-232-6360.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Fall Fly Fishing Recap

Lately, my life has been a bit too busy for being able to keep up with the blog postings like I would like. My apologies for you followers, but I will try to be more on it in the future. Recently, I have been doing mostly fall salmon, and it has been fair for my report. Some years, the rains seem to hit just right where the fish are coming in fresh, and they are biting hard. Other years lack the rains that raise the rivers up, and the fish tick tack in, and darken up in the tidewater reaches. This year seems to be an amplified version of the latter, and the rains finally have made some of the coastal rivers rise up to a status that would let good fish passage through.
The fishing should get good with this blast of rain, and all of the fish that have been showing up later, will be jetting up the rivers. If you have not tried to catch a chinook on your 10wt, then I highly recommend you try it.
Huge dark mature salmon that ran well over 40 pounds & battled this angler's daylights out
Some of the days we were picking up fish at a slow rate of one every few hours; while one day recently we saw fish everywhere, and the best and brightest fish were hanging out in the deepest holes. Coho just seemed to really show up in large numbers at one of the systems, and they are stirring up the pools with catapulting airs and lots of rolling around in the larger smooth pools. They can take your fly incidentally while Chinook fishing, and they can offer a great battle with lots of airs and line ripping runs.

Chrome Coho Salmon Fresh the Salt
Some days there can be so many Coho salmon around, and it can make for a tough time trying to get through them to get to the target species the Chinook. Funny problem to have where you are catching a lot of fish, but they are not what you are looking for when you are fishing. I remember many years back; having a day where my friends and I were breaking off Cohos left and right on purpose because we wanted Chinooks, and we could not get past the thick running Cohos. This year that has not really been a problem, but the last time I was out, the Cohos were thick.
Gorgeous Chrome Bright Wild Coho Salmon Caught on a Oregon Coastal River
Soon the south coast systems will be in shape for the famous Chinook fishing, and rivers south of the Umpqua along the coast can be totally amazing if you line them up with the right conditions. It can be the best Chinook salmon fly fishing on the planet at times, and you can catch chrome bright kings with sea lice on them. Often you can be fighting a fish that is bleeding from a sea lion bight; while you see your size 8 Orange Comet pinned in the corner of its mouth. Crazy!!! Get yourself out there and experience the intense power of a fall chinook. It is like fight a dump truck with attitude, and it is something every fly angler needs to experience.
Sixes River Chinook Salmon (taken several years back)