Thursday, September 20, 2012

Fall Summer Steelhead Report (with pics and video)

This past week I ran a steelhead trip with two anglers that were able to fish very well, and all of the planets lined up properly as far as "steelhead mojo" goes. The guys hooked up with fish throughout the trip, and fish were taking both swung flies and dead drifted egg patterns. The spring chinook are starting up their spawning now, and it will last for the next several weeks; so the eggs rolling down the river really draw the attention of the steelhead and resident trout (along with many other organisms out there). During this time, the light angles stay low in many of the spots; so the fish seem to be more aggressive and bite better than the weeks past when the hot weather and sunshine dominate.
Nice rose colored cheeks on this buck that decided to sprint 100 yards downstream
This day was the first really successful day where all of these conditions seemed to pan out for really good fishing. The morning temperature was in the upper 40s, and the fog was fallen into the river valley for most of the morning, and it burned off about noon-ish. The water level is super low now; so all of the "gear" anglers do not prefer to fish much anymore for the summer steelhead, and boating can be tough for novices. Many of the riffles are very rocky, and people who cannot run a boat in and out of rocks will bang hard, and that causes many to stay off the water. This day was a combo of anglers who could cast far, present the fly fast when needed, and fish that were into what we were offering to them.
Steelhead on with a tight line!!
By the time the sun burned through and the temperature warmed up, the fishing was still good until we hit the last couple of spots. By then it was obvious the sunshine was affecting the fish, and you can see them taking off upstream after our flies blindly swung into the spots. We ended up even seeing a few fish in the very last spot of the day, but we could not get any of them to budge into biting what we showed them.
Bombs Away!!! - Steelhead going kurplunk!
Paul and Derrick ended up getting into fish swinging flies blindly into probable spots, they got a fish blind nymphing into a spot after swinging it, they got into a fish sight swinging, and a couple sight nymphing with trout beads. They worked runs stepping down and swinging, they fished to sighted fish from the comfort of a driftboat, and we worked vast long runs with long swings and lots of back paddling. Switch rods were the choice of equipment used on this trip, and they worked excellent for the all around used mentioned. What a first good day of fall summer steelheading! I look forward to many more!
This fine Hen couldn't resist the swung black and cerise Motion Prawn
Enjoy the video of some of the days events out on Paul and Derrick's Steelheading trip:

Monday, September 17, 2012

The Hot Fall Trout Fishing Action Has Arrived

This last Monday (9/10/12) was the first day of solid clouds, cool weather, and even some misty spritz drizzle moments here and there. The fishing sure showed signs of the weather, as it was the first day it was utterly going off since the last weather like this back in late June and even early July. We fished huge dries with possie buggers dropped off of them, and that was the hot ticket on this day.  
On TIGHT to one of many fine wild native rainbows on this great day of fishing!
We also did very well swinging softhackled wet flies on a 45 degree down and across presentation. This especially worked well in the wide flats; where it looks probable just about everywhere. You could cover broad vast amounts of water swinging wets, and it is a great way to show your flies to lots of fish. They also typically cannot pass off a swung wet fly; since it looks like so many types of flies emerging in the surface film.
We measured this rainbow at 17 1/2 inches - Sweet!!
Every time the sun burned a hole in the clouds, the action would slow down, and when the cloud cover would thicken, the consistency of catching would pick back up. There was not really any significant bug hatch to speak of. We saw some pale morning duns and blue winged olives for the mayflies, with the occasional fall type of a large green drake looking fly out. No real caddis hatch, and no signs on the rocks of October caddis pupal husks yet, but that should change any moment now. I have heard people saying they have seen them, but I have not personally seen an official fall caddis yet. This day just had fish looking up, and they wanted to see something worth their while to eat on.
A fine rainbow trout on tight!
We had an awesome day of fall fishing; even though the calendar did not officially say it was fall yet. The weather was like the fall, and the fish were acting like it was fall for the first day after the summer heat. We have had more stable sunny weather as of late, but the light angles are lower, the heat only factors in at the peak of the day, and does not persist into the evening like it did a few weeks ago. Fall is basically here for fishing, and things will only get better and better. That is nice to think about being that the last few times I have been out have been really good. It excites me to think that it will only get better, and there will be more and more options to fish over the next few weeks.
Rainbows like this one were caught on large dry flies on this day
Discussing the good time we are having in between the hot spots

This was Jason's first time fly fishing, and he got to experience wild rainbows like this.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Quick Saltwater Rockfishing Report

The other day Nikki and I went crabbing, but I also threw the rod in the car to test the waters for a little bit before the ride home. Fishing was very difficult because there was a lot of drifting sea grass, and it would prevent my type IV shooting head and intermediate running line from penetrating into the abyss where the probability for getting into a fish existed. Luckily, I was able to find a couple of clear spots every once in a while to get a nice cast in, and my line was able to sink down with about a 12 second count before I decided to retrieve back my offerings. I literally would get a one or two cast window to present my fly before the sea grass would drift by in clumps preventing my from fishing again until another opening would appear.  
A fine rockfish caught off the rocks on a conehead white bunny leech
Luckily, when I would get those few presentations in, there was an ambushing black rockfish crushing my fly. I ended up getting really nice fish also, compared to the standard sized fish I normally catch at this spot. It was the typical scenario too; where the people watching me get out of my car and wadering up with my fly rod in hand told me that there wasn't any hatch going on. I told them I knew that, and my line and fly was not relating things to a bug hatch, but more based on the food chain. I told them I was targetting rock fish, and they looked at me like I was nuts. I also told them I can do very well at times, and they passed me off like I was full of lies tall tales. I guess that is why I am the only one out there fly fishing, except one other person I know who also really enjoys it. It is nice when you have totally uncharted fisheries for your fly rod, and everyone you typically come across is only interested in trout and steelhead. Oregon is a steelhead and trout mecca for fly fishing, but we also have countless other amazing wonderful places to fish for other species.  
This rockfish fell to a 2/0 yak hair clouser minnow tied with iridescent colors 

Friday, September 7, 2012

Fall Summer Steelheading Time is Here!

Steelheading has been consistent lately, where you can assume you are going to have some action out there. It is still steelhead fly fishing; where you can assume you are going to have to work hard for each fish, and they are always considered a fish of a 1000 casts. The thing is that once the light angles change, and water temperatures start to cool back off, it causes the fish to become more active and aggressive. Coming up the spring Chinook salmon will come into the shallows to spawn, and from then on out, the steelhead fly fishing typically gets better and better before the fall rains inundate the river with swollen winter flows. Once the salmon die off after they spawn, the summer steelhead become the bosses of the water. They will become the dominant fish in the water, but for the next few weeks they must bow down to the salmon. As the salmon weaken and spawn losing the last valuable percentages of life, the steelhead sneak around them and start picking off spawn drifting down the river. 

Summer Steelhead on tight to the end of Will's line!
I have cut open hatchery steelhead to see gobs of eggs in their stomach chambers; so you can bet that these fish start to get really active from about here on out. Between swinging flies in vast runs, and nymphing slots in tight quartered spots, you can have some banner days in the fall fishing for summer run steelhead. With the Willamette Valley having a tremendous steelhead run this year, you can expect some days with consistent good catches, and the best is yet to come "fishing-wise". Fall steelheading is something I look forward to all year, and it is basically time for that. Fall is full of wonderful fly fishing opportunities; so don't miss out on what most people feel is the best time of the year to get out and go fishing. Get yourself out there to feel that tight line grab of a feisty summer steelhead!
A swung Motion Prawn claimed this summer steelhead.......

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Summer Steelhead Report and Short Video

With recent weather patterns staying away from the "Heat Wave" factor, we have had better fishing conditions. Fishing has been fair typically with good moments, and it should be picking up as the fall comes closer. Days are noticeably getting shorter, and that means more shade on the water for longer, and lower light angles on the fish now. That should cause them to be less freaked out from predators like os, and the bite should consistently get better and better as time goes on. That is what happens this time of the year; where the fishing for both trout and steelhead really picks up over the next several weeks, and the best action of the year occurs between now and Halloween typically.  

After I landed this fine summer steelhead, it was time for "Go Ducks!!"
Recently on my guided trips we have been averaging at least one steelhead on the slower days, and having an occasional day where we will hook three to five fish and land about two or three. That should change when the weather pattens shift over to a more fall like weather trend; where you can expect several hooked fish days more consistently. The one fish landed days are semi standard for the hot and bright weather days; while those results would be slow for the typical outing in the latter half of September and through October. More often we have multiple steelhead days with fish biting on swung wet flies, than do we have the days where we struggle to land more than one fish once the fall weather sets in.
Bald Eagle hanging out in cottonwood on the banks of the Willamette River
The fall fishing is just around the corner and the best problem with the fall is that there are so many good fishing opportunities to try out; where it is hard to decide where and what you want to fish for. Between trout, steelhead, and fall salmon, there are too many good things to fish for!

Below is a short video clip to enoy!