By now nearly everyone has seen fishing gear reports on waders. Most of which are pre-empted by the delivery of said waders that get worn for ten days and written about…As with many testimonials they lack brutal honesty, but delivered with great writing…
I on the other hand will give it to you straight with nothing but experience with the product ,,,roughly delivered with 9th grade writing skills..
Waders are the anglers armour, once they are on the anglers is immune to the hazards of battling the elements. Many people transform mentally and socially once they dawn a pair ready to do battle with the elements. They offer us better enjoyment from our well deserved fishing time. Good rain gear can literally make or break a NW fishing trip we will venture out in the worst conditions and prevail with confidence when we have a good outer shell.
Three years ago my good friend Eric Neufeld suggested that I buck up and try the G4 zip up waders. I begrudgedly jumped into my 39th pair of waders and my 6th pair from Simms thinking the zipper will be cool for a few weeks. Naturally my futile complaining that waders have not been any good since the first pair of Simms guide model Gore Tex did not phase Mr. Neufeld.
I now have 3 steelhead seasons and 2 Montana trout seasons inside these babies, an accumulation of 210+ days on the Olympic Peninsula 135 days on the Methow/Klickitat rivers and a solid 75 days in Montana and Washington trout streams for a total of 420 days guiding and fishing and some good hunting in there too…Here in Washington we have the largest variety of conditions known by wader wearing anglers, from devils club and dog hair on the OP with the occasional rain (about 12 feet a year) to super cold water requiring deep wades and a LOT of seat time, rowing, mixed with the steelhead run down, this puts a lot of test time to the armour.
As we say a picture says a 1000 words. What I can say is they did finally start leaking this April ( arrant spey cast by a guest) but not really bad enough to require anything but a dry out every couple days, I will still use them through this spring. The seams are very worn on the legs and the feet but they don’t leak which is the idea right…I am rather disappointed about the ONE little zipper that has failed, “Dam you SIMMS”
As with all winter sports we live by the farmers almanac and the weather brought in by the pacific ocean jet stream. This season is no exception but for the lack of the steelheaders nemesis “El Ninio” whom is no were to be found, thankfully. This gives us a slightly colder weather pattern but much better than bucket’s of rain on an unpredictable forecast.
The steelhead have started there upriver journey good and early this year as proof with good numbers of redds in some of the upper reaches already. Our fishing has been better than average for conditions and with some luck we will maintain our famous fish finding ways well into April.
Besides the fish in the river shuffling every day my booked anglers are doing the same. A big loss early in Feb nearly brought down the house but with that going by I am looking forward to filling a few open dates and some that have shuffled around are again open. Take a close look here those are prime time steelhead dates some that haven’t been available for years now.
Prime dates available:
Feb 14- 24 Has room for two anglers with guide and Bogy House lodging. This booking will be with Joey Macombers group from Lateral line Media always a fun time and in the heart of BIG fish week!
March 1 -3 & 5,6 Aavailable for 2 anglers with Bogy House lodging.
March 12-14 Open for 2-4 anglers with Bogy House Lodging available -also the 13th is open for 4 anglers.
March 19-24 Open for Bogy House Lodging and fishing 2 anglers and 4 anglers on 22,23,24.
FULL April 4,5,6 Bogy House lodging on night of 4 and 5 with guide available all three. FULL!!
Feel free to call anytime 253-307-3210 or EM firstname.lastname@example.org for cutomized pricing!
Unlike drinking responsibly angling responsibly is not so easily noticed.
Many fishermen pay guides to take them fishing expecting that they know what the rules are and how to catch the fish they are fishing for. Some anglers hire guides because of the ease of access to the good spots and often are not from the local area. As a fishing guide we are always trying our hardest to get the sports into a good day of fishing and have a good time doing it.
In the Pacific NW we have some of the most complicated regulations in the lower 48 states. The WDFW is constrained by ESA listings upon some fish species or even low run sizes on various others. They do there best to provide angling opportunity around the protection of certain species. Many regulations are formulated from the general public’s opinions; basically they manage the people not so much the fishery.
In 40 years of fishing the NW I have done my share of what I would now consider bad behavior. Back in the day we would follow the TROUT fishing reg’s on many Salmon fisheries, often fishing water totally void of anglers but stuffed to the banks with Salmon or Steelhead. We could easily catch 20-30 fish (King,Coho,Steelhead) in a day under the guise of trout fishing w/o seeing a soul, while just around the bend or over on the other fork guys would be lined up attempting not to kill each other while catching dinner. This is an extreme situation that we would venture into a couple times a season into each of our secret sections. Some of the regulation loop holes were a measly five hundred yard stretch that had been unnoticed by others but easily found by us as YOUNG and tireless addicts of the game…
Long before I become a professional fishing guide I turned to avoiding that situation like the plague, knowing that YES we could go in there and fish the LOOP hole but our angling ethics just wont let us. Many clients would probably jump on the opportunity but we just don’t go there. Angling ethics is not something that comes to everyone or seen the same by everyone. Much of how we fish now today amongst others on the water is from experience, simply many years chasing chrome up and down the west coast. I was much more of a steelhead angler than a trout fisherman when I picked up the sticks to become a fishing guide. The ethics of trout fishermen is much different than those of the hard core steelheaders I ran with.
When I started full time guiding it was for trout on theYakima River, when the steelhead where running I was excited to go fish them with my new friends and guide buddies. I was astonished at how many of them new nothing about the ethics of steelheading. They were fishing guides for Christ sakes and they don’t know this shit?
Some of them are still guides today and much better at it than I. Since then my guide life has come full circle, I am back home guiding theYakimaand the other local rivers for trout and continue to guide steelhead at the best locations statewide through out the year. To my surprise many guides are fishing theLOOPhole and advertising it and most looking don’t even recognize it or don’t care.
Over the past 12 seasons we have had regulation changes based on absurd or oblivious of real issues because of the policy to manage the people NOT the resource.
Washingtonis in need of real GUIDE management. Just this year I seen guides targeting bull trout with streamers under the guise that occasionally a cutthroat might chase it down. This was on rivers that Bull Trout are forbidden from targeting; also the same group was actively angling steelhead under the same loophole regulation. The wdfw has opened those fisheries for trout fishing opportunity TRUSTING that anglers and especially the guides will fish responsibly. The wdfw is bombarded with requests to remove floating devises as tools to angling, this comes from anglers complaints about boat fishermen that do not know how to respectfully fish amongst others. As well, many complaints are unwarranted and applied by special interest groups wanting privatized angling on public water. When other guides show a complete lack of river etiquette it looks bad on every guide and guiding as a way of life. Thankfully the recent response from the guiding community on this possibility has shaken them into reality and are now recognizing there arrogance of way.
As a professional guide we are on the forefront of protecting our business partner, the fish. It all started when we began the lifelong love of fishing, to many of us it was in the form of habitat restoration and volunteering of our time and donations of money to the best organizations that are like minded. I know very few guides that do not donate trips to good causes and organizations, those that don’t they need to wake up and get on it as there irresponsibility will not be rewarded.
As fishing guides it is our responsibility to understand the correct handling of our targeted species and teach that to our guests. As many know a two second snapshot in no way determines the outcome of that captured fish. What determines responsible handling starts with the gear used to capture it and how you land that fish. Many anglers like to light line or under size rods thinking it’s about the longevity of the fight when in reality a short hard fight produces the fastest best fight from that fish and reduces the possible harm to that fish. The use of quality gear like a good catch and release net is critical to landing that fish before it is exhausted to the extent of needing reviving. This one item in itself is the highest form of responsible angling and care to our targeted fish and any guide without one is not caring for there fish completely. A fish exhausted to extent of succumbing to laying sideways in 2 inches of water is over exhausted by my standards. It does provide for a wonderful picture and by all means will survive should the time is lays there be but a few seconds. A fish that is landed before total exhaustion with a good net and totally submerged while unhooking prior to photographing is the responsible way to handle fish it is not the two seconds of photo time that results in poor handling it is what happens in the ten minutes prior that most do not see that determines it successful recovery. Fishing guides often carry the burden of public criticism by those that either do not catch fish and are pointing there finger at those who do, or have witnessed poor etiquette and understand the responsible fishing guide lines.
As much as I do not want government to interfere with my business it may be time to ask them to require outfitter permits to help reduce these rogue irresponsible guides from continuing. A permit would carry a number upon which action could be taken and a permit could be a way to control the growth of new outfitters into areas and weed out the present ones that are no longer reliable to take care of the resource.
Responsible angling also plays a big part in style selection; many of us have formed styles of angling that we adopted over many years of fishing or even through literature. For me I love the swing game and would like to fish only that should it be an option base on aesthetics. I rely on nymphing for those that want to get the most bang for there buck, again the bang is a personal opinion one that we should all be able to provide.
When it comes down to it, the hook is where experience takes us to a level of fish protection that many never realize. Smaller hooks are better on the fish hands down! This may seem like a no brainer but as an avid fly tier I love the look of a sexy bend on a spey style hook, I even adopted it from one I tied over twenty years ago in my business logo, a fly with flowing materials that entice the Steelhead into striking. Unfortunately I can say from experience that this style of fly that rides hook down and is oversized to the tie has tong hooked more steelhead than any other style and we all know what may happen when we tong hook a steelhead. Flies that have a trailing hook would seem like the culprit to this but not by my experience. In part I think it has to do with the fact that the hook on a trailer can be small and the trailer material can flex with the take of the fish and commonly hooks in the corner of the jaw or even outside the mouth which is much more desirable. To many this will be a slap in the face but I have personally seen more tong hooked steelhead on swung flies of the aforementioned style than from ALL the other fly fishing styles. This is not to say that swing fishing is less responsible it says that how you design your fly must be taken into consideration. Like on a tube fly that is designed and tied correctly it will ride in the current wing up and HOOK up as to reduce the tong hook effect, personally I nearly always fish an extended hook of small size or a tube with an up hook point.
Many of the anglers today have realized that steelhead like the round ball, those that knew how to fish a corky 20 years ago knew this well and bait was never used by them and reduced mortality ensured. Many fly fishing guides rely on them exclusively as a source of action for there clients and the steelhead have noticed too as far fewer are being landed on them than when I first brought it out of the closet 12 years ago, then it was simple now not so much. I find myself wondering about the ethics of just hooking a fish for a few minutes to only have it come off and my guest wonder why. Many bead fish fall off, it’s the nature of bead fishing, shit I have seen them roll to the surface spit the hook drift down and eat the next one in line and do it again, they seem to know it’s fake as soon as they feel it but yet can’t resist it again.
One thing we have done for years is to let the assuming anglers think we are fishing one thing when we are fishing another, many assume whenever they see indicator angling that they are fishing the bead, which is far from the truth and we are guilty of allowing the ruse…So much for my fun the cat is crawling from the bag! My new irresponsible side has been spilled. Or have I, you never really know what’s on the end of the line by the rod in hand. Even those strung rods on the truck mounts don’t really show what’s up.
This is just an ongoing observation by myself in an attempt to inform the public angler into what I know and have experienced with the addition of personal direction I hope to see fly fish guiding go. Feel free to comment with your own experiences…
Thank You Jeff Brazda…
Get into some of this!!
Cancellation dates available October 28-29th and November 4-6…100 bucks off day rate! Call me asap 253-307-3210
One more day and I head for waters up north in Okanagan Co. We are finding good to great fishing on the Klickitat and will be back in November to finish out the season. I had a blast hanging out with friends that I rarely see and some new ones I hope to see for many seasons. The return to the Klickitat was easy as the river has not changed much and the people are wonderfully friendly. The river etiquette has changed a lot since just a few years ago, everyone is giving up water for other anglers and fishing respectfully. The non boat fishing scare has brought out the respect for other anglers that should have been present before.
Moving on to the Methow and hoping we get just enough rain to float it otherwise we will be bank fishing. Not that it will be a problem but covering a few miles on foot is much different than 10 in the boat for most anglers and especially clients. We have some great walk in water that will secure a good position for swing fishing on hard to reach water. that will be enough to get us through the drought time and get into good fishing on foot. I look forward to swinging some dries and actually catching a good number of steelhead instead of hoping for one..
Going to miss the Klick but we will be back late November 2012!
Been a few years since I did a month straight guiding the Klickitat for steelhead, but since I was home from MT all summer and that the Methow won’t be opening any time too soon I headed down there to get my game on.
The best thing about the Klick is that those fish will take a swung fly just as readily as the Deschutes, BUT average much bigger and stronger, now we don’t pussy foot around with dry lines all the time (they do have there place here) nore do we dredge with the heavy fly loosing tips. A decent spey angler that can read water a little has a good chance at finding a swung steelhead on any given morning throwing classics or new webby type spey flies. lately the fly has been a green but Hobo spey in the small size, it just gets the most action on the end of the string, we do have to follow it up once and a while with some crazy shit but generally under low light they crush it!
Every evening there is some good caddis popping around and we have been seeing a few steelhead eating them but I have yet to catch a fish on the waker here for a few weeks.
Of coarse we have some dates available and we have even homed in on great lodging right on the river so if your inclined to get your own game on look us up were easy to find…..
Getting back to reality is only one good Pull away! Steelhead season is under way on the dry side of the cascades.
The Methow is in desperate need of water right now; BUT there apears to be enough steelhead above Wells to open it, the river needs some flow to bring them in. No telling right now when that will be but rain is forecasted in the next few days.
Right now we are running trips on the Klickitat and fishing has been good to great no matter how you like to fly fish. I spent the last week swinging flies for one to five hook ups a day. They are loving the classics right now from Purple Perils on dry lines to egg suckers on heavy tips..Again some rain will change things but action is good on my scale as it is.
My one day of nymphing produced 2 for 8 with some tackle busters on the string eliminating the big numbers game, I love these super hot natives that rome the Columbia river tribs.
We currently have open dates for steelhead on both locations:
October 14-17 we have availability for two anglers.
October 21-31 we have availability for four anglers.
November 6-30 is wide open for up to 6 anglers, give us a call lets make a deal!
Both Methow and Klickitat trips are $475 a day for two anglers $375 for singles and half days.
On river lodging is available at both locations for your convenience!
Contact Jeff @ 253-307-3210 or Jeff@brazdasflyfishing.com
Thanks and fish all ways!
Most trout fishermen love the dry fly, and the cutthroat is king in our western world when it comes to dry fly fishing. Add to that, dry flies that are small enough to cast well and large enough to see and we have potential for FULL planet alignment.
For two weeks now these little buggers have been hopping around whenever I step outside my door, they started as little size 18 critters barely large enough to go 10 inches at a hop, now there size 8-10 and some larger making waves as I walk through the fields and along the banks. Just yesterday I had the first real hopper crushing on trout, a solid plop on the bank and a full on no hesitation smash from a 15 inch rainbow then another take that was slow as molassis, obviously a cutthroat, in twenty minutes of bank fishing I rose ten solid trout one around 18-19 inches that I recued my hopper just in time from his crushing blow (yea I yanked it away). Just wade fishing by the house in the evening.
All the central Washington rivers are now in great shape for hopper fishing and should remain so through September. Tomorrow we head off for the Natches then the Methow later in the week in search of the biggest of Washington’s trout on Hoppers, we will be happy with the normal sized but fishing hard for the Jumbo’s that live there.
We have another full moon coming, with that we will see if the Yakima River will have a full on Summer Stone hatch or not, up to now its been rather spotty through out the system from Cle Elum to Roza.
The drakes are still around but winding down fast, don’t expect to see many at all soon.
We are now booking trout trips on the Yakima, Natches and Methow. Some of the biggest trout I have ever caught came from the Methow, they have cutthroat as big as there steelhead and we manage a few that size every season.
Steelhead on the Klickitat is heating up and I have open dates for that in September and late August.
Methow steelhead season is booking up fast I have some dates available in October and November. Requires a WDFW opening.
See you on the river, Jeff@brazdasflyfishing.com
Wild Steelhead Coalition has submitted a long list of rules to be changed by WDFW. Rules that are intended to increase the survival of steelhead gravel to gravel. What will happen remains to be seen, as we all have given our hard earned $ to the WSC for there tireless work during a trying time of DAM removal, and habitat issues and closures on many Puget Sound Rivers, all of which need finacial help by us the steelhead proponents. I personally feel that in a perfect world, were we did not have CO-MANAGEMENT (tribal and WDFW managing the same fishery) these rules would be completely endorsed by all concerned anglers. The issues I have with the changes are only a few and are from many years of fighting the battle for steelhead survival within the co-management arena. The one proposed rule change I have a concern about is:
NO fishing from a floating device on stretches of OP Rivers.
This is a huge reduction of angling opportunity for very little and most likely a negative effect and only should be established to give the swing fisherman an advantage. It would be very beneficial for specific angling types like PIN fishermen and Spey fishermen, of which I am one of.
However having Spawning redds at jeopardy from WADING anglers to my knowledge is not mentioned in any study and would be extremely increased with the addition of these regulations. After all, we know how much fishing pressure increases when this type of regulation is applied.
Mostly, I fear the mentioning of C&R as a problem causing mortality, that in it self could be used against sport fishing by tribal and non-tribal commercial anglers. Does “forgone opportunity” ring any bells, as hopeful as WDFW is against it, we will lose that battle, just as we have lost countless other harvest issues with the tribes.
If even a fraction of these proposals make it through it would appear to be good for us fly fishermen on the fore front; it’s the backlash that remains to be seen and the entire cause for my rebuttle. The analogy of be careful of what we ask for comes to mind.
From the fishing forums: The constant comparison between the Olympic Peninsula Rivers and others, that all ready have this regulation is simply comparing apples to oranges. Many want to form a BC type of fishery, well I can tell you from experience that would be really cool and all BUT our winter spring fish are not the same fish as the BC summer/fall fish, as much as I wished they were there NOT. Again with the constant comparison of the Deschutes in Oregon and how the regulation works great there, well our steelhead don’t follow 75ft after size 10 swung flies on a dry line they just don’t and won’t. Besides there are Jet boats on the D not on the OP and the crowds on the D are much greater than the OP. T0 cap it off neither the Deschutes nor BC has the tribal issue to contend with so any comparison is rediculous, that is not even an argument that deserves a responce.
However: I do believe that certain rivers have a better chance of this type of regulation, like the Hoh or Queets as they can actually be fished from the bank without danger to the anglers. They both have good bank fishing water and plenty of log jams that are refuge to the steelhead. BUT do we really want to take rivers like the Sol-Duc and Calawah away from our anglers, think about it if you really know anything about these rivers this regulation will remove elder anglers all together from fishing them. There are very few places to stand and fish between Feb 1 and April1 just from water levels on these two rivers no matter how well you can wade. Besides the only time these stretches get any real pressure is AFTER a big rain early in the season when all else is blown, they have plenty of water then and the refuge steelhead need. Furthermore: This regulation does not take into effect that ALL of the rivers on the OP under this regulation all ready have many miles of refuge water, 50% of these rivers are closed to fishing or inaccessible by boat all ready during the Winter/Spring season.
Would this regulation keep some steelhead from being caught? Yes it would, it would also legally propagate two certain styles of fishing for steelhead. Either way it’s a win for me business wise, but it’s the steelhead I worry about; Is it best, in the long run for wild steelhead, after all we know the real issue is NON-SELECTIVE gill netting on a DAYS quota, not a fish for fish quota but a 3,4 or 5 days or more each week, the more we regulate ourselves the more the commercials will take (forgone opportunity) and they take them to market. If this regulation even equaled one extra day (via forgone opportunity) of fishing by commercials there KILL could/would far exceed any potential C&R mortality by sport fishermen. Are we willing to trade the exaggerated potential C&R mortality for the further fracturing of sports groups AND the potential for extra days of gill nets in those rivers?
The C&R movement if you will was established by wild steelhead enthusiast long before it was regulation and it has been the biggest savior of what steelhead we have, lets not turn that against us, if you want bank fishing only ask for bank fishing only but relating C&R as the problem only fuels the argument against sport fishing for Tribal/non-tribal commercial anglers. Why not just jump to the issue and regulate ALL pressure, have outfitter permits with angler days and non guide days in certain stretches a real regulation of sports fishing pressure the entire length of the river regulate it from choice for a better fishing environment not backstabbing the C&R momentum. Regulate for what you really want, less fishing pressure on your fishing day and steelhead that will take the swung fly because of it. Don’t throw C&R under the proverbial bus to get it.
After all, it’s not about us, it’s about the big picture of steelhead survival, which is very simple, just don’t conk em, gill em, or eat em, they will survive.
Please understand that we all have a fight ahead of us to maintain the great fishing we have here on the Olympic Peninsula, the WSC is a wonderful organization that I have supported for many years, they are pivitol in the recovery of Steelhead were they are depleted or in need of support.
Keep regulations as is to help reduce the commercial quota’s and spread these good intentions outside the regulation book.
Please continue to support all Steelhead groups as we really do have one common goal.
Thanks Jeff Brazda
Most of us who row thousands of oars strokes a year have two things in common, worn shoulders and worn Oars Tips..
SO to keep the shoulders mobile we eat lots of Ibuprofen and buy the best paddles we can afford, often that is in the form of SAWYER DYNALITE’s. Not to many years ago,,,ah well or 20 years ago we always had wood oars ash was the best then fiberglass then composite now we have come full circle and have LAMINATED WOOD with COMPOSITE OARS BLADES,,,wow that’s a mouthful. Any way they have added years to the life of my shoulders so I am adding years to the life of my money makers,,, the paddles.
When your $580 oars start looking like this: sorry about the pics focus but I did not notice till I had done the work:)
Its time for some repair. I am sure you can find some add on fix on the inter webs but I wanted to be sure I was adding good wear protection and MOSTLY keep the water away from the wood, which is not possible at this point with adding the slip over plastic tips.
First thing I did was add Five minute Epoxy like Bondo to the worn off sections of the tips, and then sanded smooth.