Fly Fishing Reports
My good friend and guest at the Bogy House this last week caught an impressive sized buck from our local waters.
Bruce has been a steelhead angler for over 50 years and a commercial troller in Alaska just as long. Needless to say he knows how to fish and has caught more salmon and steelhead than most of the sports fishermen in Washington combined.
A fish like this brings hope to our small world of steelhead enthusiasts, knowing that it is still alive and passing the Genetics on to future generations of monster winter steelhead. We often see these beasts but seldom touch them.
I was lucky to have been there when he captured this beauty as his biggest steelhead ever anywhere he has fished. I cant tell you how wonderful it is to even be involved with such an event. This is the second largest steelhead I have ever seen personally. We chose this pic as it is NOT enhanced by wide angle it is NOT long armed it is purely a quality specimen for a quality group of guys.
Thanks for the times Bruce and Tony…Jeff
The low water of January was just a game of mother nature, now its catch up time.
Going through the fast track pace of rain flood freeze and drop in three day intervals is enough to cause a fishing guide to loose it…No forecasts are good enough for the rainforest of the Olympic Peninsula. We have a unique situation that allows huge amounts of rainfall just to keep pace with good flows for fishing, along with a steep mountain range that is constantly receiving snow fall and snow melt compounding the flow into the river. Its a constant on again off again affair with these darn Steelhead!
Having success with high water takes a lot of luck and persistently doing the right thing!
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New April dates available on a cancellation; Arriving April Wed. April 9 fishing 10,11,12 and departing Sunday the 13th…Call for pricing. Thanks Jeff..
Where to begin…
*Spring Steelhead: The Olympic Peninsula started with a bang in January with good to great fishing on odd weeks. The coveted big fish weeks in February have too low of water and results were mixed with super numbers or moderate results. March has a few days of blow out and good fishing on two and three salt steelhead with plenty of jumbos in the mix.
The first part of April fishing on the Hoh was non existent, coming off a good freshet in late March, the Hoh tribe who’s self imposed season ended April 1st, pulled the ceremonial card on a dropping river the very next day and fished five days straight with drift nets and jet boats on the lower Hoh to stop short the escapement goals for the third season in a row. WDFW, WSC, CCA all of them ”SILENT” until this Fall when the escapement figures came out. (Maybe think about that when your at the restaurant and you see steelhead offerings, or when these organizations want your donation to increase regulation on sportsmen or worse yet close the rivers). Thankfully we are blessed with 4 other rivers on the Peninsula at this time, which fished well into April, the Hoh never did pick up again before closing the 15th.
Rooster fishing in Baja: Fishing is better than expected, the bait showed up, the dusty Mexican Baja is still dusty. This trip is through Jay Murkowski who manages through tough logistics to get you into the zone of good fishing. However we did not expect to have the window time, but the fishing made up for it.. The only Mafia we seen was the bait mafia and they appeared harmless but did know the value of the sardine. We landed 12 different species this trip worth the price!… Hosted trip in May 2014..
Fun fishing in BC: Did the 20 plus hour drive to the Skeena for the first time to find it not quite ready. Some local rain and low snowpack caused it to stay dirty past the usual July 1 kickoff of historically better conditions. The Kallum was out too which generally is clear due to the lake. We ended up on the Kitimat for five days and found the fishing just OK. We did catch Chinook daily and the local area is beautiful. Upon the drive home the Skeena was just clearing up ( just missed that one). In 2014 I will go back after July 7..
Summertime Trout fishing: The Yakima was is in run-off till June and unpredictable till the 15th. Good numbers of caddis in the canyon and the best ever drake season makes for an awesome late June and July. The summer stone was nearly non existent but the hopper/beetle craze was decent to make up for it. Had some wonderful days on the Methow after July 15 and caught the largest Cutty of my life in the Natches, sorry no pic…
**Fall Steelhead: This was the season of the century for Washington anglers. The Steelhead started off fine in September on the Klickitat River. We managed a couple swing fish a day with a few on the Pin rod or nymph rod early before mid month. However as soon as the 15th rolled around the river began filling with Chinook. We literally could not get away from them. SO we embraced the action and went with it, catching them EVERYWERE. Swinging was the favorite as the Spey rod handles there bull dog action best. With small ups and downs in the ability to CALL the shot it was possible for 20 fish days on great fighting hard hitting Chinook right were we fish steelhead.
With one hiccup of water in early October and the opening of the Methow our Salmon fest was over. Just in time too as the crowds became relentless after the 15th on the Klickitat and we had moved the operation to the Methow. This was the best decision I have ever made in guiding, the Methow was virtually empty of anglers, we seen maybe 2-4 people a day the first couple days, on 17 miles or river, that’s it! The fishing was stellar and we kept silent and caught our share. We could swing fish anyplace we wanted and even the dry game was predictable with good numbers of fish in the river instead of in the Columbia. The locals figured it out and the word started getting around as late in the game the week ends became semi crowded but never unmanageable. Without a doubt the best fall season I have had in countless years based on numbers of caught fish and dodging the pressure.
Bird hunting: Finishing up the Fall steelhead on a freeze out generally put me on the waterfowl right in the thick of the migration. Not so this season, the early birds were gone and even the divers were few. The refuges were full so it was a stalemate flight not much happening. Quail and Pheasant however where very cooperative with lots of opportunity if I could shoot better.. I don’t know if there was a great hatch of Ring-necks or my Lab Jesse is the greatest upland lab in the state as we found Pheasants and quail nearly every day.
Early December I get the call for a Montana Goose hunt, wanting to start were we left off last year with limits of duck and geese in the fields we jump on it. NOT the best decision, the weather was cold already (20′s) at home. Calling for a warm up were off to Great Falls within 12 hrs of getting the report. By the time we reach Helena its 30 below zero NOT what was expected. After an engine breakdown, a short hike to reach cell service and a local tow truck ride by Gates of the Mountain, five hours later were back on the road as every waterfowl in the state is going the opposite direction. We limp into Cascade as the Mighty Missouri river is freezing solid and Ice damming.
What an impressive display of nature, I am thankful to have witnessed the slow but powerful event. We can only shoot over dry ground and there are no birds in the fields just next to the river. We ended up with a couple limits in a couple days selectively shooting over retrievable locations. It was an awesome hunt, way more birds in range than we could shoot due to the ice in the river. Pass shooting over land was cool and once the spot was found easy hunting for minus 25 degrees!
Back home in the Burg the birds were thick as the storm pushed in when we went the other way. By the time I get a hall pass there all wised up and untouchable in my zone. The entire basin is froze over and the stalemated again, I scratch through the end of the year on upland or jump shoots to come a full circle..
Prepping for Spring Steelhead.. Its a viscous cycle
Well all good things change. The steelhead game is improving with leaps and bounds and these bronzed battlers are turning into the zombie apocalypse. In a few weeks the spawning grounds will be infested, in a good way, with the stench of spawning salmon..
The WDFW has announced the opening of the upper Columbia tributaries, primarily the Methow and Wenatchee. With the flows we have it will be a swing game on decent numbers of (federal) wild steelhead. Knowing how the Methow reacts the first month will be a blast especially with the water flow. I think is flowing around 1000 cfs although the graph that is funded by the feds shows differently (no surprise there).
My game will be the dry or the I line right out of the gate with nymphing on the run to keep things wet.. Cant wait to throw one of these:
The whole reason for life as a steelhead fisher is fulfilled every fall when these Icons of the NW will rise again to the dry fly…
Dates open this fall..
After a life time of fishing I have learn to stop and slow down, engulf ourselves in the best fishing when it is happening…For a week now I have been catching Salmon and Steelhead in the amounts I only remember in my dreams of great places like Alaska, or Kamchatka..I have been fishing for the pure enjoyment of catching fish in places that we have never caught them, I am passing up great water to search for and find steelhead away from the salmon. In small hide holes sticking to themselves staying out of the runs that are choked with Chinook. We are finding a fare share as well as the incidental Chinook that seem to be on every rock.
With this full moon the deck is shuffling at night and whole sections of river that are fishing at the NORMAL rate seem empty in comparison to the best fishing areas. There is some rain in the forecast we will see what happens, I can only hope it just the right amount..
Today I stopped to take some pictures, forcing myself to shoot the one presently in the net not the next one…
If you want your best shot at the fishing of a lifetime call 253-307-3210 or better yet as cell is not so good, EM email@example.com
Dates available through November….Thanks for subscribing,,Jeff Brazda
Swing flies for Chinook: Most of all “LARGE” and with a combination of flash, pink, chartreuse, blue, black or purple….and Hold on as when they eat it you know it!
I posted these elsewhere recently but will show them again:
Book a trip now “Lodging Special” fall time has open dates: 253-307-3210 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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Summer is trying to let go of its hold on the PNW, the weather reports are for cooler temps and not quite getting those predictions yet. Good pushes of steelhead and fall Chinook are moving into the Columbia systems. On any given day the water temps are dropping into the favorable range and the fish that are present go onto a bite. This full moon will certainly be shuffling the deck of Salmonids every night.
I have been shuffling myself between trout fishing on the Yakima River which is fishing great right now and steelhead fishing which is what I am all giddy about. On the Klickitat its all about dirty water tactics with nearly to high of water temps, basically sink tips and big bright or dark stuff at the business end of the string. Soon the dry line will be the best option on the Spey and them damn plastic balls o fire will have to wait there turn. Oh you can bring up a few steelhead in the right spots on the dry line right now but I love the sink tip, it just gets it done in any water you find them. As soon as we get some cooler air temps and the rivers become more consistent the dry line will produce better as the fish will be in chase mode longer during each day.
Thank you Thomas Lamphere!
If your more than just a looky loo and want in on a day of guided fly fishing for steelhead or trout give me a call
@ 253 -307-3210 or shoot me an EM Jeff@Brazdasflyfishing.com we can set up a fishing trip catered to your expectations…
Thanks for subscribing and have a great end to your summer…
Every year fly tiers from around the world reinvent the wheel with new patterns from midges to full on Herring baitfish patterns. Usually these new patterns are the same old ones with new materials that dazzle the minds of anglers and tiers alike. We seem to forget that some things are meant to catch fishermen and others to catch fish. Ask any long time fishing guide and they will tell you that, only every once and a while does anything come out that is a game changer, then the fish get used to it and we need another, this cycle takes about 5-7 years. Those on it at the beginning run it the longest the followers the shortest. The Pats stone is one of recent times, hardly works compared to it abilities in the beginning.
Then there’s the other stuff, the patterns that keep on working and some even better after a longer time, like we forget to fish them, all caught up in the NEW craze of things…Every bug has its antiques, Daves Hopper, Parachute Adams, Royal Wulff, Hairs ear you name it has had its primetime and back again, for those keeping track.
This season is no exception, earlier I drug up an actual 30 year old Grey Comparadun. This season I have found myself using the old school stuff more than ever and this week its about the Lafontaine Sparkle Caddis, “god rest his soul” we will forever be in grateful for Gary and his tireless effort to figure out what was going on under the surface. This one here is actually tied with original LaFontaine’s yarn I bought from him personally back in the late 70′s I have about 8 of the colors but I like the brown , Grey and Apple green best.
Although the Yakima River is not know for numbers of huge rainbows we sure have a lot of fun fishing to the medium well educated ones with a bit of history at the end of the string..;)
Thanks for subscribing, Jeff
For those of you needing a little fish porn:
As long as I have been fly fishing or just fishing in general I have been wondering off to explore areas that have been of interest to us as fishermen. This BC trip up to the renown Skeena system has been long over due, all though most Americans go to the region in search of there steelhead I was on a pilgrimage for Chinook Salmon. The Skeena is known for huge specimens of all anadromus fish not to mention the largest of them all the King or Chinook Salmon as they are called. Plan “A” was to launch the jet boat in the Skeena around the Kallum River and camp on a gravel bar with good swing runs right at out front door. Upon arrival some 20hrs of driving later we find the Morice River of all things totally blowing the Skeena system. We move to plan “B” which was fishing the Kallum itself as it has a huge lake in the headwaters and rarely if ever goes out turbidity wise to fishing. From the banks of the Kallum we realize the stars are not aligning and for that matter not even in the sky as the Kallum looks like the Queets in Washington with 9 inches of visibility, the flows not too bad but turbidity was terrible. After consulting the group we decide on heading for the Kitimat River about 45 minutes west. As we arrive we are elated to find beautiful three foot visibility with that sexy blue gray look of glacial rivers in prime shape. All though flowing rather fast it is fishable.
For myself, after driving two days straight I was looking for a home run the first day. We all decide to split up into teams two in the Jet boat running up the mouth from the salt channel and three in pontoons launching 6 miles up river from camp. Which by the way was right next to the town of Kitimat, not what we had envisioned but it was 3rd choice and last minute at that. I LOVE fishing tidal water or as close to it as I can get when it comes to Salmon and this was only that. The Kitimat is only accessible by law to a certain point in the system and above that must be accessed with out power. We negotiated the piles of stumps and logs at the mouth of the river and up we went to find two other jet boats already there, one was the guy camping by us whom directed us there. As we run upstream everyone is kindly waving and all friendly, we flew right past the marker on the tree about forty feet off the water. Passing gravel bars with campers and punkers we figure we must be too far up and hastily run back down getting below all traffic and decide on a fine bar with a sweet inside having depth and slow speed off the main current, bingo perfect! Three cast later I am hooked up into a 20 pound sea lice bearing chrome Nooky, great battle, fun landing with Jesse all pumped up , quick pic and away she went. Phil hits the spot five casts and another, and so we hit the mother load and stumbled onto the real deal. Soon after we land that fish a dude pops out on the far bank and yells over ” I think you guys are too far up for that Jet Boat” oops…We thank him, dive in the craft knowing just 45 minutes ago we screamed by 75 dudes lined up on various gravel bars and the law may be coming our way! Motoring down not five hundred yards and there’s the white triangle across river from some other boats that we were waving as we went by, stopping in there a great bunch from Alberta and laughing there ass off as they knew what had just transpired. We find out later that everyone waving us on figuring we were the law as they run around in a camo jet boat kinda like mine…Un able to reach the good bar we fish the less desirable bar for a while then move down and join the plugging crew, nobody was catching them, they all figured they just did not run that day, we figured we just got away with some damn good luck!
Since nobody but myself liked fishing a tidal zone we moved up the river and fished from pontoons for the next three days. Every day hearing how lucky we were to NOT have been arrested for a simple mistake. We were those dudes, the guys talked about on the river, stumbling around and into some nice fish the day the whole river went skunko. The Kitimat has wonderful steelhead water in the upper stretches and very good everything water in the middle 10 miles, but poor swinging cause of the inability to get out on the banks, at least at these levels. The lower 10 mile zone was a parade of boats plugging the deep runs and pools as there is no bait allowed anywere so every one was doing the same thing. Plugging from boats or jigging with 1/2 – 1 ounce black or purple jigs on spin poles. We seen 2 other fly fishermen outside our group of five.
Phil and I fished as a team and we managed 2 fish a day between us with a couple lost each day as an average, that with going skunko twice, the day we went and checked back at the Skeena and the last 1/2 day. The other three in the group all caught one each but for Bob he managed three for the week one with a guide trip they took. As usual the Canadian guides are chaperones when it comes to fly fishing, and that comes from fishing with them. As our week winded down the river dropped fast and much became more fishable and in hindsight I should have revisited the bottom end as I think it would have looked much better with two feet less water. All in all we fished a river none of us had ever seen before and caught just as many as the local guides and gear anglers and had a blast seeing new water every day, every bend, and that in itself is worth the price of admission.
As we drove past the Skeena on the way home it had dropped and cleared substantially and were it not for the Morice River blowing it out we would have found it in great shape and the outcome could have been much different. The Kallum remained too dirty as well. Both of these surprised us as historically they were both hardy drainages that ran clear water for most of the time even with seasonal rains. By the time we drove past Smithers and the mouth of the Bulkley we had counted twenty jet boats heading for the Skeena Chinook fishery…
I guess we should of been there NEXT week..
Thanks for subscribing , Jeff Brazda
Every season there’s a timeline between the March Browns in April, (yes they start heavy in April they apparently don’t pay any attention to a calendar at all) and July 10 or so that we have mayflies every day to some degree. Above the Thorp bridge this may detail five different sizes from PMD’s to full on Green Drakes of the ginormous category. Below its a PMD/Batis/Ephioris factory (probably some spell error there)..Anyway you get the idea we have mayflies. The intensity of the hatch follows all the usual weather with the Yakima wind thrown in the cast can become treacherous. Matching the drift of a wind skated fly,,,not so easy!
Luckily I have my choice of weekdays to go fishing and watch the weather for partial to full clouds and light wind, pretty easy these days living were I do, literally look out the front deck and see,,,My hillbilly weather rock blew away last month so I am resorting to alternate methods.
One of the best times this last week was encountering a grey drake hatch of about size 8…I just so happened to have a few left in my box from 30 years ago when I tied about ten dozen for a trip to the Henry’s Fork that never happened. Here it is shown in the same vice I tied it in, had to go into the antique fly gear display and hook it up..Whoa that’s hard to think about, when we start putting out younger years fishing gear in the antique display.
Either way get out and get onto some of the seasons best dry fly fishing right here at home.
Thanks for the memories Grandpa….