Skating Flies and steelhead questions. - Spey Pages
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post #1 of 17 (permalink) Old 04-07-2019, 02:44 PM Thread Starter
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Skating Flies and steelhead questions.

How often are you guys picking up Trout and or anything else other than steelhead when skating flies? This summer will be my first year jumping into the skating fire.

Another Question.. Is it a good sign, bad sign or am I putting too much thought into this.. Sometimes when I'm out swinging flies for steelhead I keep crushing trout other times I'm not touching a thing.. My question here, is if I can figure out how to ask it. If I'm picking up Trout is this a good indicator that I'm in the right water column, a good fly, my presentation is on point etc.. Or is there no correlation between steelhead and trouty presentations ? The days I'm not touching a thing I start thinking my presentation is all wrong.

Thanks
Jer
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post #2 of 17 (permalink) Old 04-07-2019, 03:34 PM
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It depends on the river. Many times trout and steelhead do not occupy the same water. I would say this would be especially true when fishing wild fish rivers. In my local River the steelhead are stocked at the various boat ramps and parks. The trout tend to be right there with the steelhead. If the trout start to rise for flies there is a good chance the steelhead will follow suite.
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post #3 of 17 (permalink) Old 04-07-2019, 03:36 PM
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How often are you guys picking up Trout and or anything else other than steelhead when skating flies? This summer will be my first year jumping into the skating fire.

Another Question.. Is it a good sign, bad sign or am I putting too much thought into this.. Sometimes when I'm out swinging flies for steelhead I keep crushing trout other times I'm not touching a thing.. My question here, is if I can figure out how to ask it. If I'm picking up Trout is this a good indicator that I'm in the right water column, a good fly, my presentation is on point etc.. Or is there no correlation between steelhead and trouty presentations ? The days I'm not touching a thing I start thinking my presentation is all wrong.

Thanks
Jer
1. not catching summer steelhead is not often presentation related, if you aren't getting them it's because there aren't many around.

2. when skating for steelhead you want to cast at such an angle that they fly starts skating as soon as it hits the water, no cast, mend then swing. at least as much as you can.

i have not noticed trout being an issue good or bad, however in the spring when steelhead smolts are outmigrating they can be an issue because there are soo many of them but not many places we skate for steelhead in April and may anymore

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post #4 of 17 (permalink) Old 04-07-2019, 11:06 PM
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Iíve always gotten a little more confidence if trout are chasing and grabbing my skated fly that Iím on the right track. I have absolutely NO empirical evidence to back that up, btw.

I also canít ever remember a time where I was picking up a bunch of smolts and suddenly got an adult in the same spot, ever. It didnít matter if it was surface, swung deeper, or, um, using one of those bobber thingies. Now after two or three smolts I move on.
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post #5 of 17 (permalink) Old 04-08-2019, 07:14 PM
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I also canít ever remember a time where I was picking up a bunch of smolts and suddenly got an adult in the same spot, ever. I.
i pulled two trout and a few smolts from this spot this fall and the had the biggest grab of the season that unfortunately broke of very shortly there after, so, who knows what make these fish do what they do where they do it , cameron
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post #6 of 17 (permalink) Old 04-08-2019, 07:54 PM
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I've been told by some who know much more than me, that if you're picking up trout you're not fishing where the steelhead are. On the other hand, I watched my muddler skate across a deep, dark pool a couple years back, plucked half a dozen times by trout/smolt, and just as I pondered on the very question, it got engulfed by the large snout. It turned out better than bwodun's experience, and I landed and released a 9 or 10 lb fish.

It was awesome.
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post #7 of 17 (permalink) Old 04-09-2019, 11:08 AM
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Perhaps another fine example of one of my favorite sayings: ďThe more I learn, the less I knowĒ
Iíve always loved that about fly fishing, and honestly, life in general. You just never know exactly when, where, how, or even why those moments of joy and glory will come. They sure are sweet though!
JB
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post #8 of 17 (permalink) Old 04-09-2019, 12:41 PM
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On spring/summer steelhead rivers that get a lot of pressure from swung-fly anglers, I often hook good sized trout early in the run, but it slows down quickly as the trout wise up.

On steelhead rivers that get only sporadic pressure from swung-fly anglers, it is not uncommon to pick up decent trout all season.

If hooking smolts, I'll move to a different spot.

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post #9 of 17 (permalink) Old 04-09-2019, 01:32 PM
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i pulled two trout and a few smolts from this spot this fall and the had the biggest grab of the season that unfortunately broke of very shortly there after, so, who knows what make these fish do what they do where they do it , cameron
Cameron, will you please send me the gps coordinates to that hole? Thanks buddy.

Nate
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post #10 of 17 (permalink) Old 04-09-2019, 01:40 PM
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On spring/summer steelhead rivers that get a lot of pressure from swung-fly anglers, I often hook good sized trout early in the run, but it slows down quickly as the trout wise up.

On steelhead rivers that get only sporadic pressure from swung-fly anglers, it is not uncommon to pick up decent trout all season.

If hooking smolts, I'll move to a different spot.

This. Although I'll sometimes start finding trout again in the fall when I start fishing more buggy flies including moose type skaters.

If smolts are around I'm usually fishing big hooks like a BH#1.
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post #11 of 17 (permalink) Old 04-09-2019, 02:07 PM
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Steelhead will push charr and trout out of some lies just like the other Pacific salmon do.

I pick up the odd, typically small trout, while skating dry flies for steelhead, but not many.

I know a guide/outfitter who worked in a part of British Columbia with abundant westslopes and rainbows. He was never originally socialized by the fly fishing sub-culture.

This guide/outfitter would 'dibble' dry flies for trout which meant presenting the dry fly straight downstream and literally holding it in the current. He encouraged his clients to do this. Naturally it worked.
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post #12 of 17 (permalink) Old 04-09-2019, 02:59 PM
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Steelhead are trout. The larger steelhead may be in different water, but generally very similar. Resident trout may occupy faster water areas because they are actively feeding more, while the steelhead may be in slightly slower water since they are resting and/or migrating mostly, and not as solely focussed on feeding. But, if you are picking up any fish, that means your presentation is pretty darn good and is a very good sign. A much better sign that not picking up any fish. So, keep searching, maybe try different water types and/or depths, but it sounds to me like your presentation is good. If your presentation was bad, it would put off all fish.
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post #13 of 17 (permalink) Old 04-09-2019, 05:08 PM
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I tend to pick up trout on the hangdown when fishing dries, especially just above the tailout. I'm constantly amazed at the lack of trout I catch on traditional wet flies, at least on my steelhead rivers. I know if I swung my home trout rivers with some of those patterns, I'd definitely catch some trout on them. In fact, I know folks that swing Purple Perils for trout on the Mo.

As for skating flies and trout, I always tell my trout clients to leave their attractor foam dries in the water whenever I ferry to the other side of the river and let them drag. Never ceases to amaze me how many fish will slam a skating chubby, and sometimes they are big fish. I plan to tie a few of these specifically for skating this year. I also tied up one of Todd's wakers a bit smaller in skwala colors, but our current blowout is putting a damper on the R & D for that idea. A lot of stoneflies, especially wingless males, can basically walk on the surface, so it's an actual imitative technique. We have a fly here created by John Faust called the Freddy that is pretty much an imitation of this, albeit normally fished as a deaddrift dry fly.
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post #14 of 17 (permalink) Old 04-09-2019, 06:49 PM
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" I'm constantly amazed at the lack of trout I catch on traditional wet flies, at least on my steelhead rivers. " -KilgoreT

My experience is roughly the same. There could be several reasons for this.

- Many steelhead streams flowing into the Pacific Ocean are not particularly rich or productive.

- Angling pressure tends to quickly shut down resident fish.

- Cool water temperatures associated with most steelhead seasons may slow down resident trout.

- Resident fish, especially those that have been pressured, will likely respond better to wets that are much smaller than what most of us typically present for steelhead. Especially those of us who prefer to 'swing' or somehow actively present wet flies.

Sometimes, it seems that heavily-pressured resident trout are simply easier to catch with a dry fly. Don't ask for an explanation, I have none.

I hasten to add that streamers and bucktails retrieved at saltwater speeds can be extremely effective on resident trout but those of us who target steelhead rarely if ever retrieve the fly that quickly.
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post #15 of 17 (permalink) Old 04-09-2019, 11:59 PM
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Second hand anecdotal. Don't shoot the messenger!

A few anglers I've fished with have worked more "active" water during the day to pick up trout. The classic chugging water/dry fly water/ skating water for steelhead appears to be more sedate than the trout water.

One spot that an old friend fishes has about 15 feet of what he considers chugging water. That is where he has danced with steelhead. Above and below, he has found trout.
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