Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: steelhead country
Wanted to elaborate...
...a bit on this subject. I didn't want to leave too discouraging a vibe about fishing the water below Concrete... but as far as flyfishing steelhead goes, it is one of the more difficult venues to figure out. I just believe that for novices to steelheading, it isn't exactly the best type of water to start trying to figure things out in. Heck, not just novices either... I know of many "experienced" flyfishers that have been "beat down" by the lower Skaj. If you think that the Skagit around Rockport is big and hard to read, the "lower" river dwarfs the "upper" river's characteristics.
It is a more "logical" progression to learn where/when steelhead can be found with a fly on smaller waters and then once a foundation of that basic knowledge is established, then expand into the more difficult aspects of the game. In our Puget Sound rivers, as far as "big water" goes, the Sky is the easiest to learn from - it is easier to read and has higher degree of circumstances suited to steelheading with a fly. The Sauk is a couple of notches higher in difficulty category than the Sky - it is a more "hit and miss" proposition (I think Sauk fish are faster "travelers" than Sky fish, so it's harder to be "in the right place at the right time"), and the frequency with which the river changes makes it hard to pin-down good fishing spots for any length of time. The Skagit above Concrete is the next level up in challenges, containing less fly-water per mile than either the Sky or Sauk, and the characteristics of the taking places are not necessarily very distinct. The Skagit below Concrete is the epitome of difficulty, big, BIG water containing even less fly-water per mile than any of the aforementioned rivers, difficult access with many of its steelhead lies indistinguishable in feature from the other 90% of the "non-holding bars", and if there was ever a circumstance to illustrate the "here today, gone tomorrow" truism of steelheading, this section of river defines it. But, for those that are into the biggest challenges, and willing to sacrifice considerable time and energy in the process of learning, the lower Skagit can be a rewarding place to fish.
To put it another way, if you are having difficulty figuring out either the Sky or Sauk, then your not doing yourself any favors by taking on the lower Skagit!
Last edited by Riveraddict; 02-15-2008 at 01:17 PM.