Dry Fly Steelhead In Cold Water - Page 2 - Spey Pages
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post #16 of 40 (permalink) Old 12-18-2019, 05:49 PM
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Velocity: I like your style! I bet going through subsurface on subsequent passes teaches you more about where steelhead hold and what factors may be conducive to cold water dry fly steelhead encounters. Great to hear of your cold water surface experiences on the NU. I fish there a lot in summer and fall so I am sure we have crossed paths. We may need to meet sometime!
Todd
Would love to meet up sometime. I am in Winchester on the river and we also have a place below Susan creek on the river. I am in the fly water often, especially in the summer. I re-work my schedule as it warms up and work early to be able to fish everyday. I also have weekends off and I am usually fishing somewhere in my time off. I have a newer white Tacoma with a camper shell and a bunch of fishing stickers on the back window.

I was around a lot this last year so it's likely we have crossed paths, but I usually quietly keep to myself in a handful of different lesser known holes. Surveyor down through Station is such a great fish, but the camp water has been so extremely busy over the last season. I find myself skipping it more and more trying to avoid the crowds. If you want to fish/tie/drink and talk fish next time you are in the area send me a PM and I can shoot you my info.
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post #17 of 40 (permalink) Old 12-18-2019, 09:53 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 808steelheader View Post
Velocity: I like your style! I bet going through subsurface on subsequent passes teaches you more about where steelhead hold and what factors may be conducive to cold water dry fly steelhead encounters. Great to hear of your cold water surface experiences on the NU. I fish there a lot in summer and fall so I am sure we have crossed paths. We may need to meet sometime!
Todd
Would love to meet up sometime. I am in Winchester on the river and we also have a place below Susan creek on the river. I am in the fly water often, especially in the summer. I re-work my schedule as it warms up and work early to be able to fish everyday. I also have weekends off and I am usually fishing somewhere in my time off. I have a newer white Tacoma with a camper shell and a bunch of fishing stickers on the back window.

I was around a lot this last year so it's likely we have crossed paths, but I usually quietly keep to myself in a handful of different lesser known holes. Surveyor down through Station is such a great fish, but the camp water has been so extremely busy over the last season. I find myself skipping it more and more trying to avoid the crowds. If you want to fish/tie/drink and talk fish next time you are in the area send me a PM and I can shoot you my info.
We'll be in touch!


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post #18 of 40 (permalink) Old 12-18-2019, 11:36 PM
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Interesting timing on this thread, Todd. I had a little bit of time before my first appointment (wonder how that worked out) this morning and snuck over to one of my favorite dry fly (in warmer weather) steelhead rivers in NorCal. I was planning to fish lightly weighted (size 6 steelhead) soft hackles with a floating skandi/ poly leader setup to get down in the 4-5’ run I was planning to fish. I got to the river, opened the hatch... and found my fishing purse, aka bag, with all my poly leaders was still in my garage 200 miles away. I was left with fishing a floating standing and a straight hunk of 12# Umpqua leader, which I really doubted would get down in the medium to fast water the fish like to hold in.

But, there I was, may as well fish anyway.

Long story short, I finished fishing through the run 45 minutes later, and went 2 for 3 with a hatchery buck, wild hen, one lost fish, and a whole new way of looking at that river in December. I wish I had brought my dry box.
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Last edited by steeliesncarp; 12-18-2019 at 11:40 PM. Reason: Added detail
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post #19 of 40 (permalink) Old 12-19-2019, 01:42 AM Thread Starter
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Interesting timing on this thread, Todd. I had a little bit of time before my first appointment (wonder how that worked out) this morning and snuck over to one of my favorite dry fly (in warmer weather) steelhead rivers in NorCal. I was planning to fish lightly weighted (size 6 steelhead) soft hackles with a floating skandi/ poly leader setup to get down in the 4-5’ run I was planning to fish. I got to the river, opened the hatch... and found my fishing purse, aka bag, with all my poly leaders was still in my garage 200 miles away. I was left with fishing a floating standing and a straight hunk of 12# Umpqua leader, which I really doubted would get down in the medium to fast water the fish like to hold in.

But, there I was, may as well fish anyway.

Long story short, I finished fishing through the run 45 minutes later, and went 2 for 3 with a hatchery buck, wild hen, one lost fish, and a whole new way of looking at that river in December. I wish I had brought my dry box.
Very cool! Sometimes unexpected detours lead to great discoveries. Of course, I am sure those steelhead would have taken dries! Nah, no guarantee of that but awesome that you had a grand time with cold water steelhead on a dry line. Again, proof that steelhead are willing to move to fly more often than we may think.

Todd


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post #20 of 40 (permalink) Old 12-19-2019, 08:18 AM
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I would love to try it here. The rivers have been a bit high and somewhat clear. Don't forget cold. I think these conditions keep the fish moving and create a good case for a skated fly. What sizes/colours would be your choice?

Dan
Dan, I've kept to bright day - bright fly, dark day - dark fly. Dark days are #2's and #4's, while Bright Days are #4's and #6's.
The Greaseliner done ragged in muskrat with silver wire has done me well on quiet overcast days. I'll switch over to a "Bee" pattern Greaseliner when the sun shines bright.
Simple muddlers are another choice for me .... I like to keep things simple, but that works for me and gives me confidence.




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post #21 of 40 (permalink) Old 12-19-2019, 08:42 AM
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Those are fine looking fleas Mike. My river closes end of December so I will be shifting somewhat.

Dan
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Which way to the river?
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post #22 of 40 (permalink) Old 12-19-2019, 01:26 PM
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I plan to start swinging first through the run with a dry/damp fly. At least through the prime holding spot in the run.
Then switching to a subsurface fly and fish the whole run.

BTW I was just wondering ... why did Lemire switch to a Caribou wing from deer hair on the Grease Liner; was it for the lighter color perhaps?
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post #23 of 40 (permalink) Old 12-19-2019, 01:57 PM
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BTW I was just wondering ... why did Lemire switch to a Caribou wing from deer hair on the Grease Liner; was it for the lighter color perhaps?
I believe he switched because the caribou has a natural curve in the hair.
When tied in over the body, the hair forms the natural curve of a natural insect. I believe Adrian researched this as well.


Mike
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post #24 of 40 (permalink) Old 12-19-2019, 07:02 PM
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Originally Posted by steeliesncarp View Post
Interesting timing on this thread, Todd. I had a little bit of time before my first appointment (wonder how that worked out) this morning and snuck over to one of my favorite dry fly (in warmer weather) steelhead rivers in NorCal. I was planning to fish lightly weighted (size 6 steelhead) soft hackles with a floating skandi/ poly leader setup to get down in the 4-5’ run I was planning to fish. I got to the river, opened the hatch... and found my fishing purse, aka bag, with all my poly leaders was still in my garage 200 miles away. I was left with fishing a floating standing and a straight hunk of 12# Umpqua leader, which I really doubted would get down in the medium to fast water the fish like to hold in.

But, there I was, may as well fish anyway.

Long story short, I finished fishing through the run 45 minutes later, and went 2 for 3 with a hatchery buck, wild hen, one lost fish, and a whole new way of looking at that river in December. I wish I had brought my dry box.
Thats pretty cool, did you happen to get water and air temps? I'm always curious.

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post #25 of 40 (permalink) Old 12-19-2019, 08:04 PM
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Caribou curve

Quote:
Originally Posted by GR8LAKES FLYER View Post
I believe he switched because the caribou has a natural curve in the hair.
When tied in over the body, the hair forms the natural curve of a natural insect. I believe Adrian researched this as well.


Mike
Mike is correct on this subject. I saw the video where Lemire mentions the natural curve of caribou being a nice attribute, but that it was fine to use deer or similar.

Nate

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post #26 of 40 (permalink) Old 12-19-2019, 08:34 PM
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Here's that video :


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post #27 of 40 (permalink) Old 12-20-2019, 12:23 AM
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Thats pretty cool, did you happen to get water and air temps? I'm always curious.
The air temp was 37 degrees, and moderate rain. I didn’t check the water temps, but I would guess mid 40’s. Certainly warmer than the air by a bit. My thermometer was, of course, in the bag with my poly leaders. Good to keep those all together. Usually have my fly boxes in there as well...

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Last edited by steeliesncarp; 12-20-2019 at 12:23 AM. Reason: Misspelling
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post #28 of 40 (permalink) Old 12-20-2019, 08:17 AM
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Trying to think of something to add...but it's 3 in the morning for me.

I know that I have hooked and landed dryfly steelhead in 37 degree water temps in November...but those are summer/fall run steelhead (of note, it was on that cold November day that one swing on a hitched muddler rose 5 fish with the fifth rise finally connecting on the dangle).

I have risen an early bright winter fish in late November also on a hitched muddler. She was a nice fish but came off the hook after chomping the fly near the dangle (I know it was a winter fish because I saw her and observed her behavior). I don't think the temps were as cold on that day (did not bring a thermometer).

So my thoughts: winter is cold; winter in the PNW has rivers being less predictable than summer flows; fish metabolism may be affected. It's obvious it is easier to catch summer/fall run fish on dryflies vs winter fish on top.

It takes a certain level of resolve to go after winter fish on a dry fly. For example: I am fully confident in fishing only dryflies for summer-run steelhead and expect a steelhead everytime I am on the river actually fishing - I honestly cannot translate that same confidence with winter steelhead. However, under the right conditions I know one can raise winter steelhead on dries. As I am typing this, I am thinking of a shallow shelf right after a rapid that will fish this Monday after this weekend's precipitation. If the water levels come up, and it has good visibility, and the air temps stay relatively warm like it has been - I will go out there and fish a dryfly. If some of those factors are not met, I might go out there and fish a dry fly.

I applaud 808teelheader for his chase of a dryfly fish every month of the year. It's a feat that I don't think anyone has ever attempted. I also think he is the only one to accomplish eating only salad every meal for a week when he didn't even like salad (he might have had a Timmy Horton donut though).

Cheers, amigos...I may add more later.. just can't think straight right now.
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post #29 of 40 (permalink) Old 12-20-2019, 08:50 AM
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I also think he is the only one to accomplish eating only salad every meal for a week when he didn't even like salad (he might have had a Timmy Horton donut though).
Tim Hortons donuts are in a food group of their own ...


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post #30 of 40 (permalink) Old 12-20-2019, 09:40 AM
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A fishing partner and I have been talking about Great Lakes fish on dry flies for the past few weeks. I gave it a pretty solid effort despite the weird looks this fall. I ended up hooking a very young fish but it did instill some confidence to keep pushing forward. The idea was kind of out to rest once the temps plummeted in November. There were a few reports of fish rising to floats being reeled in during the past few weeks and we started to consider it again. Despite the odds (I haven’t caught many fish this fall anyway) I think I’ll spend a portion of each trip swinging something on the surface just to see what happens. We both figured that the worst that can happen is a skunk and we are getting pretty used to that anyway. Either way it makes for enjoyable casting and time spent on the water with friends, who knows maybe something really cool will happen.
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