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Discussion Starter #1
There have been a lot interesting posts recently on the board. :Eyecrazy:

However, I don't remember anyone posting about catching fish. It seems like most posters have severe cases of winter cabin fever and are having fantasies about new rods, lines and reels. :roll:

In Northern California about the time our waters get fishable, another frog drowner comes along to make the rivers unfishable and in some case unreacheable. This just happened again this past week.

Last Sunday on I was able to go to the Russian for the afternoon. It was a little high but green and fishable.

I used one of USA's tube flies and had most of the feathers pulled off by striking steelhead. I finally caught one* as he hooked himself in the skull above the eye.

Is there a secret re the hooks on tube flies to prevent the missed strikes? Or were they striking it out of anger instead of hunger? :confused:


*The little steelhead was 13" to14" long. On the Klamath, American, or the Rogue, he would have been labeled a half pounder. For some reason Ca Fish and Game and the natives refuse to admit that half pounders come into the Russian and Gualala in the winter time.
 

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Fish

Yesterday I landed a 12lb hen on the South Fork of the Smith, and lost the largest steelhead I ever hooked (I have landed fish to 20lbs) on the Middle Fork of the Smith in your home state California.

The small fish you landed would have been called a "jack" if it was bright, and just a native, which refers to a steelhead that doesn't head out to the ocean and stays a resident, if it had more color, by locals of many coastal Oregon streams. I landed many fish like that when I lived on the northern Oregon coast, so I was a little confused by the name half-pounder and I always refer to them as jacks.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
roguespeycaster said:
Yesterday I landed a 12lb hen on the South Fork of the Smith, and lost the largest steelhead I ever hooked (I have landed fish to 20lbs) on the Middle Fork of the Smith in your home state California. "

Great! Glad to hear that someone is catching fish and nice fish.

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"The small fish you landed would have been called a "jack" if it was bright, and just a native, which refers to a steelhead that doesn't head out to the ocean and stays a resident, if it had more color, by locals of many coastal Oregon streams. I landed many fish like that when I lived on the northern Oregon coast, so I was a little confused by the name half-pounder and I always refer to them as jacks."

I haven't heard of the small steelhead called jacks. I have heard of the immature salmon upstream called jacks. There is a two salt fish in this area called a blueback. The bluebacks are bigger fish and the ones I have seen and caught do have a blue back.

The fish I caught was very bright and looked like the half pounders I have caught on the Rogue, Klamath and American Rivers.
 

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Hi Dave

As you know, I'm an American river bank rat, fish it about 3 days a week. I had 1 good day a couple weeks back where I landed 3 of decent size. Besides that it's been deadsville. I'm hearing of a few half pounders here and there and the occasional nice fish. Most are coming off the bobber and 2 fly rig and I like to swing, fishing for the grab, so I expect to get fewer. Most of the guides I know of who are pounding the water hard are boating maybe 4 a day. It sure looks like things are late in coming, but then the hatchery has already counted something like 40% more than at this time last year so who knows. I finally had to have a look for myself this afternoon and drove to the hatchery, walked up the ladder, and there were a BUNCH of some of the biggest fish I'd ever seen in this river. Some hogs at 30" plus, and not just a couple, a bunch! Now I know these are all hatchery fish (watched a while, saw no adipose fins in the group) but upon seeing this my determination is renewed. There may not be a lot of them in terms of big fish vs. X # of miles of river, but there are some pigs in there and Feb is usually the best month, so it's time to hit it hard and get serious.


And if anyone comes out please "Stay off the darned redds!! Seeing too many guys just plowing around in there, stomping through em without a clue. Those are where the wild ones come from baby!
 

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Clearwater

Was on the Clearwater today. It was beautiful. The water clarity was ok, the flows a little high but fishable, the scenery was spectacular and there were lots of bald eagles to watch. Stopped in for a short visit in Peck with Mike at the Red Shed (everytime I'm in there I think it is the perfect fly shop...) and had great company on the water. Never touched a fish but had the fly water to ourselves. Great way to spend the day.
 

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Local Terms

"I haven't heard of the small steelhead called jacks. I have heard of the immature salmon upstream called jacks. There is a two salt fish in this area called a blueback. The bluebacks are bigger fish and the ones I have seen and caught do have a blue back."
I have heard the term blue back used to describe sea-run cutthroat. I should have mentioned that I was trying to get across that there are local terms for certain fish. My friends on Vancouver Island call a spawned out steelhead a "kelt", which is the same word I use for lack of a better term. Everyone that I fished with in Tillamook county called all one salt fish "jacks", whether salmon or steelhead. It would be interesting to know how the terminology evolved.
 

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local terminology is interesting. here immature steelhead are "skippers" [dont ask me why] the salmon are "jacks" which seems to be fairly universal.

i'm pretty sure a "kelt" is a postspawn atlantic salmon. our postspawn steelhead are dubbed "drop backs"

another popular debate is whether a nice brown trout is a "lake run" or "resident". they can make you wonder. SG
 

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West MI update

Well, Dave, we've had a real mess here in our West MI rivers and we've not been out for a few weeks now. This week could be the first outing for us for a while as our weather is supposed to warm up to the lo to mid 30s for highs a couple days. We had a few days of tremendous rains and real warm temps(into the 50s) back a few weeks ago. The rain coupled with all the snowmelt put most of our rivers out of their banks and caused most all of them to become raging torrents. The temps then dropped way down as we had several nights with temps way below zero up at the rivers. Huge ice jams have added problems to the tremendous CFM discharges and have caused additional flooding in most watersheds. Hope you West Coast and PNW folks have had better conditions thus far this winter. We here in GL Basin have to pay very close attention to the tremendous ice chunks that can and do break off when the water recedes. These big nasties will push a drift boat and jam them into the deadfalls and who knows what could happen then. Winter Steelheading can be very dangerous. Hope things improve from here on. Best regards, Stiver
 

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4 days in a row last week as I drove past the bank on the way to work,the sign read in the negatives :( This week we're supposed to get a bloody heat wave of temps in the mid 30's. It's times like these that it sure is fun to kick back and relax in a shanty and jig up a perch or two :)

Shotgunner, I believe the term skipper came from people fishing the big pond. When you catch a small fish on a 9ft downrigger rod and 20lb test then proceed to drag it in behind a boat that is moving 2.5 mph the poor little basterds look just like a skipping stone :eek:
 

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winter dunkings...very bad and very serious

Peter, I have had my share of winter dunkings into the frigid waters of our West MI Rivers. I declare its not a good happening. I have lost my ability to think, all in my mind became very cloudy, and all my senses dulled very rapidly on 3 of those occasions. I was pulled out of one of the rivers by a couple guys in a boat. I had washed down into a dead fall of timber and could not get out. That was my last fall-in in winter of '94. I will not venture any deeper any more in winter than knee deep and I pretty much stick to the drifter unless I'm in one of the smaller rivers. I learned my lessons the hard way. No one can truly believe how quickly that cold water can shock and render you almost helpless because you cannot think and figure out what's happening. I am truly fortunate to have survived a couple of those winter dunkings especially the last one. Please folks, caution is the word when winter Steelheading and yes, keep a sharp eye upriver for huge ice chunks coming down. Best, Stiver
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Moose, maybe we can get together this week on the American towards the end of the week like Thursday?

Or next week, Tuesday or Thursday are the best days for me.
 

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twohand, thanks for the explanation. easy to visualise. i have seen many small northern pike "skippers" while pulling big plugs. they will bite off more than they can chew no doubt. SG
 

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I speyed a 16in native 'bow on the Mo on Saturday. First fish in 3 weeks, was nice to see one. Went after a #4 beadheaded WB white hackle w/ a ginger body.
 

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Grampa Spey said:
Moose, maybe we can get together this week on the American towards the end of the week like Thursday?

Or next week, Tuesday or Thursday are the best days for me.

Dave,
I'd love to. Depends on the weather. Right now it's sunny and I'm working everyday. When the rain comes I get time off (that's the concrete business for ya). Weekdays are a crapshoot, but if and when the weather changes I'll send you a PM and maybe we'll be able to hook up.

Jim
 
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