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weight matters

With fairly low water conditions currently, I have been tossing more unweighted flies than usual this year. Hence, I would recommend a few unweighted squidros and intruders in your mix, as well as some large wet flies in the usual colors (black, blue, purple, red, orange, pink). By large I mean size 2 or larger. Good luck.
 

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Below is what I've got tied up so far for streamers. The squidro's are tied on a 1-5/8" shank with a number 2 octopus hook with less than in inch or so of doubled up stiff wire. Some are weighted and un-weighted, some sparsely tied and some a little thicker.

The wet flies are all on 1 and 2 B10S stinger.

Pulled the trigger on plane tix from chicago to portland a couple of weeks ago. Great price, $260. Will be on the coastal water FEB 25th, assuming the conditions don't send us elsewhere.

Please turn off the pineapple express!!!!!

Any more fly suggestions would be greatly welcomed.

Cheers,
JS


 

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Bunny leech's, in black and blue, black and purple, hot pink and orange. Add a hot pink or red egg for egg sucking leech. When everything else fails.....tie on a black and blue leech.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thanks Fred-

I've got that site bookmarked, and it's been getting used a lot more than normal during the winter months in anticipation for this trip. All of the gauges in this neck of the woods all read ------> Ice Affected....:mad:

Looks like I'll be in decent shape in a couple weeks, barring another wave of torrential rain.
 

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USGS site if great. Here's just a bit of useful tip that might save the trip:

Should the rains shut down your intended stream and you are mobile and adaptable - keep an eye on the gauges. Many of those stations at free flowing streams will indicate flooded or high-water (in the black). But there are a few dammed tribs to the lower Columbia that will increase the outflow ahead of heavy rain-forecasts and will actually drop and remain stable during. Currently - the Cowlitz River for example. Green & under 11 cfs means Go. There are usually good numbers of fish through Feb/Mar/Apr. Most will be hatchery steelhead with the vanguard of the Spring Chinook showing up. But there are several un-marked great fish and of both species every year during this time.

You are very well set with the squidros you have and there is a local fly-only shop who's owner knows the river very well.

Just something to keep in mind should the rivers blow-out during your time there.
 

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Bunny leech's, in black and blue, black and purple, hot pink and orange. Add a hot pink or red egg for egg sucking leech. When everything else fails.....tie on a black and blue leech.
i second that. both in weighted and unweighted. and yes water is high and dirty at the moment.
 

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You're on the right track

When asked what flies for winter steel, my answer is to have a modest number of patterns, but vary the weights. Staying in the zone means having enough weight to tick a stone or two, but not constantly hung up. Patterns matter, but not as much as weight. Those squidros you tied would be great - unless the water is low - then you'd be better off with ones without the barbells. Limit your patterns and vary your weights and you will be in the zone more often.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·

Thanks for all the helpful replies and private messages.

It ended up being one hell of a good god damn steelhead trip, my first in the PNW. After getting picked up and dropped off at PDX, we logged about 2000 miles on my buddies truck. We fished the Queets, Humptulips, saw a boat parade on the Wynoochee, hit the mouth of the Dechutes for an hour or so b/c it was there while driving by, and camped out in Troy for a couple days in a wall tent.

We had a guide lined up for the Quinalt on the 25/26 of Feb, but something was up with the visibility (about one foot) even though it was 1000 cfs below the historical average flow. We heard something about there being a slide that deposited sediment into Lake Quinalt, which gets stirred up when the wind blows. If anybody out there has any info on this they would like to add, please chime in or PM me……??? I’d really like to get back out to have a chance at that river in the future.

I stuck with swinging streamers with a new 13’ Echo 3 7wt with a 510 grain rage compact head, and resisted the urge to go with what I know how to fish with (aka bobber nymph rod). That first tug by a nice native steelie is unforgettable, I’m truly addicted now. For an added bonus, I was lucky enough to land the fish.

Hope you folks out there can make up on some snow really quick up in the mountains, it’s looking pretty bleak out west…..

It’s still white and all our water has a lid on here back home (watching a suburban drive across the lake right now….), but Musky season will be right around the corner.

Cheers

JS
 

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GOOD JOB, with the low flows its been tough for sure, if you think the nooch was crowded ya should see the Hoh!! What fly broke your virginity? the tug is indeed the drug!!!!
 
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