Friday, May 9, 2008

Hunting Drop Back Steelhead

Spawning steelheads on the gravel beds are becoming a rare find now. We are spending all of our time now hunting for drop back steelhead. A typical approach is to start at the head of the pool and swing flies all the way through to the tail of the pool. A very simple approach make one cast, step 30 inches the length of a steelhead, and then make an other cast and so in. When we fish to the end of the pool, we move on to the next. We will make a second pass through the pool only if, I see or we catch a fish. This is classic West Coast style steelhead fishing. We are using sink tip lines and sinking leaders to get the fly down and of course this is classic spey style fishing.

Looking at the photographs you will most certainly note, most of the steelhead we are catching are now very skinny. Do not let these looks deceive you, these fish are hot. When steelheads start to drop back they also go on to feed. This feeding activity has two effects on the steelhead. The first effect is, the steelhead become extremely aggressive. Present the right fly in front of one of the steelheads they will almost certainly eat the fly. The trick here is to know what fly they want. My guesses most of the steelhead are feeding primarily on crayfish and minnows, and most certainly a few steelhead are attacking the juvenile steelhead that have been released into the River. The second reason these drop back steelhead are finally getting some food energy back into their system. They are no longer surviving on body reserves and of course water temperatures in the upper 50s, most certainly helps. We have been using a few flies for this type of fishing the first is a size 4 Brown Willy bugger and a tube fly, called Mickey fin this fly is tied approximately 4 inches long, we also have been getting a few fish still on small intruder style flies. I have also been working on a fly tied on a tube that will resemble all the young steelhead. When I find something that I like and works, I will be sure to show it off.

What is going on with Oatka and spring Creek? In a nutshell, good fishing. Obviously I have not been Oatka and spring Creek yet this spring. But I have been getting really good information from a few of my friends. I've been told that they're still has been a few Hendrickson’s hatching and of course a steady flow of smaller flies. The smaller flies are most certainly blue wing olives, these flies are a size 16. You will find olives on both Oatka and spring Creek. Most days this Hatch will trickle off sometime in the afternoon towards evening. When we have cloudy rainy days, go fishing on these days you can experience some of the best blue wing olive hatches. For some reason olives like to Hatch during wet weather. Those of you who only can fish dearing the evenings look for Hendrickson’s spinner returns. Keep in mind that these spinners will not return in less the air temperature is above 60 degrees. If we have a cold day or two once the temperature does become warm enough for the spinners to return, you can count on the spinner return to be heavy. Afternoon are your time to fish, keep a lookout for Caddis. Oatka Creek should start to have a Caddis Hatch soon. This fly starts out as a size 14 and it is a late afternoon hatch. I have in the past, had my best luck fishing with wet flies during this particular Caddis hatch. I have found a size 14 hairs ear wet fly as been as effective as anything.


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