Monday, November 23, 2009

Last Steelhead trip of the Season?

I have decided that I really like tying steelhead flies. Even though I am not very quick at it. Each fly takes me over 20 minutes and so I do good to get 2-3 out a night.

Flies I tied for this trip.

I have been following Mike D's blog and he had a post about tying on waddington shanks. They looked pretty nifty but no one in my area carried them and they were pricey. A bit of internet searching revealed that some people tie shank flies by making their own shanks out of cotter pins. So I bought 100 each of 1/16 X 1" and 1/16 X 1.5" steel cotter pins. I built a "mandrel" out of a piece of wood and a finishing nail and made my own shanks. The flies turned out pretty nice. I attached the Gamakatsu hooks using some small yellow silicone tubing purchased at a small engine repair shop. I am thrifty. ;)

I am now contemplating making some Christmas ornaments out of steelhead flies put into clear acrylic balls.

Home made shanks and mandrel

I tied about a dozen flies in preparation of my last trip up to Salmon. I awoke at just before 5:00 am and drove up. The weather has turned colder and water temps have dropped about 10 degrees or there abouts. Now I am not a steelhead expert but I think the cooler water equates into less active fish. I fished for about 8 hours and had one on for a few seconds but it was slower than my last rip where I had 3 on and I didn't even catch a sucker fish. The skunk is on me. As the temps continue to drop I think I am done till spring (steelheading that is, I will still be out on the river casting midges and nymphs on the SF)....... Unless some one can convince me otherwise.

Two shank flies on the 1.5" shanks

Another perspective

Still the country up there is gorgeous and I enjoyed the trip. I will head up again (hopefully somewhere between Challis and Stanley) when the ice starts to melt.

Steelhead Country

I switched form my 9' 8wt Rivendell rod to a 10' 8wt G Loomis glx and have liked the change. But after watching the guys with spey rods roll out 80 foot roll casts where I have to work hard for 30 feet, well I am contemplating selling all of my single hand overhead 8wt gear and getting an Echo 7 or 8wt spey set up. On the Salmon where you are often fishing with the bank right behind you back casting is impossible a majority of the time and roll casting becomes key. I was making 40-50 foot casts with back casting in a couple of spots but casting 2 heavy tungsten bead flies on my 8wt seems harder than casting a pair of much smaller nymphs on my 5wt or even a set of big dries like a salmon fly and a golden stone on my 5wt. I was using a fairly long leader to allow the flies to get some depth and dead drifting them nymph style. I don't know if the casting difficulties were my own lack of experience with the 8wt, the way the leader was constructed or what exactly but I can not cast as far with the 8wt as I can with my 5wt. Between that and the omnipresent bank at my back I am really starting to lean towards purchasing a spey outfit.

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