BIG FISH OPPORTUINITIES

While silvers are in fast decline throughout Puget Sound, Chum salmon have yet to peak.  This good news because salmon fishing with the exception of chum salmon has closed in Marine areas 9 and 10.  Throughout November chum salmon will be arriving gangbusters, and some say they are tackle busters.

For we saltwater fly anglers this is a special time of year that many of us look forwards to.  This is the chance to get really large fish to come to the fly.  Despite their physical demeanor every once in a while  a not so gentle encounter tells me what brutal game fish chum salmon really are. But the equipment is simple.  All one needs is a 7 to 9 weight fly rod equipped with a floating line and one of the many custom tied chum patterns available at Peninsula Outfitters.

Chum salmon are making their annual showing in several local estuaries including John’s Creek near Shelton, Finch Creek at the Hoodsport Hatchery, and Chico Creek near Silverdale among other local estuaries.  Remember though, that it is illegal to fish in river channels that cross these tide flats, only beyond the mouth at any given time in a tidal cycle.  This is not an issue as most of these flats are very shallow and are easy to wade.

Fishing for these leviathans is also easy.  Spot a school of moving fish and lead them by ten or fifteen feet.  Then let the fly slowly descend through the water column with just enough stripping to keep the fly off the bottom and well within the visual axis of the fish.  Chum do not look down, but forward and up.

Chums are the Mac trucks of the Puget Sound salmon world.  They are relatively easy to hail, but impossible to slow down.  What better fish for the post-Halloween season. Put on proper rain gear, and enjoy one of your potentially best battles of the year!

Posted in blog, salmon

FALL

HARVEST TROUT, SALMON, AND OCTOBER CADDIS

 

The yellow and orange hues of October herald the onset of fall.  Fall is the time of harvest trout, the ubiquitous sea run cutthroat, as they start to congregate near their natal streams in anticipation of spawning.  This is the time of year when they are most beautiful; their fall spawning colors mimicking the colors of maple leaves.  This is also one of the times of the year when they are most vulnerable.  Treat them with respect, handle them minimally and release them gently.

October is also the time when silver salmon runs are at their peak.  Thousands of these fish are preparing to enter coastal rivers and inner Puget Sound streams. Regardless of regulations, we at Peninsula Outfitters prefer to release native fish, those with unclipped adipose fins. On the other hand hatchery clipped silvers should be kept. They make great table fare.

For trout anglers the moniker ‘October caddis’ does not come without justification.  These moth-like bugs and their imitations are favorite trout table fare on rivers like the Yakima.

We at Peninsula Outfitters have the flies and expertise to greatly increase your chances of productive fall fishing excursions.  Stop by. We will enjoy talking to you.

Posted in blog, Coastal Cutthroat, Fly Fishing, salmon

Silvers Are Coming!

pennensula outfitters fishing classes

The silvers are coming!  The silvers are coming!  I am reminded of Tattoo heralding the arrival of a silver airplane to Fantasy Island.  The silvers are coming!

And the silvers are indeed coming.  It will not be long before numerous silvers are jumping along our shorelines from Port Townsend to the western side of Bainbridge Island. Along with them will be a horde of pink salmon which occur every other year. This is a pink salmon year.

It is best to intercept these silvers starting early July when they are comingling with pinks and before they get in the Hood Canal.  Point Wilson, Point Marrowstone, and Point no Point are the places to do this. Both the silvers and pinks are still on the feed.  They can be caught using normal salmon fly fishing methods described in Richard Stoll’s book “Fly Fishing Inshore Saltwaters for Pacific Salmon”.  Better yet take one of the beach fishing classes at Peninsula Outfitters in Poulsbo.

Starting mid-July silver salmon should be staging in Quilcene Bay to run up the Quilcene River.  The Quilcene hatchery fish are one of the earliest silver runs in Puget Sound.  Once they hit the Quilcene Bay they stop feeding and are most difficult to catch by traditional methods.  However, small flies like the Green Wheenie are effective when cast to milling schools at the head of the bay.

In September silvers will start showing in and around Agate Pass, Indianola, and Bainbridge Island. These are orphan fish; salmon without a river so to speak, the product of the Suquamish net pens.  Many of those that are not harvested will die in the salt. For some years now the Suquamish Tribe has released thousands of juvenile silvers from net pens in Agate Pass adjacent to the Port Madison Indian Reservation.  I for one am appreciative that the tribe inadvertently provides a great sport fishery that last through October.

When these fish show I will be plying the shallow shorel

Posted in blog, Fly Fishing, salmon

Sage X

Posted in Uncategorized

Lowland Lake Season!

WEST SIDE LAKE OPPORTUNITIES

By: Richard K Stoll

 

Lowland lakes open Saturday, April 28th.  It’s time to break out your fishing equipment.  Are you reels oiled and the drag working smoothly?  Is your line in good shape, no cracks or abrasions?  Do you have plenty of the right kind of flies and leaders?  While you have your rod out, take a few practice casts on the back lawn to tune your technique.  Then, have you decided where to go for your opening day celebration.

 

Maybe I can help on where to go.  The decision is easy if you have access to a boat or float tube.  There are a hundred of excellent lakes both in the west sound and east of the Cascades.   On the other hand, if you are a bank angler, your choices are limited.  Many west sound lakes are bordered by private property, eastern Washington desert lakes by banks and brush.  Most Department of Wildlife fishing accesses are no more than small boat launches.

 

Nevertheless, there are a few bank angling opportunities.  Kitsap, Island and Buck Lakes all have park areas that provide more extensive bank access.  Even though these are so-called urban lakes, they provide better-than-normal west sound lake fishing.  Alternatively, try Leland Lake.  Leland Lake is several miles south on 101 and has some nice camping spots.

 

My hot-shot forecast is that Anderson Lake near Chimicum will provide some excellent hold-over fishing after the closures of last year.  Anderson is a consistent producer of larger than normal west sound rainbows.  For fly anglers, Cady Lake on south Kitsap Peninsula in North Mason County is limited to fly fishing only.  This restriction will also limit the crowds.  A recently constructed lake-side bed and breakfast facility could provide an opportunity for a very nice weekend.

 

What to use?  My first bet is midge larvae imitations.  Midges, like small black flies and no-see-ums, hatch by the millions in western Washington lakes during April and May.  It is not uncommon to see the top of the water virtually covered with larval shucks.  They look somewhat like black mosquito larvae, very tiny with white gills on the head.  Fish love these midges and scoop them like vacuum cleaners.

 

An effective imitation is the TDC (Thompson’s Delectable Chironomid).  Sizes 14 to 18 are the ticket.  TDCs should be fished on a long, fine leader – say 12 feet long with a two pound test tippet.  It is necessary to practically mooch midge larvae imitations.  That is moving them very little, if at all.  Expert anglers use a strike-indicator to detect a strike.  This is a little piece of floating plastic or yarn attached where the leader is tied to the fly line.

 

Other effective flies include the Peacock Carey and Six Pack, both damsel-fly nymph imitations, any large dragon fly imitation, and the old standard, wooley-buggers.  All of these should be fished slow and deep.  When you think you are moving the fly too slow, slow down some more.  Aquatic bugs do not charge around lakes like race cars.

 

A point on conservation.  This is no longer the day and age where sensitive anglers keep stringer loads of fish.  Most west sound lake trout end up in the garbage can or the cat’s dish when the angler finds out they taste like mud.  Pinching hook barbs with needle-nose pliers and releasing fish without removing them from the water are solid, environmentally sensitive practices.  More and larger fish available to more anglers over the course of the fishing season.  These are also great practices to teach young people.

 

By the way.  I hope you are taking the kids on your opening day outing.

Posted in blog, Fly Fishing

Christmas Cutthroat

Despite the frigid and somewhat challenging conditions, customers have been catching some beautiful Harvest Trout (aka Sea Run Cutthroat) in our local waters. We are truly blessed to be able to fish for this special, native trout in our local waters 12 months out of the year. If you have not done so yet, check out the CoastalCutthroatCoalition.com to see the great work they are doing to preserve this vulnerable fish.

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Posted in blog, Coastal Cutthroat, Fly Fishing, Uncategorized

Tarpon Cay Lodge, November 2016

Six happy Peninsula Outfitters customers just returned from another very successful trip to Tarpon Cay Lodge on the Yucatan peninsula. The weather gods cooperated, and days were filled with mid 80 degree temperatures and double digit hook ups on beautiful baby Tarpon. These beautiful, hard fighting acrobats ranged in size from 5 to 35 lbs. We were all armed with 8wt rods, lots of backing and tropical floating lines.

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The lodging and food at Hotel San Felipe is simple, but clean, bright and delicious. It is so wonderful to be in an unspoiled Mexican fishing village full of helpful, happy Mayan people. Our host Beto once again made our stay seamless.

hotel

The sunrises and sunsets in San Felipe should not be missed. Our split fishing day gave us the opportunity to experience both without feeling wiped out at the end of our fishing day.

janet-sunset

If you are interested in more details about this trip, or would like to join us on an upcoming hosted trip, feel free to give us a call or shoot me an email.

john-and-dave

Posted in blog

Ted and Jim’s Day off!

The upper Yakima in the fall is simply beautiful; it features spectacular foliage, clear and shallow water, a complete absence of other anglers, and great fishing. The river was replete with salmon carcasses and reds, the choice of groceries for big trout was obvious. We began with nymphing rigs featuring a Pats stone and a single egg dropper. Our first big fish was a twenty three inch cutthroat; when it was at hand two anglers and a happy guide exchanged high fives. A highlight of the later morning was a prodigious hatch of blue winged olives and small caddis flies; the trout did not give this offering any love. A few October caddis were winging about and Jim decided to change his offering to an outsized stimulator and was almost immediately rewarded with a nineteen inch cutty. Both of our big fish were in prime condition and beautifully colored. Lunch on the river featured a steak, salad, and desert, Mike and Ellensburg Anglers know how to do the deal! We continued to fish the stimulator for the remainder of the day and had continued success. It was a great day on the upper Yakima!

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Posted in blog, Fly Fishing

What’s Happening this Summer?

SIMPLY A SALMON HIATUS

Despite what many anglers may think, salmon fishing is not really closing; there simply is a 11-day hiatus.  Area 9 adjacent to the northern part of Kitsap Peninsula including Point no Point closed to king salmon fishing August 5.  Area 9 will open again November 1 for hatchery kings.  Other species of salmon, most notably Coho, have been closed for some months due to forecasted poor returns.

Conversely, the northern part of Hood Canal south of the Hood Canal floating bridge opens for Coho August 16.  Some of our best salmon fishing opportunities in past years, and this year should be no exception, have been in Hood Canal.  While the preponderance of these Coho appear to run down the west side of Hood Canal, many can be had off of beaches on the east side.  While access can be a limitation, a friend with a boat can open up miles of summer fishing fun!  Stop by the shop and we can point you in the right direction, show you some unique fly patterns or, better yet, sign you up for one of our very popular beach fishing seminars. These seminars can help out with the specifics of where, when and how to attack this fishery.

 

ALPINE LAKES ARE PRIME

Olympic Mountain alpine lake fishing is at its prime this month, and they should continue to fish well into September.  Alpine trails are mostly clear of snow making for easy passage.  Many Alpine lakes are substantially unexploited by the angling community. There are some great venues on the east side of the Olympics in Jefferson and Mason counties.  Several that come to mind are Lower Lena Lake  and Mildred Lakes.  Dave Shorett’s Olympic Mountains Fishing Guide is a good starting primer on where to go and how to get there.  We have this book in the shop.  In addition, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife has an excellent rundown on these lakes including trout species and when they were stocked:  http:/wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/washington/highlakes/GeoLocation/600/

 

OLYMPIC TROUT STREAMS – OFTEN OVERLOOKED

One of our most underrated fisheries in Washington State. This alpine wonderland provides miles of uncrowded, pristine waters. Most Olympic mountain streams are open above salmon migration obstructions or as described in the regulations.  Most Olympic streams offer exciting trout fishing on small flies and very light fly fishing gear. A 3wt or smaller rod is the ticket here. The Hama Hama, Dosiwallips and Duckabush Rivers, among a number of other streams, are under selective gear, catch-and-release regulations. Check the fishing regulations before going.

Posted in blog, Fly Fishing, salmon

The new Sage X

x

 

I was lucky to have been given the new Sage X 590-4 for our group trip to the Missouri River last week. What a treat it was for throwing dry flies to big, picky trout. “Fast with feel” is the best way I can describe this beautiful new offering. It has the speed of the Method with the feel and “fishability” of the ONE. In the hand you will not believe how light the rod feels. Don’t let that fool you, this rod packs plenty of punch and accuracy.

These rods will be available August 1st in a complete range of weights and lengths. Give us a call and pre order one today.

From Sage:

The name Sage “X” Rod represents for the Roman Numeral, as it is the 10th major rod introduction in Sage fly rod history.  It features KonneticHD technology resulting in tighter loops, greater retained energy, and dampened vibration. KonneticHD Technology is the next era in performance graphite rods. Optimizing our graphite-to-resin ratio, we have created a higher density (HD) fiber composite, resulting in lighter, stronger blanks which deliver unmatched recovery, energy transfer, and line/loop control. Building upon proprietary construction techniques developed for Konnetic Technology, KonneticHD gives us an elevated platform to achieve new levels in rod design.

X single

 

The X rod’s all-new fast action taper built with our KonneticHD Technology delivers synergy between angler, rod, line, and fly. greater blank recovery and a crisper tip stop – creating tighter, more efficient loops throughout all ranges of casting styles. This taper allows you to dig deeper into the rod and access the lower sections, shifting power closer to the angler. Decreased lateral and medial movement and vibrations in the blank result in a more accurate and efficient presentation, resulting in a performance driven, forgiving fast action blank – refining the Tighter loops. It’s what we all strive for. A tight loop is accurate, efficient, easily controlled, and a way to command the water in front of you. Ushering in a new era of performance fast action fly rods, the X will dramatically enhance the way you fish through superior loop control. With our innovative KonneticHD Technology came new inspiration and opportunities in rod design.

Tight Loops

 

  • KonneticHD Technology®
  • Black Spruce blank color
  • Dark Green thread wraps with Metallic Grey trim wraps
  • Fuji ceramic stripper guides
  • Hard chromed snake guides and tip-top
  • Freshwater 3 – 6 weights:
  • Vera wood insert with Stealth Black anodized aluminum up-locking reel seat
  • Flor grade snub nosed half-wells cork handle
  • Saltwater 5-10 weights:
  • Stealth Black anodized aluminum up-locking reel seat
  • Integrated hidden hook keeper in reel seat
  • Flor quality full-wells cork handle with EVA fighting butt
  • Laser etched line weight on slide band
  • Black rod bag with Titanium logo and Black Spruce model tag
  • Evergreen powder coated aluminum rod tube with Sage medallion
  • Handcrafted on Bainbridge Island, USA

 

Spey X

 

Sage X spey and switch rods

The new Two-Handed X rods let you experience the remarkable benefits of KonneticHD Technology through access to the more powerful lower sections of the rod, allowing for easier and more efficient load carry through the casting stroke. The shaft’s significantly enhanced recovery and crisper tip stop optimize line speed to deliver long, smooth casts. The decreased vertical movement and vibrations in the blank result in a more accurate and efficient presentation.

 

  • KonneticHD Technology®
  • Black Spruce blank color
  • Dark Green thread wraps with Metallic Grey trim wraps
  • Fuji ceramic stripper guides
  • Hard chromed snake guides and tip-top
  • Stealth Black anodized aluminum reel seat, down-locking on

Spey models, up-locking on Switch models.

  • Integrated hidden hook keeper in reel seat on Switch models.
  • Laser etched line weight on slide band
  • Super Plus fore grip and rear grip
  • Black rod bag with Titanium logo and Black Spruce model tag
  • Evergreen powder coated aluminum rod tube with

Sage medallion

  • Handcrafted on Bainbridge Island, USA
Posted in blog

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