We at Peninsula Outfitters love fishing lakes this time of year. Lakes provide the single most important spring trout fishery across Washington State. Two of our favorite local lakes are Teal located a few miles across the Hood Canal floating bridge, and Cady in north Mason County just a few miles southeast of Seabeck. Both have fish well in excess of 2 pounds. Cady is fly fishing only, Teal does not allow bait and has a one fish limit. But if time is an issue you do not have to go far. Kitsap County lakes that are fun, productive, and easily accessible include Buck Lake near Hansville, Kitsap Lake in Bremerton, and Island lake in Silverdale. All have good numbers of fish.
However, the most productive Washington lakes by far are located in the dry country east of the Cascades. One very popular fishery is Lenore Lake in Grant County. Lenore is reputed for large Lahontan cutthroat trout, many running three to four pounds. Other lakes that have large Lahontan cutthroat are Grimes Lake in Douglas County and Omak and Blue Lake in Okanagan County. High quality rainbow fisheries can be had in Lenice and Nunnally Lakes east of Mattawa just across the Columbia River, and Dry Falls Lake in Grant County. Trout in these lakes run 12-20 inches and are great fighters in cool spring waters.
We think one of the most enjoyable ways to fish lakes in from a float tube. Some consider float tubes as poor angler’s boats. However, experienced lake anglers more than often choose a float tube over a boat. They are easy to transport, easy to launch, very maneuverable, safe, very comfortable, and get you to spots you would not otherwise be able to get to fishing from the shore. We carry Outcast float tubes. We consider them the best on the market!
As for what flies to use this varies somewhat depending on the lake. Generally, midges and streamers like woolly buggers are excellent in Western Washington lakes. Damsel fly and dragon fly nymph imitations are often productive in eastern Washington lakes. Questions about what, when, where and how? Just come in and ask. We would be glad to assist.
One of the most exciting times in the sea run cutthroat angler’s fishing year is when juvenile chum salmon start to move out their natal streams to begin their journey to the depths of the Pacific Ocean. The time of year juvenile salmon migrate is of great interest to sea run cutthroat anglers. Depending on the stream, these migrations start as early as February and usually end in June. Peak migration times are late February to May. Chum juveniles start out very tiny, often not much more than an inch in length. They move in schools that tightly hug shorelines often not more than inches deep. Their schools often number in the thousands.
Cutthroat will follow these schools of shoreline migrating juvenile salmon by positioning in deeper water just outside. They make feeding forays into these schools and also target stray fry that inadvertently wander into deeper water. Tactics for fishing sea run cutthroat targeted on juvenile salmon schools is often not that straight forward. Before wading in the water it is prudent to unobtrusively observe if schools of juvenile salmon are present. These schools are relatively easy to see using polarized lenses and sometimes almost impossible to see without. If schools are present it may be a good idea to stay some distance from the water’s edge during initial casts. In any case, wading or not, casting parallel to the shore in a foot or two of water can often be productive. The real trick is to get your fly noticed and targeted amongst thousands of bait fish.
If cutthroat are targeting chum fry use a pattern like Bob Trigg’s or Chester Allen’s Chum Baby (both available in the shop). The Chum Baby imitates both form and color. A fly somewhat larger than the fry in the schools stands out among the masses and can be productive. Stripping erratically also might incite a take. Conversely, using an entirely different fly that stands out among the crowd like fluorescent of flashy may do the trick. If all else fails a surface fly like the Miyawaki Popper can be effective. Surface disturbance will often get a response when nothing else will.
The annual F3T Fly Fishing Film Tour is coming again to Bainbridge Island on Saturday · February 27, 2016!
Living in the Pacific Northwest, many folks would instantly think I was talking about our beloved Coho Salmon. I was blessed to enjoy a spectacular group trip to Prince of Wales Island in July to do just that. The Silvers that I was recently chasing refers to the “Silver King” or magical Tarpon of the Yucatan Peninsula. I just returned from hosting six adventurous fly fishers to the land of baby Tarpon at both the Tarpon Cay Lodge in San Felipe and Isla Holbox fishing with my good friend Alejandro Cruz (aka Sand Flea).
We arrived on our direct Alaska Airlines flight in Cancun about 5:00 pm. We were met at the terminal by a much appreciated air conditioned van for our 3.5 hour wet, night time ride to San Felipe. We were all very happy to have a very competent local driver who negotiated the many checkpoints, speed bumps and small Mexican towns. Arriving in San Felipe at Tarpon Cay Lodge, we were met by Beto, our host for the next 4 days, with a refreshing tray of margaritas. He became our instant best friend!
Fishing at TCL was spectacular! What an amazing place to indoctrinate six Tarpon “newbies” to the game of casting to, hooking, fighting and hopefully landing these amazing game fish. Our guides were very helpful and professional. They offered ample advice when asked, and gave us all plenty of opportunity for success. We all really enjoyed the split fishing day. We ventured ou at first light. When the day became oppressively hot and humid, we returned for a delicious lunch and siesta. At about 2;30 pm we would venture out again refreshed, and ready for battle again. Most of the fish we caught were in the 5-25 lb range. No matter their size, these silver bullets put on quite a display for all of us. I definitely understand the allure of this magnificent fish on fly gear. I was lucky to fish both the new Sage Salt 890-4 with a Hatch 7+ as well as the new Winston Boron III Plus 890-4 with a matching green Nautilus NV reel. Both rods were loaded with the new AirFlo Bruce Chard “Tropical Punch” WF8F line which cast like a dream. I was hard pressed to pick a winner, though both had quite the workout on these strong, high flying fish. Both rods were able to throw almost the complete line when needed, and could also work tight, technical mangrove channels when needed. The flies of choice were both tarpon toads and some custom gurglers on the surface that lead to some explosive takes.
Beyond the incredible fishing, the scenery was truly spectacular. Fishing for these beautiful fish while flamingos fly overhead, and every type of heron, stork, egret,, Ibis etc serenade you was magical. The ever changing color of the sky and water at both dawn and dusk was magical.
A special shout out goes to my friend Dave Boyd for hooking and landing a six foot saltwater crocodile. I think that critter followed him for the rest of the trip looking for revenge!
The food at TCL was rustic, but delicious. Beto made it clear that we could have anything we desired. He delivered on this promise with some amazing local Mayan dishes as well as scrumptious seafood. The hospitality at TCL cannot be beat!
I have been dreaming about visiting Isla Holbox for a very long time. I recently had the privilege of guiding Tarpon legend Alejandro Vega Cruz (aka Sand Flea) on the Hood Canal. Alejandro told me tales of his beautiful island and the many tarpon large and small that inhabit its warm, tropical waters. When we arrived via ferry to the sand covered streets, colorful store fronts, palm trees and turquoise water, I knew my dreams had not been in vain.
We stayed in the lux Hotel Las Tortugas. The hotel was the complete opposite from the humble atmosphere of Tarpon Cay Lodge. It had a spa, swimming pool and deluxe European style restaurant. What they didn’t have was Beto…
Our Pangas met us in front of the “resort” at sun up. We ran 1+ hours to the clear, mangrove filled, Caribbean waters that were home to our elusive quarry. The fishing at Holbox was much more technical than San Felipe. Clear, shallow water, clear skies and spooky fish. This became sort of a “spring creek” style tarpon experience. We all learned to keep our double haul low, flies small and fly lines away from the fish. It was truly a humbling experience where the more line you could cast the better your odds were.
My final day in Holbox was a treat as I was guided by both Alejandro and his brother Darwin. We ventured into a narrow river channel in search of Snook and more baby tarpon. The game here was short accurate casts under the mangroves. Having two of the best guides in the Yucatan as tutors was both educational and exhilarating. The result was a number of Snook to the boat that we took home for delicious ceviche at Alejandro’s house that evening. Delicious!!!
All in all this was a terrific adventure. We all learned a great deal, and can’t wait to come back next year. There might be a spot for you… I know that all involved will be practicing their “double haul” in anticipation of the explosive strike of the Sabalito!
BIG FISH OPPORTUINITIES
By Richard Stoll
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!
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 these wild, native trout are most vulnerable. Treat them with respect, release them gently.
October is also the time when silver salmon (Coho) 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 or Deschutes.
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.
As violent winds and heavy rains buffeted over the past week Puget Sound, six and a half million pink salmon made their ways to rivers full to overflowing with freshet water. After a very dry summer it appears at least some populations of pinks, otherwise called humpies will have enough water to spawn in. Indeed it has been a spectacular beach angling season for humpies. But they will only be available to we salt water fly anglers a few weeks longer.
On the other hand large numbers of coho salmon, often called silvers, have been holding off the coast and in the Straights of San Juan de Fuca. Fish and Wildlife forecasters expect large returns. Silvers are truly the premier salt water fly angling beach fishery that we fly anglers look forward every year. Expect these fish to show in large numbers at local fishing venues well into October.
Fly angling for silvers off local beaches is not a complex issue; simply cast and retrieve either wet of salt water dry flies. Yes, you read right. Silvers are also suckers for certain types of dry flies. But whether wet or dry, fishing for silvers takes some fundamental equipment, all of which is otherwise available at Peninsula Outfitters. This equipment includes a medium/fast action modern graphite fly rod that is nine to ten-feet long for a six to eight-weight fly line, a salt water resistant fly reel with adequate backing, a weight forward floating fly line and/or slow sinking “I” line to balance the rod, a nine-foot eight to twelve-pound leader, waders to keep dry in, and flies. A number of the most effective flies have been designed by us specifically for this fishery and are only available at Peninsula Outfitters.
As for where to go, just about any public beach, given that some beaches are far better for silvers than others. Favorites include Point Wilson Located on Fort Worden at Port Townsend, Marrowstone Point located at Fort Flagler on Marrowstone Island, and Point no Point on the tip of Kitsap Peninsula. These beaches fish well on an incoming tide. But tidal conditions vary with a myriad of other locations. We discuss many excellent beaches and how and when to fish them in beach fishing seminars held here at Peninsula Outfitters. Stop in the shop of visit our web site for dates and times.