Big dries for Olympic Peninsula trout
A Cutthroat more than happy to take this Cellophane Wing Green Drake Pattern
We fish them big and we fish them fast. On the Olympic Peninsula you may find our Cutties ready to take what ever is properly presented, though at times they may seem finicky, our fish are highly opportunistic. Nymphs, small dry’s-big dry’s, small soft hackles – big 3.5 inch rabbit strip streamers, our Cutties will eat them. Of all these flies there is one that is held most high, and that’s the dry fly.
Its not that we are purest dry fly enthusiasts (though admittedly most of us secretly are) its that OP trout crush the largest surface patterns with surprising enthusiasm. Often the bigger the better. On the Olympic Peninsula our Cutthroat trout break the norm, having a short feeding period they are highly aggressive and are looking for any opportunity to feed.
It’s that time of the year again where you get all pysched up, buy your plane tickets, hotels, etc to go stand in the cold rain praying that this year you’ll finally hook up with a steelhead.
Some things that can seriously increase those odds:
Guided Trips. This is the fastest way to learn a river, learn what you’ve been doing wrong all these years, and maybe even get your first glimpse at hooking up. If nothing else you can spend the next week fishing hard and with confidence becuase at least your doing the right thing.
Cant swing a guided trip?
Take a spey casting class or even better the fishing class if you’ve got the basics down. At a fraction of the price you get a crash course of how to be more effective, and again, that confidence thing can be a game changer.
You dont need a new rod to catch a fish. The benefits of new rods are that they are generally lighter and more powerful which means more water time with out getting as tired. If you’ve only got a week to fish and want to fish every legal second, it can be a nice investment.
Best bargain spey rod: Redington Chromer
Top of the line spey rod: Burkheimer or Sage X
For reels, you need something with a good drag that wont freeze up in cold temps, won’t backspin on you, and absorbs the shock of a fast take.
Best bang for the buck: Lamson Guru HD
Top of the line spey reel: Einnarsson Invictus
We’re generally fishing skagit heads with T8 to T14 sink tips (10ft-12.5ft) and 2-4 feet of 10-15lbs maxima as tippet.
Skagit heads: Rio Skagit Heads or Airflo FIST Head
Flies: John Aleveras Suskwa poacher if you can only buy one.
It’s an especially cold winter so far, so make sure to layer up. The best layering for socks, long undies and under shirts we’ve found is Woolpower. Puts Patagonia, Simms, Smartwool, etc to shame.
The boys at OPST have done it again with their recently released Commando Tips. One of the reasons we are such big advocates for their gear is because it is made by and for people who fish hard and thoughtfully. They know how to make a good product, and then they’ll go a step further and make it intuitive. Take their tippet for example, great product and then they made it with waterproof labels….DUH! Sink Tip wallet with waterproof labels, no zipper that can be corroded or stuck, and mesh nylon for easy draining, and now SINK TIPS!
These tips are formatted a little differently than the MOW tips, but it makes a lot of sense and is especially helpful for the particular angler that knows exactly where she or he wants the fly.
First, they are designed to be used with the Commando heads, but that doesn’t restrict them to just that function. They are only offered in 12ft because that will help prevent blowing anchors and that is really good all-around length.
Second, they have two different densities within each tip. If you’ve ever played with the iMOW’s or Airflo FIST line you already know the logic behind this, but in case you haven’t it basically just makes a straighter, more even sink to the fly, reducing the amount of belly in the tip and making the connection to the fish easier to feel.
The really neat thing about these tips is the actual sink rates. MOW tips are our go to for the OP. “Generally” speaking we’ll fish T-8 for summer, or low water in winter, maybe T-11 in some buckets, and T-14 and T-11 in winter. That’s going to be oh-so different here, but in a really cool way.
The grain weight is more designed around the rod weight. So instead of a T-8 being used for low water and smaller flies on any rod size, it is used for 2-6 weight rods; the T-11 tips for 5-8 weight rods and the T-14 tips for 7-10 weight rods. Then within your rod weight range you have a selection of sink rates including riffle, run, and bucket. Talk about easy, and smart.
These are geared more toward switch and spey rods, but we wouldn’t be surprised if they came out with a single hand version pretty soon here.
|96 Grain, 12 foot (T8):
||132 grain, 12 foot (T11):
||168 Grain, 12 foot (T14):
|Rod Size: 2-6
||Rod Size: 5-8
||Rod Size: 7-10
||Color: Light Blue
Jeffrey Delia is our local beach fishing expert, whether it’s sea-run cutts or returning salmon he knows the flies, the tides, and the attitude it takes to become a proficient catcher. However, around here he is probably most widely known for his extremely effective pattern “Delia’s Cone-head Squid.”
Delia has agreed to put on a series of classes here at Waters West that you won’t want to miss. First, on May 21st he will do a demo at our weekly FREE Fly tying demo that occurs every Saturday here at the shop @ 1pm. It’ll be a teaser for his upcoming tying class the next week.
After you get a taste of how much knowledge this guy has, AND IS WILLING TO SHARE, you’ll want to sign up for his “Estuary and Saltwater Fly Tying Class for Sea-run Cutthroat Trout and returning Pacific Salmon.” on May 28th.
THEN! Yes, there is more. Delia is putting on a BEACH FISHING class right in front of Waters West on June 11th at the new beach area across street from us.
If you’ve been wanting to expand your fishing opportunites, this is a great way to do it. Beach fishing for cutthroat is open year-round, and largely untapped in our area. So swing on by on the 21st and get a preview of what all the hype is about.
Check out Delias Beach Fishing Class details here
Check out Delias Fly Tying Class details here
Sign up online or in the shop!
We just received our new demo Spey heads from RIO. We have the RIO Max and Max Shorts in all sizes available in the shop for you to try out. It can be difficult to figure out which size head to use, and the manufacturer’s guidelines are only a baseline. Swing by the shop and grab a few lines to try out on the water and get your spey rod dialed in with the right size shooting head.
Here are a couple videos explaining Spey lines and running lines.
We had Sean Dahlquist in the shop this morning to tie some of his favorite steelhead patterns. He is a true artist at the vise and it showed in the finished product. Make sure to swing by when he returns to tie for us again on July 27th.
Enjoy the pictures.