Safe passage to the upper Elwha was previously blocked by a rockfall from the removal of the Glines Canyon dam, but was removed last fall. Fish have taken advantage of this removal and have now been confirmed by the Olympic National Park as having made it to the upper stretches of the Elwha!
“Fisheries biologists monitoring restoration of the Elwha River and ecosystem recently confirmed that adult Chinook salmon, sockeye salmon, steelhead and bull trout have all passed upstream through both the former Elwha and Glines Canyon dam sites to reach the upper Elwha River.”
You can read the whole news release here!
With the winter tying season on its way it’s time to start picking through your fly boxes and filling in the empty spaces. Whether you’re tying classic steelhead flies or a Parachute Adams, chances are you’re going to need hackle and a lot of it. We here at Waters West highly recommend checking out our selection of Whiting’s capes and saddles. The benefit of purchasing a whole cape or saddle isn’t just that you get a large amount of feathers, but also a large variety of sizes to choose from. That way you can tie a #14 stimulator and a steelhead intruder with the same saddle.
Top: Sol Duc Spey (tied by Sean Dalquhist) Middle: Isabella Spey (Tied by John Alevras) Bottom: Winters Hope (Tied by John Alevras)
Whitings “American Rooster Capes” are everything you’re looking for when it comes to tying classic steelhead flies. We offer a large variety of colors and styles of these capes including grizzly, badger, black laced white and solid colors. All of these styles make beautiful wings on flies like the Winters Hope, Isabella Spey, and Sol Duc Spey. The same feather that’s used on the wing can also be used as the hackle or collar on the same fly. They also tie in surprisingly easily so even an inexperienced tier can tie some beautiful feather wing patterns with a little practice.
Not only are they great for steelhead flies, but they are perfect for small tails on trout flies. The fibers stick straight off the back of the hook and are stiff enough that they won’t foul up around the bend of the hook. These hackles have also been the feather of choice for tying tails on saltwater patterns such as Lefty’s Deceiver. They’re stiff enough that they don’t constantly foul up, and their translucence helps it look like a natural bait fish under the surface.
Whiting’s “High and Dry” saddles are a fly tyers dream! When it comes to tying intruder wings or camo squids these feathers are exactly what you’re looking for. They’re long, soft, webby and come in an incredible variety of colors. Tied in as a tail these feathers explode in the water with pulsation and movement and are still extremely durable. You don’t have to worry about their fibers falling off in the current or tips breaking after a few smacks on the rocks.The pointy tips also make them great for wings on smaller summer flies such as a Silver Hilton or Orange Summer Run.
Not only are these saddles great for steelhead tying but they are perfect for any of your trout flies. The large variety of colors and fiber lengths makes it easier to customize your dry flies to your exact specifications while still being able to use the same saddle for any of your streamers and nymphs. They wrap in wonderfully to make a great bugger hackle or even for nymph legs such as a bitch creek special.
You can find all of these capes and saddles on our website! Click here to check them out.
Just a reminder that the Hoh is currently closed.
We’ve had quite a few good fishing reports from the Hoh, but it is indeed closed. It’s scheduled to reopen on Sept 1 2016 – Oct 10 2016.
Argus Pheasant secondary wings and tails are one of the prettiest feathers that you’ll ever find in a fly shop. They’re huge, covered in beautiful spots and stripes, and also fairly difficult to find. They are very well known throughout he Atlantic salmon fly tying community because of there stripes and spots, but also they marry very well to almost any feather. Happily, we now have Argus whole wing and tails pairs. The pairs that we received are in great shape and they are at a hard to beat price! And to top it off we also have them available in 2″ paired sections. So if your worried about dropping the ball on getting a whole tail or wing pair, you can get a small piece to give it a test drive. There are 3 options for these smaller packs including tail pieces, and secondary wing pieces. The wing pieces are available with fibers ranging from 2.5 – 3.5 inches, or 4 – 5 inches.
2 inch pieces
The tail sections have fibers that range from 2 to 3.5 inches long. This makes them plenty long enough for your Atlantic salmon flies, but also not too long that they couldn’t be used for muddler wings. When it comes to married wings these tail feathers will marry to just about any other fibers you’re using. They are great for adding separation and contrast between brighter colors, and also very easily tie down to the shank without folding over.
Argus Tail Pair
The secondary wing feathers have a much more complex design of stripes and colorful spots that follow the entire length of the stem. An entire wing on a salmon fly made from these fibers look incredible. They also marry to just about anything like the tail feather. The length of its fibers can range anywhere from 2 inches up to 5 inches which allows you to cover a larger amount of hook sizes and styles making it the overall perfect feather for you classic Atlantic salmon and steelhead flies.
Argus Secondary Wing
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
Coming out in June! Perfect timing for your summer adventures. The boss man, Dave Steinbaugh, wrote the section on the Olympic Peninsula too, so be on the lookout for this book.
“25 Best National Parks to Fly Fish celebrates the phenomenal fly-fishing opportunities in the National Park System, and the centennial of the National Park Service stewardship. Authors Terry and Wendy Gunn tap into the collective knowledge of some of the most accomplished guides and anglers working the waters both inside and adjoining the nation’s most accessible national parks. From jumping tarpon in the Everglades, high-sticking for brook trout in the small creeks of the Great Smoky Mountains, and throwing line in the high-alpine lakes of the Rocky Mountains, these authors and contributors share their deep knowledge of each park and the many species that inhabit their waters. In addition to the detailed GIS maps, recommended flies, hatches, hot spots, and suggestions for gear, lodging, and dining for each location, this book contains more than 150 stunning, 4-color location photos that will make you want to pack up your gear and hit the road for a world-class experience in America’s national parks!” – 25 Best National Parks To Fly Fish
Jeffrey Delia at Waters West for a free BEACH AND LAKE fly tying demo!
Saturday May 21st @ 1pm!
Jeffrey is a well known fly tyer, developing flies that are not just pretty but EFFECTIVE. Our personal go to for beach fishing is almost always the conehead squid created by Mr. Delia himself.
With the possibility of closures looming, beach and lake fishing may be a safe bet this summer, and
this is a great demo to attend for those who don’t even tie. The man has tons of info on not only beach fishing, but lake fishing as well, AND HE WANTS TO SHARE.
It’s hard to come by a genuinely well informed person who is willing to divulge info that took him a lifetime to cultivate, you wont want to miss it.
It’s FREE! Hit the farmers market before hand, wonder around downtown and swing on by 1pm for some quality information and tying demo.
There has been some recent chatter, rumors and proposals all having to do with the upcoming salmon seasons. Right now it looks like there will a very limited, or nonexistent, salmon season in the saltwater this summer and fall. The state and the tribes have not come to agreement on the seasons, so they are both going to the feds to try and get some kind of opening. Coho are predicted to return in very low numbers this year and it is important to protect this resource if they are truly in peril. Politics always plays a role and there lies one of the main problems.
A major hit for us here at the shop is the proposal to close the entire Quillayute system to all fishing, not just salmon fishing, for the months of September, October and November. That would mean no cutthroat or summer steelhead fishing, not even in the upper stretches of the rivers above the salmon hatchery, an area that has always been off limits to salmon fishing anyway. Another brilliant move by the WDFW to never recognize that thousands of anglers like to fish for trout and don’t care about salmon. Lots of anglers do not want to harvest a fish, even when legal. We just want to fish and spend time on rivers.
Voice your concern over this proposal by contacting the WDFW. Contact Mike Gross and tell him what you think: 360-249-1210
On a lighter note, and since the Quillayute system is still open, there are lots of places to go and have some solitude for a change and have a good shot at catching a fish.
There are still a few brand new, bright steelhead entering the rivers. No, not a bunch but they are there mixed in with the downstream fish. Do not fish the upper rivers if you are looking for steelhead! Stay in the lower 10 miles. This is where you will find the spring chinook too and one can get lucky and have a yank while fishing for steelhead.
There are some early trout opportunities too. Some early mayfly and caddis hatches have a few fish looking up, but your best bet is to fish larger streamers and sculpins. It is not too early to skate some larger dries aggressively to get the bigger cutts to move. It does work with enough persistence. Fish it while you can, but fish consciously and with a conscience.
This was such a blast last time that we had to do it again. Trevor is stopping back by the shop on Tuesday May 10th @ 5:30 to put on another tying demo. Hope to see you there!
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!