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FISHING Bead Fishing in Alaska Yellowstone Trout Streams
K.I.S.S. Keep it Simple VOLUME 1, ISSUE 1, 2009
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Kype Magazine VOLUME 1, ISSUE 1, 2009 Kype Magazine Castle Douglas Productions.LLC PO Box 2024 Anacortes, WA 98221 360.299.2266 Streamside@kype.net
CONTENTS OF KYPE Publisher’s Cast, Welcome to Kype!............................................4
Jig Fishing Series, Getting Started..............................................6
A New Breed in Fishing Gear......................................................8
Publisher: George Douglas Editor: Jeff Warden Staff Writers: David Gantman Dake Schmidt Michael Steiner Gary Porter Sid Snow Jimmy Mac James Pierce
COPYRIGHT Kype Magazine Copyright © 2008 Castle Douglas Productions LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. May no part of this publication or DVD be copied or reproduced in any way without written permission from the publisher.
Bead Fishing in Alaska.............................................................10 The Ultimate Fly Fishing Experience, Yellowstone.........................12 Alaskan Steelhead, Challenge on the Situk..................................14 The Skagit River, Rockport to Marblemount................................18 K.I.S.S. Keep It Simple Steelheaders!.........................................20 Kype-Tales, Straight from the River........................................... .22 The Kype Vise, Freight Train.....................................................24 Sweetheart Steelheading on the Kalum......................................26 A Glaring Difference in Shades.................................................28 Misconceptions of the Dolly Varden...........................................30
FREE FISHING DVD FULL LE N G T H M OVIE
TROUT, S A L M O N & STEELHEAD
FISHING Bead Fishing in Alaska Yellowstone Trout Streams
ave Gantman with a nice, chrome steelhead caught on the South Umpqua River near Cayonville, OR. The river was low and clear on a chilly day in February. He hooked this fish using a pink and white River Rat Steelhead Jig on a 9’ 6” spinning rod. Dave explained that this hen was one of two fish landed in two consecutive casts. Furthermore, these two fish ended the day with a “bang,” as they were caught directly in front of the boat ramp. Being the owner of River Rat Jigs, Dave has a great appreciation for these BIG steelhead that confirm the value of his product. See his article on page 6.
K.I.S.S. Keep it Simple V O L U M E 1, IS S U E 1, 2 0 0 9
This photo was taken by Chris Burt, who captured this great day on the river.
Publisher’s Cast Welcome to Kype! BY
G E O R G E D OUGLAS
ver the years, in my dealings with even the best of fishermen, the question inevitably comes up— what the heck is a kype? And since the word will be splashed across the cover of each of our magazines, I feel compelled to
set the record straight and satisfy the curious. A kype is a hook that
forms on the lower jaw of a male trout, salmon or steelhead, during spawning periods. This is their badge of power and dominance that is unique to only these species. It's an explanation point, similar to the rack of a male deer—a sign of a warrior—a sign of strength. Only the brutes, only the stout, only the herculean bucks will display this emblem of pure power. These kypebusting bucks are known to burn out drag systems, shatter graphite, and snap leaders as if they were a strand of hair, and with such
combo that will shake you to your core and get your blood and fishing instincts pumping. Our HD cameras will continue rolling in our pursuit of the biggest and "baddest" fish on the planet. We will take you on our fishing excursions to teach, encourage, and document the mighty runs of these majestic fish. Please join all of us on the Kype staff, in our celebration of launching our new magazine by enjoying this introductory issue of Kype. We welcome you as a part of our new readership and look forward to providing you
Things are different today than when we were kids. Our time was spent outdoors regardless if we were fishing or not, just be home by dinner. Not today. Let’s get the kids out of the house and into the great outdoors! Although they might bring their IPod, they’ll gain an appreciation for nature at ts i best. Teach them catch and release and to respect these beautiful creatures.
a mark of strength, thus— the title of our magazine, KYPE. Our corporate name, Castle Douglas Productions, was named after the town in Scotland, where my family fishing tradition began. Castle Douglas Productions is proud to present Kype—a new and innovative magazine that includes a DVD with every issue, featuring exciting river shots in our quest of sport fishing's finest: trout, salmon and steelhead. Our goal at Kype Magazine is to live up to its name and provide our readers and viewers with a quarterly m a g a z i n e and video
Joe Douglas lands a sweet brown on a L a k e O n t a r i o Tr i b .
with a quality publication for years to come. Be sure to visit our website, check out our blog, share your thoughts with us, spread the word, enjoy our products and services, and get involved! Make no bones about it—it's appreciated!
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Jig Fishing Series Getting Started D AV E G A N T M A N f you are reading this article, chances are you're probably one of the many anglers hooked on the pursuit of the elusive steelhead. In my experience, success in fishing for steelhead is primarily about improving your percentages while on the water, whether it be making sure your knot is secure or just being in the right place at the right time with the proper tactics. The purpose of this article and the series of articles to follow, is to help you—the fisherman—increase your percentages by utilizing the steelhead jig during your future fishing excursions. To do this, I would like to BY
Photo by Matt Siegumd
start by telling you the story of why I became a true believer in the application of jig tactics. Afterwards, I will provide you with the basics needed to get started with jigs. Why I Fish Jigs It was a cool and cloudy morning on the South Umpqua River, Oregon. I was with my friend Chris Burt, an avid steelhead and salmon fisherman. On this morning, Chris had invited me to join him on a stretch of water that I had never fished before. I was excited knowing that we were to use tactics that I had very little experience with, jig fishing.
Chris had caught fish here on the South Umpqua the previous week using jigs. I had heard that people fished the South Umpqua by side-drifting with yarn or bait, so I was intrigued. The first spot we approached had good depth and the speed was just right, it looked like a prime spot for a steelhead to hold. The first pass Chris made with his jig, he hooked up and landed a 6-7 pound wild Umpqua River hen! After taking a picture and admiring the fish, we released her, unharmed. As the next spot became visible in the distance, I realized how popular this
area was, with people lining the bank and multiple guide boats side-drifting the main slot. We talked to a few people to see how they were doing and no one had caught anything yet that morning. Needless to say, we were feeling pretty good about Chris's catch. As he maneuvered the boat into position, I made my first pass through the tail-out of the run. At the very end of the drift, the bobber went down, and on the end of my line was a nice hatchery buck with my 1/8 oz. pink jig stuck solid in the roof of its mouth! This is when I knew we were going to have a good day of jig fishing. By the time we reached the take out we had successfully hooked up and landed 7 winter steelhead—all of which were on jigs. Every boat we passed, we were asked if we had any luck and what we were using. It turned out we were the only boat on the river that had caught fish. What was the difference? It was our use of jigs that made the difference. The other anglers were all using bait and/or drift-fishing tactics, which in these low and clear conditions were not doing the trick. Ever since that day
of success, jig fishing has been nothing less than an addiction for me; they are always in my tackle box and are now one of my favorite ways to catch steelhead. How To Get Started There are two primary ways to fish jigs for steelhead. The first is using a float setup on a spinning rod, the second is using an indicator rig on a fly rod. You can rig the float system very similar to a bobber and eggs. All you need is a float, swivel, leader material, split shot, and jigs. The weight of the jig and split shot combined should be the same as the buoyancy of the float. The key to success with this system is adjusting the depth of the float so the jig is suspended approximately 12-24 inches off of the bottom at any given time. Float fishing is considered by many to be the most effective way to catch steelhead. This is because the bait used is in the strike zone 100% of the drift. You can also, if necessary, extend the drift for 100+ yards to fully cover a run, flipping the bail and allowing the line to freely feed off of the spool as the float moves downstream with the current. Fishing jigs on a fly rod can be extremely effective when fishing small streams and creeks where a light presentation is essential to avoid spooking fish. It is also useful when fishing drop-offs into pools. The fly rod should be set up very similar to a nymph rig with
a strike indicator; trailing the jig with an egg fly can also be deadly. Again, try to keep the jig slightly suspended so the fish does not have to move down to pick up the bait. When choosing a jig, there are a number of factors to consider; the most important of these are size and color. Most of the jigs you will see in your local tackle shop come in sizes 1/16, 1/8, and 1/4 ounce, The size best suited for the majority of conditions is 1/8 ounce however, 1/16 works extremely well in low clear water, where 1/4 works well at high water. When fishing a float, just about any size is manageable as long as the float is balanced. On a fly rod, slightly smaller jigs are more user friendly. A fly rod will cast a 1/32 or 1/16 ounce jig far more effectively than the larger sizes. Also, the smaller jigs will generally work better in the smaller water more suited to a fly rod. Being a steelhead fisherman, you probably understand the importance of color. Different shades of pink are almost always safe choices in the majority of fishing conditions. A good way to choose color is by fishing bright jigs during low-light conditions or when the water is off color—dark colors when the water is low and clear— neutral colors during normal water conditions. Jigs come in many different styles; the most popular being made with marabou
feathers. Don't be afraid to try patterns made with more modern materials–just remember to follow the size and color guidelines and they should catch fish. Hopefully, this information has gotten you excited about fishing jigs for steelhead and will have provided enough information to give you a solid start. In future articles I will go into
detail on all of the different aspects of jig fishing, such as float fishing with jigs, fly fishing with jigs, jig choices, ideal jig water and conditions, tying jigs, and more. This is all in the hope of helping you become a more successful steelhead fisherman. Support your local tackle shops, and—tight lines.
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A New Breed In River Gear BY
G E O R G E D OUGLAS
urning through the pages of this magazine, you'll find one of the most unique and exiting concepts that has ever hit print media: selective products that have earned our seal of approval through a genuine field-tested approach. As the Publisher of Kype, you have my word that all products and services featured in Kype Fishing Magazine have passed scrupulous review and have reached our highest standards, ultimately deserving our Kype endorsement. With that in mind, each and every issue, Kype Magazine will feature gear, tackle, clothing, and much, much more--all of which you can believe in.
Unlike other magazines, Kype Fishing Magazine does not accept advertising without products first passing our field test. If those products do not reach our standards, you will not see them in our magazine. Think about that. You as the reader will see only the best, the most practical, the most durable—only the stuff that works. Turning through the pages of this issue, you'll see products such as SeaBear, because Seabear is noted for providing some of the best Salmon in the world, period. You'll also see Electric Sunglasses, which upon trying a pair last year, I instantly
Waterproof Fishing Shirt $129.95 8
knew they were the best the sweatshirt and vest, polarized sunglasses on the would bulk you up, limitmarket. Our guides, lodges, ing your access to your rods, fish scent, wax hats fishing gear when you need and other products, have all it most. exceeded my personal Another method was to expectations. buy rain gear that had W hich brings me built in pockets to a product line to replace your all of us at vest. Well, Kype are very we all know excited about. that rainLiterally years wear can be of research, very hot and planning and uncomfortperfecting of Waterproof Beanie a b l e — n o t this material $24.95 includes Shipping s o m e t h i n g and designs you want to has finally come together. wear unless it's raining. The material is called Most rain jackets can Amphibian Skin—a fabric weigh you down and can be designed to be used in dry very restrictive, hindering conditions as well as in free motion, which is espeextreme conditions such as cially needed for fly casting, snow and rain. not to mention the annoying As you well remember, sounds the material makes the traditional measures with each move. fisherman took in the Furthermore, when an past, was to pack angler places a rain hood their rain gear in upon their head, it blocks the back of the his or her ability to utilize truck and head for valuable senses. Number the river. If it was one would be hearing. cloudy, you'd go Sound is obviously a very down to the river important part of fishing in a sweatshirt and safety. I can't tell you with your fishing how many times the sound vest over it. Then, a few of a fish surfacing has presprinkles of rain would ceded a great catch. Also, send you hiking back to the your peripheral vision is truck to get your rain gear, blocked with a hood. Very which, after putting it over important for awareness--is
your ability see that fish jump, that fly hatch, that boat coming, that lightening, or a bear in the midst. In an attempt to find a solution, I searched diligently for material that would live up to my standards and would be part of my everyday fishing attire, whether it is raining or not. It had to be completely waterproof, breathable, stretchable, warm, comfortable, soft, quiet, yet tough enough to endure brush and abrasions. Finally I was able to create Amphibian Skin which
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met all of these qualifications and more. That is why I am proud to manufacture and offer this product to our readers. I'll come right out and give you an honest summaryâ€”this stuff "ain't" cheap, but it's certainly the best. Here are my recommendations for the serious angler to keep warm and comfortable on the river. 1. Get a good waterproof hat that has a wide brim to keep the rain from dripping into your shirt and protect you from the sun and glare. Hats that allow you to add wax are your best bet for staying completely dry. (see ad on page 19) We have found that wearing a Waterproof Beanie under your hat, adds extra protection from heavy rains and keeps you much warmer. Purchase your wax hat a little bigger to allow room for the beanie.
Amphibian Skin The Cure for Fair-Weather Fishermen
2. Wear an Amphibian Skin shirt over your chest waders. In cold temperatures, wear Polypropylene long johns and fleece shirts under your wader straps. 3. Get rid of your fishing vest! Anglers pack way too much gear. Trim down by getting your hands on a wading belt with storage. I will repeat, bulky vests hinder fluidness, organization, and they create annoying sounds. 4. This one is a must. A wading belt is mandatory for safety. As mentioned above, some have compartments built in for extra gear (not too big or bulky). 5. I prefer lightweight waders that are stockingfoot. In the winter, I wear fleece pants and socks for insulation. I prefer wading shoes with felt bottoms and metal cleats built into the felt. 6. For cold weather, get a good pair of wool fingerless gloves. Do not get the kind that have the flap to
cover fingers or you'll loose fish when your line gets caught on it. Also, do not buy the kind of gloves with four fingers exposed and the thumb covered. You must have all five fingertips exposed to tie knots and to feel those hits. 7. The Neck Guard is optional for harsh conditions. Keeping your neck warm and dry can make all the difference in the world. It also gives you the ability to pull it up just under your eyes to block wind and the cold. When an angler is utilizing all of the above items, they will be warm and dry on the river. Their senses and movements will not be hindered in any way. They will be organized without being overly bulky. Do I need to mention how great they will look and feel? That alone will contribute to a successful day on the river and ultimately, more fish.
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Bead Fishing in Alaska BY
D A K E S CHMIDT
ith thousands of places to cast a line and with opportunities around every corner, Alaska is the place to be for salmon and steelhead. Kodiak Island is one of those special places where the summer sun and silver salmon fade with the tourists into the autumn air. When the leaves turn color and fall off the riverside alders as fast as the temperature drops, it only means one thing to me – the
almighty steelhead. Though not in great numbers in many rivers here on the island, it only makes these trophies all the more sacred when that chrome bullet is in your hands and you're smiling big for the camera. Probably the most wellknown steelhead treasure on Kodiak Island is the Karluk River. This tranquil, desolate, treeless place is a breeding ground for all five species of salmon—humpy, sockeye, chum, chinook,
Kodiak Island, Alaska W alk in / Wade Trips For Coho, Sockeye, Pinks, Rainbows, Dolly Varden and Steelhead.
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and coho—as well as steelhead, rainbows, and Dolly Varden. The average size of the Karluk steelhead can be a healthy hen at 26-30 inches, while bruiser bucks with forest-green backs can push 36" and weigh upwards of 16 pounds. By the late summer and fall, dead and dying salmon produce a powerful stench that overwhelms your senses, while the short tailed-weasel (ermine), red fox, and Kodiak brown bear scavenge the river banks for easy, but necessary, food calories before the harsh of winter. After months of fish flesh and unfertilized salmon eggs floating down-stream, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to tell you that flesh and eggs should be the "meat and potatoes" of your fly box during October and November. For as aggressive as steelhead are, they can also be quite picky. In my experiences, I have found that most dark leech patterns, large nymphs, and flesh flies work well from day to day. Dead drifting or bottom bounc-
ing any of these can produce an intense strike where setting the hook is done by the fish, not you. Since its conception on the world famous Kenai River, bead fishing has become a deadly alternative to glow bugs and egg-sucking leeches. During the fall months, trout beads have helped anglers across Alaska to land monstrous Dolly Varden, rainbows, and steelhead. This is the time of year that I blow the dust off the bead box and give my flies a rest. First, we need to set up our bead, peg and hook - a simple process that is easily mastered. Typically 10-12 lb. test does fine; keep your leader long, at least 10 to 13 feet. Slide your bead on the leader and fasten your hook to the end with your own trustworthy knot. Trout beads come in many colors and sizes. You may want to experiment with some to find the right color, but in my book you can never go wrong with pink or orange. T h e size
10 Photo by Dake Schmidt
of the bead should vary only between 8 and 10 mm. they both work equally well. The hook you use is very important. It must be sticky and razor sharp, and for me that means Gamakatsu - C14S Glo-Bug in sizes 4-8, to be specific. Now, you don't want the bead on the eye of the hook or it will cover the point, barb and gap. To solve this problem, you'll need a round toothpick. Slide the bead up from the hook two inches and press the tip of the toothpick into the hole and break it off clean with the surface of the bead. Repeat on the opposite s i d e
current in front of me and use the far riverbank as my 12 o'clock. I decide how
Photo by Dake Schmidt
Dake Schmidt lands this thick Karluk River Metalhead on Alaska’s Kodiak Island. much lead it takes to hit bottom by casting to my 11 o'clock upriver, tapping bottom at 12 to 1 o'clock and swinging it off the bottom near 1 to 2 o'clock. Most strikes will occur from your 12 to 2 when your slack tightens and your set-up comes off the bottom. If you have too much lead you will snag or have to pull it along, which would take away from its natural drift. If there's not enough weight,
you'll float the offering right over the top of the fish. Either way, a small BB's worth of weight could be the difference between a tired casting arm and a tired catching arm. Work the runs well and hit all the water in front of you, then simply take a few steps downstream and repeat. Before long you just might be holding that Alaskan steelhead of a lifetime.
ERUPTING SCENT FORMULA ouge D or r o e f r, G ula lishe ret form is b u t P c , n h e s e s r h a W n e a w y ead. ith his o r 15 Afte eleases & Steelh rupts w h to e r is glas , Trout ater it drives f w at on Salm its the charge th res. h s lu stuff milky di , bait or y , white your fl r e $ hamm $
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Trout • Salmon • Steelhead
ake Sch and mid t your rig is done. The purpose is for the fish to inhale your bead, and when the hook is set, it imbeds into the meaty flesh of the outside corner of the mouth. This great method ensures a solid hook set without the chance of your prize fish being hooked deep in the throat or tender gills. If there is one thing I have learned in my 25 years of drifting nymphs for trout in Colorado, it is that using the proper amount of weight for the water conditions is just as important as matching the
hatch. If you are not getting your edibles down to the bottom where the fish are, your opportunities of success will dwindle greatly. Fishing beads in Alaska is no different. In a natural setting, salmon eggs are very dense and drop surprisingly quickly to the moss-laden rocks and gravel. Fish are quite fond of picking food off the bottom where the current, camouflage, and aerodynamics are in their favor. Steelhead will always stay within inches of the river bottom, so remember to check your lead regularly. Ready to fish, I stand in the river and gauge the average flow, depth, and
The Ultimate Fly Fishing Experience BY
M ICHAEL S TEINER
've done a lot of fishing in my lifetime, but fishing Yellowstone was the best fishing experience of my life! I don't know what I can say about fishing this amazing park that has not already been said, but what I can do is give you an understanding of what it was like for me on this first time experience and share some insight I picked up along the way. Not even a mile into the park, my fishing partner and I experienced our first taste of Yellowstone and it's wildlife, as a Bison was 25 yards off the road. By the time we made it to the motel we had already seen a wolf,
mountain sheep and about hundred more bison! I was already in heaven and hadn't even taken a cast yet. The first night we came up with a game plan, mapping out which rivers we wanted to fish -- thus, maximizing our fishing time. We decided to keep it close to our home base of Cooke City, Montana. Our destination list was the Lamar River, Soda Butte Creek, Slough Creek, Cache Creek, and the Gibbon River. Soda Butte Creek was our first stop. We decided to fish the meadow sections downstream from Icebox canyon. I was told by a
friend to start at the actual Soda Butte, since you can't miss it. It's a big mound of calcium carbonate formed more than a century ago by a hot spring. The first morning was a little cold so I started with a Bead Head Olive Woolly Bugger. I found my first undercut bank and made a few casts, and within the first ten minutes of fishing was hooked up with my first ever Yellowstone Cutthroat Trout! This was the moment I had been dreaming about for months. I landed a solid, 15 inch, chunky, Yellowstone Cutt. My trip was complete after ten minutes of fishing! I had
The Gibbon River drops offYellowstoneâ€™s northern escarpment into the parkâ€™s lower volcanic caldera region. This creates Gibbon Falls.
found paradise and it was called Yellowstone! The rest of the first day only continued to get better. I had decided to switch to a traditional nymph rig under an indicator, and focused my attention on the deeper undercuts, pockets and pools. This way I was able to cover more water and see different parts of the stream. I had a lot of success fishing this way. I don't think many people go to Yellowstone to fish nymphs, but there was hardly any bug activity due to the cooler temps. I didn't come all this way to wait for a hatch to come off; I was there to catch fish! I kept it simple though. When I came across a new section of stream, I tried to compare it to somewhere I had fished before. That way I had in my mind what drift I wanted to make and what presentation I wanted to give the fish. This worked well for me, making my cast more efficient. I ended up fishing the great looking water and by-passing the good water. Yes I may have passed up some fish, but I was maximizing actual fishing time. This is how I spent the remainder of the first day. It paid off with lots of fish to the net and plenty of good pictures. The flies that worked best
Soda B . ut t e C r
for me on Soda Butte were B.H. flash-back, Hares Ears and Blue Copper Johns. The Lamar River and Slough Creek were next. There was a little more angling pressure on these two streams. So the plan was to get as far away from the road as we could. This was easy, since the Lamar River follows the Northeast entrance road a good way. Find a place to park, put the road to your back side, and start walking. The weather had cleared and the temps had gone up. Now we were starting to see some bug activity. Right around 11 a.m. the small Baetis begin to pop. The hatch was on, so we did what the bugs told us to do. We spent most of the day casting small
© 2008 Tele Atlas Image © 2008 DigitalGlobe
Baetis patterns to rising and willing Cutthroats. It wasn’t too hard to figure out. Make good drag-free drifts with the right flies, and inevitably, you'll get takes! Between the hatches, small terrestrial pat-
terns such as ants, beetles, and bee patterns brought plenty fish to the net. Later in the day we hit Slough Creek a tributary to the Lamar River—just below the campground and had some outstanding fish-
ing on Green Drake patterns. This is where I landed my first Yellowstone rainbows and cuttbows. The biggest fish we encountered, during our week, were on this section of stream. All of the fish C ONTINUED
O N PA G E
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Alaskan Steelhead Challenge on the Situk S TAFF R E P O RT
ey, Fishermen! At the end of the day, it is time to take off your waders, put down the rod and reel, and sit back in your favorite chair with this exciting DVD! Forget your preconceived notions of fishing shows you've seen in the past! Battle of the Guides is a refreshing take for today's fisherman who wants to enjoy watching two pros go head to head in a steelhead fly-fishing challenge. It takes place on Alaska's picturesque Situk River, where Guide and Publisher, George Douglas, takes on Dake Schmidt, one of Alaska's highly viewed back-river guides. In a discussion with our Publisher, George filled us in on some history.
"In my opinion, full-time guides are the best anglers on the planet,” Douglas stated. “They have to be, because when they're working, they aren't fishing for themselves—they are there to make sure their client comes out with a good day's catch and an education in fishing. They have to know the tricks of the trade, as well as the best times to be at the right spots. A guide has to be on his toes every step of the way if he expects to be top in his field. When working as a full-time guide on the Salmon River in upstate New York, I knew a few top-notch guides in the area who caught fish consistently, and in turn, they made me a better angler as I was competing with them daily." This was very impor-
Dake Schmidtstarts off his day with a 15 lb. buck on the Situk River,Alaska. tant as word would spread fast throughout the northeast, as to who the best guides were in the area. When asked how he came up with the idea for this DVD, he explained, "Anglers are generally unaware of the competitive nature between local guides. A story that captures this competitiveness is one that starts with my lovely wife, who would drive my clients
One of the most interesting and intense partsof our trip to Yakutat was our visit to the most northern surf shop in the world. Jack Endicott, owner of Icy W aves Surf Shop was nice enough to take us surfing. As we waited for a set to come in, a large Stellar Sea Lion began barking at us. Three of us, one of him, no problem. In fact, he eventually left...That is, until 45 minutes later when he returned and evened up the score. Later on, Jack told us that they are very territorial and will sometimes pull the surfer under by their shock cord and hold them under until they panic, then let go.
and I to the ramp on the river at 2 A.M. We'd drift down stream and stop under the light of a nearby bridge, where we rigged up. As other guides and their clients started showing up—they'd think they were first on the river, since we left no trace of being there behind, no car or trailer—my clients and I would fish each hole and get first shot at the fish for the entire day. The other guides
Battle of the Guides
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didn't catch on to what was happening until the end of the day, when we'd all meet up with each other at the boat ramp." He continued to explain that the steep competition between the community of guides on the Salmon River was something he really enjoyed. "When I moved out west to Washington," he said, "I missed the competitiveness— and wanted to somehow recreate that guide-to-guide rivalry in an all-out clash. Thus, Battle of the Guides." The challenge takes place over the course of three days, factoring in fluctuating water levels and weather conditions. It's not a 'how-to' type of film, but it illustrates the passion and urgency to produce hook-
ups as every guide is expected to do. The challenge becomes intense with a few outbursts of emotion when things go wrong—a fish is lost, the time-clock is ticking away, and the final countdown approaches.
The film is sure to have the best of steelheaders on the edge of their seats, as the challenge gets tight and George and Dake become animated in their pursuit of catching steelhead in order to out-fish the other. It's a must-see
for fishing fanatics, as well as fishing guides, yet also a great film to inspire those who are novices. Fast-moving and motivating, this DVD combines great fishing scenes with an awesome soundtrack that is sure to entertain!
The Skagit River Rockport to Marblemount
Ri ve r
d. cade R s a C t r Rockpo
Marblemount Cascade River Rt. 20
The Skagit River Rockport to Marblemount BY
S IDNEY S N O W
Located ninety minutes north of Seattle, the Skagit River carves through the beautiful Skagit Valley. Casting into blue, green pools while gazing at the snow-capped peaks and a shoreline full of Bald Eagles, is one of the most therapeutic experiences an angler could have. I have decided to share with you the stretch of river that I most often fish, Rockport to Marblemount. For boaters, the float is fairly easy. For bank fishermen, there are many opportunities for access. Although there are several additional spots that are excellent, below is a list of five locations to get you started.
* This hole is found where Swift Creek pours into the Skagit River. Access is easy with parking adjacent to the creek on Rt. 20. A short walk down a path and your making your first cast. The head of the hole offers a great driftâ€” allowing you to cast into the fast seam and swing into the slower, holding water toward the end of the drift. The lower half of this run widens and becomes less defined. It's tough to fish from shore. The slack water on the right becomes deeper, which calls for a long, difficult cast. Fishing from a boat will offer many more opportunities, especially fishing the next luscious pool below. * This unique pool is home to one of the biggest bends on the Skagit River. This particular hole holds hundreds of fish during salmon runs. Due to its depth, it is very difficult to fish. Many whirlpools and back-currents create erratic drifts. Personally, I like to fish above this pool and target fish as they exit. The best way to do this on foot, is to endure the tough, grueling hike down through the woods after parking around mile-marker 99. Watch out for private land and try to find the trail (if you can call it a trail) along the river. You'll be heading down-river. This hike may be well worth your while, since it also provides access to location #3.
* Yes, the same grueling hike will place you in one of the best places to catch steelhead on this river. The reason why will be evident upon your arrival. The fish will exit the big pool below and run up the south bank. They are temporarily trapped in this slot and can only escape by shooting through extremely fast, shallow water. So what do they do? They HOLD! Precisely what every fishermen wants. In the picture, you see a slanted tree to the right...That landmark indicates the top of that slot. Watch out trying to get there. The current runs very fast, and the gravel will slide under your feet. Be content with fishing the safer, lower half of this slot. 18
* At mile-marker 101 lies a big, deep, hole, popular among locals. You can't get much easier access as you can spit into the river from your car on Rt. 20. The photo, however, shows the prime water that runs above the hole. You'll notice the gravel bank to the right of the photo. This illustrates the easy bank fishing that wraps around this entire bend and also some distance above it. The catch is, getting to this location. When you park by the big hole, grab an energy bar, because you must walk up a ways and work your way through some swampy woods. Watch out for private land and getting stuck in mud.
* This is another popular hole that is located at the mouth of the Cascade River. This is heavily fished by locals, but mostly by access via Rockport Cascade Road (left of photo). Fishing from the north bank and down-river from the bridge, you'll find another rocky shoreline that will allow access to a few great spots, including a nice drift into a big pool across the river from the fishing pressure (To the right of the photo). The river is wide enough where you will have plenty of room. Don’t pull up too quick. Leave your drift down a few extra seconds to pick up some nice Dolly Varden that hold near the bank. Photo by Dake Schmidt
Clarks Cabins in Marblemount, also has a trail that leads down to the river. At the end of this trail lies a decent pool, which is a good way to get into some Dolly Varden. This location may not be a good choice during the summer months, however, since there's a tire swing for kids and—believe it or not—sometimes adults.
Battle the Eleme nts
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K.I.S.S. Keep It Simple Steelheaders! BY
JIMMY M A C
ake a trip to your local sport-shop and notice the enormous selection of tackle for trout, salmon and steelhead river fishing! You could fish a different rig every day and you still couldn't fish it all in a lifetime! For someone who wants to take up steelheading for the first time, this selection is very intimidating. Add the reputation of steelhead and it seems catching them is an impossible task! I notice anglers tying up fancy rigs that take them ten minutes to complete. Their fishing vests must weigh thirty pounds as it is packed with hundreds of possible options
for the angler to choose from. When it comes time to rig up, they fumble through pocket after pocket, (mumbling choice words—with warranted frustration, as they search for a particular rig. Now where'd that dang thang go?) Folks, what happened to the good ol’ days when we would walk down to the pond and cast out a bobber and worm? You wait for that tiny twitch in the bobber and the excitement builds. Then there's another twitch before it takes off, submerging further under the surface. You wait for a couple of seconds—and WHAM, you
IS IT BAD LUCK
give a huge hook set with your ultra-light Ugly Stick and enjoy the nice little fight as you pull up a six-inch sun fish. Those were the days! Now, thirty years later I am battling ten to twentypound metalheads. After a great day’s fishing, I find myself at the local pub, telling about the biggest fish of the day. I am often asked, "What ya gettin' em on?" I lower my head, think for a second, and blurt out a complete lie—"Stone flies." Perhaps my fishing ego is too large to tell the truth—that they were caught on a simple bobber
When you caught that trophy fish, what shirt were you wearing? What did you eat for breakfast? What song did you listen to? These are just three superstitions out of thousands that fishermen will think about and live by, ritually. Do these superstitions work? Absolutely! Although the superstition itself may not be responsible for catching fish, it is a key factor in one of the most important aspects of fishing: confidence. The sport of trout, salmon and steelhead fishing requires complete confidence and concentration. If you feel more confident wearing your lucky shirt, then that shirt becomes one of the most important pieces of your fishing arsenal. 20
and worm—as if I am less of an angler, as if others will look down at me unless I am using something fancy and different. Back to basics, my friends. The more I go back to basics, the more fish I catch. The rigs are easy to tie, which keeps my line in the water. There are very few snags due to the float, which keeps my presentation off the bottom, and when my float goes under, it is usually a fish. Drifting nightcrawlers, egg sacs and jigs from a float are some of the easiest and most effective ways to catch steelhead. But it's not as easy
G e o r g e D o u g l a s S r. p u t t i n g his lucky hat to good use.
• 10’ 6” • 2 Piece • Line: 2 - 6# • Shipped in PVC Pipe • Slow - Ultra Light Action
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wrong, I love catching Dolly Varden, but you must get your licks in for steelhead first, then play with the dollies. With so many varieties of floats on the market, choose the one that works best for you and one that's easy to adjust along your line. Adjusting the float must be done until you have reached a good depth where you are not hitting bottom too often. Also, use enough weight that helps your presentation to drift along the bottom, and also enough weight to where your stick float is straight up and down, not on its side. Once you achieve the ideal depth and weight, your presentation should be right in the faces of the fish and hopefully it will end up in their jaws. There are many different rig schemes for float fishing. Here is a simple one: drop down to a six-pound test leader from a ten-pound main line, and add three, size 7 split shot,18 inches above your hook. Spread out the split-shot a few inches apart. Make sure the hook is not too big. I use a size 8 or 10 Mustad fly-tying egg hook. Yes, tiny! Again, the length of your leader will vary, so try to “guesstimate” the depth of the water and work your way down. K.I.S.S.
as walking in the river and casting a bobber and worm and holding on tight. The key is to perfect this technique and place it in the right spots. Most anglers will start fishing this spot by first walking out into the river to make a cast to the outer bank. Big mistake. Remember, just because you have waders on, it doesn't mean you have to use them. There have been many days where I had my waders on all day and barely got my feet wet. Fishermen will often trounce on the water where the steelhead are holding, before their first cast! Steelhead will often hold in the inner slack-water and feed, especially at first light. The fish have found a good resting spot and they get a great look at your presentation moving slowly toward them. Rarely can a steelhead resist the temptation of a juicy nightcrawler or egg sac drifting through their holding water. Dolly Varden also love this technique, exclusively with nightcrawlers. Having said that, dollies will often stir up the slack-water during the fight, therefore, spooking the steelies. So, in order to target steelhead, start with egg sacs, then eventually move to crawlers. Don't get me
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Made to Perfection Noodle Fly Rods Available See web site 21
Kype-Tales Straight from the River BY
G E O R G E D OUGLAS
n the fall of 1990, I was 22 years old and had somehow managed to convince my wife to move to a small town in upstate New York that was nestled alongside my favorite river. Within a year, I passed my fishing guide exam and was ready to take to the river. I approached Dave Barber, a lodge owner and guide, who I had known from lodging there over the years. Sure enough, he gave me a chance and scheduled
my first guide trip. It was a cool, crisp morning on the Salmon River, not yet light out. Dave brought along two other guides and we took a large group down the river in four driftboats. All the guides seemed confident and ready to go, except me, not so confident. I had fished this river for some time, but had very little experience rowing a driftboat. In fact, I only had floated the river one time prior to this trip, a few days before,
when I practiced with my new drift boat. I remember trying to look like I knew what I was doing, as we drifted down the river. I was actually pulling it off for the first couple minutes -that is -- until I hit a rock, got stuck on it and pirouetted on this rock for what seemed to be an eternity. I'll never forget Dave looking back at me with a look of disgust on his face, as I splashed my oars trying to get off this rock. The other guides hooked
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into some Kings right off the bat, while I was still fumbling around with the boat. Eventually their three boats lined up on the bank of a big pool and they, along with their clients, began drifting along the bottom. I rowed steadily until we caught up to them, my clients fishing along side them as well. After an hour or so of watching them reel in a couple more fish, and no luck from our crew, I sensed my clients were losing faith in me. Dave continued flashing looks of frustration and disgust. Then it hit me. I needed to get out of there right away. First off, this wasn't the type of water I ordinarily fished. Secondly, I was too nervous fishing along side Dave and the other guides, who were experienced and quite adept. I took my clients for a long journey down river, to a place I was very familiar with, in fact, I headed right for my favorite rock which is known as "the flat rock." I anchored right there, allowing the crew to step off my boat, directly onto the flat rock, which is barely covered in water. Instantly I felt more confident. This was pocket water, the type of water I loved to fly fish, and had
and tried to chase her, but she popped off. I actually only had her on the line for five seconds, tops. Not even enough time for the clients to see it. As I stood back up on the rock I couldn't believe that male coho was still sitting there, since the male will usually stay with the female. Within a couple casts it was FISH ON once again! The second this fish was hooked, it exploded with an aerial show that was incredible, cart wheeling, tail-walking, and the most acrobatic leaps I had ever seen. "WHOA—THERE HE IS!" I yelled. "Get down here and bring the net!" They were stunned at this amazing sight. They jumped off the boat and began wading down to me. I met them half way and handed one of them the fly rod. These coho can eat you alive if you're not used to fighting them, and that's exactly what happened. This guy "got tore up.” He dropped his rod a bit too low and this fish screamed down-river.
I grabbed the net and headed down-river chasing the fish, yelling instructions. I had a couple chances to net the fish, but both times he was just out of reach. I continued chasing him down, now into some treacherous white-water, which I had no business being in, but my inexperience and adrenaline kept drawing me further and further into danger. All I remember, is seeing the fish, and a second later, being in water over my head and getting tumbled by the current. Now what happened next was something I can not explain, other than giving all due credit to a divine nature. When I finally got my footing and came up out of the water, the fish was in my net! Amazing! It was a big, male with bright red spawning colors pushing the scales to 20 pounds. Later on in the boat, the clients seemed to be more amazed that my hat ended up back on my head, than they were that the fish was in my
net. They said when I went under, all they could see was my hat floating. When I came up, I surfaced right under the hat—right back into the hat. Crazy stuff. Word traveled fast, as it often did in that small fishing village when a trophy fish was caught. This 20 pound coho was an incredible fish for this river, as coho are a very rare species. One I will never forget. Looking back, now much more experienced, I'd never place myself in a dangerous situation and risk my life to catch a fish—never. However, since it did happen when I was young and thinking I was invincible, it has become one of my favorite stories, that is sure to provoke one to ask, "did that really happen?" I usually answer like this: when you have guided full time for years and have caught hundreds of fish, you have no need to exaggerate. Send Your Fish Tales to Streamside@Kype.net
taken plenty of fish right off the flat rock itself. Usually that time of year, you could step up on the flat rock, able to see some kings holding in the slot, but on this day, no luck. I saw nothing. "That's ok, they'll move in soon," I said to my clients. But, four hours later, still nothing had moved into the slot. "Hey George, it doesn't look like this is our day. Maybe we should pack it in," one of the clients groaned. "Guys," I answered, "don't give up yet, there could be an evening push coming through here." Eventually, though, they stopped fishing and just sat in the boat—the morale way down. There wasn't anything more I could do, other than just keep fishing—and start praying. I walked down-river, a hundred feet or so, and climbed up onto a smaller rock. I covered the sides of my polarized glasses with my hands and I couldn't believe what I saw in front of me. Two coho salmon holding side by side, a male and a female. My heart began racing as I motioned down the clients, but by this time, it was the old case of the boy who had cried wolf. They had lost faith in me. They were done. I took a cast and drifted down near the fish, then saw the female coho swim over to my egg pattern and hammer it! "Fish On!" I yelled, as the coho shot down-river like a missile. I jumped down off the rock
The Kype Vise The Freight Train TIED
D AVID FRASSINELLI
ot too often will you encounter a fly as diversified as lodged in the corner of the mouths of steelhead after the Freight Train. steelhead. This particular pattern is a gem for steelhead and it doesDon't be afraid to break free into your own variations n't stop there. This fly has taken nearly every species of of this pattern. This fly can be tied slightly darker. For salmon from Kings to Pinks. The color scheme is brilliant example, replacing the florescent orange and red cheand drives fish crazy. There are a couple of extra steps to tie nille with darker shades of the same colors will keep the this fly, but will be well worth your efforts. Reports of huge same color scheme, but will offer more of a blend and salmon swimming out of their way to less of a contrast. This darker verhammer this flashing, fiery, attractor sion of the fly will work better at fly are quite common. This tells us ...this fly lodged in the corner times, especially as the sun that this bright pattern can be seen becomes more prominent. of the mouths of steelhead from some distance during normal You can also change things up a after steelhead. water clarity. bit by alternating the color of the The pattern can be tied in different crystal flash or the amount of sizes to accommodate different fish. strands. Many anglers choose to Tie them up on small, trout nymph hooks and drift them lighten up on the crystal flash and often feel it can be a misthrough your local trout streams. take using too much crystal flash on this fly. During the filming of Battle of the Guides, George Tie up some extra stock with a variety of sizes and Douglas casted out the Freight Train into the depths of shades. Start with this fly at first light and don't take it off the Situk River. He actually tied them on a smaller steel- until action slows down. Don't be surprised if you end up head hook. As you watch the film, you'll notice this fly fishing the Train the whole day!
Hook: 6 Tiempco 7999
A Freight Train lodged in the upper lip of this nice spring steelhead caught on Alaskaâ€™s Situk River.
Purple Hackle Silver Oval Tinsel Florescent Orange Chenille Florescent Red Chenille Black Chenille Pearl Crystal Flash Blue Crystal Flash Purple Crystal Flash Black Thread
Freight Train Instructions 1. Tie on Hackle for the tail. 2. Tie on the Tinsel and let it hang. Be careful not to bunch up this part of the fly. 3. Tie on the Orange Chenille and wrap 1/3 of the way up the shank. Then switch to Red Chenille and wrap 2/3 of the way up the shank. Tie on the Black Chenille and wrap the last 1/3 of the way up the shank. 4. Wrap the Tinsel spaced evenly up to the end of the Black Chenille. 5. Tie on the Purple Hackle for the head and wrap. 6. Now take the Flash, using 5 strands of each color place them on top of the hook, and tie them off .
Sweetheart Steelheading on the Kalum BY
N OEL G Y G E R Kalum usually begins on the 15th of March and remains strong until around May 1st most years. The latter part of the season is a little more difficult because the water rises steadily and flows increase as warmer weather causes more run-off. These fish aren't tiddlers either! Average Kalum River steelhead run from ten pounds on up. Fifteen pound fish are common. Determined anglers take 25pounders with a little luck and a few days on the water. The largest Kalum steelhead I ever saw was released. It probably weighed 32-pounds according to a traditional formula of girth squared, times length, times divided TEELIE 1.33, by 1000. This fish had a girth of 24.5 inches and a length of 40 inches. The Kalum River, a tributary of the more famous Skeena River, waits just outside of Terrace, B.C. Canada, a town of about 15,000, located about 600 air miles from Va n c o u v e r .
ver had a "fishing hole" where you knew the success rate was almost 100 percent? That's usual on the upper Kalum River for spring steelhead. Jim Teeny started calling these river's massive fish "sweet-hearts" and we use that happy term often. For the Kalum River presents an angling paradise, with uncrowded water in a wilderness setting. I'm lucky enough to live here and to have the opportunity and privilege to angle for steelhead in the springtime when other nearby famous rivers such as the Copper, Bulkley, Kispiox, Morice and Babine close. Steelhead action on the
Kalum steelhead winter over in the river and wait to spawn in late April, May and June. But steelhead aren't your only option. Sometime in April, or more likely the first week in May, massive Chinook Salmon sneak into the Kalum river and lurk in steelhead pools like submarines with scales. Unless you plan to spend most of the day following big Chinooks up and down the river, scale up to heavier gear. Twenty pound leaders and line aren't too much when the river's flows increase with warming weather. 50, 60 or even 70 pound Chinooks boggle the mind and break up light tackle types! Just ask Larry Schoenborn, host of FISHING THE WEST, about the need for such tackle. A TV show shot back in May of 1991 demonstrated the problems of "appropriate tackle" when you mix fifteen pound steelhead with fifty pound salmon and aren't geared up for the latter. Kalum River fishing is so good that most systems produce. I prefer float fishing that suspends a lure or bait under what some call "bobbers" and use a drift boat to cover all five miles and 22 pools of the Kalum River with ease, although it does
take about eight hours to cover everything. The only times I go to shore is to land a fish, water a bush or manage a shore lunch. Best of all, floats help you control your bait or lure location and make bites evident even for beginners. All sorts of rigs work. Most of the time I use dimesize roe bag looped onto size two barbless hooks. Salmon roe seems the best bait, and bait doesn't mean killed fish either! Some look down on bait fishermen as fish killers. They think that every fish swallows the bait. This is simply not the case with the proper rig and good technique. In England, catch and release "coarse fishing" is the most popular and affordable form of angling. In British Columbia ninety-five percent of my steelhead caught with float rigs are hooked in the upper jaw and returned uninjured. When the float goes under (and your heart skips a beat) you set the hook in their jaw. This simple, but sophisticated approach is much, much easier than trying to figure out underwater drifts with traditional bottom-bouncing rigs. If you're new to float fishing techniques check Dave Vedder's book Float Fishing for Steelhead. It
KALUM RIVER, BC
basic. Always keep the fish off the rocks and in deep water. To stay dry as you manage this, try chest waders or at least hip boots. Even in the lust for photographs don't pick steelhead or salmon up by the tail and lift them high into the air; this puts too much stress on their backbone. To control trophy steelhead or salmon best, hold their mouth with one hand and support the belly with the other hand so your prize is horizontal and at least partly submerged. Many pros use a glove or grip sock to grip the steelhead's tail. For large fish consider gloves on both hands. Always stay away from the gills. Do not use a standard woven mesh landing net as the mesh can cause excessive scale loss and split fins; European nets that avoid knots reduce this problem. The bottom line is simple. Keep fish in the water as much as possible, take the hook out gently, then hold them up for a quick
N The Kalum River flows down from Kalum Lake from the north. The river eventually spills into the world famous, Skeena River near the town of Terrace, B C
"kiss" and photo, then let them go. If you do this correctly you will not need hemostats or pliers. If the fish has the strength to wiggle its tail, let it "kick" out of your hand and swim free. Do not hold it back. If your catch seems exhausted, pump it a bit with its head
Early morning sunrise on the beautiful Kalum River.
into the current so water flows over its gills and it starts to wiggle free. Then celebrate, with a loud YA HOO! Any style of fishing is welcome here. Sweet Steelheading!! Check out my website at www.noelgyger.ca
offers more than enough information to help you take steelhead or salmon first time out. There's full coverage of baits and complete instructions on how to use floats with artificials such as Gooy Bobs, cheaters, Spin and Glos, Corkies or just plain wool on the proper size hook. Fly fishing also works, but you're limited because only a few special pools best suit usual fly rod techniques. Most of the typical systems work here, but local knowledge of the best holes can radically improve your chances. You can pick up a guide, special flies and other tackle locally. But while catching Kalum steelhead isn't difficult, it's most important to conserve and protect the totally wild stocksâ€”no hatcheries here. We do this with catch and release that normally avoids the dreaded net shrink and limits the size and number of your catch only by your creativity and your listener's gullibility. But the truth needs no gilding here. A guided day also seems a good way to learn and practice catch and release with larger fish than most catch, let alone release. Start with barbless hooks or hooks that have very small barbs to insure easy releases. Don't have barbless hooks? Simply mash hook barbs flat. Do gear up so you don't stress a fish by playing it too longâ€”a problem usually caused by too light a line or poor technique. Not bashing fish about in the shallows seems
A Glaring Difference in Shades BY
G A RY P O RT E R
as great of a hazard on smaller streams, but when fishing rivers that boast powerful currents, this can become quite dangerous. Polarized glasses will become your best friend under these circumstances. Eye safety is another practical advantage. Besides acting as a shield from hooks and split shots from flying back at your face when trying to set the hook on a snag, polarized glasses were designed to protect your eyes from harmful UV rays, as well as prevent reflective glare, eliminating eyestrain and fatigue. Safety aside, howColor: Tri Tone Brown, Lens: Bronze ever, polarized glassting holes and determining depths that are es provide an excitColor: Black Clear ordinarily camouflaged under reflections. ing FISHING advanWhen wading in streams and rivers, tage. By cutting through glare and reflecanglers will often come across obstacles tion on the water, polarized lenses enable hidden under the water--sticks, clusters of you to spot fish more effectively. The thrill of spotting a fish, line and tackle, rocks, casting to it, and and other river watching it hit your debris--all of which drift, is a rush like no can trip an angler and other, and believe send them downme--it's addictive! river, face first. This There's no doubt an can lead to anything from twisted ankles Color: Tortoise Shell, Lens: Bronze angler can gain a and knees, to drownings, but at the very huge advantage spotting fish and knowleast, a wet day on the river. It may not be ing exactly where they are laying. Salmon are particularly easy to spot, since they are so large. Chances are, like me, you've been through at least a half-dozen pairs of cheap polarized sunglasses. Over a fishing season or two, the lenses become scratched, they end up popping out, the screws become loose and you ultimately twist a Color: Black Gloss, Lens: Bronze
iver fishing without polarized sunglasses is like searching for coins in the sand without a metal detector. Vision advantage, while on the river, should be a fishermen's priority, advancing polarized sunglasses to the top of the list of essential pieces of fishing equipment. Its practical advantage is safety, enabling you to see hidden dangers--spot-
Color: Black Gloss, Lens: Grey
hook in its place to keep them together. If I've seen it once, I've seen it a thousand times. If you've been saying for years, "one of these, days I'm going to get a good pair of polarized sunglasses," and season after season passes without doing so, now Fade, Lens: Grey there's a great product that will surely motivate you to complete that task. Upon trying a pair of Electric Technicians, you'll instantly realize that quality matters. You'll ask yourself, time and again, why you didn't get your hands on a pair of these Electric's long before. Customers rave that they are smooth, comfortable and soothing, and say it's boosted their fishing confidence by being able to see into the depths of the river effortlessly. The word is out--they now have even bigger fishing tales to tell. There are none like it on the market, so be self-indulgent and treat yourself to a pair today or be sure to put it on your holiday wish list this season! Kype is proud to offer you the best in polarized vision with Electric Technicians. Order now at Kype.net 119.95 Shipping Included
Fishing Yellowstone Streams CONTINUED F R O M PA G E
13 slam, so we headed even further west. The Gibbon River was our last destination, and this river has it all: meandering meadow stretches with deep undercuts inhabited by big browns, riffles with rambunctious rainbows, and pockets holding voracious brook trout. We started fishing downstream of the Cascades through the second meadow section. This was “on your knees” fishing to wary brown trout and brook trout. If you're into stalking fish, this is the place for you. One bad cast and the fish were gone. I was able to land a good number of brookies on this section of stream using small terrestrial patterns. I also managed to miss a few
larger browns. We continued down river to the next stop - Gibbon Falls. The water drops 88 feet, forming a barrier to migrating trout. The river here is a succession of riffles, runs, and pools— custom made for a nymph angler. I worked my way through the pockets and pools with a size #14 B.H. Hares Ear under an indicator. I managed to land a couple of brown trout -- the largest close to 15 inches. I reached my goal: I landed a Cutthroat, Rainbow, Cuttbow, Brook, and Brown trout in the park. The flies that worked the best on the Gibbon were small terrestrial patterns through the meadow and classic nymphs through the pocket water. As I looked up at the Gibbon Falls it really hit me.
It was no longer about the trout. It was about the water and country the trout lived in. This was an incredible place not only to fish, but also to see and be a part of. If you are a trout angler, Yellowstone is the perfect place. You have so many rivers to choose from to fit every style of fishing. This was just a taste of what I experienced. I don't know if there are enough words in the English language to describe the beauty I saw and the excitement I felt! Yellowstone is one of the most beautiful places you will ever visit and the fishing is phenomenal. Every penny you spend on this trip will be worth it. If a 28 year old fishing guide from Pennsylvania can do it, so can you!
we landed here were between 14 and 18 inches. The patterns that worked the best on these two rivers were tiny Baetis, beetles, and the Green Drakes until the hatch ended. The last two rivers we fished were my favorites. The first is a small tributary to the Lamar River called Cache Creek. This creek is only accessible by hiking the Lamar river trail 2.75 miles until it intercepts the Cache creek trail, then another .25 miles to the actual stream itself. The hike was well worth it. I can't tell you how many fish we caught. I just know it was one of the best days, if not the best day, of fishing I have ever had! You could catch as many 8-14 inch Cutthroats as you wanted. I fished a size #18 parachute Adams almost the entire time and could not keep the fish off. I think the key to this stream is the lack of pressure it receives. Or maybe we were lucky and it was just one of those days! I would suggest designating a day to hike in and fish one of the smaller streams. There's a lot to choose from. Not only will you have solitude but you'll be able to take in the surrounding beauty Yellowstone has to offer. Up to this point we had focused our efforts on the Lamar River and its tributaries. We caught Yellowstone Cutthroats, Rainbows, and Cuttbows. Now it was time to round out the grand
Michael Steiner lands another trout in the pristine, wilderness country of Yellowstone.
Misconceptions of the Dolly Varden BY
JA M E S P IERCE
t's a few hours into a day on the river and you're sensing this is going to be a slow day for steelhead. One slight change in your technique and presentation, can turn a tentative day into an action-packed adventure with Dolly Varden. One day while watching her uncle bring in a "bull trout" on the upper McCloud River in California, fifteen year old Elda McCloud told him he should call the fish "Dolly Varden" after the character in "Barnaby Rudge", an 1860 Charles Dickens's novel. "Dolly Varden" was known for her colorful dresses—one of which was green with pink polka dots. Needless to say, the name stuck. There is much confusion
as to whether Dolly Varden is in the char family or is it simply a bull trout? Fishermen and biologist have debated this question for years. Presently, the species that run these western Washington rivers are now classified by the Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife as bull trout, a separate species from Dolly Varden, but still call them Dolly Varden. Dollies are sometimes looked down upon by fishermen. This injustice began years ago when declines of salmon were blamed on Dolly Varden. It was believed, back then, that they ate too many salmon eggs and fry. Between 1921 and 1940 there was a bounty put on Dollies where anglers
were paid for the tails. The bounty was lifted, with evidence showing that man is primarily responsible for the decline of salmon. These fish typically range in size from 12-22 inches, but can grow as large as ten pounds in these western rivers. Dolly Varden is a pretty fish with olive green backs and colorful sides similar to a brook trout. Smaller Dolly Varden tend to eat terrestrial and aquatic insects. Stone-flies and leeches seem to be a delicacy for these aggressive feeders. It’s been reported to me that eggsucking leech patterns will produce some heavy hits. As they grow larger they begin to prey on other small fish. Tie on a streamer and hold on tight!
Brent Welsh lands a big Dolly Varden on the Skagit River. His wife Elizabeth landed a few of her own earlier that day.
Typically Dolly's do not hold in the faster current. Similar to steelhead, they tend to hold inside of the seams in the slower water. They tend to prefer a mixture of half gravel, half rock bottom, with a slight slope. There are two easy techniques you can use to fish for Dolly Varden, while still being able to catch steelhead. The first technique is plugging a hole with either a Rapala's or Hot Shots. Run them close to your boat, only twenty five feet should do the trick. The second, is bottom-bouncing nightcrawlers close to the bottom—which is pretty much a sure thing. You'll often see the fish nearly choking on a nice, juicy worm. They are irresistible! On my first guide trip, we nailed a few Dolly Varden, which resulted in my clients leaving happy, and at the same time, I felt fulfilled seeing them enjoy the action. When the hook is set and you feel that strong pull back, you are loving life! Dolly Varden are not only fun to catch, but you'll enjoy a decent fight and a great view of this colorful fish. Despite all the confusion, misidentification and their bad reputation, these fish have proven to provide excellent sport fishing opportunities.
Fishing Adventures Photo by Dake Schmidt
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Suggestions for your next fishing adventure... Washington State: Majestic rivers pour through lush and pristine wilderness. Fishing under snow-capped peaks and hooking into big steelhead and salmon.
Oregon is jam packed with river after river that are world class fisheries. Some of the most beautiful rivers twisting through picturesque terrain.
The Skeena River System in Northern British Columbia. One of the biggest runs of Salmon and Steelhead in the world. First class all the way.
Great Lake Tributaries for 10 to 20 pound Brown Trout. 40 pound Monster Kings. And up to 20 pound chrome Steelhead. All in your east coast, back yard.
Yellowstone National Park Region. Some of the best trout streams in the world, all within 100 miles of each other. This trip of a lifetime awaits you.
Fishing Alaska, need we say more? Untouched, remote territory teeming with huge runs of fish. Donâ€™t put this trip off any longer.
Published on May 16, 2010
George Douglas' Kype Fishing Magazine. Each issue comes with its own DVD on steelhead salmon and trout fishing.