Lefty Kreh- Thanks For Everything!

Lefty Kreh

Lefty was everyones favorite fly fishermen.  If you ask anyone in fly fishing who the most legendary fly fishermen is; without hesitation… “Lefty!”.  I find it hard to believe anyone who has ever lived helped grow the sport more than Lefty.  It was not through his social media, or his hip style.  His smile alone just made fly fishing look fun. Lefty’s patients and reasonable approach to teaching made it achievable.  Countless people studied his writing, videos, and seminars trying to pick up a hint of what he had to say. Lefty always appeared to be a very happy man, and I would venture to say, a lot of that had to come from bringing the joy of fly fishing to so many anglers. I can’t think of a expression more iconic to fly fishing than that Lefty Kreh smile.

Cheers Lefty

I first became aware of Lefty because of his picture on the wall at the old McRae’s bait shop in Homosassa Florida.  His weird name and his crazy tarpon photos amazed me. Now we didn’t fish for tarpon as a kid.  However, Homosassa was a fishing town, every kid knew the stories of the Homosassa tarpon.  Then there was this Lefty fella… He was out there fishing for them with a fly rod… What the hell was a fly rod?  Not to mention why did people want to follow him around with a camera?  His smile just had this mystery to it, like he knew something about fishing that made it extra fun.  He made you want to know his secrets.

Then a few years later I learned about fly fishing.  I picked up a book on tying knots, by Lefty Kreh! “Thats the crazy smiling tarpon dude from wall at McRea’s!”  Then I watched Youtube videos for hours on how to cast a fly rod… “Hey this guy is everywhere!”  It didn’t seem to matter if he was teaching a casting video on Youtube or holding up a fish from some corner of the world.  That smile was recognizable anywhere.  Was I starting to learn what made him so happy?!

I, like probably thousands of other fly fishermen spent hours studying his casting, knot tying, fly tying, and teaching techniques.  Actually I can’t remember I time when I didn’t know the name “Lefty”. From the first time I went down to the bait shop with my folks, to the first time I ever cast a fly rod.

Thanks For Everything

  I posted this on my social media, but Paul Puckett sketched something up that I thought was so perfect, I cant help but share it again.  Paul captured what we all loved about Lefty, I never knew him, but “Thanks for everything!”

Lefty Kreh, Thanks for Everything, Paul Puckett

Thank you Lefty, and thank you to your family for sharing his time with all of us.

Chum Fry Competition Winner

All-Waters Fly Fishing Chum Fry Winner

Chum Fry Competition Winner

Well, we had quite a few chum fry submitted to us and a few sent us photos that didn’t want to part with their flies.  We had a lot of fun with this fly tying competition. Further, we had a really hard time picking the winner.  Actually, we are behind on posting this because we hated to pick a winner.

First off, we chose the winner because it was something we would want to fish.  The tier followed the rules, and provided something unique.  Not only that, but the difficulty of tying a such a small fly with the movement and detail is pretty high.  This along with the runner up were the two flies most unlike the commercially available chum patterns. It was hard to pick a winner, however here you are…

And Now For The Winner!

So! Without further ado… Your winner is Mr. Bram Wessel.   Bram actually submitted two chum fry, Early Chum Fry and Late Chum Fry.  Bram’s pattern is well balanced for a small flat-wing, I actually had to double take how it was tied to realize how much thought went into its fishability.  I am a sucker for the use of the fish mask being filled enough to fool me into thinking it was epoxy too!  The flies will swim well, fish well, and I will be bummed to not keep them for my box.  Bram will be contacted today to schedule his day on the water! Congrats!

My runner up is from one of my favorite guys. Bob Kline! Bob wins on creativity.  First off, I was super impressed with the creative use of a paddle tail on a small fly.  Bob also wins on a love for Fly Fishing.  Not to mention, one of the most unique tippers I’ve ever met as a fly fishing guide.  Bob runs a christmas tree farm in the Kingston/Pouslbo area and my daughter and I went a cut down our christmas tree after fishing with him last year!  Thanks a ton Bob!

Like I said, I hated having to pick a winner in this one.  There were a ton of great flies that we received.  We actually did not get any crummy flies (believe me, I expected it).  Thanks to everyone who participated and we look forward to doing this again soon!

The next competition we do will be Sand Lance. We will announce it in May as the chum fry start to dissipate a bit.

Post Weekend Weekend Fishing Report

Post Weekend Weekend Fishing Report!

This past weekend was beautiful out on the water.  We had flat water (for the most part) and good fishing throughout the weekend.   However,  we did hit our first couple of post spawn fish of the year and found most of our fish pushed way up in the estuaries.  Also, we saw a few more schools of those chum fry kicking around.  As a result, I would venture to guess we are days away from the big migration starting.

First,  we were seeing some evidence of post spawned fish in a couple of spots.  If you find that you are seeing some skinny fish with frayed fins, I recommend leaving and finding some new water.  Which,  is exactly what we did.  If you do end up with a post spawn fish on the line,  quickly get it on it’s way.  These fish just did their business and are trying to adapt back to their marine environment.  You are only making it easier on yourself the next time you visit this area.

Most of the fish we found the last few days were chasing down sculpin and shrimp patterns still.  However, towards the end of the day yesterday it was getting a little bumpy, the boat was rocking and the shorelines were getting a little murky. With the added turbidity to the water, we were having trouble seeing our flies.  In response we switched it up to a larger, flashier traditional flat-wing and found a lot more success.  I find that if I can see the fly, the fish can see the fly as well.

We did fish a few chum fry patterns toward the end of the day on Saturday with success. However, I will be honest and say I am not sure it would of mattered what we were tossing.  The fish are well schooled up and wanting to eat anything that crosses their path.  The biggest challenge of the weekend was finding the areas the fish were podded up in.  Once we found the fish, the catching part was fairly easy.

Upcoming Weather and Dates!

This week we have some great weather in the Forecast! With the light winds and bright weather it is feeling a heck of a lot like spring!  We have Thursday open this week along with Friday Morning for a half day!  In addition,  our next openings are next Thursday (22nd) and Friday (23rd)!


Speaking of fishing…


We have a handful of speaking engagements coming up that I wanted to let you all know about.  Come on out, as I am excited to meet some new folks and see some familiar faces at all of these events.

First, we have 2 presentations at the Lynnwood Fly Fishing show! This is the biggest fly fishing show of the year in Washington.  Again, We are talking about fishing for Sea Run Cutthroat on Hood Canal.  This show will be a lot of fun and I can’t wait to see you all at there.  We are no stranger to the Lynnwood Show, and we are stoked to be back. Come check out the new program, February 17th & 18th.  Come hang out in the booth, enter the raffle, and let’s talk some fish!

Second, We will be the guest of the Bainbridge Island Fly Fishers.  The good folks on the Island are having us out to talk about our program and Fly Fishing Puget Sound/Hood Canal. Check them out if you are in the area.  February 27th we are hanging out with them.

Next, March 15th we are headed up to the Fidalgo Fly Fishers in Anacortes Washington.  We are spreading our word of good fishing cheer and having a good time on Hood Canal. Finally,  we look forward to being back in this part of the state and seeing some old friends!

Last, the final one for the spring will be on May 16th down at the Clark Skamania Fly Club in Vancouver Wa.  I absolutely love this club, and enjoy the heck out of hanging out with them all. I can’t wait to get back down there and talk Forest into buying me a cocktail.

We are looking forward to hanging out and meeting all of you.  Until then we will see you on the water!

Fishing Report 2/6/2018

Fishing Report 2/6/2018:

Fishing Report 2/6/2018

The first fishing report of February already! Fishing has been steady and similar fishing to the last one to be honest.  Predicting the wind and weather has really been the battle this past week.  However, the fish wanted to cooperate, so that makes it easier.  They are real focused in on sculpin and sand shrimp on the flats and shallow water. We did however see our first set of chum fry in the southern stretches of Hood Canal this past week.  We are looking forward to the schools coming out in the next coming weeks.

Additionally we found most of our fish this past week fell to a new sculpin pattern we have been working on.  I plan on sharing that one with you in the next week.  We have been looking for a durable and larger profile sculpin pattern that does not hold much water.  We are pretty excited to share what we came up with.

Weather Report:

This coming week is looking beautiful and to be honest we are looking forward to fishing in some nicer weather! Chum fry should be showing up and the sun screen might even make an appearance.  A little wind on the forecast but nothing we can not hide from.


Open Dates:

We have a cancelation date for this coming Saturday.  Good weather and great fishing, that one should fill up quick! Also next Tuesday and Thursday are open for what we think will be the true kick off of Chum Fry Season!  Get your dates soon spring is filling up fast!


Perfecting Performance: The Perfect Set Up For Chum Fry

Perfecting Performance: The Perfect Set Up For Chum Fry

The chum fry season is upon us. In the next couple of weeks we will start seeing the beginning of the biggest out migration of salmon in Washington state.  Sea Run Cutthroat are the first predatory fish to get a taste at these baby salmon as they begin on their long hard fought journey to the ocean. Here are a few tips at how we keep our rods rigged for chum fry hatch.

Set Up For Chum Fry

Brita’s Double Chum Fry

When putting together our set up for chum fry season we consider these things:

  • Adding action to a small baitfish
  • Keeping our fly in the water
  • Getting our fly to the bait balls without spooking them

First, add action to a small baitfish. This is actually a two step process. Tying a small “Lefty’s Loop Knot” will add a bit of action to the fly, allowing the fly to swim freely on the tippet. If you jump on “Animated Knots” it’s called the “Non Slip Mono Loop”.  So far, this is a pretty darn good start.

Set Up For Chum Fry

However, we are not done adding movement to your fly.  I typically fish 2x or 10lb Fluoroflex Plus tippet in the salt. For Chum Fry Season we are stepping down a notch to 3x or 8.5lb tippet. These are fairly small flies, and we are trying to make the best of it.  Also, lengthen your leader a bit to 8-10ft.  This will allow your fly to swim as free as you can get while still being manageable and attached to your fly line.  Whew, we are now feeling trouty and light huh? Let’s move on to the next couple steps in our quest for greatness.

Big Fish Set Up For Chum Fry

Next on the list, Keeping your fly in the water! While this seems like a no brainer, there is some technique to this. If you are fishing a sinking line, you are going to be on the bottom for this one. We want to move our fly and get the fishes attention, however we want to fish slowly… How do we do this? As short of strips as you can possibly do quickly. Keep that fly moving, however bring in a very small amount of line while doing so. Occasionally I will twitch my rod tip while keeping tight to my fly, but that is some next level teasing. Now picking out a fly line for this task is a bit harder. We love throwing the floating line when at all possible, however occasionally in the wind the intermediate line tracks the chop a bit better and detects more strikes.

Let’s review:   We are throwing a beautifully tied chum fry (maybe it was one of the winners from the contest).  To attach that fly to our tippet is a Lefty’s Loop Knot to keep it swimming freely. Furthermore we are extending our leader out to 8-10′ to add the extra stealth and movement to the fly. We are coming up in the water column to a floating or intermediate line to keep our fly from fouling on the bottom with a slow retrieve. Now, how do we get it to the fish with some grace so we do not spook the school of bait or the Cutthroat?

My favorite two lines for sending chum fry flying are The Rio Outbound Floater, or the Coastal Quickshooter Intermediate. Here’s why:

First, The Rio Outbound floating line is a smooth sailing rocket launcher. It’s fun to cast distance with this line smoothly, but if you need to punch it, the line preforms well under pressure. Also fishing a floating line is fun, and this one will handle the longer leader a bit better than the outbound short will.

Big fish Set Up For Chum Fry

Now for the Coastal Quick Shooter Intermediate line. If there is chop on the water during chum fry season, which early season, there often is. The Coastal Quick Shooter Intermediate line will get down in it and track straight on the retrieve rather than getting slack from the chop. This is even more evident when the boat is bouncing a bit. Also the Coastal Quick Shooter is just that, it’s quick! One back cast and get that fly back in the water.  You didn’t get on my boat to look good casting, you got on to catch fish.

We have discussed the ammunition, now for the weapon of choice.  I think the 691-4 Sage X is the best suited rod for the job. This rod is just plain fun. The 9′ length allows you to fish the fly with a twitchy retrieve without diving your rod tip to far off the boat, and the power and recovery of the rod allows you to shoot a line such as the Outbound with a 10′ leader without getting chatter.

Add your reel of choice and you have yourself a picture perfect set up for fishing Chum Fry in the Puget Sound off the beach or off of a boat. I’ll add that my real of choice is the Sage Spectrum Max for its toughness and smooth drag.  Along with it’s polished looks and the ability to have it match most rods on the market.

Coming soon

Alright folks, we were a bit light this week due to some predictably bad weather and busy schedules.

I wanted to give a quick update on some upcoming things to look for:

  • We have a new fly tying video about to be dropped on one of the most outrageous flies I’ve seen in a while… I’ll say this the video title will be “Brita Get’s Dirty. A little bit of editing and that will be out.
  • A update on the Fly Tying competition/ Fly Fishing Show will be coming this weekend.
  • The best set up for tossing Chum Fry
  • A new introduction to the All-Waters Fly Fishing staff
  • A new fly tying step by step.
  • New Classes Coming Soon!
  • I know some of you figured it out already, but we will have our big announcement for this summer right after the Fy Fishing show.

We have been super busy this week and missed out on a few days of the Fish Stories, and we are sorry for that.  I will leave you with this sweet video from Sage Fly Rods on fishing the Mod on the Henry’s Fork!  We love the Henry’s Fork and the Mod, and thought it might be an appropriate lead up to some of those big announcements that are coming.

Sage MOD from Sage Fly Fish on Vimeo.

Shrimp Flies

Shrimp Flies

Brita Shrimp Fly

Brita’s Flatwing Spey

I grew up fishing for Redfish and Sea Trout on the Gulf Coast of Florida.  When we choose to fish with bait we used shrimp bought at McRae’s Bait House at McRae’s Marina.  This gem of a bait shop is in Good Ol’ Homosassa Florida.  It just so happened when we fished shrimp we caught tons of bi-catch. Redfish, snook, snapper, grouper, ladyfish…. You get the point.

When I moved to Bellingham I started fishing on the famed “S” Rivers with a Spey rod.  I was (stupidly) shocked to hear that a popular bait for Steelhead was Shrimp! Turns out, if it swims in saltwater, it eats shrimp.

As I gained a little skill at the vise and a little more knowledge of swinging for steelhead my favorite flies became the General Practitioner variations and other “Shrimpy” Spey Flies.  As most Steelhead flies represented “something moving to gain the fishes attention” I always liked my flies to, in theory, look like food.

Sea Run Cutthroat also are a Anadromous Trout, that spends most of it’s life running the shorelines of Puget Sound and Hood Canal. Furthermore, Sand shrimp spend most of their life in these regions, yet, fly fishermen seldom tie flies that represent these soft tasty morsels.  Sand Shrimp flies are a go to for me in the winter months when the bait fish are a little more scarce and the tides are big.  Also, Sand Shrimp tend to be a great fast current pattern.

No bait source is more overlooked when it comes to Sea Run Cutthroat than the Shrimp.  Shrimp Flies are fun to tie, effective, and extremely underutilized.   As a matter of fact, I would guess that the Delia Squid or the Cone Head Wooly Bugger are both eaten often as shrimp.  I’ve never seen schools of 2″ long squid swimming around. However, I have seen cutthroat throw up mouth fulls of sand shrimp into the net.

Here are some tying tips when it comes to your shrimp flies:

  • Add weight in just behind the eye to get the diving motion.
  • You can make your own shrimp eyes with Loon Thick and some mono
  • Buying EP eyes is way faster than making shrimp eyes with Loon Thick and Mono
  • Less is more with the body. Creating the Illusion of bulk without a bulky body will allow the fly to swim naturally.
  • Cutthroat are not bonefish, don’t tie a fly made to sit on the bottom, our bottoms don’t give flies back.
  • Rubber Legs… Trust me on this one.
  • Ahrex makes a GREAT shrimp hook

Pepper Shrimp Flies

Here are some tips on fishing shrimp flies:

  • Shrimp are not baitfish, Strip-Strip-Pause is a better retrieve.
  • Shrimp get washed into the current, don’t be afraid to swing them or high stick them in the fast tidal rips.
  • Remember the slower retrieve will let your fly sink, when at all possible the floating line helps keep it off the bottom.
  • Cast or drift the flies into the buckets of the creek mouths, thats where these flies really shine.

Epoxy Shrimp Flies

Setting It Up: Sea Run Cutthroat Topwater

We get a ton of feedback whenever we mention fishing for Sea Run Cutthroat on the surface.  It’s actually a very simple way to catch these fish from a technical fishing aspect.  Sea Run Cutthroat tend to hunt from deep heading up towards the surface.  So naturally, if you fish something on the surface of the water, they will see it.  With the right circumstances top water fishing is the best way to catch Sea Run Cutthroat Trout.

Let’s get this going!

We will start at the fly:

The Flies– I have three rules when choosing a fly for my clients. 1.) It has to float high and be visible. 2.) I have to be proud for them to see it in a fishes mouth.  3.) I’d prefer the fly looks like a bait source.  That being said, the old fashion gurgler is tied on the end of the line often.  I would be completely honest, out of ego I would ALWAYS prefer to fish my popping shrimp.

The Leader– I build a lot of our leaders on the water.  But if I have them, I like the Big Nasty 6′ leaders.  I add a couple 2-3′ of 2x-3x FluoroFlex Plus tippet on the end and we are off to the races. Yes, I know FluoroFlex sinks, attach it to a foam popper and I assure you that is not the cause of your problems.

The Line– I love the Rio Outbound. It cast great, it’s slick, it’s durable, and most importantly it floats high.  We all hate a floating line that is “sticky” to the water, and this does not do that.  I love the connect core version of this line.  However, I have a older version on the reel right now that I had laying around due to a incident involving the prop of my boat and a client stripping into the water behind me.  Both versions seem to float and cast the same in my experience.  However, the newer version I prefer due to when we fish subsurface with a floating line I think you pick up more fish on the strip set and detect more takes due to the non stretch “Connect Core”.

The Reel- Sage Spectrum Max. To be completely honest, I would just prefer this reel to all the others that I own.  It’s drag is super smooth, which to me is most important. The reel is super durable as the boat runs across the chop. Plus it looks super good. For the Tech Specs go check it out. Those are the qualities I most love about this reel.

The Rod-  When I fish, I love getting fish to eat surface patterns.  That’s my favorite way to catch fish.  So, I rigged my favorite rod up with the floating line.  The Sage SaltHD is in my COMPLETELY non-bias opinion the best rod ever made for Sea Run Cutthroat trout. NOW, in my COMPLETELY bias opinion, it’s the best rod ever made.  I love a fly rod that I can fish in tight with and make good cast.  Also, the fly rod loads into the cork and unloads like a cannon when pushed.  I have never seen a person overpower this rod, and I have had everyone fishing it for months now and have yet to see someone not be able to feel the rod load.  Oh yeah, and it is super sensitive, super fun to fight fish on, and is made locally on Bainbridge Island.

Fishing Report 12/27/2017

I hope ya’ll folks had a great Christmas, made some good memories with the folks that you love, and are back thinking about fishing for the new year!

Fishing Report:

We are back in the swing of things after the holidays and spent the last couple days fishing out of Gig Harbor.  The fishing has been pretty solid, with a lot of top water action!  The fish have been eating smaller herring bait fish about 1 1/2″-2″ long. However,  the top water action has been super good!  We spent the last few days searching with a Rio Type III sinking line with a small herring fly. Following that up with a Rio Outbound floater with classic Gurgler patterns to finish them up.  The Sea Run Cutthroat have been podded up hunting the shallows together.   With every fish we caught we could count on 4-5 fish following it up.

Up Coming Forecast:

This next week has nothing but sunshine and low wind out on the Hood Canal, from Saturday – Thursday I am open Thursday the 4th if you have the day!

I Love Jacob/Fishing Report