June 1st Fishing Report

June Fishing Report

June Fishing Report

Whew!  It’s been a blur of great fishing and great weather these last few weeks.  As we are moving from spring into summer fishing a few things are starting to change out on the water! Before we get into the June Fishing Report I just want to thank all the folks who have come out and shared the water with me these last few weeks, it’s been a ton of fun sharing stories, fish, and making some killer memories!  We have hit some seriously beautiful fish, and had some pretty amazing weather to enjoy it in!

We are pretty well into the full summer swing of things now, and the fishing is starting to stable out and be predictable. The fish have moved onto their summer hunting grounds where they will be for the remainder of the warm season.  Also the summer bait has been flooding into the Hood Canal in football field sized schools. Herring and Sandlance are pushing onto the eelgrass and the fish are fattening up as a result.  Although most of the chum fry has left the lower reaches of Hood Canal, we are still seeing smaller schools up north.

June Fishing Report

Most of our fish these last couple weeks have come out of the fast water.  We have been focusing on water that is moving quick enough to barely be able to sight the fish in.  The high sun and low mid day tides have pushed the fish out to the deepest, sharpest points they can find.  If you can find the fast water on steep points you should have great success throughout the day!  With these big tides coming up, finding fast water should not be a big issue.  Most of our fish have come on type 3 sinking lines, sight fished over 4-10′ of water.

 

Weather Report

The 10 day forecast looks pretty great for fishing, not to hot, not cold,  cloud cover for at least part of the day to keep the water temps cool along the shorelines!  It’s pretty well fishing season!

 

DATES DATES DATES

Last minute opening for this Sunday! $100 off the day due to cancelation!

June Fishing Report

We are filling up fast for most of the month of June! I  (Captain Justin Waters) have Thursday June 7th, 10th, 13th, 15th,  and just opened up the 17th which is Fathers Day!  I look forward to sharing the water with you guys!

Captain Mike has 13th, 15th 19th, 22nd and 27th!

June Fishing Report

Coming Up!

We are up in the mountains checking out the creeks starting this week!  Checking for changes and exploring what rivers and streams are still being effected by run off!  Let us know if you are interested in checking out some small streams coming up here soon!

Bright Days

Bright Days

Bright Days

School Of Chum Fry On A Summer Morning

Occasionally, we like to fish in good weather.  You know, shorts, bare feet on the casting deck, sunglasses for more than protecting against bad cast.   It’s starting to look like summer out there on the water.   I see a lot of people saying,  “Now that the suns out, the best of the fishing is behind us.”  This my friends, is simply not the case.   There is however different techniques in the summer to make sure that the bright days are not spent fishless.  Sea Run Cutthroat are predators, here are some tips to make sure your fly remains prey on the brighter days of summer.

Wake Up

If you want to fish a floating line in the summer, you will have to wake up early.  You can fish with a floating line and still get some fish in the mid day sun… You just won’t catch as many fish.  It’s that simple.  The shallow water is going to warm with the high sun and push the fish off into deeper water.  Nighttime allows the shorelines to cool off and the bait and Cutthroat to move back into the shallows.  Fish the low light and get your shallow water fishing fix in before the suns super high and beating down on the flats.  There are plenty of opportunity to get the floating lines out and stock the shallows in the summer if you wake up on time.  Check your tide charts and find a good tide early in the morning.

Bright Days

Fish The Riffle Water

Don’t get it twisted though, that high sun does not turn the fishing into a tanning session.  Find that main tidal current.  Those riffles through the structure are like a sun umbrella on your patio table.  Sea Run Cutthroat like to use that riffle to break up the sun while they are hunting.  Breaking up the light helps hide the fish from predators like birds while they are behaving the predators and munching the last of the chum fry or small herring.

Bright Days

Go Deeper

There are lots of little tricks to getting your fishing in when the sun is high.  However, when the sun is high and consistent, none is more obvious than you need to get deeper.  Finding the shorelines with access to deep water is a huge key to our success.  Casting into 3′ of water when the fish are holding at 13′ feet is not going to result in much success.  We like to make a handful of passes through these spots.  We will start by fishing that 10′-20′ deep range with type 3 sinking lines and fishing our flies down deeper and slower.  Then fish that same stretch from 5-15′ a little faster.  Finally, fish that 3′-10′ section even quicker.  This assures us that our flies have fished through all of the best structure and allows us to feel confident that we did not miss any of our fish.

Bright Days

There are a lot of problems to solve in a days fishing.  That is what separates a successful day on the water from a fishless and frustrating one.  I hope this helps you solve a few of those problems on the bright days of summer.

April Fly Selection

April Fly Selection 

Sea Run Cutthroat have a unique menu this time of year.  Swarms of Chum fry in the shallows, Herring hanging on drop offs, and small sandlance on the Eel grass. It gives an angler a few extra things to explore as they are out looking for Sea Run Cutthroat.  When picking/tying your April Fly Selection we have a few considerations to think about.

Chum Fry

Chum fry of coarse has to be the main focus due to the shallow water sight fishing that they encourage.  Cutthroat porpoising like they are sipping caddis flies on the Missouri river in Montana… Chum fry are an absolute blast.  Check out some thoughts on Fly Selection.

Chum Fry Flies

When the schools are small, we like to fish a real accurate chum fry profile like the “Chumbodies Baby”.  I like the red egg sack head because it makes my small fly stand out a bit.  I also fish this fly steady, but slowly.  Keep tight with the fly, but don’t make it run to fast.

April Fly Selection

Chumbodies Baby

If I see thick schools of chum fry,  I like to fish epoxy minnows, and really tear through the schools with fast strips and flashy chum fry profiles, if the bait is an inch, I would go a bit bigger, 2-2 1/2″. Why? It just seems to work. I like to pull the fly quite a bit quicker in these situations and try to find the feeding fish.  When we have thick schools of bait and not a lot of crashing fish, I tend to think the fish are gorged or just not around, and we need to find them quickly.  A good ol’ Epoxy minnow is a great searching pattern.

April Fly selection

Epoxy Minnows

Now if I see cutthroat crashing chum fry and slurping them down like crazy… The “Frisky Fry” gets tied on the floating line.  The small gurgler like head will keep the fly floating and skipping on the surface, but allow the bulk of the fly to skim just under the surface.  If the Chumbodies Baby is the technical assault weapon, the Frisky Fry is the Whoopy Cushion “gotcha” of the group.  I like to strip this fly just fast enough to make a commotion on the water and wait to see the bucket swirls of fish coming to the surface.

April Fly Selection

Frisky Fry

Sandlance

Sandlance are my favorite baitfish for sea run cutthroat.  If sandlance was a people food it would be the nacho. Every cutthroat loves a sandlance.  April is when we start seeing fish key in on them. Sandlance tend to spend most of their time in April schooled up along the edges of Eel Grass beds, and where a steep beach starts to flatten out.  So If you have a steep drop off at the edge of your beach, its probably not the best place to find schools of sandlance.  Sandlance are quick swimmers who dive when being chased and like to hide down in the eel grass. Cutthroat gobble these things up like candy bars and fat folks.

Sandlance Flies

Sandlance can actually grow to be a pretty large baitfish.  However, in April I tend to flirt with the 2 1/2″ epoxy minnow, or the 3″ Money Maker for most of my sandlance patterns. The epoxy minnows serve me double for when the chum fry are pushed off the shallow water and are hanging on the edges of Eel grass. The Money Maker is my go to fly for 99% of my Sandlance imitations.  The baitfish profile cast easy and has a ton of movement in the water.  This “Flat Wing” style fly uses a illusion of bulk without creating actual bulk and becoming buoyant.  Design along with the tungsten bead allows the fly get right to business fishing from the first strip.

April Fly Selection

Money Maker

I hide a tungsten bead in almost all of my sandlance patterns, and like to give a three second pause before I start to strip.  This gives the fly time to dive like a fleeing baitfish before the retrieve it.  Our retrieve stays pretty much the same for these all year long.  Short strips, start slow and end fast, don’t pause.  If you have been on the casting deck of my boat before you have seen the fish chase them in, and if you have made the mistake of pausing you have seen the fish veer off of your fly and disappear into the depths of Puget Sound.

April Fly Selection

Money Maker/Sandlance/Flatwing

Herring

Herring is a overlooked bait source for Sea Run Cutthroat.  I think much of this stems from the folks who write the books on Sea Run Cutthroat tend to be beach anglers.  Herring hang on the dropoffs and ledges in Puget Sound, making them hard to reach for most beach anglers on all but the lowest of tides.  Cutthroat will target herring when they venture into the shallower bays and when the herring are in big numbers.  Typically when we are fishing with Herring flies we are targeting bigger Sea Run Cutthroat trout.

Herring Flies

When we are tying Herring flies we need to remember a couple of things.  One, these are not narrow baitfish, so we need to provide bulk for the material.  Two, these are larger flies, so we need to pick the right hook.  Number one you can learn at a fly tying class, and number two I have some pretty strong opinions on.  The two hooks I like to tie my Herring flies on are the Tiemco 800s size 6, and the Ahrex NS110 size 4 or 6.  The heavy gauge wire will keel the hook well with a bigger profile fly, and the larger gape in the hook will make sure your hookups are well placed in the corner of the mouth.

April Fly Selection

Herring Money Makers

My herring flies are typically variations of the Money Maker, or traditional Flatwing.  Both of these patterns are sparse while keeping a larger profile in the water.  April is a great time of year to fish Herring patterns as they ball up near the shorelines.  The large cutthroat will leave small chum fry to target the larger nutrient rich Herring.  When retrieving the fly, you should be steady with short strips as the bait is pretty tightly balled up.  If you pull the fly in quickly you will tend to foul hook bait, or pull the fly out from under the bait balls where the cutthroat are hunting.

April’s A Transition

Overall April is a transition month.  The Cutthroat are spreading out from their winter holds.  The eelgrass beds are growing back to their summer thickness, and baitfish are moving back into their summer shelter.  Your April Fly Selection is all about being prepared for summer style bait balls, or spring chum fry…

April is also all about the All-Waters Spring Clean Up on April 29th! BBQ, Beaches, Fishing, and making Puget Sound great again.

Casting Lessons

Alderbrook casting LessonsCasting Lessons

We have mentioned it for a while, and we are finally ready! Free Weekly Casting Lessons! Finally, we got it done and worked out! Now, all we need is you guys to come out and celebrate with us!  From April through September we will have free casting lessons down at Alderbrook Resort every Thursday afternoon!. We want the first one, April 5th, to be a big event to show them that fly fishermen like to have a good time! We love Fly Fishing, and we thought this would be a great way to share it with everyone!

Alderbrook Resort

Alderbrook Casting Lessons

We wanted to use Alderbrook for the location for a lot of reasons and it took some extra time to set it up.  One,  If your family is not into casting fly rods (yet) there is plenty of other activities such as; Paddle Boarding, Restaurant, Heated Pool, Spa, and Hiking Trails… Really, there is a ton to do (even a full game room for those who hate outside).  Also, there is great fishing near by for those who are wanting to stop in, get a lesson, and ask us for some advise on where to go next.  Last, we wanted a fun atmosphere, That’s what Alderbrook is to us, you can’t walk through the door without having fun.  So, In theory, its a perfect match!

You do not need to be a guest of the lodge to attend these classes, however if you are, we will give you a discount on the free class.

Lessons

Alderbrook Casting Lessons

Every Thursday of the summer we will have casting lessons down at Alderbrook Resort starting April 5th.  We recognize that there are a lot of different levels of casters out there. If you are an expert that needs no help… Come on down, grab a cocktail and shoot hero cast across Hood Canal! Following that, you might be a average caster looking to pick up a few tips?  We can get you on your way to being awesome!  Maybe you want to add to that double haul,  and pick up some line speed, we can help you there.  Or maybe you are a down right beginner?   I can not think of a better way to smoothly transition to the sport! Come down and learn a thing or two about properly casting a fly rod! This is a great opportunity to get dialed in before a trip anywhere in the world.

We will have some structure to our classes on a case by case basis.  It will start off catering to beginners and move into one on one lessons.  The classes will be held at 4’O Clock every Thursday, but I encourage you to make it out on the 5th for the kickoff!

See You Then

Let us know if you can make it, and we look forward to tossing some line out there with you!  We can get you all set with a beach to visit afterwords too! Or enjoy a cocktail at the full bar? Oh… Did I mention their will be bar service to these classes? You know, because we have more fun than anyone!

Alderbrook Casting Lessons

 

Chum Fry Fishing Report 3/13

Chum Fry Fish Skin

Chum Fry Fishing Report 3/13

Man-O-Man where to start?! Chum Fry is the keyword for this March Fishing Report and they are damn near everywhere! This week we have had Cold/Comfortable/Warm/Perfect/Wet weather.  It has been down right confusing trying to layer up in the morning for a day on the water.  However, the chum fry is out in full force! Sight fishing for big cutthroat along the flats has been down right amazing! Schools of chum fry getting caught up on the shoreline current has been our main keys to success.  However tossing big baitfish off the dropoffs on slack tides has lead to some great success on the slower parts of the tides.

Fly Fishing this time of year is as good as it gets.  If you stay in the chum fry the fishing has been great, and if you get out of the chum fry the fishing has been unpredictable, however not to shabby either.

Chum Fry Big Papa

Listen up!  I’m going to give you the trick of the season. Slow down and just do some searching.  We just slowly cruise the shorelines, waiting to see fish heads and bait boiling, then make your cast at feeding fish.  “Alright there he is make your cast… slow, strip, STRIP,  speed up… STRIP, STRIP!”  Then start laughing and playing your fish!  Come on now, how could it get any better?  Chum Fry season has delivered in an absolute spectacular way this year!

Chum Fry Fish ButtHere was the conversation at the dock yesterday;

“Hey Justin, I just realized the guys who recommended you said you tell a lot of jokes, we didn’t hear any today!”

“…Shoot man, I don’t know why I didn’t tell them.”

His wife then said, “I know why, you were to busy netting fish and laughing at the fishing!”

 

A few keys to success:

  • Stay out of the run off!  As the winter turns to spring the snowmelt can shut the fishing down.  Stay away from the creeks that are kicking out the snow melt.  Allow me to elaborate on this. First, snow melt will often lower the water temperature and clarity, making it difficult for fish to hunt. Furthermore the snowmelt carries lots of minerals that can lower the oxygen levels and often makes for lethargic fish.
  • Stay with your game plan! If you are fishing somewhere with a lot of chum fry, stay fishing in the bait.  Your go to spot probably is not going to fish the same if all the bait is south of you still.  Cutthroat will move to the bait.
  • Work out from the source! Start by, finding the creeks that are dumping the bait, and move out to the good water north of it.  Also, this is a great way to find new water for the whole year and great fishing now!
  • Slow down!  Sometimes your eyes are better for searching than your brain. Take some time to just stare at your situation.  Looking down the beach is often the best way to find a starting point.  It might seem counterintuitive to stop casting, however that is often the best place to start when things are not going as planned.

UPCOMING WEATHER

This coming week we have some cloudy overcast weather in the mid-high 50s… But what the hell do those weather men know anyway?  I’ll take that mid 50 degree weather any day after the past month of cold.  If you look at the forecast it looks like “Fishing Weather”!

Dates!

Chum Fry Big Fish In Net

We don’t have many for the next few weeks.  We moved some stuff around today and opened up the 19th, 25th, 27th, 31st.  I can’t say this enough, Thank you so much for all of you who came out this month. I am humbled to be able to share the memories with all of you!

April Dates:  3rd, 10th, 12th, 15th, 16th, 22nd, 25th, 27th, 29th.  We are filling up pretty quickly and looking forward to another great month with all of you!  Chum fry will still be emerging from the rivers all through April and we will stay ahead of them all month.  I am fired up and looking forward to continuing the roll we are on!

Chum Fry Cutthroat Swim Away

Captain’s Clean Up

We will announce soon the Inaugural Captain’s Clean Up for April.  Keep an eye open for it later this week!  We are super excited to party with you all and spend the day cleaning up Puget Sound.

Spring Is Started- Fishing Report

Spring Has Started – Fishing Report

Holy smokes,  This weekend was a blast! Spring Has Started! Thanks to those who came out and joined in on the fun!  Last week we had great fishing, and found most of our fish on Shrimp and Sculpin patterns, we were going strong… Then it started to go down hill…

Spring Has Started

The Scramble

First, we had a last minute cancelation of our entire weekend! Not an awesome move.  However, occasionally things happen, and we have a super awesome client base that was able to help me out and fill in the dates! Thanks so much for your support guys!

Next, on Thursday, we went to wash down the motor and our water pump went down… Again, our weekend was in shambles!  We called around, got the parts and were back up and running for Saturday morning.  We unfortunately had to cancel our Friday and move some things around.  But we managed to salvage the weekend!  Timing could not of been better!

Spring Has Started

The Flood Gates Are Open- Spring Has Started!

Saturday morning we headed into one of our favorite spots.  The weather couldn’t of been more pleasant.   However, our typical spring spots were just feeling empty.  We hunted for a bit, and eventually caught on to what was happening.  The fish were super podded up on small schools of chum fry.  Once we found the small pods of bait, the fish were absolutely frenzied and quick.  We managed a really good day, with lulls and then fast moments of brilliance.

Spring Has Started

All day Saturday we just felt like it was ALMOST perfect fishing conditions… We were absolutely right. Sunday morning we rewarded for our game plan… Chum Fry were kicking up and we stayed in the bait and the fish all day.  At high tide we pushed real close to the creek mouths and we could see the bait being pushed out by the current of the outgoing tide.  Right onto a buffet line of savagely feeding cutthroat trout.  Forget about professionalism for a minute.  When you drop three fish on one retrieve and still land one… The fishing is god damn bananas.

Check out our Tips and Tricks post to see some tricks to taking advantage of the Chum Fry hatch!

We started early, and stayed late, jumping from one spot to another hunting chum fry. The spots we didn’t find them we could tell the fish were pushed into the creek mouths.  In some instances up in the flats of the estuary that we couldn’t get to with the tide, we could see fish hammering chum fry in the deep pools.

If I were to describe the fishing in one word…

Spring has started and we are stoked!  Lets Get some fishing in!

Weather Report

The weather report has some clouds and light rain in the next 10 days, however the temps will stay in the 50s and be pretty typical early spring weather.  Spring has started!  I can’t imagine starting the spring off any other way!

Spring Has Started

Dates! We have some Dates!

Come on out tomorrow March 6th, I am open to a half day! From there we have Friday March 9th, 11th, 13th, 16th, and 18th open.  We look forward to sharing the water with you! Chum fry traditionally last  till May, however the most exciting time to find them is as they are first dumping out of the creeks!  It’s like a treasure hunt, and you can potentially strike it rich!

Spring Has Started

 

Good Clean Livin’

Good Clean Livin’

I have been talking back and forth with The Flood Tide Co. the last few days! Great guys, and amazing company! Not to mention Paul Pucket’s artwork is awesome.  I was telling them that one of the big reasons I love their company is their slogan; “Good Clean Livin'”.  They asked me to write up what “Good Clean Livin'” meant to me on a short little form.  I was using my phone to fill it out, and felt I didn’t quite do it justice.  However, if truth be told, their slogan was sort of the inspiration for how I run All-Waters Fly Fishing.

Good Clean Livin'

All-Waters Fly Fishing – Good Clean Livin’

I have been working on All-Waters Fly Fishing in one fashion or another for many years. It started out as just a blog with inspiration to get my name out there as a guide. That just never took off,  epic failure.  Then I was selling flies so people would buy them, hear about my guiding, then hire me to take them fishing.  I still sell the flies, and people hear about me through that for guide trips… However, I didn’t need a website for that.  I was stuck, and had this dream, that I couldn’t quite figure out.

Good Clean Livin'

Then I saw this little company from the Low Country, just doing what they want to do.  Making cool artwork, having fun, working, and supporting their local conservation groups… With this cool slogan  “Good Clean Livin'”  I was immediately drawn to their rad hats and shirts, however, I was taken back by how powerful that slogan paired with the general attitude of the company…

Boom! It hit me! “Just do what you do best!”  So All-Waters started by picking up all the things we were passionate about, Having fun, fishing, conservation, fly tying, and teaching, plus we got to start that blog back up!  It only made since to hit up this awesome company and say “Thanks!”  Turns out, they are as awesome as they appear!

So What Does “Good Clean Livin” Mean To Me?

Good Clean Livin’ to me means a lot of things. Like most good things in life, it’s not simple to pin down.

Good Clean Livin'

It for one thing means giving back to the resources we work with. It’s why we try to hard to continuously promote Coastal Cutthroat Coaltion and the Hood Canal Salmon Enhancement Group.  If you love something, the way we love our fishery here, you have an obligation to bring some positivity to it.  It’s one of the things we love most about our career, we get to spend it in one of the most beautiful places in America.  If we do our job the way we feel it should be done, it will bring a positive message to our clients and customers.

Good Clean Livin'

Good Clean Livin’ undoubtedly also means enjoying life! Our saying every day we are on the water is; No matter what, we have more fun than anyone!  Whether on the water, or hanging out at the resort with a cold beverage.  We are always having a great time!  We have some party’s coming up that support that claim as well! More on that later though!

Good Clean Livin'

Furthermore, Good Clean Livin’ has to involve community.  What good is a good thing if you can’t share it with your friends?  We would be nothing without the community we surround ourselves with.  Our friends at Sage, Alderbrook, Fly Men Fishing Company, Flood Tide Co, our other guides we surround ourselves with, and our awesome clients and friends we share the water with! Not to mention the community of fishermen and conservationist on the Hood Canal and Puget Sound.

The last thing we believe about the slogan “Good Clean Livin'” is that it has to mean putting in the work.  We work tirelessly to to provide the best service, the most fun, and give you the best memories possible. We believe in working harder than anyone else and also, working at making sure it stays fun for us!  I believe if we continue to focus on these philosophies we will continue to be the bench mark in the PNW saltwater fishing services. We love the work, and so far, there has been zero backing down from putting in the effort to make sure everyday is more than you could ever ask for.

What’s The Point?

Well, the point is, we are proud to call Flood Tide Co our friends.  We are stoked to share our life with you guys as our customers and friends.  And we are looking forward to some more Good Clean Livin’ this spring.  Looking forward to sharing some more days on the water with all of you, and making some awesome memories!

Make the best of your spring fishing!

Make the best of your spring fishing!

Spring time is the best time of the year for us! It’s a chance to get some sun light back into our lives, we see all of our clients for the first time of the year, and we start seeing other anglers out on the water.  However, for most, it’s a time of year to dust off the rods, and get back out there! So why not make the best of your spring fishing?

Here are some tips that will make your spring, the best one yet!

Study the map!

– Spring is all about chum fry and finding the bait. Look for the places that bait will congregate! Here is 3 things to look for:

  • North of a chum salmon creek. Chum salmon typically don’t migrate deeper into the sound.
  • A obsticle that bait will have to swim around, such as a point.  Chum fry are poor swimmers, and points make slack water that will group the bait all together.
  • Shade from the sunny shorelines.  Chum fry don’t want to be sitting ducks for…ducks, and other birds.  They will go deep when the sun comes up or hide in the gravel, putting down the frenzy of feeding fish. Think high banks and over hanging trees.
Be Prepared!

Hood Canal Views

– It’s spring, the weather might shift and you might need to shift your fishing along with it.  Or your wardrobe. Here’s what we mean:

  • You head out and it’s overcast and cold. However, as the day scoots along the sun comes out and pounds the shorelines.  You might want to make sure you brought more than just your floating line along.  Also you might want to have a few weighted baitfish to plug along those drop offs!
  • The forecast is calling for 68 degrees and sunshine… Who trust the weatherman in Washington’s spring? Bring and extra jacket so you don’t end up at the taco joint drinking beer instead of fishing.
  • It’s the first big push of fishing for you of the year! Make sure you have your fishing license and all of your gear together! Nothing sucks more than thinking you are prepared and your guide telling you that you need to go online and get your license.

Have a Plan B!

-Our success is because we are prepared. Not just that our rods are rigged correctly, our flies are sharp, and we have more fun than everyone else.  We go out to the water with a plan A, B, C, and D.  Here’s some advise for this spring.  We are not saying you will need a back up plan, but often a strong plan for the day will keep you on the water and in the fish!

  • Plan A- Fish the estuary water with chum fry and look for frenzied Cutthroat.
  • Plan B- Head out to the first point and search the edge of the current and slack water for popping bait and frenzied trout.
  • Plan C- Search the shaded shorelines for bait.
  • Plan D- Plug the drop offs and structure with weighted flies for fish searching for bait down deep.
Spring Fishing
Try something new

 I can only speak from my own experience.  For example, for years I had two methods for catching cutthroat, and if those two techniques didn’t work, I would say “well… the fish are off the bite, we are not going to catch them today.” Now, both of those techniques were fairly effective probably worked 85% of the time. 10% of the time they worked poorly and we scratched out a few fish. and 5% of the time, we got blanked because we were just not versatile enough to figure it out.

  • Tie a new fly that you know others fish. For example, I NEVER used to fish sculpin patterns or shrimp patterns.  Now when we need a technique change or the fish are coming up deep from the bottom in the winter and not committing. We know how to get them.
  • Stray from your normal sink rate. Fish deeper water or fish the flats.  Become more versatile in the water you can find fish in.  We have seen big fish swim through shallow troughs on the flats when the water temperatures are down. We also have had many days when all of our fish came out of 25′ of water in the summer.
  • Let go of the reigns.  I learn a lot from fishing with my friends.  When I let Brita dictate our day on the water, we fish stuff I normally skip over.  Also when Mike’s running the boat, I gain a new perspective of spots that I fish all the time. Every now and then you have to set your ego aside and say “how would you approach this problem?”
Spring Fishing
Commit To The Plan

-Sometimes you just have to take the beating. Wait out that tide shift or that rising water temp.  Some times you just have to commit to the cause.  I can’t tell you how many times our plan is to fish through a crummy tide waiting on that 9:30 tide shift. We will pick up a few fish, but then it turns on! We might fish water that is not the plan A waiting for that tide to shift before we go to the best place of the day.

  • When planning your day, don’t beat the hell of out water that has not shaped up yet.
  • Pay attention to how your favorite beaches shape up when the tides shift.  Where is the slack water? Where is the fastest current? How does the eddy set up?
  • Fish your way into the best spots.  Watch how your fly line reacts to the current as you approach a rip, sometimes the water is ripping below the surface and you can hardly see it move from the top.

I hope these tips help make your spring fishing the best yet!

#GuideLife

#guidelife

#GuideLife

Mike Lawson recently had to write a similar thing to what I am writing about now, and when I read it, I thought… “Well, that is shame that that even needed to be written.”  I hope my attempt is received in the good nature that it is intended. Full disclosure Mike is much more qualified to write this than myself.  However our fishery is fairly new, and the “elders” are not doing a fair job of explaining what guiding means in Puget Sound.

Quick Background

I am a pretty lucky guy.  Fly Fishing has been my career now for the entirety of my adult life.  For the past quite a few years now I have been guiding for Sea Run Cutthroat Trout in Puget Sound and Hood Canal.  Between that and tying flies this is the only way I make an income.  I have lived in a car, eaten leftover guide lunches, cried, ruined relationships, and perhaps most devastating disappointed my mom to become a professional fly fishing guide.

I met my fiancée Brita, who brought my children into my life, while guiding Puget Sound years ago.  We have spent countless nights tying flies for our guide boxes and filling orders for custom flies ever sense.  To be honest, most days I have to pinch myself at the dream life that I have.  Between Brita and Myself we have 24 years in the fly-fishing industry. Our lives are 100% paid for by fly fishing. Between Guiding, teaching, fishing, speaking, tying, and the business end, most of my day 365 days a year, are spent entrenched in the fly fishing world.  To say we hold it dearly is a massive understatement.

#guidelife

Brita’s a rockstar!

The Big Issue

Recently, I have seen a handful of folks claim that fly fishing guides are overly exploiting the Puget Sound fishery.  Which, really is up to interpretation if I am going to be honest.  However, I think a lot of this comes from a misunderstanding of how guiding in Puget Sound has evolved over the years and who is actually guiding.  I suppose it could also stem from a bad egg acting like an idiot on the water as well, however, thats a completely different issue.

I fully understand how someone could look at a Instagram post or see someone zipping by in a boat and assume they are strictly exploiting a fishery for their own gain… In a nutshell you would be right to say that in that moment.  However, truth be told, we spend a ton of time, money, and effort to give back to the community/fish/ and environment that has supported us. We are very aware and cautious of our impact on the fishery, and environment.

I have seen a lot change over the years in how guiding is viewed in Puget Sound.  I have been fortunate enough to share the water with countless numbers of clients and almost always ask their opinion of Washington Fly Fishing.  Also, I’ve seen the way guiding is handled in Puget Sound change a lot in the last 10 years.  Much of your new guides are coming at the business from a part time standpoint rather than a full time PROFESSIONAL fishing guide. This starts to have an appearance of a lot of pressure on the fish, however these guys are not actually guiding more than a few days a year.

 

#GuideLife

Balding From The #GuideLife

Let’s Break This Down 

In Puget Sound there are MAYBE 22 “fishing guides”… To put that into perspective a outfitter in Montana will typically have that amount of guides on staff… There are typically many outfitters per river in Montana.  The big issue with saying their is only 22 fishing guides in Puget Sound is what constitutes a fishing guide in Washington?  Let’s assume this means legal, licensed guides, mostly working the waters of Puget Sound.

In Washington State a Fishing guide has to pay ~$400 (game fish only), prove (for the day of the issuing) that he/she has liability insurance, and take a first aid class. I am going to estimate that 22 folks have this license and are mostly guiding on Puget Sound.  That’s including a few guides that I know hold a license and hardly work at all.

These numbers are again estimates, however I am pretty well informed on days spent guiding on Puget Sound.  I am going to be generous to the numbers here and be optimistic towards the careers of those calling themselves guides.  There are probably of that estimated 22 fishing guides 11 that work more than 30 days a year,  6 that work more than 60 days a year, and 4 that work 100 or more days a year… and MAYBE 2 that work more than 150 days a year and if that is true, I am one of those two. So, what am I breaking down?  On the average day, there is more “Do it yourself” fishermen down at Purdy Spit than there are fly fishing guides working in the entirety of Puget Sound.

#guidelife

Jacob Is Awesome

The Truth About Guiding

It is almost impossible to luck into being a career fly fishing guide.  This is strictly a career of passion.  Being a passionate angler almost guarantees you are an advocate for the fishery.  Like it or not, our clients use us as the voice of the fishery.  Puget Sound is fortunate to have a lot of caring fishermen willing to put their money, time and effort into protecting it.  However those fishermen need to be able to hear about the issues at hand. How is the average fishermen going to learn about the issues?  The average guy working 40hr/wk is not going to go home and email his customers about whats going on in the world of Puget Sound fishing.  The average fly fishermen gets his information from his guide, or his fly shop.

A guide knows not everyone is going to sign up for a trip.  However,  if you write a working guide an email or give them a call he/she will give you a up to date fishing report.  Most will discuss conservation, fish ID, beach access… Whatever you need.  I write reports for multiple fly fishing clubs in the area and host tying events whenever they ask. Furthermore, I also spend a night every month writing congressmen and WDFW about local issues and concerns about our fishery.  Most guides are advocates of their local fishing community.  Whats good for the masses is usually inline with what’s good for the guide business.

Giving Back 

I can only speak for myself typically, however, I will lump in 3 other guides into this.    For the last few years the Coastal Cutthroat Coalition has been around. I know for a fact David Dietrich, Ben Zander, Brita Fordice, and myself have donated well over $10,000 worth of trips, flies, swag, and time.  We have also informed our clients of their work and the work of Puget Sound Keeper, Hood Canal Salmon Enhancement, Long Live The Kings, and other conservation efforts that they might be interested in participating in. We have also pitched plenty of ideas to Coastal Cutthroat Coalition to help raise more research dollars.

Social Media 

Like it or not, social media has become a big part of our everyday lives as fishermen.

 #KeepEmWet has literally changed the way 1,000s of fishermen handle their fish. Solely because a few fishing guides (Dave McCoy was the first I saw) decided they would lead by example.  Not bad when you consider Tarpon anglers in Florida are doing the same as Steelhead guides in British Columbia now. Guides have a responsibility to protect their lively hood.  Typically this means protecting their respective fishery and environment.

Another program started to protect the environment and spread by guides has been #KickPlastic! We went from a flat of water bottles a week down to 4 a year on our boat.  This was just because of a social media campaign spread by fishing guides. Now almost all of our clients bring reusable water bottles.

The People’s Fish

Running a guide service in Washington has been a dream of mine since I can remember.   We take it very seriously to give back to the communities that support us. We do free casting lessons in the summer at Alderbrook Resort.  Also, we send our clients to the local markets and restaurants in the area to do their shopping. In addition to supporting the local tourism and clubs in raising money to keep a healthy community.  Not to mention we inform people of the gear they might want to buy from their local fly shop… But most of all we fish.

We love fishing Puget Sound. We love sharing it with anyone who will come along or listen to/read our fish stories. I want to know about it if one of our guides are being unprofessional on the water so we can fix the issue.  If it is a guide you don’t know,  I will find out and help mediate the issue.  If there is something you wish guides would consider please email me and we can talk it out. We have a lot to lose living this #GuideLife.

All-Waters Fly Fishing Weekly Fishing Report

Alright guys! We have had some pretty awesomely terrible weather this week.  Recovering from the Fly Fishing Show, Spending a few SUPER cold days on the water, and having some cancelations due to ice and snow.  We have been scrambling to catch up ! However, We promised a weekly fishing Report and here it is!

One Quick Side Note 

First off! It was awesome to meet a ton of you folks at the Fly Fishing Show! We knew we had a ton of people following the “Fish Stories” however, we didn’t exactly know who they were!  I can’t wait to share the water with you folks as the weather warms up and the fishing season gets rolling strong.

Now To The Weekly Fishing Report!

Weekly Fishing Report

This week was all about hiding from the wind.  Even on the days that seemed decent, we were constantly getting sneezed on by mother nature.  However, when we found some reprieve and worked our magic, we caught some really nice fish.

 We are still on the program of keeping close to the small streams feeding Puget Sound and Hood Canal.  The bulk of the fish caught this week came from casting to 10″ of water.  In addition, most of our success was from seeing the fish before casting to them. When it worked out we were rewarded greatly for it! When it didn’t, the cold and wind made  it hurt a bit more than we are used to.

This was not the week to be wimpy on the water, and I applaud the folks who shared it with me!  We had a kid from Maine tough out the cold and catch his first Sea Run Cutthroat (a slob) and some wild Canadians on a Washington Tour checking out some of our best trout fishing.  Thanks for coming out and we hope to see you again when the weather is not… Well… Down right miserable.

Weekly Fishing Report

Weather Report

The weather should be warming up from here on out!  A few showers in the forecast however I will take that over freezing rain, snow, and the other “four letter word”! We look forward to the spring like conditions!

Open Dates Coming Up!

We are excited as can be about this coming month!  Most of our dates are booked up however, we have a few you can jump on now!  We are open Saturday March 3rd, 6th, 9th, 13th, Sunday the 18th, and 21st. We suspect to fill all of these dates as they come up and we are looking forward to sharing the water with you!