Brita’s Fly Tying Classes

Brita’s Fly Tying Classes:

Brita has a couple of fly tying classes coming up in February!  We don’t do as many of these as we wish we did, so we decided to pick it up a notch.

Fly Tying Class

First, her intermediate saltwater fly tying class will be on February 10th.  This class will cover Chum Fry, Poppers, worms, and baitfish. This will be a 4 hour class from 3-7pm in  the Bremerton/Silverdale area. Call or email for more details.

Fly Tying Class Chum Fry

Also, she will be holding a class on Flat-wing flies on February 24th. This will also be a 4 hour class from 3-7pm in the Bremerton/Silverdale area.  I can not think of anyone more qualified to teach a class on these dynamic, beautiful, and effective flies.  Call or email for more details.

For both of these classes we will supply all materials, instruction, and some refreshments, The cost of the classes will be $150.  Please bring your own vises and basic fly tying tools or let us know so we can supply them. We announced the classes yesterday on social media, and have 3 spots left for Intermediate Fly Tying, and 2 spots left for the Flat Wing Flies.  For all the materials or tools you would like to bring check out The Avid Angler to grab what you need!

Fly Tying Class Flat Wing

Stay tuned for more up coming classes!


Fly Fishing Show/ Fly Tying Competition

Alright Folks!  We are headed to the Lynnwood Fly Fishing Show on February 17-18 in Lynnwood Washington.  We have also talked about having a fly tying contest and have been trying to think of the best way to do such a thing. So, What do we do? Combine them!

For the first Fly Tying Competition we are going to do a “Match The Hatch -“Chum Fry”.

Here’s the scoop:  We love fly tying. When we are not chasing kids or fish, we are tying flies here in the fluff factory.

So, We want to see flies that are not “a cone and some squirrel”.   We want to see creativity.  It’s chum fry, it’s iconic in the PNW.  Let’s do these little things some justice and see what you can do at the vise.


  • Creativity
  • Perceived Effectiveness (does it look fishy)
  • Presentation (well tied and well loved)
  • Unique – We understand there are only so many ways to tie a chum fry… However, there were only square rocks before the wheel right?

Bonus Points:

  • Take a photo of your fly in the booth and tag us on social media
  • Leave your best joke with the fly
  • Deliver your fly with coffee in the booth

Chum Fry - Fly Tying Competition

You must drop off your best “Match The Hatch- Chum Fry” at our booth at the Lynnwood Fly Fishing Show.  Or Email us for an address (

Winner will get a 1/2 day guided fishing trip on Hood Canal during chum fry season, a New Fly Box with all of the entries,  plus a few bonus flies from us.  Furthermore we will make sure you get off the boat with plenty of good swag from some of the best companies in Fly Fishing/Tying.

Solving The Problem Of Picky Cutthroat

I think we can all agree that Sea Run Cutthroat Trout are aggressive fish.  Although, following that statement, occasionally they do get picky!  On these days you can see the fish, you can watch them sipping like trout on the Ranch section of the Henry’s Fork.  These are the days that make balding men wish they had hair to pull out.  Sea Run Cutthroat tend to smash baitfish pretty regularly, these are the days they just want something else.

  1. Get Stealthy.  The first thing I do when my clients are getting the rejects is add a couple feet to the tippet.  For most days 6-7′ of 2x Rio Fluoroflex is enough. When the fish are following and it’s just not happening, I like to add a couple extra feet of 3x to that.
  2. STOP!  When we know the fish are there, and we are being sneaky with our leaders, and still not getting the takes.  I like to STOP!!! Stop casting for 5 mins. Drink some coffee, watch the water, take in the sights.  Just freaking leave the fish alone!
  3. DEEPER!!   Play with your depth,  I have had full days where the fish would not eat a fly on anything except floaters.  In that same respect I have had whole days when they would not eat a fly more than a few inches off the bottom.  Try playing with the depth, this is our number one problem solver.
  4. Switch It Up!  Perhaps, while you were leaving the fish alone maybe you noticed the juvenile anchovies swimming around.  Or, you noticed the fish were working the shallow points for sculpin or shrimp.  Remember, these fish WANT to eat, so its our job to feed them what they want.  These fish will even find small creel like Amphipods or Isopods occasionally on the menu. 
  5. Move It!  Some times, you have to own the defeat.  Don’t waste a whole day on a pod of fish that are not willing to eat your offering.  I call this “Finding happy fish,” and I think its an important part of fishing.  You know the fish are there, and you can come back and try again after the tide shifts.

picky trout

When the fish are getting picky, these 5 moves keep us in the fish.  I believe it was Albert Einstein that said; “I am not a rocket surgeon, however, we can’t keep trying the same thing over and over again.” Furthermore, if all else fails, I know where you can find the best tequila on the Hood Canal.

Staghorn Sculpin – The Party Goblin

Staghorn Sculpins, Party Goblin, Bull Head, Son of a… Are just a few names for this adventurous little guy.  We need to pay some respect to the “Party Goblin.”

Savage Sculpin

These little jerks ambush bait all over Puget Sound.  They prefer sandy bottoms, but we accidentally hook the larger Party Goblins over all sorts of bottom structure.  Typically, When picking up a sculpin or two, you should think about picking up the pace.  Sculpin are not slow or lazy, but their an ambush predator not a sprinter like a trout.  Sculpins are plentiful and diverse in size all over Puget Sound, making them great prey for Sea Run Cutthroat.

As far as bait goes, I believe sculpin are not Cutthroat trouts favorite. This could be because of their spiny heads, or the fact that they are hard to find in the rocks. However, in the winter, when the bait is scarce and the pickings are slim… The Party Goblin becomes a savory treat for the big Cutthroat trout that need the calories.

Britas Sculpin

Brits Baby BullHead

Tiers Tips:

  • Burry your weight behind the big fat heads
  • Show off those white bellies and big fins
  • Profile is all that matters (be creative)
  • 2″ is about all you need
  • Check out the Fly Men Fishing Company Sculpin Helmet

Bad Picture But Shows The Profile

Fishing Report

We have been spending a lot of time out on the water this winter.  Winter Trips have been pretty epic so far this year and in between we have been exploring some new water we found (more on that coming soon).  After many discussions and tons of feedback I decided we are going to commit to 1 fishing report a week.  Simple, Short, and to the point.  Hopefully we will be able to do 6-8 a month, but I am committing to 1 a week and that should get you the information you need for your upcoming trips, and fishing.

So here you go!

Puget Sound Fishing Report:

Fishing Report Jumper

With the great weather we have had recently the fish have been looking towards the surface.  Most of the week was spent with the floating line and smaller baitfish imitations getting hit just under the surface.  We had awesome action on fast moving Polychete worms for the first part of last week.  However, As the week carried on we found them more focused on Sculpin and Smelt patterns.  The Majority of the fish are hitting in the shallows and flats  (1-5′ of water).  I suspect a lot of the surface action we had throughout the week was due to the fish keying in on small shrimp buzzing the shallows, but we were able to nab them on baitfish and never switched over to the shrimp patterns.  The fish we are catching were aggressive, fat, happy, and covered in sea lice still!

Couple Smelt Flies

Up Coming Forecast:

After Tomorrow’s (Tuesday) Mega Wind we should be “Mostly Sunny” through Christmas!  With Great weather on the forecast and solid fishing I think we should close out 2017 with some great trips!

If you have any feed back for us about the fishing reports let us know in the comments or email us

Everything Eats The Worm- Polychaete Worms

When I first learned about Sea Run Cutthroat I was instantly intrigued with the fish. Where they lived, how we fish them, and how beautiful and powerful these trout are. The Marine environment was so foreign from any other trout I had ever caught before.  As I grew more obsessed with these fish I fell in love with their flies and the diet.  I started tying every baitfish Puget Sound,  termites, gurglers, squid, and eventually the worm.  Everything from Tarpon to bluegill eat worms, Yellowstone trout, to Florida jacks.  The aquatic worm is one of the most prolific and under fished food sources in any marine environment.

One of the most under utilized options for Sea Run Cutthroat are worm patterns.  In the winter, particularly on the larger moon phases, we get magnificent hatches of these creepy bastards.  Today they are about 2-3″ long, and about as wide as angel-hair noodles.  If you watch them they are in constant movement all over the shallow bays.  In the summer during full moons we have seen them 6-10″ washed up on boat ramps and as wide as a Sharpie marker.  These aquatic worms (Polychaete) come in a variety of colors, Pink, Tan, Red, Yellow, Brown, Dark Green, and Black.

As I mentioned these worms are in constant motion, so pausing a worm fly might not be a good idea. We tend to cast out, and immediately start long consistent strips.  I like targeting 10″- 5′ of water when I am fishing worms.  Cutthroat love these things, and almost look evil chasing them and sucking them in.  The fish is looking to inhale a worm vs kill the bait fish.  It is important to keep the rod tip down for a solid strip set on the fish, as they are not setting on themselves as they do with baitfish patterns.   Furthermore it becomes very important to have a tight line all the way through the retrieve so the fish does not pick it up and spit it out before you notice.

I have tied and fished a lot of different worm flies over the years, and here is what I have learned about the patterns.  First, avoid the trailing hook!  Cutthroat begin swallowing worms immediately, rather than wrestling with baitfish.  Trailers tend to get caught in the gills or throat of fish. Avoid it.  A hook in the front of the worm will be just fine, if you are getting short struck you are either not stripping the hook into the fish or you are not keeping tight to the fly.  Rabbit strips are typically the choice for many worm patterns, however we see a lot of success with marabou, and even craft fur patterns.

 I am a believer in a stout big hook on my baitfish patterns.  The Tiemco 800s or the Ahrex NS110 SE, Ahrex HR430 are my baitfish hooks.  For worms however, I have been using a weighted Ahrex Trailer Hook (NS182) which when strip set has had 100% corner of the mouth success. The up eye makes the worms twitch and dance on the retrieve.  Grippiness is just insane,  the fish just can not seem to spit the thing.  One more note on the NS182 is that you can use a SUPER small hook to grab these fish, I am tying on a size 6-10 hook and they seem to leave the least amount of damage to the fish I have ever seen.

  • 10″-5′ of water is the common strike zone that we have confidence in.
  • Consistent long strips
  • Keep the rod tip down for the first few strips of the fight
  • Keep tight with constant movement to ensure good presentation and good strike detection.
  • Play with different colors to get the fish to respond to the fly.
  • Play with your depth until you find the strike zone
  • No Stinger worm patterns
  • Ahrex Nordic Salt Trailer Hook NS182

Our Only Last Christmas List Post

With a flood of Christmas themed garbage coming into my email, I present you the only Christmas list you need to see for you fly fishermen.  Or just a bunch of super cool shit you should check out.  I want to briefly tell you that I do not sell or make any money off of any of the branded products in this list.  If any of these products are on here, it’s because I have it and love it, or have seen it and want it.  Obviously you should pre-pay for a trip and order custom flies from us.  But for under the tree here are some ideas!

So without further delay, All-Waters Fly Fishings Christmas List:

1.) Ty Wheel: Okay, this is purely out of envy that this makes the list.  Let me paint you a sweet picture here. Brita and I have 3 fly tying desk in our fuzz factory.  Two to collect our mountain of feathers and random tying materials, and one that we sit across from each other and tie flies at.  We have a broad selection of vises that we use, and they all work well, but Brita has this amazing gadget attached to hers call the Ty Wheel. Just imagine a way to set your tools,  glues, beads, and other random materials down without it getting buried under all of your trash.  Imagine if the only organized part of your tying desk was the part that you used.  The Ty Wheel is pretty amazing, and the folks who make them have been very cool to talk to.  I envy Brita’s vise every day because of this product.

2.) Simms Pro Dry Bib: If you have ever been fishing with me, you know I am a pretty easy going guy.  I’m a chatty Kathy, I like to laugh, and I like to fish… Thats all I want on my boat, good times, plane and simple.  What the Pro Dry Bibs have created is more comfort on the water, which leads to more Good Times.  I will argue that we have more fun than anyone EVER to do this.  These Pro Dry Bibs have made that possible 12 months out of the year.  It’s the only piece of clothing that I have ever owned that I have any attachment to.  Well, This and a hole filled Grateful Dead tie dye that Brita hides from me.

3.) Sightline Provisions: Look, I am aware I am going to take some grief for having this on the list, I know.  The guys at Sightline make such a cool looking product.  I have never worn one, I don’t know the folks that make them.  However, I believe Zach Dalton from Sage Fly Rods was the first guy I ever saw wear one about two years ago.  I thought instantly, “Man, that bracelet looks super awesome.”  Then my next thought was, “For sure don’t ever tell anyone you thought that.”  Either way, these are awesome looking and worth checking out!

4.) Yeti: We might have an obscene amount of yeti products in our house.  Rambler cups, Hopper bags, 3 tundra coolers, a bunch of hats and stickers.  If I ever get a white dog, I am naming it Yeti.  The products are the best on the market, the guys who run the company are great, and you NEVER have to buy any of the products again.  Except the hat, Puget Sound owns about 5 of the hats off my head.  From the front seat on my boat to the cooler we take to Brita’s folks house to bring home left overs.  My morning coffee, to the thing I brine meat in.  We use our Yeti products constantly and we are proud to use them.  Don’t support some garbage company who knocks them off, and get the real thing.

5.) Loon Infiniti Light: So this is a triple threat gift right here.  1.) You never have to smell 5minute epoxy in your home ever again.  2.) No disposing of 4000 AA batteries a year. and 3.) You are supporting a company that supports your local environment.  Loon has been a company that I have loved from the second I discovered them.  I was always a fan of Aquel, I liked the old Loon Logo, and I liked the message they had of environmentally conscious  materials in everything from their fly floatant to their epoxies and pigments.  Now a UV light that can be plugged in and charging as you cure your favorite brand of UV Epoxies.  Damn it grab a sweet Loon Hat while you are at it! These guys have been at the forefront of innovation for a long time, and their products speak for themselves.

6.) StormFront Great Divider: Look, I have not seen the latest version of this pack.  Or the version before that for that matter.  Because mine has over 1,500 days on the water, and just wont die.  This is the most hardcore boat bag I have used. I have thrown it on oyster bars, tossed it in carry on, dropped it off the side of kayaks and paddle boards. Beds of trucks, drift boats, used it as a seat, left old lunches in it.  Pretty much any abuse you can think of I have had happen with this bag and it just wont die. Great carry strap, sweet new closer strap, and bomb proof zipper.

7.) Redington I.D. Reel: If you have talked to me in the last few years about fishing brands, then you will know I have a huge love of Redington.  Keeping the sport moving forward with affordable fishing equipment that kicks ass (the new rods are unbeatable at the price point).  Plus, they have a sense of humor and just radiate “fun” (that sentence was so awkward).  I wont even make fun of the Colorado flag decal in the options.  This series of reels might just be the most fun thing to come to fly fishing in a long time…  While you are at looking at these reels check out the Crux rod series and the awesome video section of the website.

8.) Art Work: One of the things we love about fly fishing is that it is a work of art. You can constantly push the boundaries of what you can do with a fly rod and the ways you can catch a fish, just like an artist with the brush.  Some of the best gifts you can give can hang on the wall!  Jason Bordash, Yusniel Santos, and Josh Udesen…  The list goes on forever!

9.) Book A Guide Trip:  Nothing say’s “Merry Christmas” quite like going fishing!  And most people get the stuff they want in life.  What people have a hard time doing is carving out the time to do the things they love.  Thats the number one reason I think people love going on guided trips.  It forces you to carve out a date in the calendar and go fishing, that and you get to hear quality dirty jokes.

10.) Sportsmans 227 Bay Boat:  Do I really need to say more?  Folks, please, tell Brita this is ALL I want for Christmas.  She can return the fancy Tequila (don’t do that), not bother with the new Sage Salt HD (please that too).  She doesn’t need to pick up the Jerry Garcia Bobble Head or the Misfits t-shirt.  Just the 2018 Sportsmans 227 Bay Boat.


There you have it, Our Inaugural Christmas List.  10 great ideas for Christmas, with only one shameless plug for you to book a trip.  Now back to our normal broadcast of fishing stuff and other stuff.

Just The Tip- Tipping Your Fishing Guide

I have dreaded writing this out for a while. Tipping your fishing guide keeps coming up in the past 6 months. I assume this is because of a post I made on Washington Fly Fishing.  Here is MY as non bias as possible opinion.

Should you  be tipping your fishing guide?  Well, of coarse this is a complicated answer;  Do you tip your waitress when he/she does a great job?  Did your guide work his butt off for you.  Do you feel like your guide showed you a great time?  Why did the subject even come up?

Look, I will be the first to admit, being a professional fishing guide is the best job in the world! I love every second I spend on the water with you guys. We catch awesome fish and we tell dirty jokes. We often share life stories, and we have a kick ass time every day! What more could I ask for?  Being the best fishing guide possible has been my life’s ambition for as long as I can remember. Hiring guides is a huge bonus for me.  Those two things give me a unique insight on the subject.

First, most of us were not around when the tradition of tipping your guides started.  I have looked on dozens of websites in preparation for writing this, and could not find how the tradition got started.  Research did show that most fishing guides when not tipped, feel they did something to offend their clients.  I can relate to that both an independent guide and a guide who has worked out of a few different lodges and shops.

Tipping your fishing guide should feel good at the end of the day.  If it does not, I personally would prefer you did not do it.  I personally do not factor my tips into my budget for the week, I look at it like a bonus.  I pride myself on my clients coming back to fish with me every year.  Tips are often a way to cover overhead like fuel, lunch, and services for the boat.  If I come in under budget for the week, that is a huge bonus for us, if not that is okay. I would say that 95% of clients do tip, and of the 3% that do not, they rebook on the day of the trip.

Here is how tipping your fishing guide typically goes;  There are three different types of clients when it comes to tipping.  One who talks about the tip from the first step onto the boat,  the other than hands you cash, and then the credit card tipper.  As a guide, we appreciate them all.  The first however makes all fishing guides feel awkward. We are not working for that tip!  Save it for the end of the day. The next guy pays his bill, hands you $50-$100 and tells you “Thank you, I hope to do it again.” This is how all guides like to leave it. The last is the Credit Card tip. This is the main way people pay.  If this is how you tip, make sure you tell your guide before you pay your bill.  The last two ways are the best ways to handle this.

This is the biggest thing with tips.  The best guides in the world can not avoid this. The dreaded skunk day.  Fortunately our fishery here in Puget Sound/Hood Canal does not have many of these… But we have had it, and as a fishing guide, it is the worst.  I would honestly rather be in the clients shoes than in the guides spot on those days, I remember the first time ever, I felt sick, sad, depressed, and rethought my entire life’s ambition.  It is the worst feeling you can possibly be in, and it is way worse to be the guide than the client. I’ve been skunked on $5,000 tarpon trips, $500 trout trips, and yes, here in Hood Canal it’s happened. The fish sometimes win, and as long as your guide puts in the effort, this should not reflect on the guide.  It just happens.

Look, tipping your guide should feel good, or don’t do it.  Just know that it is a tradition, and if you are not going to, let the guide know how you felt about the day. Give a review on their social media page, book another date, and all around be grateful.  Most fishing guides are living their dream on the water, and made serious sacrifices to do their dream job, just knowing their clients appreciate their hard work means a lot.

For The Guide:

Be honest, this is a career famous for lazy, late, unprofessional people. If you are any of the three, you do not deserve your clients bonus at the end of the day. A tip is not required or even expected, it is a act of appreciation for your extra effort.

Here are a few things you can do for your fishing guide as a client:

  • Show up on time! You are only doing yourself wrong by not showing up on time. Weather, Tide, and daylight all factor into the fishing you are about to go on.
  • Be patient with yourself and your guide.  They will judge your skill level as the day gets going and adjust accordingly.
  •  Be polite.  Don’t trash their boat and don’t get trashed on their boat!
  • Write reviews: These matter more and more to fishing guides these days. Word of mouth is still the best way for a guide to get known!
  • Tell people: Tell your friends, neighbors, coworkers, I know alot of guide who are starting out and could use the extra help.  If you notice the guide is fishing one particular company, let that company know what a great time they had with them.
  • DINNER AND A DRINK IS FOR DATES, NOT FISHING GUIDES.  Obviously there are exceptions to all rules. However, by the time they get their boat ready, put it in the water, fish, pulled out, washed down, and ready it for the morning. Thats 10-12 hours. I rarely have a cocktail with my clients anymore, not because I don’t love my clients, but because my kids wont remember my name if I do!



Fly Choice

Every day on the water the subject comes up;  “Gosh Captain, You are all that is man!”  After a short discussion on wrestling grizzlies, saving small children from fires, and how to street fight an army of ninjas, we pick up and go back to fishing.  However, the other subject that gets brought up often is fly choice.  “What made you pick this fly for this spot.” I tend to have a quite a few different reasons for the flies I choose. So next time you open your fly box, think about these three things.

grey flatwing

Fly Profile:

The number one thing I consider when choosing a fly, is profile.  The profile of the fly as it travels through the water is the first thing cutthroat see.  The way is holds a silhouette, pushes water, and moves all go into this factor.  For the most part, I want the profile to fit multiple baitfish to add versatility.  To do this, I try to fit it somewhere between a herring and a sandlance in size and shape.  I like the fly to move freely in the water like a baitfish as well, so we tie all of our baitfish with a loop knot.

fly choice flatwing


Fly choice also comes back to having the right amount of weight.  I almost never choose a baitfish that is unweighted.  Not that I always add a ton of weight, I want just enough that if my clients are slow retrieving the line, the fly will dive between strips a bit. But rarely enough that it will effect the casting of the fly.  I do this with either soft weight added to the shank, or a bead tied into the fly.  When I do add more weight, it is usually in a larger bead hidden in the fly to get the fly to drop a bit more in the summer time.   Clouser style flies are rarely in my arsenal, I don’t care for the profile, and typically the weight factor is not an issue.  


There are a few things to consider when thinking about color.  If it is super bright we  can go a bit darker and not worry about losing the fly to the light. As the light goes down (early spring, late fall, winter) I tend to fish brighter flies.  In the summer I fish a lot of dark olives, dark grey, and greens.  On the shoulder seasons and winter I fish a lot of chartreuse, light olives, teal, peach and yellows.  The next thing to think about is what all of the baitfish have in common in Puget Sound. All of our baitfish for the most part have a white belly, darker back and silver highlights.  The other details we can add is that most of our baitfish have eyes that stand out. So adding some sort of eye to your fly will finish them off pretty darn well.

These are just a few factors when considering what fly to use when fishing for Sea Run Cutthroat. Our fishery is impossibly diverse and consistently changing every day, so there are tons of other opinions and “right” choices to make. I hope this will help you next time you are thinking about fly choice on puget sound.

Sea Run Cutthroat Termite Fishing

I know it does not quite feel like it lately, but summer is winding down into fall.  Fall is a favorite of mine out here on the Hood Canal! Chilly mornings and evenings, strong bi-catch of Coho, and big happy Sea Run Cutthroat make for some exciting days! So, it should be no surprise that I for one, look forward to these days! What marks the true fall season for me is the Termites.

Termite Morning

The purist view of our sport is the image of a trout sipping a bug off the water. In our saltwater environment this is our only great chance to be a traditionalist. To see these vicious predators turn into delicate trout… Or see these vicious predators come up and violently crush a dry fly off the surface. Termite fishing is down right fun!

Termite Fishing

Here are some of the best methods we have found to target this “Hatch”. It important to find the termites in the air, from the water the best areas to search are bays down wind of a wooded point.  Late afternoons seem to be the best time for this, however we have had full days in the past where the fish seem to be looking straight up for these bugs. What makes termite fishing even more fun is that these bugs struggle in the surface film, so twitching them and slowly stripping them works really well. They like movement, therefore adding rubber legs and foam to your flies makes them even more effective.

Termite Fishing

Termite fishing is pure fun, it’s easy, and we love the surface attacks. Furthermore it is a chance to do something completely different with your time on Washington’s saltwater! Tag us in photos of your favorite termite patterns and we will pick a favorite and send you some of ours! @flyfishingjustinwaters or @seafly907 on Instagram.

Captain Justin Waters