Winter is here and the fish are pushing up into the river systems. Today appeared to be an epic day, flows up, rain coming in, fish… perhaps. I need to get out and test out the new Airflo Skagit Compact 360 and the Ridge 20lb running line and decided to head up to the Sky for some fresh air and some steelhead.
Winter is a good time to catch up on some fly tying, sorting out the gear, conditioning the flylines, and prepping the boats for stillwater around the corner. The day prior, I wanted to water test the newest member into the fleet: 8′ Modulus pram. I’d been looking for a rotomolded pram for a while, but they aren’t the run of the mill boat as you can usually find a few Springcreek Prams, wood dinghies, and some aluminum Jon boats. This was the 2nd boat that I’d seen for sale in the last few years and I decided it would make a good stillwater boat and boat to haul into non-conventional places such as hard to launch locales such as the Duwamish slough, Magnolia launch, Dash Point State Park, and 1st Avenue bridge. See where I am going with this one? Anyhow, I found a couple of extra Fish on mounts, bolted them on with stainless hardware and also found a Thomas Pocket Puller and Extension arm from a couple of board members on the WFF (Washington Fly Fishing) forum.
All I needed was a seat, which Jeff supplied after taco’ing the one from last springs outing to Lenice. The white pram was ready to go, or perhaps not. I should have checked the weather report before heading out to Rattlesnake lake for some afternoon stillwater fishing. When I arrived the wind was blowing so hard that the mist from the whitecaps wasn’t even landing back onto the lake!
After a little test row, the pram needed some extra tweeks: oar risers and better balancing of the boat itself. The rowers seat is fixed, and it ends up rowing a little bow heavy. I think since its rated for a 2 HP motor, they took into account that someone would likely be using it for a tender on their sailboat and with a kicker would balance out ok.
Now that I have bored you with stillwaters if you’re a steelheader here is my report:
I arrived under rainy skies decent temps, was in the mid 40’s when I parked and suited up for the river. I probably jinxed myself with the ‘new’ gear, but we all need a little jinxing to get the kinks out and when it counts can put the hurt on those lips. I decided to check out some new water to me and walked up river about 300 yards to try out some new sections of water.
I also had a centerpin reel that I’d purchased last season at a bargain price, so wanted to test that out with the TFO switch rod and I quickly learned the pros and cons of this set up. I can see that its going to be mostly pros, and I might delve into the world of centerpin float fishing as the length of drifts are incredible, with 50-60 yard drag free drifts. There is a time and place for everything, and I wouldn’t convert completely, but its just another tool to have in the arsenal.
I could see it being a very deadly trout fishing set up as well as for steelhead. I plan to tie up some pre-tied rigs for nymphing that can be swapped out on the go.
Last week I was interested in building welded loops and shooting heads out of DT 10/11 wt. spey lines. it would be difficult to find what the grain weights were with these cut up heads so the search for a inexpensive digital scale came into play. I knew something like this would exist at Harbor Freight Tools and sure enough, for $15 you can purchase a scale that does it all and even comes with the cover which doubles as a tray to hold your shooting heads. To test out the scale I weighed the Airflo and Rio 360, 475 grain heads and what do you know, it came out very close with a high degree of accuracy! Im just getting waaay too into this stuff, and its crazy what one thinks up next!
I came, I swung, float fished, nymphed and came up with nothing. I know there were steelhead around as the gear guys were doing well with about 20 fish being plucked from a particular run. Andy W. had also reported good results with clear water and the middle of the day fishing for steelhead, his dad Chaz picked up two fish, one non-marked and one keeper. Pretty sweet!
It was a good day to test out gear, but a bad day for catching for Felt Seoul. Now that I have christened the gear, I’ll have to catch a fish the next time out! On the way home, I stopped by the fly shop, picked up some material, had a few tacos at my favorite truck, and checked out the Snoqualmie. It looked a little colored, but it wasn’t unfishable. Hmmmm…. might have to head out for a few hours at the crack of dawn tomorrow 😉