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2-28-11

"Winter Steelheading"

Well old man winter won't seam to go away. Me and Dad both carried heaters on us and had to beat him back a few times during the day. I had my truck in 4WD most of the time last week. On the peninsula we kept getting a shot of snow every day and about the time it would melt we would get another shot. The road crews on 101 did pretty good at keeping the roads clear but a few times the snow came down pretty hard.
It didn't slow the fishing down though. I went down with my buddy Jason and fished a hush hush river that he has been banging some fish on. That was a real treat. Beautiful little river. He caught a nice buck part waythrough out the day. He had a stinger trailing hook and the fish plucked at the back of his fly 3 or 4 times before he finally got stuck. The water was clear and cold so that isn't to surprising.
Our schools on the Queets went well. Big thanks to all the guys that came out with us. We had a great group of guys that we were able to turn into stealheaders. We found fish on both days. On Saturday the fish were camera shy and we did the long distance release thing. One of them looked like it was a nice one. On Sunday Chris had the hot rod and was able to catch his first steelhead on the fly on his first attempt at doing it. It wasn't a biggie but it counts. So far we are pretty happy with the stealhead season and it will only get better going into April.

We still have some openings on our March 19th Queets school and I still have a few guys looking for guys to $plit some trips with.

Tight lines,

Dennis & Mike

www.flyfishsteelhead.com<

CCA

Dickson Flyfishing Facebook

 

2-21-11

Dennis is fishing the Queets now. I am going to fish a river further South with a buddy just for fun before I head back to that area. He has wanted to show me the water for a few years. It’s always fun to check out some new water. We are booked for this weekends schools but have added a class on March 19th. We are going to add some spey emphasis with the class. I do have a few guys looking for partners for guide trips in March. If your interested let me know and I’ll give you the dates.

Now is the time to get your noodle wet!

Dennis & Mike

www.flyfishsteelhead.com<

CCA

Dickson Flyfishing Facebook

 

 

1-31-11

As the story goes:

Mike, Jackson, and I just finished the Puyallup Trade Show. What a kick in the pants. Originally, Mike and I were scheduled to be fishing in Puerto Rico but this really great offer came along, so we took it. As I haven't done a show for years, it was so cool, bumping into guys I haven't seen for years. Mike & I were very busy doing seminars & fly tying demos. Very cool. Thanks to all for dropping by the show!

A funny episode: Here is an incident that happend back in the Seattle Sport show days:

Bob and I are great friends. He runs a flyfishing operation in central British Columbia and the Puyallup Sportsman Expo is the one time we really get the chance to hang out. My bubddy Jack was running the booth so Bob and I decided to check the trade show.

We ended up walking past the green theater. A national figure was giving a seminar on his travels to New Zealand. As this destination was definitely in my bucket list, I asked Bob if he wanted to stop in.

It wasn’t my fault, really. I had been out guiding for the past week solid, and winter steelhead fly fishing can really take it out of you. Fatique coupled with coming down off the booth flattening adrenaline rush, (another story), I was an accident looking to happen. I just didn’t know it yet.

As Bob and I entered the dark theater, we realized the place was packed.  There were only two seats available, and they were right up next to the podium. We worked our way to the front and took our seats.

Honestly, all I can remember is, settling in and watching his slide presentation. The next think I know, the house lights are up, and it is time to go. “Wow, I thought. That was quick.  The celebrity was talking to a few guys almost next to us. He seemed to look over and give me a really nasty look.

“What was that for?” I didn’t think another thing about to.

Bob became pretty quiet as we made our way back around to his booth. I finally stopped him and asked,

“Is everything all right?” I asked. “I feel like I am missing something, here.”

Bob hesitated for a second and said. “You know, that was pretty embarrassing back there…...”

Now I am confused and I say, ”You mean the theatre. Why, what happened?”

He is looking at me like, “How can you not know?”

Bob continued, “ Well, you know when we went in and had to sit up front. The guy was going through his slide presentation and all was good.”

“The next thing I know, you have your head back, and you started snoring, really loud.” A few people started to giggle because as we were sitting so close to the podium, everyone could actually hear you sawing logs……through the microphone. The celebrity caught on to this too, so he started talking louder, just to drown you out. Know what happened? You just snoring louder and pretty soon he was practically yelling. Guys started laughing out loud which simply made it all the funnier. Unless you were the speaker….or me.”

I guess the speaker finally had enough and told them to bring up the lights. When they did, you woke up and we left,”

“Jeez, Bob,” Why didn’t you wake me up!” I pleeded.

“I tried”. He said simply.

“Oh, I am so sorry!” I apologized. “Think I should go back and apologize?”

“Wouldn’t bother.” Bob said, “Last I saw of him, the guy was heading out for parking lot with all his stuff.”

When I got back to the booth, Jackson asked, “So how did it go?”

“Oh, same ole, same ole” I said. No reason to bore him with the details.

Fishing report:

Nothing out on the western front. River closures as if we didn't see that coming. Pathetic.

Dickson Flyfishing does all our fishing out on the Olympic Peninsula's Queets River each spring. Should be another fine season. Think March & April.

Steelhead Schools:

Got some openings in our Spey school Feb 25th. Saturday the 26th is full and Sunday February 27 is almost. Better check with Mike (425 330 9506) for details.

"The swing is the thing but the tug is the drug." Mike Dickson

Best of fishing,

Dennis & Mike Dickson

425 238 3537

www.flyfishsteelhead.com

 

1-23-2011

And another New Year

Is it time to be thinking about 2011flyfishing, already?

Mike & I have made the executive decision to forgo the January tarpon fishing for a chance to participate in the upcoming Puyallup Sportsman Trade Show January 26-30. Looks like fun!

Here is the rundown of the Dickson Flyfishing venue in the Show:

Flytying Theater:
Weds: 3:30pm Winter Steelhead patterns Dennis Dickson
Thursday 6:30 pm Spey patterns for steelhead Mike Dickson
Friday 1:30 pm Winter Steelhead patterns Dennis Dickson
Saturday 3:00pm Spey patterns for steelhead Mike Dickson
Sunday 10:30 am Winter Steelhead patterns Dennis Dickson  

Flyfishing Seminars:
Thursday 4pm Surface flies for Grande Ronde Steelhead Dennis Dickson
Saturday 6pm Olympic Peninsula winter steelhead Flyfishing Dennis & Mike Dickson

Take a peak at some our top steelhead patterns in Salmonfly.net

Both the Yancy & FLHS flylines to cast

Booth # 257 (Right across from the Fly Tying Theater!)

Come by and say hi. Always happy to talk flyfishing!

Dennis & Mike Dickson

www.flyfishsteelhead.com

CCA

Dickson Flyfishing Facebook

 

 

 

 

11-16-10

And the rains continued.

As we stumble our way into the holiday season, it's hard not to reflect on the warm and dry days of our eastern Washington fall. Here is a new article the editor of Salmonfly.net wrote about his recent Grande Ronde Wilderness steelhead float trip.

Seems like Mike & Gus are out doing Skagit trips on most days, lately. Fishing is very good for a mixed bag of fishes. I have already gone over some of the bugs in the last report. Very cool. Feel free to contact Mike directly (425 330 9506) if you are getting the holiday bug. You know the one. She wants to go shopping and you would rather stand in a steelhead river. That one.

Hearing some nice noise about a few early winter steelhead swimming the Cowlitz river. Lots of coho showing up at barrier. Water levels are up but visibility is excellent. Look for the new steelhead to be arriving in the coming days. Hope to end up that way, early next month.

Winter steelhead flyfishing is fast approaching: Here are some great ideas from Salmonfly.net (contributing tiers) for your next winter steelhead patterns. Enjoy.

Stay warm & dry,

Dennis Dickson

www.flyfishsteelhead.com

CCA

Dickson Flyfishing Facebook

 

 

11-07-10

Back from the dirt

Thanks to Mike for holding down the fort for a past few weeks. I was simply having too much fun "playing in the dirt" over on the Ronde. Really isn't a whole lot that's new over there. Mike & Gus fish the upper Ronde each fall, doing their Cabin's & Campouts trip. I have been outfitting in the the lower Wilderness section since 1990 but I don't talk about it much.

My guys found surface flies effective again this year, until the water went cold a couple weeks ago. Seems like there wasn't as many steelhead as in 09' but this year found the average size in both the wild and hatchery fish were a bit bigger.

Each November I ask the Grande Ronde wilderness boys from the season to send in their trip photos which I compile and send back a photo recap of all 9 expeditions. We have done this for the past several years. It's fun and they like it. In asking for comments, I guess the underlieing theme of this year was there was too much food. I can live with that. Kudos to all that came. It was a wonderful month of wilderness campouts, and a personal favorite. Look for Steve Burke to write of his experience in Salmonfly.net.

So now I am back on the soggy side of Washington. I swear it hasn't stopped raining since I have got here. Mike and I are off to do a a club presentation on Queets River steelhead this week. That's cool.

Personally, with all the sucky weather coming through, I get just as fired up about our Caribbean Tarpon trips coming up next February. Now this warm and wonderful clime for the best saltwater fish that swims, is my idea of winter!

Mike & Gus just fininshed a gig up on the Skagit River the other day. This late fall flyfishing is always a grab-bag because you never know what's going to biting next. I think we all enjoy a day of "catching from time to time. Hot flies such as Cop Car, Black Bart and Egg-n-shuck all get it done. Be sure a watch those regs. Chum closure as we speak.

Best of fishing,

Dennis

www.flyfishsteelhead.com

Salmonfly.net

CCA

Dickson Flyfishing Facebook

 

 

10-21-10

"Fall Steelies"

Mike here, Dennis is still fishing on the Ronde. I just got back and am getting settled back at home. Just as it was starting to get cold over there too. Most of the time the river ran around 700+ Cfs and was lookn good. Could have used a 100 more cfs here or there but not bad. The fishing was up and down, on the average it was pretty decent. The reports off the Clearwater were real slow, that may have changed by now. We had some great days of surface waking flies. Our top fly was the Crystal Caddis, of which a few guys dubbed crystal meth. The surface stuff slowed after the 15th as it usually dose once the weather cools. I did a lot of spey instruction this year, a lot more guys going with the 2 handers these days. With some of the light speys, even a small steelie still feels good. I used my 6 wt the most.

It's always nice to see the familiar faces at Boggans and b.s. about steelhead fishing. Thanks to Bill at the restaurant for all the help. Also props to Gus for helping me out. He was great with the guys.

I am gettn back to the local scene fishing for salmon, dollys, SRC's and random steelie. Kind of a mixed bag. It's fun not knowing what exactly is going to take your fly.

We have a salmon and dolly school scheduled for Sat Nov. 13th on the skagit with some openings.

Mike, Dennis and Gus

CCA

Dickson Flyfishing Facebook

 

9-13-10

“The better I fish, the luckier I get”

The focus in our last month of fishing has been all about the Searun Cutthroat.

August was pretty dry around here, but the unsettled weather of early September has scooted the Stilly fish right past the saltwater fisheries and right up the river. Yeah!

The good news is, the fishing just keeps getting better every day. Mike and I have been out a lot in the past few weeks, fishing both the lower Stilly plus the North Fork. It’s all working now.

Our top flies this year I would place in this order:

Rolled Muddler which imitates the juvenile whitefish has accounted for over half our fish.

Orange Spider with some dark Mallard hackle has been lights -out on the North Fork‘s October Caddis emerger.

God didn’t build enough Septembers or October.

Best of fishing,

Dennis & Mike Dickson

www.flyfishsteelhead.com

Salmonfly.net

CCA

Dickson Flyfishing Facebook

 

8-12-10

Methow Flyfishing

Just finished a lovely time over in the Methow valley. There is simply something about Washington's Cowboy Country that keeps me coming back.

I would love to tell you we found all the big Cut-bows that were slurping big sloppy dries last fall, but the numbers of big fish were noticeably down. We did raise a few dandies but lots of smaller fish seemed to be the rule of the day. I guess that is why we call it fishing.

Should have seen it coming:

My nerviousness actually began last fall. It's easy to see why the State manages around the steelhead. While everyone is focused on the impact of the trout fishery on the wild steelhead, it appears more attention might have been paid for the onslaught steelhead fishery impact on the cutthroat trout fishery. These Cutties don't exactly leave town when the gear starts flying. Makes me nervious.

My apologies:

The Stilly Searun Cutthroat fishery is only a rain away, and if it's anything like it has been in recent falls, it's worth the wait. With the Stilly guide trips lining up, Mike and I had to condense our annual SRC school down to a September 11. Come join us. The flies & techniques you leartn in school, can be used wherever the SRC swim.

October is Grande Ronde time. If you have never taken a steelhead on a surface fly, you are simply missing the finest freshwater flyfishing experience I know.

Best of fishing,

Dennis & Mike Dickson

www.flyfishsteelhead.com

Salmonfly.net

CCA

Dickson Flyfishing Facebook

 

 

8-02-10

Washington’s Kenai

Not sure exactly what I was thinking. I hadn’t been back to the Cowlitz River for about seven years now. The stream is managed as the ultimate steelhead hatchery stream of the state. “Put em in and kick em out”. The boat launch at Blue Creek alone, is the size of the Walmart parking lot. Would a couple outsiders, and fly fishers at that, be welcome here?

I remember from the past, being pleasantly surprised with the Cowlitz large lovely steelhead fly pools, over run with throngs of powerboats racing up and down the river. Why exactly was I here? Oh, yeah, it has fish.

Jackson and I go way back. Some thirty years ago I guess. Arlington was not much more than a village then. Lynnwood was still a corner store on the side of SR 99, because Interstate 5 was just a kid.

We used to have the fishing north Seattle. The Skykomish, Stilly, Sauk and Skagit. I was fishing year round at that time, and expected to catch fish. That was then and this is now.

I also remembered on a previous trip to the Cowlitz, that the farther I got downstream from the Blue Creek boat launch, the fewer the water craft were on the water. For the next 3 days of fishing daily trips between Blue Creek and Mission Bar, it’s pretty much what we found.

Jack is what you might call a Cutthroat connoisseur who happens to be quiet adapt at catching steelhead. Me? A simple steelhead flyfishing junky, but always happy to catch whatever is swimming out in front of me. So I brought my 8 wt with Yancy multi-tip for the summer runs, and little 3 weight I use for my Methow River trout fishing.

Pleasantly surprised:

I think the thing that stuck me the most on this trip was the attitude of the anglers. I am used to the northern stream etiquette, where fly anglers working a fly bar can be Skagit targets to aim at, because if you happen to be flyfishing, “you must be one of them“. Or a Skykomish experience more of; where God created sleds to have two speeds and one of them is stop. I call them Chevy truck commercials; because these guys are always flying around mach 3, with their hair on fire. The wave action alone from the prop wash, can send a bar angler running for shore.

Nope, the Cowlitz attitude is more like, flyfishing is simply another way of fishing, and fishing is always good. Poor attitude on either part is not acceptable. We are all here to have fun.

It feels like the Cowlitz flyrodders there don’t act poorly, so they aren’t treated poorly. Kudo's Cowlitz flingers, you got it right. Perhaps some of this positive attitude stems from the fact, nobody feels they are reduced to fishing for the last steelhead. Food for thought for us north sound anglers.

The fishing:

Yup, we eventually found fish, both summer steelhead and Searun Cutthroat. We found a moderate sinktip with same summer steelhead patterns that work at home, (or Grande Ronde), work here. I did go to floro leaders in the utra clear waters.

The number of hatchery steelhead smolts we found in the Cowlitz river was almost staggering but Tacoma City Light has been running this program for many years. Far be it from me to tell them how to do it.

The SRC were fairly intermingled in with the steelhead juvies (because the smolts were everywhere). Apparently we were too early for the main run. We only fished barbless spiders and muddlers in what we considered Cutthroat waters, but to be frank it only helped somewhat. The smolts were everywhere.

So after 3 days of fishing I have reflected on the experience. Something about Cowlitz country was strangely familiar. I just couldn’t put my finger on it.

Oh, yeah, The rural countryside, the fishing plus the positive angler attitude reminded me of what Arlington rivers were like when I was a boy. I like that.

Best of fishing,

Dennis

www.flyfishsteelhead.com

Salmonfly.net

CCA

Dickson Flyfishing Facebook

 

 

7-26-10

"Variety is the spice of life"

Summer to fall is always a busy time. As many of you know, I have officially returned from some private ranch fishing in western Montana. Jumping Browns is always on my radar.

My calendar says it’s time to be gearing for another gig over on the Methow River. Such a lovely river, lovely fish. I always look forward to splatting hoppers in this cowboy country. August is golden. If you sojourne east, my all-time favorite fly is the #10 Madam X.

Seems like every (even) year when the Humpy salmon aren’t running, the Searun Cutthroat are back in big numbers. My notes confirm we had some of the finest SRC fishing in the lower Stilly I have seen in 20 years two years ago. I am hoping this fall will bring it on again. Labor Day beyond on, is the gig. Let everyone else fish their reverse spiders, make mine a Rolled Muddler.

Right now, I am hooking up the boat for a few days on the Cowlitz River. The summer steelhead are showing well so I will be headed down to some of my old haunts. If you have always heard that the Cowlitz is simply a meat show, & no place for a simple fly flinger, you are probably right. You won’t like it there, probably shouldn’t waste your time. I will keep you posted.

So much fishing, so little time……..

Dennis & Mike Dickson

www.flyfishsteelhead.com

Salmonfly.net

CCA

Dickson Flyfishing Facebook

 

 

7-19-10

Private Waters: An offer I couldn’t refuse

Blake & I were invited to travel with my good friend Loren Spear back into western Montana. The purpose of the venture was to check out some 5 miles of private Brown Trout waters on a 10,000 cattle ranch seldom fished. Ummm…….OK!

This watershed might be best described as somewhere between a magnum spring creek and a small western stream. I found the fishing on this little river both challenging and articulate. In reflection, maybe the only thing I regret, is time didn’t allow us to actually fish but about half of the ranch waters. I swear every time I would jump back into my little pontoon raft to “float downstream a ways” I would be right into another killer pool that just screamed, ”Seriously, you really weren’t thinking of passing me by were you?” I would stop. So did Loren & Blake on their pools, so I wasn’t feeling so bad.

Ranch owners, Jeremy & Jen were so nice. After our first day, we actually got so tired of fishing we weren't going to make it to the take-out before dark. We simply pulled our pontoons bank-side and walked back thru the pasture to our camp. All the gear minus a couple fly rods stayed back at the boat. Too easy. And get this: The next morning when Jeremy found out we were about to hike from our camp back down to where we left the boats for day 2, he quietly fired up his mag quad and tried to shuttle us down to the stream. Somehow I felt like I was cheating so I walked. We simply jumped in our boats and started fishing again

I found the Brown trout fishing to be Brown trout fishing. I handled some large ones, I swam some small ones. They were seldom easy but always available. I would love to tell you it was all with dry flies but in spite to the hoppers just coming on, the stream was still running a bit murky from spring run-off. Golden Stonefly nymphs with a PT trailer was dinner. Oh, to be back there in a couple weeks when those big browns turn to the hoppers! Another day.

Anyway, the weather was great, the hospitality was even better, capped off with a real live rodeo one evening . A BB-Q steak sandwich & bottled water after a big day on the water while hooping for cowboys and bulls just seemed to be so right. Such is a summer evening in western Montana.

An offer I just couldn’t refuse.

Best of fishing,

Dennis

www.flyfishsteelhead.com

Salmonfly.net

CCA

Dickson Flyfishing Facebook

 

6-21-2010

"Steady as she goes"

As our weather patterns have kept our local rivers in a rollercoaster mode, finding new summer steelhead has been a bit tricky. Fishing the high-water seams is the drill. Check River Levels before you head out.

How to read it: If the Skykomish or Skagit is your choice, 10,000 cfs is about as high as they fish, in those respective regions. Stilly I like under 3,000 cfs. Sauk @ Sauk I prefer under 7,000 cfs.

My favorite early summer stream is the Skykomish River if the water is up. This week was no different. I think I mentioned fishing your typical winter patterns for the early fish. Anybody who says that these hatchery steelhead don't fight just hasn't caught many.

Hey I managed to sneak off and fish one of the local panfish lakes. We caught a bit of everything. I almost forgot how much fun it was. Next time I am going to bring the Skagit Skater. Kills the Sekiu and Neah Bay Rockfish, should have had some, as the bass are still bedding.

Stilly: The occasional steelhead is around, but still not what I would call “good”.

Skagit: Didn't make it up there this week, but understand the Chinook fishery is going on. Dolly/Bulls are hanging around. Let the water drop and warm a bit for the surface stuff.

Fishing Forecast:

We will continue fishing the Sky as long as new steelhead swim the lower river. In a few weeks the water will drop and we will focus on the Highbridge to Sultan River, area.

We will putter around the Stilly North Fork throughout the summer, but the upper Sauk is a wonderful hidy-hole when the river goes into summer low. (Probably around August, this year.)

Upper Queets is a fun little gig, if you don't mind more hiking, but as the first fall rains come, I enjoy the Stilly tidewater SRC as much as anything.

May be heading for B.C. for a few days. I have been fishing the Kamloops area longer than I have been married to my Canadian wife. (31 years) so of course some of my best anecdotes have spawned from this region. Mouth to Mouth Combat, is one of my favorite fireside stories.

My Momma used to say you should let others do your bragging for you. As we get questioned almost every day about our upcoming Grande Ronde fishing, here are some 60 Testimonials, many about our GR fishing.

You probably heard our “Evening on the Grande Ronde” seminar was a real hit. Thanks to all for coming! Our next gig will be our “Caribbean Tarpon” presentation in November. Even I can get excited for this one. Keep you posted.

Yeah, I know it is a ruff gig but somebody has to do it it, right?

Spending your time on the PC doesn't make you a great fisher, fishing does. Get out there and fish.

Happy fishing,

Dennis & Mike Dickson

www.flyfishsteelhead.com

Salmonfly.net

CCA

Dickson Flyfishing Facebook

 

6-14-10

"Almost"

Our North Sound river levels appear to be all over the place for this time of year, but steelhead and (Kings) are around if you can look in the right places.

Stilly North Fork: Even though the early summer hatchery steelhead can be found all the way to Fortson Hole right now, 4th of July is really the unofficial start of the hatchery 2 salt steelhead as well as the Deer Creek native steelhead, for the Stilly basin. You don’t really go after these wild steelhead anymore. It’s more like they simply become the excuse to fish the waters you have fished and loved, over the years.

Deer Creek wild summer fish do take surface flies very well, so if you have never taken a steelhead on top.......well, you're just letting the best part of life, pass you by. Our Grande Ronde Favorite, *Crystal Caddis, works as well as any surface fly, for Stilly fish.

BTW: If you have a hunkering for learning to tie (or fish) this popular surface fly, I am thinking there are a few slots left in our Thursday nite, Fly Tying (flyfishing) Seminar titled “Evening on the Grande Ronde” Wether it’s floating the lower GR, and probing the guide flies (and Lines!) that make it work, many of our long-timers will be on hand to fill you in on the Grande Ronde fishing. Looks like a fun evening.

Anyway, back to fishing now:

The Skagit system is pretty prime right now inspite the rains. A minimal snow pack this year hasn’t hurt an upper river exploration but it will be the gear boys getting after the hatchery Kings. These hatchery Chinook are not the best of biters but if you do decide to chase them, pink marabous get it done. Our Egg-sucking Cop Car is also a good King getter. The Skagit below Rockport is pretty much “out” as we speak, with the Sauk flows refusing to come down to fishable.

The Sauk continues to run too high. Just when you thought it would drop in nicely, another storm front comes through, and out it goes again. Bummer for sure, but I won't run off to the tributary mouths as yet, anyway. Wait until August for the upper river native trout fishing to get going. A #14 Royal Wulf, with a Hears ear dropper can be golden on a 2 wt. August show.

Skykomish system: Water is high but fishable due the rains, with a few kings around. Steelhead is spotty. Good time to fish the salt. Speaking of which.

Neah Bay is a fun gig this time of year. Very weather dependent. Rockfish are the drill, but Ling cod and Kelp Greenling are fun, if you don't mind going down for them. If you haven't skated surface patterns for the Black Rockfish, it is really fun. Look for current edges that push the bait right up into the kelp. We have had fish come completely out of the water after our flies. Too cool.

Southwest Washington Waters: Seems like every year we spend a little more time down fishing the southland waters in the summer. Fishing pressure can be intense in places and times, but generally predictable. Think Zig & Zag. It works.

Our Custom Steelhead Schools. With Smaller class size, flexible schedules, and more personal attention, continues to be a biggy. Very Cool.

Fishing Forecast:

Look for the best summer steelheading in July to come from the Southwest Washington streams. If it is anything like last year, it should be pretty good. The OP summer streams are a bit over rated, in my opinion, but I really like it out there.

"Whatever you do, you need courage. Whatever course you decide upon, there is always someone to tell you that you are wrong. There are always difficulties arising that tempt you to believe your critics are right. To map out a course of action and follow it to an end requires some of the same courage that a soldier needs. Peace has its victories, but it takes brave men and women to win them."
~Ralph Waldo Emerson

The fishing isn’t great right now, but almost……..

Best of fishing,

Dennis & Mike Dickson

www.flyfishsteelhead.com

Salmonfly.net

CCA

Dickson Flyfishing Facebook

 

 

6/7/10

“You’re out of there”

The rivers were running at high prime the other day, but as the rains continue, everything is on it‘s way out. Bummer. When the river drop back to fishable, look for:

The Stilly North Fork in the upper river just went out......and it should have fish when the waters recede. Your winter sink tips and your type 4 heads to get down, will get it done. The blue/purple marabou works well in all but the dirtiest waters for the early summer steelhead.

Skagit River’s upper river looks to be the most promising. Flows are still in as we speak but that could be changing with the rain fall. Not really known as a summer run river, Cascade River downstream to Rockport is worth the shot. All marabous including Cop Car will be working. I would fish above the Sauk.

The Skykomish was at high prime through yesterday, but again, the graph has it pointed straight up. I don’t doubt it will become unfishable buy the time I finish up this fishing report. Highbridge downstream to the Sultan River will be your best bet as rivers drop but watch for some drier weather before venturing out.. I hear of a few Chinook are already showing around the Wallace River mouth.

Grande Ronde Cabins & Campouts : Many of our GR expeditions are full for 2010. Thanks.

Coming Events: Our Fly Tying Seminar June 17, titled “An Evening on the Grande Ronde” looks quietly to be a big hit. Space is limited. (RSVP)

Best of fishing,

Dennis & Mike Dickson

www.flyfishsteelhead.com

Salmonfly.net

CCA

Dickson Flyfishing Facebook

 

May 31 2010

 

Memorial Day weekend:

We seem to be enumerated by water, as people. For some folks, it’s a lakeside, for others, maybe a saltwater beach front. For me, it’s rivers. There is just something about rivers. My most favorite freshwater fish is steelhead. (As if you didn’t know that.) Maybe it’s a chicken or the egg thing I don’t know, but the fact that steelhead and rivers are synonymous is a the perfect marriage. And with that, you got to love early summer. The new hatchery steelhead are making their way up the rivers, now. Here is the some the best bets for our North Sound rivers in the days to come.

Top Choice: Skykomish River summer hatchery steelhead. I like to fish from High Bridge down to Sultan River, when the water is below 3,000 cfs. From Sultan to Monroe from the river is running from 3,000 > 10,000 cfs. Right now, it is just about a dealers choice, but if you put a boat in the water, you better know what you are doing. (Goes for any of our western rivers in early season). An added bonus to the Sky right now is the summer hatchery Chinook headed for the Wallace River. The Sky is going to be a sinktip show until the rivers warm. I like Woolley-buggers and marabou leech patterns for the early hatchery steelhead. Technique is the same, low and slow. I almost marvel how many anglers do this badly. If you thought sinktipping was just about gut casting to the far bank, and throwing a really big mend, you shouldn't be surprised if you aren't catching steelhead on the fly.

Watch for the wild summer steelhead to show around the 15th of July. Sadly, the numbers are projected low again this year but both Forks will get these wonderful surface rising fish.

Skykomish Flyfishing Schools July 9 or 10

Mike and I are conducting our annual Skykomish Steelhead Schools. Water should be perfect. Course covers both sinktip techniques (Yancey multi-tips) and our Floating line head system. Mike, of course, will also cover the double handed rod scenario. Anyway, it will be fun to be back on the Sky and really fun to be back out steelhead fishing. There should be fish around......looks like this summer has the makings of a fine summer run season. Contact Mike @ 425 330 9506

North Fork of the Stilly would be my second choice but be careful. The Stilly doesn’t open for fishing until the first Saturday in June. Weird huh? For steelhead, anyway. As much as I love the North Fork canyon below Deer Creek, the hatchery summer fish will be booking for the Fortson area. I would fish from C-post upstream, and your chances go way up. Sinktips or bobber fishing, is the way to go.

 The Skagit should be a mixed bag . Some of my best waters is the upper river, and right now it is loading up with hatchery kings. The adult fish are only so-so biters but Chinook Jacks are a lot of fun, and you can actually land the dang things. Dolly/Bulls are coming and going, and a few wild summer steelhead can surprise you so there you go. Sinktips are the drill. Water is still a little cold for consistent surface action but no doubt it is time to get ready.

Wow! That was a good idea: The Fly Tying Seminar June 17 looks to be a really big hit. The theme for this summer gig is “An Evening on the Grande Ronde”. I have been guiding this fall fishery since 1990 so it is an easy get.

Let me clear up two misconceptions on the event:

a) It's free: No donations no raffles. And don’t feel like you have to be booking a GR trip to join us that night, just come and relax. Meet some wonderful guys, just like you. Looks like a full house, reserve now.

b) Don’t bother with your vice, it’s a seminar. Full of hands on hands-on toys that night, but the fly tying itself, is simply a demonstration.

If you are still planning your BC lakes trips......read Mouth to Mouth Combat .....or The Fishing Dog .

Don’t forget Memorial Day and what it stands for. The freedoms we enjoy, didn’t come free.

Best of fishing,

Dennis & Mike Dickson

www.flyfishsteelhead.com

Salmonfly.net

CCA

Dickson Flyfishing Facebook

 

 

May 24 2010

A good Idea:

Probably just lazy I guess. I have had an idea rattling around in my head some several years now. I bet I won't have a month go by, without someone requesting some kind of fly tying seminar or lessons or something on Dickson flies. You see, over the years, Mike & I have been fortunate enough, to develope some 50 new & original fly patterns we use in our every day guiding. Why not share? I like the idea, but I figure if we are to do a flyfishing/tying seminar, it has got to be more than just some “vice time”. I think the activity should actually be informative. Some flyfishing cronies & I decided to take on a timely seminar maybe four times a year. What better way to do a quarterly gig, than to start off with our ever popular Grande Ronde river? Here ya go.

“An Evening On The Grande Ronde”, is a fly tying seminar, dedicated to the many regional anglers who consider the Ronde a definite “has to” in their bucket list. By the preliminary response we have already received, we at Dickson’s Flyfishing are happy to present it.

On A different note:

Washington Fishing Regulations: My advice, get a copy and keep it close.

I will not even attempt to unravel the mysteries of our WDFW 2010-2011 Sportfishing Rules Pamphlet for this summer. Some rivers such as the Skykomish in the Snohomish River basin, open June 1. By contrast, the Stilly North Fork, mouth to Swede Heaven bridge opens the first Saturday in June. (June 5?) Caution: Any and all regulations are subject to change at any time. Checking in to the WDFW website, before heading out, is always a good idea.

Summer Steelhead Rivers forecast:
With the June openers just around the corner, it is just a couple weeks before Mike & I will head back to work for serious. According to the river levels, the snow pack isn’t much so the rivers could be down and fishable right off the get go. Here is an upcoming preview.

Skykomish River: A fine steelhead flyfishing stream, look for a lot of guys in a lot of boats, running up and down the river around opening day. I call them "Chevy truck commercials" because they only seem to have to two speeds, flat out, or stop.

Skykomish Summer Steelhead school July 9 or 10th
Come join us as we float the Skykomish River. These one day schools will cover every aspect of reading water, finding and presenting the fly, fishing the correct gear, including fishing the Yancy line system. Contact us for more info Mike - 425-330-9506

I like the month of July for our summer-run schools because steelhead are well in the system by then, and the boating pressure falls way off. Look for the best fishing to be up around Highbridge. The Skykomish River is running moderate as we speak, but as the snow pack isn’t much this year, the raise in water level should be minimal. Rainfall can change all that. Summer steelhead do like the well oxygenated water so look for them in the riffley heads, when you go.

Sauk & Skagit rivers: These rivers are also running at a moderate level. Not much in the way of a hatchery steelhead in the Skagit system. Dollies & the wild Sauk summers tend to enter a little later so I would wait.

North Fork Stilly: The little NF is running low, but that can change as with any of our streams, depending on current rainfall. We always seem to get an early pulse of summer hatchery fish to Fortson around the June opener. Bobbers & jigs is the norm. There is always the late spawning wild winter steelhead around. If you bump into one, be sure to release them gently.
Flies: everything works. I like Marabous bunnies and practitioners, but steelhead will hit it all. Find them and slow it down.

Flylines: Flylines Catch Fish is probably the most informative article I have ever written. Check it out. Selecting the right sinking tip for the right pool is the ticket. Don’t look for surface fish until after July 4 th. Water needs to warm.

Every year I get asked: So which boat would you buy? Well, I have more boats & rafts than you can even imagine but Mike & I fish for a living and fish a lot of different scenarios Here are some thoughts on buying the best one for you. Rafts & Hardbottom boats. Take a look.

We placed a few photos up on our Dickson Flyfishing Facebook page from our recent Alaska adventure. (See below)

Our summer steelhead season is almost upon us.

Maybe we can kick some tires at the June 17th seminar, maybe at the river.

Best of fishing,

Dennis & Mike Dickson

www.flyfishsteelhead.com

Salmonfly.net

CCA

Dickson Flyfishing Facebook

 

 

May 17 2010

As I come stumbling in, from another Alaska steelhead float trip, history has demonstrated I will likey be lucky in sleep deprivation for the next several days. Maybe I am just getting old. I pray I can write something coherent.

As I just spent the last week chasing Yakutat steelhead, I reflect on the fact It has been a couple years since I have been up there. It was fun just to get back and visit. I was also fishing with some long time friends, Tim, Blake & John, and that is always a treat.

Excuse me, "How big is a cup?"

Oh yeah, we found some nice steelhead, but this gig is not really a sinktip show. I find some guys up there still take their flylines off and do the Michigan drift fishing gig,while many have now gone back to the dink bobber drill. Whatever.

Anyway, the snow left early this year. As we floated off, I noticed the river was just full of drop dead gorgeous, ocean bright, Dolly Varden. The kill limit is something like 10, so it gives you an idea of how many fish we are talking about. DV were eating mayflies, fry & egg patterns. Had I to do differently, I would have also brought up a 3 weight. Very fun diversion from chasing steelhead. Is that even possible?

There are several lodges working the river, but it is still a lovely setting. Lots of birds and wildlife. We saw eagles every day, a whole family of river otters (not exactly what you are looking for when you are working a pool!) and even a very large Brown bear leaving the scene. It still reminds me of an bear episode that happened to us a few years ago on this very river. It goes like this:

"We were fishing a smallish stream in Southeast. Ran into a guy hiking down a lonely river. He asked if we had seen a seven weight Sage, attached to a steelhead.

All I could muster was, "What?"

It seems this guy's buddy had been playing practical jokes on him all through the week, out here in the Alaskan bush. He lost tract of this friend while they hip hopped their fishing, up this fairly brushy steelhead stream. They traded pools as they went. Reports of bear sightings abound but as of yet, neither guy had a fury encounter. Following a game trail, this dude tells how he comes up behind his joker buddy while the guy is fishing. His buddy is now fighting a steelhead, and backing a real nice fish towards shore. This guy sees his compadre~ backing towards him. Instantly, he takes a flying leap off the bank and lands in the water with a huge splash and a bigger growl. His friend wheels around in midstream, loses his rod, while fumbling for his bear pistol! Fake bear realizes his mistake, and puts his hands up, "Don't shoot! Don't shoot!"

Yup, Mr. Steelhead simply swims back out into the river, towing the errant flyrod and string along with him.

When we left them: The two poor dudes were still wandering downstream looking for the lost flyrod. (Don't think they much worried about the steelhead.) Just try to explain that one to your insurance agent."

The rental cars are always an adventure, (I also remember another episode a few years ago, when we hit a good chuck hole in the road and the entire tail pipe assembly fell off. We had to Jerry-rig it back together with a beaver pole and fishing line. That was a nervous time tring to limp back into town in one piece.)
This year we were much more fortunate, and everything stayed intact.

Seems like everything in town is still going out of business. Heck, even the hardware store is up for sale. Life is constanly changing but never changes in Yakutat Alaska.

A really good welder would probably have all the work he could handle if he is into cars, boats, and drift boat trailers in town.

Our top flies this year: Egg-sucking leach, egg-n-shuck, glow bugs, Rolled Muddlers. The muddlers just crushed them, and I mean the steelhead. Weird huh?

Anyway, Mike should have a few of our new Alaska photos up on our Dickson Flyfishing face book page in a few days. (See below)

And now I am back in town. Everything is gearing up for our new quarterly fly-tying seminar, June 17th. the theme will be on the Grande Ronde River. Just working up the details. Should be lots of fun.

Best of fishing,

Dennis & Mike Dickson

www.flyfishsteelhead.com

Salmonfly.net

CCA

Dickson Flyfishing Facebook

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

May 10 2010

Just "chillun",.

I could get used to this time-off thing. The honey-do list around the house doesn't seem to get any shorter, but Mike & I work at it every day. Getting the itch to get back on the water again. Such is the life of a steelhead bum. This is what I see:

Fishing forecast:

The north Sound streams should get some summer hatchery steelhead. I look for a weak snow run-off in snowmelt this year. Fish your riverlies as you would for winter fish and you should be fine. The smaller rods and the floating line presentations should be postponed until water temps improve into the 50’s.

The southern Washington streams off the Columbia always get the early steelhead, Mikey and I may sneak down there and play for a few days. We will see.

Here is a funny story I wrote a few years ago about flyfishing summer steelhead on the Stilly North Fork. I titled it, "The New Zealand Connection"

May is always a mellow month for us. At least on the fishing scene. May all your trout dreams come true.

" Laughter and tears are both responses to frustration; I choose laughter cause there's less cleaning up to do afterwards."
-Author Unknown

Best of fishing,

Dennis www.flyfishsteelhead.com

Salmonfly.net

CCA

Dickson Flyfishing Facebook

 

May 3 2010

Playing Hooky,

Mike & I have been pounding awy on Momma’s greenhouse for the past week. We were scheduled to spend some face-time over the fly-tying gig in Ellensburg. Mike comes up with a novel idea. “Let’s fish the Yak for a couple hours before hitting the show!” Fishing is always a better idea than most so off we headed for the easide.

So I am watching the trees as we approach the Old Canyon road. The rule of thumb down along the Yakima river is the wind will be either blowing hard or really hard. Today it was blowing really hard.

Not much of a March Brown hatch in the rocks down below Big Horn when we got there, but it wasn’t long before the Caddis started popping and the swallows weren’t far behind. I switched over to a peeking caddis and found a few. Mike went to his version of a black woolley-bugger and did even better. Figures, but as dries get full credit, and nymphs get half, the streamers are somewhere down the line. That is how I rationalize it, anyway.

Water was medium low, but I will have to admit, I wish I was floating. Lots of good hidy-holes in the canyon at this water level. The weather almost pleasant (when the wind wasn’t trying to knock you down.) Our episode reminded me of an adventure my brother Rob and I had a couple years back in the same timing.

We caught the tail end of the March Brown hatch, but it became the Caddis show as the evening wore on. The standard drill is, when the water is down, fish out. When the water is up, fish in. We found most of our bigger fish in the boulder patches, in the heavier water. A dink bobber and double nymph rig was effective, but not nearly as fun as the dry/nymph dropper, technique. Had Mike and I had more time we could have played the same gig.

Anyway, we did the river, visited the show, saw some long-time buddies and headed for home.

Sure beats pounding on a greenhouse. That is my opinion and I am sticking to it.

Don't forget our Methow River adventures start up soon and the Grande Ronde is not far behind.

Best of fishing

Dennis & Mike Dickson

www.flyfishsteelhead.com

Salmonfly.net

CCA

Dickson Flyfishing Facebook

 

April 27 2010

Opening day

So April is about to be a month in the rear view mirror. Opening Day in the lowland lakes tends to be a bit of a fiasco. Here is the what 2010 Fish & Wildlife fishing regulations read,

"Q: When is "opening day?"

A: There is no official opening day. The traditional opening day to fish trout in lowland lakes is the last Saturday in April; in streams it's June 1. Lakes are open year-round unless special rules apply to them. Rivers are open June 1 through October 31 for gamefish unless special rules apply.

April leads to May and May is always a relaxing month for me. After a winter of chasing tarpon and a spring full of late winter native steelhead, it's time to chill a bit. Summer & fall are just around the corner full of Methow trout & Grande Ronde steelhead.

Mike has finally had time to lay low the last few days. I guess the local year-round lakes have been fishing well this spring (between the storms!) Should be getting more damsel action as the well as the consistent mayfly hatches, but watch your weather patterns. All over the friggin board!

This is the time of the year my Dad and I usually head for Canada for a week or so. We have some favorite waters in the Merritt B.C. area that is fun. Weather forecast is for snow showers in the foothills so that may temper things a bit. We still haven't been able to connect for our Rufus Woods venture. Maybe this week.

It won’t be long before the rivers will open for the summer season. Seems like the years just go a little faster as I get older.

Fishing forecast:

The north Sound streams should get some summer hatchery steelhead. With the warm & rainy winter we took, I look for a weak snow run-off in snowmelt this year, but there seems to be more than enough precip, to make up for it. If the rivers are up in June, try fishing your high water lies as you would for winter steelhead. The smaller rods and the floating line presentations should be postponed until water temps improve into the 50’s.

Methow River rocked the world with it's returning steelhead last fall, but for my money, the trout fishery for the big cut-bows in July & August is a wonderful fishery.

Here is a funny story I wrote a few years ago. I titled it, "Guides are professional Liars"

It's not to early to be thinking about our fall fisheries. Mikes Cabins & Campouts are always a hit. Can't think of a better way to learn the Grande Ronde than with Mike and Constantine.

" Laughter and tears are both responses to frustration; I choose laughter cause there's less cleaning up to do afterwards."
-Author Unknown

Best of fishing,

Dennis

www.flyfishsteelhead.com

Salmonfly.net

CCA

Dickson Flyfishing Facebook

 

 

"One Ending brings another beginning "

April 19 2010

Hard to imagine another year's final chapter is written for our late winter native steelheading. Gone are our days on our spring fisheries such as the Stilly and Skykomish rivers. Interrupted are our times on the Skagit and the fabled Sauk. For how long, is anyone's guess. Sometimes the Queets within the Olympic National Park feels like, not only a wonderful fishery, but the last Sebastian in late winter native steelheading in the Pacific Northwest. Only time will tell, but I have learned not to take anything for granted these days. I am very grateful for the time we get, chasing this noble sport fish.

So fishing has finished well on the Queets river, with more steelhead coming in every day. Does my heart good. Mike & I are already retooling for our summer time trouting adventures.

Fishing Calendar summary

So first Dickson Flyfishing was off winter tarpon fishing in January & February. Check out Mike's tarpon slide show. Pretty cool! We switched gears and went to Oly steelhead, and now we reload for trout. Such is the life of a fishing bum. When I think of trout, I sometimes think of lakes. When I am thinking about the lakes, I often reflect with fond memories of early trips to BC. Here is a funny episode. Check out Mouth to Mouth Combat

We will also flyfish estuaries and beaches again in this "off season."  I guess one of the few good reasons of closing down steelhead rivers in May, (excuse me, why exactly, do we close the rivers in May)? Anyway, as I was saying, not fishing the steelhead rivers in May, forces us to explore new flyfishing options, and or a chance to visit the old ones. My return to the lakes also reminds me of a Pass Lake adventure of years ago. Check out, A Fishing Story.

We are pretty excited about Rufus Woods & the Upper Columbia trout fisheries. With Methow River Flyfishing right around the corner, how can you not like Washington!

Enjoy your spring,

Dennis & Mike Dickson

 

4/12/10

Dickson Fly fishing Hats
Navy $19.99 Kaki $19.99

"Spring action"

Our steelhead rivers finally gave us a break, falling back into shape just before the upcoming river closures. Mike is out on the O.P. as we speak. I just talked to him last night. Says they swam three lovely native steelhead the day before. Perfect. I am stuck at home doing a fish & wildlife report for my biology consulting. Oh well.

There are a lot wild steelhead moving into the local rivers this time of year. As so many anglers turn to the trouting, April can be a great time to be out tromping the rivers until the closures.

We didn't have much of a winter this year, but the cold nights and the fresh snow half way down Higgins Mountain reminds us, we are still into winter throws. The budding of willows and skunk cabbage, the arrival of the summer robins in the lowlands, all say it's time for spring. Me? I love the forest smells. I have so many memories tied to spring in the northwest, it's hard to differenciate, or even if I should. I will confess, Mike and I don't spend a lot of time on the local streams since we found the Queets. The frank truth is, it is simply much better steelhead flyfishing out on the Olympic Peninsula, and Mike and I owe it to our clients to focus on the best fishing. Such as it is. Doesn't make me stop thinking of the good old days of the Skykomish C&R, and Stilly North fork, the Skagit, and my personal favorite spring timer, the Sauk.

It's only a matter of reflection, but I still muse over some the old time steelheaders like Charlie. Do I think we will get the Sauk fishery back? Oh, probably. Will the fishing ever be like it was in the 80's? No. Hence, the Olympic National Park.

Not all gloom & doom:

We are pretty stoked about our up-coming summer time trouting adventures. Some are old, some are new. What is life if isn't to have that which to look forward to? The Methow River steelhead has gotten a lot of attention lately. I will freely admit, it took a bumper crop of steelhead (and steelheaders?) last fall, which spilled into spring. Cool. But The Met will always remain a favorite on the summer-time trouting scene. Rufus Woods and the Upper Cloumbia are also wonderful trout fisheries. Stay tuned on that stuff.

Everyone knows Mike & I have been the Grande Ronde October steelheading since 1990. Mike runs the upper river "Cabins & Campouts", while me and mine have fished the lower Ronde wilderness section for years. Some day I may write about what I consider may be one of the most misunderstood fisheries in Washington steelheading. It will probably be titled something like, "The Grande Ronde Wilderness Narrows, why so many fish it once." If you thought the key to unlocking this marvelous fishery is simply negociating the Narrows, you are not even the galaxy of close. Enough said.

Best of fishing my friend,

Dennis & Mike Dickson

www.flyfishsteelhead.com

Salmonfly.net

CCA

Dickson Flyfishing Facebook

 

 

 


4/5/10

The fishing report this week is real simple. There isn't one. Storm cells knocked the Queets river out all week. Here is a picture of Bob before it did. Headed back to the O.P. for the final show in a couple. (Queets closes to sport angling April 15.) Getting itchy to get back out there.

Just something about steelhead rivers.

Best of fishing,

Dennis & Mike Dickson

www.flyfishsteelhead.com

Salmonfly.net

CCA

Dickson Flyfishing Facebook

 

3/29/2010

“A well placed kitchen knife”

It’s not easy to encapsulate the last couple weeks of Olympic Peninsula steelhead fishing, . I guess if there was a word to define the Queets River steelhead, that word would be “honest“. These fish don't take much finessing to make them go when you find them. Fishing a couple boys one day, we happened upon a pod of ocean bright steelhead. These anglers hooked four ocean bright steelhead in short order in this one pool. The guys were obviously elated of course with their good fortune as well as their fishing prowess. They may have even started bragging a little.

Me being me say, “Guys, right now these steelhead would probably hit a well placed kitchen knife.” Though the statement was true, I am not sure it is what was necessary to say. I do love these wild steelhead. Big and not so smart. Aggressive is a good word.

Anyway, just as the weather would blow in and out each day, so it seemed, went the steelhead. We had big days where we would swim several, and we had no days, where our best efforts could find zippo. Such is the life of a steelhead flyfisher. If you are not willing to accept this fact of life in steelheading, you should stay with something more mundane like, sky-diving.

The Queets is glacial stream which means it runs dirty. If you can get three feet of visibility, you got a lot. The good news is, we have had some of our best days in 18 inches of vis. These fish seem to see everything.

I have maintained for years, “the only real secret to steelhead guiding success is “to fish every day and pay attention”. It is our good fortune that Mike and I practically live over on the Queets through the spring season. Some holding waters are in the classic pools, others are simply found in nooks & crannies. It pays to know where to look.

Also, The Queets is all about “the swing”. Bobber boys simply don't do well here. That’s the way it seems on this broad and gentle river.

Pick your color:
Mike does most of his fishing with pink. I do well with purple/pink, purple/orange, and black/orange, but Cop Car with it’s reverse palmered white marabou feather always takes it’s share of the fish. Just remember, “Well placed kitchen knife.” Much of our fishing is just a few miles above the tidal influence. I don’t think these aggressive fish really care what it looks like, as long as it wiggles well and comes close to them.

So, if you are into coastal streams, fish, birds and animals of a wild park, you are going to love it on the Queets. Oh yeah, if you fish the spring you better bring a rain coat. You are likely to get wet. It's the way it is.

Best of fishing,

Dennis & Mike Dickson

P. S. Don't forget your new fishing license!

www.flyfishsteelhead.com

425 238 3537

CCA

Salmonfly.net

Dickson Flyfishing Facebook

 

3/14/10
Another day at the park

Mike & I are again gearing up for another stint out on the Queets River in Olympic Peninsula's National Park.

So far, the weather/river levels have been the "X" factor, in the fishing success this spring. There are some large & lovely wild steelhead to be swam. The Queets has been out for the last few days but everything is shaping up well for the next. Can't wait.

Flies: I often maintain that a Queets River native would probably hit a "well placed kitchen knife". Big and dumb (innocent?) is my kind of steelhead. Steelhead Flies: Fact and Fiction is a popular read.

Having said that, Salmonfly.Net is always fun for new flies.

I would look for more of the same Queets River steelhead flyfishing in the next few weeks. I wish I could tell you of some magical steelhead potion, for catching these wonderful fish but it really is down to a few basics. Reading water & presentation are the biggest..

Anyway, You can't catch them if your fly isn't in the water, so there you go.

Best of fishing,

Dennis & Mike Dickson
425 238 3537

flyfishsteelhead.com

CCA

Salmonfly.net

Dickson Flyfishing Facebook

Dickson Flyfishing Facebook

And if it rains,

Well, about the time you make all your coastal fishing plans, nature comes along and knocks you right out. That is pretty much how our fishing went last week on the Olympic Peninsula. It rains out here and you deal with it.

Both Mike & I did manage to get some fishing in between storms, and fortunately found steelhead when we did. That was good.

Coming off yet another pretty strong weather front, the rivers are finally dropping as we speak. Next week's weather forecast is calling for some drier weather so our expectation of more steelhead coming in, is running high. Fishing should only get better as we get farther into March.

My approach in striking Queets bound steelhead varys somewhat from my standard steelhead fly fishing. Where, so often times the winter steelhead bite can be quite subtle on our north sound streams, the tidewater Queets fish tend to be very aggressive to the fly. Bottom line; if this steelhead decides he wants the fly, he doesn't mess around, he gets it. My strategy in this dirty water fishery have evolved to simply have anglers crank down their reel drag and pretty much hang on. Sure, this steelhead may pluck at your big bunny flies from time to time, but when he decides he really wants it, a Queets river steelhead takes it down like a plug rod. There isn’t much question what happened when this steelhead turns on your fly. Pretty cool. Come out and give it a go. You'll be glad you did.

Best of Fishing,

Dennis & Mike Dickson

www.flyfishsteelhead.com

CCA

Salmonfly.net

Dickson Flyfishing Facebook

 

Feb 22-10

A special kick off:

As many of you know, Mike and I just returned from another tarpon season down in the Caribbean. A hearty thank you for those who joined us. This is what Mark & Cindy had to say about their trip. Mark Nelson testimonial 2-15-2010

Dennis,
Trip recap: Cindy and I signed up for an "adventure" to celebrate my
milestone birthday, and weren't disappointed. Our expectations for this
Puerto Rice trip were first and foremost to enjoy tropical weather, food,
forget our regular jobs for awhile, and try fishing warm-water species.
Since we hadn't spent much time on the water this year, all I could
reasonably expect [from tarpon] is shot or two each day at a hookup - but even that I wasn't sure was realistic.
Well, I have to hand it to you Dennis (and Mike). You were able take us
casual fly-fishers, and put us in position to "jump" several tarpon each
day. They truly are a special fish, and I'll be replaying the violent
hookups and jumps in my mind until I can try it again.
Also, thank you for being flexible, and working around our fishing and
sight-seeing desires. What else can I say - except when can I get back?

Sincerely,

Mark & Cindy Nelson

The photo CD of all the trips are now together and I am sending them out as we speak. Mike is desperately trying to find the time to edit the entire video footage. (Even I can’t wait to see that one.) Anyway, all is good. You can get a sneak preview of the CD photos on Dickson Flyfishing Facebook.

So as Mike & I get back to civilization and all we hear about is the next river closure. Coming all the way from Bend Oregon, even Matt [Mike's client] had to be a little skeptical of his chances of success. Mike decided the last opened day on the Skykomish river would be the shot. After tying tarpon flies and leaders for the last two weeks, I am sure all the steelhead stuff must have felt like miniature. It always does to me.

As Mike tells it, Matt & he float their way down the Sky to a prominent fly pool, two drift boats were working the plug water. Half way down the flywater and Matt feels a pluck at the fly and then another. The line tightens in the hang down, and a drop dead gorgeous 23# (by weight & girth calc.) wild male steelhead was the result. Kudos boys, a fish of a lifetime.

So all the local north sound streams are closed or closing by now. Mike & I spend our springs out on the coast now, so off we go.

Our coastal steelhead schools, custom schools, and guide trips are all humming. Mike wanted me to mention: need partners for some O.P. trips. One on the 25th of Feb, and one on the 24th and 25th of March. All trips at $175 PP. Let me know if your interested. Mike [425 330 9506]

Also the Sauk school has changed to the Hoh on the 13th of March. More to come on that.

So there you have it.

Best of fishing,

Dennis & Mike Dickson

www.flyfishsteelhead.com

425 238 3537

 

 

Feb 14, 2010

Confessions of a Steelhead Bum gone tarpon

Hi, my name is Dennis, and I am a hopeless tarponholic. As many of you know, I do an annual pilgrimage each winter into the eastern Caribbean chasing the Atlantic Tarpon. Orin & Bette have been joining me on Tarpon Island for the past four years now. Probably the highlight of this year’s trip to TI was finding the bait trapped in a shallow bay one morning, surrounded by an entire school of hungry tarpon. To say that the fishing was good, would be a serious understatement. Simply the right place at the right time. We spent another lovely week, on Tarpon Island. Perfect.

After that week in late January, I flew again, this time for a new tarpon find on the lovely island of Puerto Rico. There I was met by my son Mike as we car-traveled our way over to a rural location on the west side. Landscape on PR's "other side" kind of reminds me of Maui. Very pretty.

I had found some marvelous fishing here, the year before and anxious to get back. Mike was here to help me decide if this “advanced exploratory” was indeed a business find. We had two weeks of tarpon pursuit, to make the decision. Long time angling client friends, the Nelsons and the Nelsons (no relation, how weird is that?) came down to fish on subsequent weeks. Our anglers were intrigued like so many by the notion of tarpon on the fly, but as yet, never had the encounter. I was confident it would happen here. The tarpon would not disappoint.

Mike already knew I have been fortunate enough to swim many species of fish, in both freshwater and salt. And fortunate again, I truly enjoy them all. From Roosterfish and Jacks along the Mexican shoreline, to Dorado (Mahi Mahi) and Striped Marlin & Sails out in the blue water. From Bones & *Permit in the flats (*yes, I have actually caught one, which I am quite proud of, thank you very much). Other than a lonely Bonnet-head, the sharks I have not pursued (which doesn’t intrigue me, I am not sure why). I have seen most. Nothing outside of steelhead gets me going like tarpon does. And that is me.

Anyway, as a “been there, done that” kind of guy, Mike knew any fish that can reduce Dad down to a blithering idiot, must be something special.

“One man’s floor is another man’s ceiling”

It certainly isn’t fair to draw gross generalizations in fly-fishing, but I will make one now. It seems that many trout flyfishers are drawn to bonefish where steelhead fly-fishers tend to prefer tarpon adventures. Now, I realize there is more exceptions than normality to this rule, but taking long time steelhead fly fishers like the Nelson couples after tarpon seemed to be a lovely fit. The trick was finding a tarpon fishery that is consistent enough, that the poor angler isn’t waiting a whole week just for a chance, like you often do in the Keys.

I know how tempting it would be to start spouting the “how many, how big” prose. Let’s just say our PR anglers were fortunate enough to find tarpon every day, and the fish they swam were real tarpon, not just midget counter-parts. Imagine 40 butt sectioned leaders & 60 pound bite tippets, and anglers still breaking in fish. As I said, real tarpon.

On Face book I explain an encounter where Mike hooks a nice tarpon near the boat, which actually jumped into our flats skiff on hook-up, then flies into me, and finally broke a cooler top on the way back out of the craft. Frankly, we were all a little glad to see him go! And tt still took Mike the next 20 minutes to land him. “Hard to hook and harder to hold“, sound like any fish you know? Yup, there isn’t much to love about tarpon. I am just grateful I got the chance to share the adventure with great friends and my son.

Oh yeah, 80 degree days and 70 degree nights for a fish that would keep me up at night thinking of the ones that got away. Now that is my idea of spending winter. I am happy to report, we have a gig.

Best of fishing,

Dennis

PS: Next week I promise to get back into the steelhead thing. Contact me if a Queets River steelhead is in your future.

 

1/24/10

Dennis took off last night to fish in warmer places. I have a few trips locally then I head out later in the week. We'll probably miss a fishing report or two while we are gone and email may be slow to retrieve. I'm ready for some sun though.

The local rivers are stable and fishable. There are a few early Wild fish starting to show. Once I get back from fishing out of town I will be hitting the rivers hard, especially the O.P. Were coming up on my favorite fishing time of the year, Big Wild Steelhead... never gets old seeing them. I do have a guy that needs a partner for a March 25th trip.

I added a Facebook page, feel free to join in on conversations,updates, info..ect. Its a little easier to upload stuff to the facebook page, so check it out for other info on what we or our guys are doing. I finally got some new hats made up. They look nice and fit good. I added some pics to our facebook page. I haven't put them up on my site yet.

Coastal Conservation Association is holding their CCA Annual Banquet Feb 13.

Think a tarpon is in your future in 2011? Check out Just keep reeling Bette,

The Dickson Boys www.flyfishsteelhead.com

CCA

Salmonfly.net

Facebook

1/11/10

"Winter Teasing"

I seem to conclude at least one indelible fact of life. In the Pacific Northwest, you are not going to see two similar winters in a row. Last year it was all snow, and this year it’s warm and rainy. These mid-winter Chinooks are what I call “winter teasing.” Makes you itchy for the spring in the middle of January. Not good.

After several roller coaster months of high waters, it feels good just to be able to say, "We're Back!" (Of course it is raining right now, with more in the forecast.) Rivers are finally back down into shape, again. Well, at least all but the Stilly North Fork. Speaking of which. Better check those WDFW river regs, I am pretty sure the upper N.F. is closed above French Creek, until further notice this winter. Pathetic.

The Skykomish (4,740 cfs) may be one of the first to fall back into shape. Fishing appears to be “OK”. The Sky is fishable but not that much going on. We are moving into the traditional "in between" time. Hatchery winter steelhead are leaving and the native fish aren't showing, yet.

NF Stilly (3,500 cfs) You can’t fish the river at this water height but if the weather goes to cold and you know how to fish the clear water, I would fish up to French Creek. (Right now the river is closed in the Fortson-Whitehorse area.) If you want a shot a large wild steelhead, and don't mind a lower visibility, the Deer Creek to Lime Quarry section, will start sneaking in a fish or two. I like off colors like blacks, blues and purples, when fishing the clear water, but whites, yellow/orange and bubble-gum pink, in dirty water on the bright days. I like black and deep purple on the dark water, dark days. Bunnies, Speys, Articulated, GP's and marabous, all get it done.

Sauk (5,670 cfs) and dropping. Watch for the Suiattle to be kicking color. I like the Middle run down the Hippy Shack when the Suiattle is clear, and the Upper Sauk when it's running dirty. Flies & et al. is typical winter stuff. Dollies will be the bright spot. The wild native steelhead will be few, but some of my biggest wild steelhead have come early in the year.

Skagit (4,000-7,500 cfs) High Prime. Fishing from Marblemount down to Lyman is a bit of "pick your poison." Hatchery fish will be up to the Cascade River (also closed) and the wilds down below the Sauk. Dolly/Bull trout fishing will be improving if the gear guys will stop whacking them.

Fishing High Waters: Steelhead flyfishing in high water conditions has got to be one of the most misunderstood concepts in winter steelhead. I even wrote an entire article once, about what I have learned about steelhead behavior in high water conditions. Flylines are what catch fish, is the drill.

Flyfishing Schools: I bet we spend at least 3 hours in a day school going over high-water strategies. It is that important in our winter steelhead schools. It has been my experience very few guys really understand how to catch steelhead in dirty water, and those that do, don't give it up.....Blame them?

I usually don't make a big deal about flies but, I got to tell you, we have some new flies like our Queets Bunny Intruder, which swims like crazy. I will bring some to our OP school.

I guess if the Dickson boys are "bringing the guys to the rivers," we must be doing something right. We certainly try.

The Dickson Boys www.flyfishsteelhead.com
425 238 3537

Salmonfly.net

CCA

 

1/4/10

"So many memories"

The phone call roused me from the tying vice the other night. My good friend Hal Smith was calling to wish me a Merry Christmas. Hal and I started our fishing together on the Skykomish River C&R, back in the mid eighties. He has since retired from the Airlines, living most of the year in Oahu Hawaii. Nice.

As my pile of Queets River steelhead flies began to mount, I started reflecting on these 20 years plus Hal & I have fished together. Many of my closest friends are those clients I have fished with over the many years. For that I am forever grateful.

To be honest, with holiday and friends around, both Mike & I have spent but little time on the water this week. Rivers were down and fishable until the other day. The local drainages shot up as warm rain hit cold snow and dumped it all in the water ways. I wish I could get more excited about the the Stilly, Sauk & Skykomish rivers these days, but to be flat out honest, it’s only “So-So”.

The Upper Skagit is running high and clear. Dollies are coming out but the winter hatchery steelhead are not so much. Mike & I are pretty much telling anglers the same thing. Wait until Valentines and watch for the late winter native steelhead to show on the Olympic Peninsula.

Speaking of no shows: If you ever thought you needed a good reason to join the Coastal Conservation Association (CCA), when the Skagit system loses its’ C&R fishery again this spring due to low steelhead run predictions, you might be looking to help.

Many of you already know, Mike & I will be running full tilt out on the lower Olympic Peninsula for wild steelhead, again this spring. This of course is after we return from the Caribbean tarpon fishing January & February. I head down for Tarpon Island in a couple weeks. After mid-February we both return from the tarpon flyfishing of Puerto Rico. Mike has a new HD video camera to flex, so we should get plenty of footage on both the tarpon and the steelhead this spring.

Say, if you didn’t make it into our booked up Queets Steelhead Fly-fishing Schools this year, just ask Mike about out custom schools. We do them for single & double-handed rods all the time. His phone number is 425 330 9506

And so as another year comes quietly to a close, another begins. Life goes on. With so much in the world going on, it can be hard sometimes, not to focus on things that went wrong this year. There was plenty that went right, too.

Life is precious; I pray we can always be thankful for our privilege to fish.

Best of fishing,

Dennis & Mike Dickson

www.flyfishsteelhead.com

Salmonfly.net

Coastal Conservation Association

 

 

12/28/09

A winter of reflections,

Winter continues to have her way. One day it is snotty, and beautiful the next. Welcome to the Pacific Northwest. We started the week on a high water but as the weather dried our local rivers have dropped & cleared…..again. If you are like so many. It is not a matter of fishing when the rivers are optimum. You flyfish when you can get away.

Fishing overview:
Not so bad: Salmons are pretty much gone now. They are replaced by some hatchery winter steelhead. Not large numbers, but enough to give you the excuse to be fishing, and fishing is better than not fishing.

In our world of automation, I think a great tool of everyday steelheading, is the USGS stream gauge stations. Checking river heights is what I use every day, both here on the North Sound rivers, and even more particularly guiding on the Olympic Peninsula.

Local Fishing:

Sauk River: Pretty good. Air temps 30-40 degrees, water temps. 37-42 degrees. Visibility excellent above the Sauk, and fishable below. I try not to get my hopes up too much. Seems like every year we get a pulse of fish and I am thinking, "Here we go!" and the bottom falls out.

The Skagit has fish.
Water flows of course are regulated by money, I mean, the dam releases. The river has been very fishy for both winter hatchery steelhead, and the Dollies. Big and wiggly flies are great for both the steelhead & the Dollies.

Winter, Caribbean style.

As many of you know, early winter means finds me chasing my favorite saltwater species, Atlantic Tarpon. Happy to report we will be returning again, for our 4 th January back to the eastern Caribbean’s Tarpon Island. We change gears a bit in February as our tarpon seekers will heading back to a remote section of Puerto Rico. This region of PR is just full of tarpon cruising flats, lagoons & mini island shoals.

As we speak: As my tarpon flies are tied, I have been spending my Christmas fireplace time, tying tarpon leaders with their fluorocarbon 40# butts and 60# bite tippets. These fluorocarbon leaders are a far cry from even the 15# tippets we use on the brawly Queets steelhead. It’s a tuff gig to return from 80 degree tarpon flats in time for our Olympic Peninsula steelhead schools but somebody has got to do it. Of course March & April will find Mike & I again chasing the OP fish. Something about swinging for these large coastal steelhead, fresh from the saltwater. And by then it’s spring…….

I hope your Christmas was Merry & a Happy New Year,

Dennis & Mike Dickson

www.flyfishsteelhead.com

Salmonfly.net

Coastal Conservation Association

 

December 21, 2009

Christmas Fishing,

Our local rivers that bounced in the November high waters have gone to dead low and cold for the past couple weeks. By contrast, the past few days have developed into a slow warming spell and spring like weather. I guess you could call it a winter Chinook. Forecasters are now calling for falling temperatures and possibly snow. Hmmm….The Skagit river which had fallen into lovely flyfishing shape is pretty much a Dolly show now. Speaking of which, guys are releasing some dandies lately. A single handed 5 wt. and a floating line is all you need. Imagine how good it would be if it was conducted as it’s own C&R fishery? Kudo's to you guys releasing these wild Char. I don't foresee the WDFW changing fishing regulations to protect the Dolly/Bull in the Skagit drainage, any time soon. The why is a mystery.

Anyway, egg patterns and flesh flies are the drill for consistent Dolly fishing, now. Fish them just like you would the rainbows behind the sockeye spawn, in Alaska. There are some wonderful wild Char out there if you can look in the right places.

The commercial netting is doing it's thing right now. The high water did bring in some winter steelhead, but it's still never good when the anglers outnumber the fish. Nothing new.

The water is cold now. Flylines Catch Fish may be the best article I have written on winter steelhead flyfishing.

After all these years, our Flyfishing Schools are still clicking right along. The custom schools, where an angler schedules his own day, and we find the other one or two anglers to join him, has been a huge Christmas time gift. Awesome! Happy to have you.

Fishing forecast: Colder weather is supposed to slip in, again. Lots of eagles down now. I don't need much of a reason to spend a quiet day on the Skagit. Kind of itching to float the Sauk though, ( if the weather cooperates.)

Politically Correct:

Please accept, with no obligation, implied or implicit, my best wishes for an environmentally conscious, socially responsible, low stress, non-addictive, gender-neutral celebration of the winter solstice holiday, practiced within the most enjoyable traditions of the religious persuasion or secular practices of your choice, with respect for the religious/secular persuasions and/or traditions of others, or their choice not to practice religious or secular traditions at all.

Following this, accept my wishes for a fiscally successful, personally fulfilling, and medically uncomplicated recognition of the onset of the generally accepted calendar year, but not without due respect for the calendars of choice of other cultures, and without regard to the race, creed, color, age, physical ability, religious faith, choice of computer platform, or sexual preference of the wishee.


Rivers will be fishing prime until the weather changes. There are fish to be visited, and much to be thankful for.

Merry Christmas to all,

Mike & Dennis www.flyfishsteelhead.com

 

12/14/09


"Careful what you wish for"

Well, the rains have left, and the cold has come. The rivers are down and fishable right now.. The continued cold weather has kept the precip. locked up in snow. Waters have been running cold and very clear, excellent for winter flyfishing if you can stand to be out!.

Skykomish River: 1,200 cfs. Chums and silvers are all but gone, but winter hatchery steelhead are trickling through but just don't expect to be alone. The defined gravel bars and easy wading can make the Sky, a user-friendly steelhead flywater .

Fly-fishing strategies: When fishing around winter gear anglers, I have mentioned I prefer to fish the softer colors such as blues, blacks and purples in marabous, bunnies, and Practitioners. Any of your silhouette colors will work. The forecast calls for rain and snow thru the week, try fishing upstream, from High Bridge to the Sultan River.

Reading water. Fishing pressure tends to move steelhead to the edges, especially in clear water. Many anglers don't bother fishing the riffley heads and few will fish the broken wake in the tailouts. Fish high and low in the pool when the steelhead are trying to hide. You may be surprised what you find.

Stilly, North Fork: is down and in. All the pools are fishing right now. The little river has a few new winter hatchery steelhead, but staying with them from day to day, is the trick. The lower river doesn't have a lot of great holding water, anyway, so these hatchery brats tend to cover water. Bottom Line: If you don't find where you left them from the day before, be on your way and head upstream.

Flies & beyond:: Bobbers work but we prefer swinging flies on sink-tips. Both single & double-handed rods will get it done.

Skagit: 3,500 > 7,000 cfs. Not bad for coho, but a so-so chum return left you searching for Dollies. Speaking of which: Winter hatchery steelhead continue to heading up the Cascade River, while the Sauk and Skagit are seeing some really fine Dollys coming out. Anything resembling a flesh fly is the drill. It’s just too cold to take them on top right now. I would wait for this spring and hit the water when the pink fry are coming out. Now that is fun!

Sauk River @ Sauk: 2,300 CFS Lovely water, in an Olympic Peninsula like setting. Water is cold so it's a good time to fish your "big & ugly" flies, low & slow.

Some guys will probe the Olympic Peninsula through out the winter for the hatchery steelhead, but for my money, there is just nothing like the up coming late winter native steelhead. Think Valentines Day and beyond.

That's my story and I am sticking to it.

Best of Christmas time flyfishing,

Dennis & Mike Dickson www.flyfishsteelhead.com

 

Dec 7, 2009

 

“Color me cold”

Well, at least the rains have vacated for a few days. Everything outdoors has gone to winter now. Rivers are dropping & clearing. Guys like us are torn between a very cold day on the water, or holiday shopping day with the Sweetie. I certainly would never tell you what to do. But it really is nice to be outside. Cold but nice.

Wouldn’t be expecting to catch much in the way of bright winter hatchery steelhead right now. The catch/unit/effort (CPUE) this time of year, has been historically below barrel bottom for longer than I can remember. That is, until the wild steelhead move in numbers around next Valentines.

So if you go: For pure solitude and a opportunity for some Dolly swimmage, either the Sauk River or upper Skagit are two favorite winter haunts of mine. There is something about these two drainages that will always remain special.

The Sauk river above the Suiattle confluence will be dropping into unlimited visibility. The Suiattle River is home to a few major Dolly spawning tributaries, so fishing anything below the confluence can also be a good place to look for them. There is just enough old spawning Chum salmon around to be fishing egg-sucking flies. Mine of course is the Cop Car series. I believe the effectiveness of this fly lies in the reverse palmered marabou feather. It is CC’s unique construction & action, not the size or color, that produces it’s fish catch ability.

Recent Skykomish River reports a few new steelhead, but I always get a little nervous when the angler number out numbers the sport catch more than 50:1.

The Stilly’s North Fork is in a lovely winter scene right now. I particularly enjoy of the Hazel area. Fortson area is producing the odd steelhead but as the angling attitude along the river changes when it goes to “all gear” December 1, I tend to avoid the little river for a bit more solitude, but that’s just me. Having said that, I believe it is the "holier than thou" attitude portrayed a few elitist fly anglers that gets dumped on all of us, by the other anglers.

I wrote River Etiquette a few years ago about river attitude. I asked a long time angling friend if my site article should be rewritten for today’s angler. He said “No, reread”. Here it is.

So I am doing a club presentation at the Overlake Fly Club (great bunch of guys) a few weeks ago on Queets River Steelhead flyfishing.

Opening picture on the slide show depicts Mike out on the OP standing a huge rock dressed in his fly-fishing gala holding his favorite double-hander rod. Never one to ignore the “elephant in the room” I ask the angling group straight up.

“Who here, has heard that I don’t like spey rodding”? One guy shoots his hand up. I smiled and said, “Well, let’s talk about that”.
Even years after writing the article about the double-handers, I must confess my views on flyrods havn’t changed much.

But heres the thing:: If you think that a rod or fly or whatever, is contributing to your angling success, by all means, use that. But, if you think that, as new-comer coming to a new river, buying a new rod, is somehow going to get you more steelhead with this new gear, than what you are used to, my 23 years of guiding experience says, you are probably going to be disappointed.

When does trick gear make a difference?:

If your fly-fishing experience is limited to Catskill Brookies on a 3 wt. then the gear used in any normal steelhead flyfishing is going to be a jump. Bonefishing with a familiar sized rod, but a radically different fly-line than what you are used to, can also be difference maker. Certainly anyone throwing a 10-12 wt. rod for tarpon for the first time, can be a challenge in the making. My advice here is: Get a hold of the equipment you are going to be using for your upcoming trip. Both you and your will-be guide are going to appreciate that.

Ergo: Fish the rod, fish the reel, fish the fly, but mostly fish the waters, that helps you enjoy your day.

Why I joined the Coastal Conservation Association: Here is a snippet from their latest happenings.

Under [WDFW] proposed regulation 23, called the 'Stream Strategy for Puget Sound and the Straits,' if adopted, that basic tenet would change and all streams would be closed to gamefish angling unless they are opened by special regulation. If this doesn’t scare you, it should.

Best of Christmas Fishing,

Dennis & Mike Dickson

www.flyfishsteelhead.com

 

11/30/09

"Tis the season"

I really don’t know what I could say about the fishing this week. Seems like all we have done is taken monsoon after monsoon ever since my return from the Grande Ronde last October. Mike just returned from Honeymooning in Mexico so his timing for being away couldn’t have been better. Me? I have spent my time just fixing gear and tieing up tarpon and steelhead flies for the up coming months.

Speaking of flies: Salmonfly.net has some really cool patterns to look at this month. I promise to introduce my “Bunny Intruder” in his following issue. If the cold winter's chill gets to you, like the Pacific Northwest gets to me, a venture into the Caribbean may be exactly what you are looking for. Just keep reeling Bette is a tarpon article for anglers of all flyfishing experience. Assure to keep you warm.

Back on the home front:

Skagit River: It seems like when we are not off to far-away places, Mike and I are fishing the Skagit (if not a quiet pool or two on the Sauk.) As we are home now, this week is planned to be no different. The Skagit has been out of shape for the better part of two weeks, but drier weather is already bringing the river down. And that's a good thing.

Find the eagles and you'll find the Dogs (salmon that is), Find the Dogs and you will find the Dollies. Chumsters are winding down now. Although we seldom see the big chum salmon return on Humpy years, back channels & side channels become the high-water lies to locate the spawning salmon and the hang-around for Dollies.

Coho: are still leaking in. The Cascade River has been the place to go this year, but don’t think you are going to be there alone. Salmon season closes today. The early hatchery steelhead also show here, but anglers can plan on new fish swimming clear thru February, so that is a ruby in your pocket.

Speaking of Steelhead: As the winter hatchery steelhead are first to show, many gear guys tend to throw a lot of color at them. Mike and I often go the opposite way in choosing fly color when the water goes to clear. Black flies like Little Bruise is a good Skagit producer. The predominant white Egg sucking Cop Car is another. Streamsideflyshop carries both.

Sauk: Still kicking color from the Suiattle, but nice water up above when the river comes in. Recipe for the steelhead doesn’t change. Find the rocks and you will find the fish.

Skykomish River: Not been over on the Sky. Water is still too high. Steelheaders will be out in force as it comes in. Ugly.

As our fly-fishing schools have been popular over the past ten years, we try to schedule one each month or so. The next up is The Queets Winter Steelhead Schools Feb 26 or 27 is a dandy. (Space limited)

Most days will find Mike & I taking clients out for a quiet winter guide day or two on the Queets river. We do try to preach the ethics we believe. Wild Steelhead Release fishing is much more than just talk for us. We appreciate the fact that the CCA organization is all about that. I believe we all lose when we simply can't wade or fish the rivers we love. The Stilly & Sky spring native fisheries are gone now. No one wants to guess which river may be next. Little wonder we emphasize the Olympic National Park’s, Queets River.

Best of fishing,

Dennis & Mike Dickson www.flyfishsteelhead.com



11-23 09

"Holiday Rain"

Wish I had better news. Bottom Line: Local rivers have been out all week due to rain producing high waters. No fishing.

On a happy note, many now are asking about our Dickson 2010 Flyfishing calendar

Queets Flyfishing Schools Feb 26 or 27. Schools are already almost full. As the finest flyfishing winter steelhead river in the region, little wonder.

Olympic Peninsula -Queets River Steelhead: March & April (space limited)

No worries, Mike & I will be spending our guiding time out on the Queets again, this spring. Novices welcome in our boat.

The Queets & beyond:

Many anglers realize some of the most popular streams out on the coast, are not particularly good flyfishing streams. Not if you are looking to swing flies and or wade fish. Ask your guide if you are going to be wading or fishing out of the boat. Swing fishing is also a world apart from bouncing bobbers. Again, ask the guide. Here's a timely article called Choosing a guide.

We are now in our holiday time. A look outside says it's raining, again. I guess I will have to put another log on the fire while tying up more Tarpon gurglers & Puerto Rico Clousers.

Here's wishing the best Thanksgiving for you & yours.

Dennis & Mike

www.flyfishsteelhead.com

 

11-16-09

“Chum anyone?"

Mike wrapped up the Skagit schools just before heading out for southern Mexico. He will be back on the 24th. Again I am reminded just how much fun the Fall schools really are. There are so many species, and so many types of flies and presentation. You know in some 30 years of chasing chums, I have never had to revive a Chum. They are that tuff.

The real good news is these fresh salmon continue to migrate into our local streams. Plenty of fishing opportunity if you don't mind getting out and exploring a bit.

Big flows and low temps continue to be the order of the day., good news is, even a few early winter steelhead are coming in.

The Skagit is still producing Chum and Dollies. Black Bart continues to be a very good Chum fly on the bright days, and of course Eggsucking Cop Cars anytime fish are spawning. Dollies are hanging around the salmon. Where else would they be? Hooked a ton of whitefish while chasing the char on Mikes Egg-n-shuck.

Sauk Dollies are holding off creek mouths and soft current seams. This fishery will only get better ... but the last rain knocked the river out....again. Cold temps in the mountains will bring it back.This poor stream still silts up easily, but it is one of my favorites when it is in..

As the cold winter comes, the rivers should go to low and ultra clear. When everybody else goes skiing, I go for tarpon of Puerto Rico,......... no I mean flyfishing!

We are already getting inquiries about our 2010 Olympic Peninsula steelhead season. Our plan is to finish out this fine salmon season, fishing into January on our local North Sound streams for Steelhead and Dollies, then off to Tarpon Island. We book our OP trips after the hatchery runts come through and the wild Queets native steethead enter. Not many March guide days still available for either Mike or myself, but if you are a winter steelheading flyfisher who have never fished out here, you will want to.

For a funny read, try Guide Hats in our Stories & Articles section.

If you wanted that last shot at the North Fork Stilly before it flips over to gear, better hit it before Dec 1.

Best of fishing thru the holidays,

Dennis & Mike

Nov. 3 2009

Mike here, Dennis is down in Cali playing the new role as Grandpa.

I have been fishing the local "S" rivers and even the Cascade. Mostly hooking silvers with an occasional dolly or chum. 90% of the pinks are dead adding a nice aroama on the banks with a few spawners here and there. Must have been a few late ones come in too cause we hooked a few of them and they didn't look that old. The rivers have been up and down so trying to hit the rivers at the right clarity and water heights has been key. Check the flows online before you go. For most of the rivers the higher up you go the clearer the water has been. Although the cascade was gin clear, lots of fish and fishermen. With the clear water the fish are real spooky and not the best biters but we did hook a couple. I did spot a couple early steelhead up there too. I was surprised that the skagit around rockport was off color running about 2-3 ft. of vis. Usually that is the last area to color up.

Back to business: We have some availability for our skagit chum school on the 13th.

I am doing early discounted booking for spring O.P. (Mid Feb - April fishing) steelhead trips from now till Jan 1st. Last year we had a good year and were looking forward to hit'n it hard next spring. If you want to see some info or video of 09 ask me and I'll give you a some info and a taste of what to expect. I have been having fun tying up some new large spey flies to play around with over there.

I am also doing a early discount for booking 2010 Grand Ronde trips. 3 day trips starting at $549. Me and Constantine (Gus) will run the trips the same as I have done in the past but also add some trips with river floats incorporated to change it up.

I just booked a inshore flyfishing trip for Roosters and jacks in the Mexico Ixtapa area while on a late honeymoon. I am really looking forward to that one. I booked it with Ed Kuntz. He sounds like a great guy and he gave me a bunch of great info for fishing that area. I'll give a report when I get back in late Nov.

Tight lines,

Mike Dickson and Boys

 

Oct 26 2009

 

"So many steelhead rivers, so little time."

A Grande Ronde River report:

On October 1, Mike & I finally finished our fall salmon trips on the Skagit river. That went well. October 2nd found us traveling over to our favorite autumn steelhead waters, the Grande Ronde river.

Of course the Columbia dam counts got us as stoked as anyone. Mike headed for the upper river, to run Cabins & Campouts while I went for the lower to do Wilderness Expeditions. The visions of a sea of steelhead coming in, just made the eastside drive all the longer.

The Grande Ronde so much more than a numbers gig for me. The GR has become kind of a time reflection thing. I can remember so vividly my first encounters in this sojourn to southeast Washington since 1990. Sometimes this seems like a long time ago. Right now it feels like yesterday.

The Ronde has many faces. The “how many-how big” guys tend to hug around the mouth as the Snake river steelhead tend to pull up in the lower Ronde from time to time each fall. This is the section where the big number days are found. Pools like the “Turkey run” and “Shadow” certainly have their following. Skunk series flies take a lot of fish down there. If you just wanted to catch one, (Wasn’t this the goal?) and you don't mind waiting in line, this is a place to hang.

The Shoemaker Grade region lends access to several miles of the middle section of the GR. Mike puts a camp down here, and again there is some very productive pools to be had. Some steelhead anglers go nowhere else.

I take a handful anglers each year and float the lower GR. Heaven & Nightmare: I think there is a natural mystique about fishing the Narrows section. The visions of all those steelhead and nobody around, lures in new anglers every year. I see a lot of anglers fish this section once. The question you need to answer is, “why once?”

The Bogans upstream into Oregon has an interesting and road accessible water. This is where Mike starts his trips and day in and day out he and his assistant find steelhead for their clients. A wonderful way to learn the Ronde steelhead.

The fishing report:

We found steelhead from the day we hit the river. Early October trips were primarily fishing surface flies. Lights Out which just creamed the fish last year was only so-so in 09‘. Crystal Caddis was back to form, and did as well. Cold weather came in around the middle of the month, and this cold snap sent us to the bottom fishing leeches on sink tips and nymphs on floating lines but fortunately it only lasted a few days.

As the weather along with the water temperature came back after a few days, it found us back to the usual bottom techniques in the morning and surface stuff in the afternoons. This is typical of mid to late season fishing on the Grande Ronde. I was all finished up with the five scheduled 09’ expeditions on Oct 20. October 21 I was headed home to Arlington.

As far as fish numbers go, we did run into one blitz where we hooked multiples of steelhead from one pool one afternoon, but other than that, it felt like we were fishing well, to find the next fish. The fishing was consistent, but seldom easy. I think it may be because the steelhead moving through the lower Ronde tend to push quickly, once they have passed the narrows.

Fishing pressure varied from trip to trip, day to day this year. On some outings we wouldn’t see anyone, while on other excursions found us amongst caravans of outfitters and campers, all looking for a place to fish. Neither seemed to really effect our fishing success. Grande Ronde steelhead lie in predictable waters depending on visibility, discharge, and water temperature. We simply let anglers push through. That is no need to hurry on the GR. In fact, one of our biggest days, was fishing behind one outfitters floating circus. It has taken me some 10 years to figure where these fish consistently hold in this river section. Reading water takes on a whole new meaning when it all looks good.

So anyway, Mike & I have now both finished our annual trips to the Ronde for 09‘. Many Columbia tributaries are getting their fish this year, which is way cool. Now, until the scientists can figure out exactly why, I guess we will just have to live with it.

Best of fishing,

Dennis & Mike Dickson

www.flyfishsteelhead.com

425 238 3537

 

9/28/09

 "Closing arguments"

 Our local rivers are now chuck full of Pink Salmon. Not astounding news. Chinook salmon are spawning, Dollies are trying to. Silvers are entering rivers, SRC are congregating around their natal stream mouths, and more Humpies than you can count. Does my heart good to see our streams full of fish. Did I tell you fall is my favorite season? Busy but beautiful.

 I could give you my 2 cents about why we are actually getting fish back to our rivers this fall, but you don't need my opinion. Bottom line; they are here and that is good enough.

 No small mystery Mike and I have been camped out on the Skagit River in recent weeks. As many of you know, Dickson Flyfishing actually started targeting Humpies this year down in the Stilly’s tidewater back in early September. (Trust me, it is not easy to leave the Methow in September!) After the upper Skagit opening in mid month, we have been guiding six and seven days a week on this home river. Next week is our last until we head off to the Grande Ronde. I started reflecting the fact that though Mike and I fish from Alaska to Puerto Rico each year, when we are home, the upper Skagit is a favorite to fish. It is just so beautiful and quiet here.

 Skagit Fishing, as we speak:

 We are spending more time flyfishing the surface now to draw out the bright aggressive fish. Everyone marvels at the fishing. Perfect.

As our last Skagit trip this fall is on Oct 2, Mike and his guiding partner Constantine, head for the Grande Ronde River to do the fall steelheading camp-outs. I take off for the lower river the next day. Is it really that time already?

As the Grand Ronde steelheading is just around the corner, take a few and check out The Grande Ronde and Mrs. Brown. This is by far and away my fall favorite fall stream.

Dickson Flyfishing is receiving many inquiries about the coho tidewater fishing in later October. Yup, the Stilly fish are showing already. The major numbers usually kick in around the first good freshet in mid October. We start our Stilly guiding for them when we return from the GR, Oct 21. And you thought you were busy?

 Salmonfly.net: Steve has asked me to do the Story and et al. on a west coast favorite Chum Salmon fly, “Dickson’s Chum Candy”. You can look for it in the November issue.

Many thanks:

To all the anglers who have joined us this last fall on the Methow, Stilly & Skagit rivers. The pleasure was all ours.

To the guys Mike & I have met. Some really great guys while camped on the river who stopped by just to say hello.

To the patience of all the emails and phone callers especially about the Grande Ronde trips, while we were happily stuck out in the bush….again

To my lovely wife who continues to endures all.

 “That’s my story and I am sticking to it.”

Best of fishing from your happy fishing advisors

@ www.flyfishsteelhead.com

Dennis & Mike Dickson

 

September 14 09

“God bless the Humpy”

Just finished another week of chasing down the Stilly Tidewater Humpy. Included was a very pleasant day with the editor of Salmonfly.net, Steve Burke. (It was our first day of fishing together.) By the way; I found Steve to be both accomplished and gracious in flyfishing prowess and manner. Sure, we swam a SRC, but with the droves of Pink salmon coming through the Lower Stilly, there really wasn’t reason to focus on anything else.…..until now.

Before I get to our next flyfishing adventure on the docket, allow me to high light a few cliff notes of the Stilly tidewater Pink Salmon show. Some guys swear by fishing the incoming tide. Others, it’s the outgoing. We have had such an onslaught of Humpies this year, in my opinion, I really don’t think it mattered, when you fished, just fish.

What does matter:

a) Fishing is best when the sun wasn’t in their eyes.

b) If you want to catch a few, fish big gear. If you want to catch many of them, treat them with the wariness you would any large trout. This is especially true when they may be under intense fishing pressure or bright lights and clear water. Longer lighter gear, and smaller flies , will generally catch more fish. Keep them happy.

c) Humpies stacked vertically in deep holes can be iffy biters. Find the slots or obstructions that naturally slow their migration.

d) Keep moving. If a school of salmon doesn’t want to bite just head on down to the next.

e) I would say about 1/3 of our flyfishing success this fall, was dependent on the right size and color of the fly, 1/3 was choosing the right fly water, and the last 1/3 was in the presentation, itself. Wading out to your hips with a large pink fly in a steelhead swing is a great way to not catch many pinks…..not in the mouth, anyway.

So now Mike and I are about to take our show off to the Skagit. Fishing begins next Wednesday. The Skagit Pinks are not only lager than the Stilly counter part, I think they are better biters, and the fact that they will often move to surface dries, doesn‘t hurt either. Totally cool. The schedule shows Mike & I will fish our 6 party anglers nearly 7 days a week, (we do have room on the 22 nd) right up until we head off for the Grande Ronde camp-outs in October. Some of our Humpy client groups have fished with us going back nearly twenty years. For this we are most grateful. Happy to send a boat full of recommendations from satisfied seasoned clients if the guy behind the counter is telling you otherwise.

Aftermath:

Anyway, the Dickson Guides all finish up with the GR camp-outs by the 20 th of October. For some reason we have had a big run on guys looking to fish the Stilly tidewater for the large hook-nose Silvers coming the end of October. Very sleeper fishery. Busy times.

Best comments this week:

From my client Stephanie after yet another Pink salmon the hand;

“Mind if I sit this one out for minute, my arm isn’t used to this fish catching stuff”.

From across the river;

“ #@*$ing flyfishers, first #*$^ cast!” “Same thing happened yesterday”.

“John, if we had a boat, we would be getting them too”.

“I’m telling you, there must be something wrong with those fish. They just keep throwing them back!”

Clients Larry to Don;

“Yes Don, the right fly in the right water, fished the right way, and it does seem easy”.

Perhaps the Fall Humpy fishing is a make-up call, for all those cold dreary days of the year, when it feels like the anglers out number the fish.

Got a question about flyfishing? It’s also what we do.

Best of fishing,

Dennis & Mike Dickson www.flyfishsteelhead.com

425 238 3537

 

9/6/09

"All in a day"

Stilly mainstem opened on the 1st. We have been spending our guide time this week playing down in tidewater as wave after wave of fish paraded by. The Pink salmon fishing has been so good below Silvana right now, it has even been a little tuff giving the SRC their due. Kudos for Bob and his big hook-nose Silver. bonus. Lets hope his big coho is just a primer for things to come this fall! So far, the Rolled Muddler has been our big time go-to fly. A floating line and single handed trout rod is all you need to put a serious dent in your fun meter for this one.Typical of large runs, the Humpies this year are small biut fiesty. Perfect for the little rods.

Speaking of little rods, Mike is just finishing up on the Methow trout fishing for the last time this year. It's all Stilly tidewater float trips now, until the upper Skagit season opens on the 16th. Life is good.

If that wasn't enough, Mike will also be running our 3 day Cabin & Camp-outs again this fall for Grande Ronde steelhead. He tells me our only availability is in the Oct 7-9 or the 12-14th expeditions. My GR trips are always in the lower wilderness section. Hard to believe we have been doing the Grande Ronde October steelhead trips since 1990. If you happen to get stuck with which flies you want with you for this fall, simply do what I do, buy the GR Sampler. The preseason forecast looks very good for the GR. Mike and I are stoked.

Be sure to check out Steve's latest edition in Salmonfly.net . A lot of great flies in this issue.

Ah, all in a day's fishing.

Best of fishing,

Dennis & Mike Dickson www.flyfishsteelhead.com
425 238 3537

For information on booking a trip see Rates and Booking Information

8-31-09

“A river full of fish”

I don’t care if your world revolves around anadromous fish or not. There is something very satisfying about a river full of fish.

The combination of heavy commercial fishing pressure and low precips have made the local returning humpies a prime target out in the salt. In spite of that, it does my heart good to see the Pink salmon coming in the rivers. The lower Sky and Skagit are now both showing numbers of these little salmon shouldering their way upstream. Stilly is hopefully, just behind.

And every year they come, Dickson Flyfishing get a world of emails from guys who were told by the guy behind the counter, “Oh, they are easy, just use anything, pink”. (Maybe I should be glad catching Humpies is not always that simple.)

Being kind of a rogue wave anyway, I think I will break my own tradition of answering this in Ask Dennis this week and add it as a main topic. The questions came up that many times this week.

Let me refer you to two articles that can address the topic generally, and the second more specifically. Please read, *Flyshops are not created equal & Flyfishing Pacific Salmon in Freshwater. (There is an entire section in the second, specifically devoted to flyfishing Pink salmon.)

* My good friend and mentor Sandy, owned and operated a prominent fly shop in Oregon for several years. I come from the flyfishing outfitter end for more years than I would like the admit. We co-authored this piece.

Flyfishing forecast:
Anyway: Mike & I will humor ourselves and clients on the lower Sky and Stilly (which opens to salmon September1!) for SRC and Pinks. Perfect.

I do believe our tidewater fly schools are full but if you want to contact us, we can probably a arrange a guide day for Pinks & Searuns. You don’t want to miss this action. It only happens every other year.

“And you said we weren’t going to have any fun”.
Holy Smokes! Have you been watching the Columbia river dam counts for the returning steelhead? They are breaking records all over the place.

Getting down to a last chance to book a Grande Ronde Camp-out in October. Whether you are looking to skate up a summer steelhead, or maybe just a first steelhead, period. Look no further. Grande Ronde steelhead. It is what we do. (Space Limited)

Salmonfly.net : Speaking of the Grande Ronde. Check out our new secret weapon exposed in a sneak preview of Salmonfly.net. We started using this fly extensively last fall for Grande Ronde surface fishing. May I present; “Lights Out”. Does Mike carry L.O. at streamsideflyshop, you bet!

Sometimes guys think they got to book a trip just to get a little info. We are always happy to answer your calls and email. This is also what we do.

“You ask me my 2 cents, and all I promise is, you will get your money’s worth”
Dickson

Ahhh…… sometimes there is nothing like a river full of fish.

Best of fishing,

Dennis & Mike Dickson         www.flyfishsteelhead.com
425 238 3537

 

8-24-09

“ Good Times”

Just got back from a lovely week spent with good friends fishing off the west coast of Vancouver Island. Another really good buddy turned me on to Jay’s Clayoquot Adventures in Tofino B.C. I have been around guides for a number of years now, and I can usually tell when a guy is working and when he are just going through the motions. Our guide Bren was most excellent. Highly recommend Jay’s operation in general and Bren in particular. Some day I will undoubtedly write an article on Tofino B.C. flyfishing. I was that impressed.

At the other end of the world, Mike just returned again from chasing the Methow River Cutthroat. He said that the boys had a lovely time using both surface flies (my favorite) and nymphs.

As September is all about the mystery Pinks, I was up doing a little recon in the upper Skagit checking out our fly-water for our upcoming season. Perfect. Yup, despite all the commercial fishing down below, the fish are coming. I guess it is one nice thing about the Skagit. With the Skagit’s cool waters, the migrating fish simply don’t bother to hold off for the fall rains. You don't have to look beyond all the sporites catching Pinks in the lower Skagit to see this one is happening.

Searuns don’t care: There is also good news coming from the Stilly SRC which are also on the move. As I have mentioned, a wonderful combo trip close to home, is the Stilly SRC & Pink Salmon fishery which opens September 1. This is always a sleeper trip. Nice.

So there you have it.

Fishing Forecast:

Stilly & Skykomish September SRC are arriving as we speak. Humpies could really use that rain.

Skagit Fall fishing: No worries here. The fish are already showing to Rockport, already. (Read your fishing regs!)

Grande Ronde 3 Day Campouts These October steelhead expeditions are hands down the most sought after surface steelhead fishery we do. Right now I can tell you we still have room in the Oct 5-7 & 12-14 trips. I guess the key words are, “right now”.

Ask Dennis this week discusses the different sections of the Grande Ronde for the best steelhead action. Tackle & tips.

As our Tofino guide stated as Dickson stumbled into to the Tyee Club two days running. “Good Times”.

Best of fishing,

Dennis & Mike Dickson www.flyfishsteelhead.com
425 238 3537

 

8/16/09

“ Cool heads prevail”

Just in the nick of time. The Met just kept dropping and warming. The cool weather has finally come back, and hopefully some decent water temps along with it.

In my opinion, you simply have to dead drift attractor dries for the summertime Methow Cutties. It would be like fishing Grande Ronde without surface flies. There should be a law against it, or something. Hoppers and the sort have been the drill this month. The water is low but as we enter a cooling trend, the fish will again, be looking up.

Steelhead News - Urgent
I am not going to blow you any smoke about the incidental catch steelhead situation on the Met. Apparently the WDFW regulations are poorly written. I will share with you a letter correspondence between my son and the response of the regional biologist - (Bob Jateff, WDFW District Six Fish Biologist.)

Bottom line. If you are fishing for, or considering fishing for Methow River steelhead. Stop. If you do encounter “a rainbow over 20”, break it off. Do not bring it to hand. Our June 1-September 30 fishery may hang in the balance.

Humpy-Dumpty Fishing:

Yeah! The August rains have sucked early pink salmon up into the rivers. Many of our streams have early openings (check your regs.) including the lower Skykomish River. Mike & I ran into these little torpedoes while chasing SRC, two years ago and found them to be bright strong and good biters!

Reports are coming in from all over western Washington now about the arrival. Perfect.

Fishing Forecast:

Stilly & Skykomish September Aug 16 - September Lower river flyfishing. Check out this flyfishing sleeper. Very fine fishery.
Skagit Fall Salmon Sept 16-30

Grande Ronde Steelhead 3 day Campouts & guide trips October 1-20
Mike has now also added some guide trips to the drill. Ask for specific dates available for the '09 season.

So there you have it. Mike is back over on the Met, while I head off to the northlands for the week. I do get to email, and there is hopefully the cell. Happy to answer any questions.

Ask Dennis explores the question. Why are the Washington State fishing regulations different for releasing wild trout VS wild steelhead?

Best of fishing,

Dennis & Mike Dickson www.flyfishsteelhead.com
425 238 3537

For information on booking a trip see Rates and Booking Information

 

8/10/09

"Hopper time is hot"

Northeastern Fishing:
As I am camped out for another week on the Met, I am reminded how simple life is over here. No wonder people come to the valley to retire. It may be summer hot but it is so very nice along Methow river.

Not only have I had some wonderful people to fish this week, there was also some very special fishin', too.There is just something about westslope Cutties.

Anyway, life is good here.I should expect the fishing to remain until we finish up later this month.

The fishing: Big stoneflies & flashback PT's is all you need in the mornings. Afternoon winds bring hopper time, and the evening caddis is fun but it's my favorite is a Madam "X" as the big boys go on the prowl.

If you new to the river, the Winthrop to Twisp river section is user boater friendly, and the Twisp Public Access to Carlton gets a lot of attention among the few local guides that call the Methow, home.

Westside Fishing:

Finally hearing some rumblings about the PInk Salmon hitting the straits & into the river estuaries. Won't be long now!

Stilly & Skykomish September 1-15 Lower river flyfishing. Check out this flyfishing sleeper. Very fine fishery.

Skagit Fall Salmon Sept 16-30
Always gets rave reviews. (Space Limited)

Grande Ronde Steelhead 3 day Campouts October 1-20
Our most popular surface steelhead fishery. Ask for specific dates available for '09

Salmonfly.net Check out our new hot Grande Ronde surface fly! This Crystal Caddis counterpart really worked last fall!

So there you have it. I may be riverside but I do get to email occasionally and there is always the cell. Happy to answer any questions.

Ask Dennis this week addresses River Etiquette & Tidewater Humpys
Best of fishing,

Dennis & Mike Dickson www.flyfishsteelhead.com
425 238 3537

For information on booking a trip see Rates and Booking Information

 

July 27, 09

 

"Mellow on the Met"

As our summer continues to summer, I swear I am just waiting for the rain shoe to drop. Maybe this time next month I will be praying for the precip. But for right now it feels pretty good.

Is it just me or does it seem like summer just got here, and now July is almost over? Geez.

Rivers on both sides of the mountains are sliding into summer time low. Perfect for floating the Methow between Winthrop & Twisp. Dito for the Westside Stilly’s lower North Fork canyon.

I am off again to Northeast Washington waters for some lovely cutthroat. The Methow hopper action is on the move! Also; Look for early Searun Cutthroat roaming the tidewaters as they are already in the Stilly, clear to Whitehorse, if you can believe that.

There are some excellent trout options now in the upper Sauk. I would fish above the Whitechuck.

The Sky always gets some early Humpies. Mike fishes down below Lewis street for the August 16th opener. Hmpy Chaser is the fly.

Skagit waters are ready but remember the Humpy fishing in the upper river this year has been pushed back this year until Sept 16, and if we can actually get a rain, the SRC will be on the heals of the first Humpies to hit the river. The Day Creek area is good. Should you fish the forks, I have always had my best success on an incoming tide. Stilly fish are riding the tides, too. (Some fish don't care, they just shoot on up!)

I fish buggy stuff this time of year on the North Fork Stilly for both steelhead and SRC. The Deer Creek fish are finally starting to show, and of course the drill doesn't change. Find the fish. Get it in front of the fish.

Wonderful time to start prowling the estuary mouths and sloughs. I like baitfish and sculpin patterns in these waters. You will be hard pressed to better than muddler series.

Fishing Forecast:

Methow River continues to come into lovely shape. Look for the hopper fishing to take off, now. Very fine fishing.

 Stilly & Skykomish Lower River Guide Trips September 1-15 Yup, we will be doing daily guide trips on the lower reaches of both river systems. Check it out!

Skagit Fall Salmon Looks good. Looks really good.

Grande Ronde Campouts the most popular steelhead trip we do. Since 1990

Ask Dennis this week discusses the new format in our popular Stories & Articles section. Club presentation seminars are also addressed.

"If you ask me my 2 cents, I promise you will always get your monies worth"

Best of fishing,

Dennis & Mike Dickson

 

7-21-09

 

All in a day’s fishing

Saltwater has it:
Where do we start? I guess everyone is waiting on the Pink Salmon arrival. First noise will come the from the west coast of Vancouver Island. Pretty quiet as yet.

Speaking of Pinks: Humpies may be the most user friendly of the salmon lot do to their habit of cruising in large tight schools within the top five feet of the surface, near shore.

Wading beaches with a 5 wt. and the Floating Line Head System, is my idea of a good time. As far as reading water and presentation, if you treat the salt like a river, and the presentation pretty much the same as river fishing, you are going to get Pinks. These guys are made for beach fishing. Funny though, some beaches naturally fish best on the incoming, others on the outgoing tide. Food supply doesn’t change, in the end, it is always about stacking bait. Do your homework and try to be courteous of private property. If there is a question about where you are fishing, ask.

After a brutal winter, summer absolutely continues. If you don’t mind the brown lawns et al, life is good.

Freshwater:
River Fishing is all about finding cool, quiet waters. If you are into the creek fishing, now is the time to head out.

Not a banner year for North Fork hatchery steelhead, but definitely a few dandies around.

Biology & politics: Not connecting the dots. Hatchery-no hatchery. You can high horse all you want but here is a bottom line. You take the take the hatchery steelhead off the river and you can take away the last excuse for WDFW to leave it open for fishing. Closing another river, especially your home river is always a bitter pill to swallow. Think about it.

The Dolly/Bulls are on the move. Try fishing above Darrington, or Rockport upstream, on the Skagit.

Methow River @ 830 cfs is primetime for river travel. The Winthrop to Twisp is a good float. If hiking around the stream with your 3 wt., the upper Met and Chewuck River are both open for fishing now until August 15. The occasional monster Cuttie makes this upper river valley a special place. As far as flies go, anything that floats well & buggy gets the attention. Sure, I have my favorites, I am sure you do too, but suffice it to say, these are happy unassuming trout.

Stilly Tidewater SRC & Pink Salmon Schools September 11 & 12

Sometimes I hate it when I am right. Yup, the Saturday class only has a couple slots left but still plenty of room for Friday. Always a great class. Glad to have you join us.

Skagit Fall Salmon Looks like another fine year. Mike and I are grateful for the many flyfishers who fished with us in the past. Some for up to 20 years, are happy to be back with us on the Skagit. Quite possibly the best most consistent flyfishery this side of Alaska. Thank you to the few guys who keep saying this no fishery, more room for us. Oh but just case you are wondering, we are always happy to supply a recent client referrals.

Grande Ronde Steelhead campouts are filling as we speak. If a steelhead on surface flies in your bucket list, the GR is it. We have only been doing this trip since 1990, so we kind of have it wired. Can’t get John to go? No worries, singles are always welcome in our camp.

Ask Dennis this week answers the question. Every Fly shop has a flyfishing program. Which one would Dennis choose & why?

“Yeah, we have a fly shop, it’s called the river.”

Best of fishing,

Dennis & Mike Dickson www.flysteelhead.com

Cell 425 238 3537

 

7/13/09

"Another busy week"

 

Well, life seems to have settled in for the summer.

Mike just returned from the east side. Ah, it’s nice to get away, sometimes. I will be over there a lot.

On the local front, the North Stilly may have taken top honors this week. The little river took a pulse of both wild Deer Creek native steelhead and Fortson bound hatchery fish in the last few days. River is back to low again but it rained pretty hard last night. Look for the best action from Deer Creek confluence downstream, Hazel, (above the slide), and the skinny water fishing in the Fortson-French Creek area.

You are going to need to change up your tactics, depending on which section you choose. The lower river steelhead will hit about anything from surface flies (Crystal Caddis) to Woolly Worms. The water visibility is only moderate, but the fish don't care, in fact it kinda helps with the bright and sunny days we have been having. Watch it. Deer Creek will dirty on a drizzle.

The Hazel fish are also seeing some fishing pressure, but the water is low and gin clear so fishing early and late are good, longer lighter tippets are better, and time to move to smaller flies. Dead drifting nymphs are excellent if you are good at it. Keep your colors somber, fish have seen all the fancy stuff, already.

Fortson steelhead are Fortson steelhead. I don't spend much time here, but it has a few fish. Think spring creek, It is the guy who can show him something different, who will get the bite.

If we get a river rise in this change of weather, we are hoping for more fish in the system.

Searun Cutthroat are now playing along the beaches. Early fish will be entering with the tides. Is it really that time already?

Hatchery Chinook continue to head up the Skagit for the Cascade River. Pink & white marabous are the drill, but remember fishery closes July 15. It opens again September 15 for Humpies et al.

Dollies are kind of in between migrations right now, but we did handle some to 23" (Bull Trout?) the other day.

The Sauk River gets a wonderful run of Dolly/Bulls (heck, I don't even know what to call them anymore) but the hot weather brought both the Sauk and the Suiattle rivers back to full snow melt. This cool weather should bring them down. By the by; the upper Sauk’s Clear Creek area and above is good later this summer. Fine trout fishery.

Methow River

My favorite local summer time river is coming into shape! Guide stuff begins in ernest next week and continues through August. The fishing remains consistant into September but we are back on the Skagit so that is tha. Anyway, our Methow guide trips are pretty full this summer but if you are a bit flexible we do have a few ½ day or full day trips available. Love to have you join us.

Stilly Tidewater SRC & Pink Salmon Schools September 11 & 12

Wow, just trying to keep up! So a few of our Searun Cutthroat students lined up for later August come back and ask, “Can’t we put off the schools a few days so we can fish for both SRC AND Pink salmon?” Fine, here is the latest and greatest. Lot of interest in this one. A real favorite of mine, too. I will be back in the next week or two on availability.

Speaking of Humpies:

Skagit Fall Salmon Guide Trips are us. Seriously, the only guys who poo-poo this fishery are those who simply haven’t done it. I can promise you, any guy who raises a 6 pound salmon on a surface fly….on your 4 wt. has his hands full. End of story.

Speaking surface flies

Grande Ronde Steelhead is the best October fishery I know. Mike consistently gets rave reviews for his 3 day steelhead campouts. Couldn’t happen to a better guide in a better place.

Ask Dennis this week answers questions about river fishing for Pinks and double handed VS single handed rod recommendations for Grande Ronde steelhead.

Release them, gently.

Best of fishing,

Dennis & Mike Dickson www.flysteelhead.com

Cell 425 238 3537

 

July 6 , 2009

 “Not so fast”

 The dry weather has produced summer time conditions on our little North Fork Stilly. I got the chance to do one of my favorite floats below Deer Creek the other day. The water is now low and fishable. Visibility is excellent all the way to the confluence. Not pushing a lot of water, but the temps are good. The good news is I personally witnessed several schools and I said schools of summer steelhead along the way. I would love to tell you we rose a Deer Creek native on our Crystal Caddis, but it wasn’t the case. The 3 salt hatchery fish the boys swam though was a dandy!

 SRC are already playing along the beaches, as the water to falls and warm up before entering, Skagit is full of hatchery Kings but that fishery is about to close. Plenty of water up there, but very fishable. Kings tend to lay in the second seam out so it takes a pretty good sinktip to find them. Skagit Kings like the color, pink. If you do hook a wild fish be sure to release it immediately. (We usually just break them off once we see the adipose). Another good reason to always fish barbless.

 The Skykomish continues to fish at prime time summer time flows. If this cool weather change has legs, it should be killer fishing. Hatchery steelhead continue to speed through to the upper river.

 Ask Dennis is back!

I get so many quiet emails about this fishery or that. I figure if I am going to be writing anyway, might as well open it up to everyone. I will try to hand select a few questions & comments each week and present them to you, the public. Feel free to join in. This column is for you.

Up & Coming:

Methow River (July & August)

I am about to head over to the eastside to spend the summer guiding the Methow River. Stoneflies are coming off right now. Hoppers will be on their heels. I don’t know what draws me here, I just really like it over there. Kinda like the Grande Ronde.

Stilly Searun Cutthroat Tidewater Schools Aug 28 or 29

This class is back by popular demand. Our focus is on flyfishing SRC. The class date is purposely set prior to the Humpy kill season so we can dedicate ourselves to the lovely SRC. If you want to do a combo of both species, we are telling anglers to book their guide trip for after September one when the river opens for Humpy kill.

A wonderful combination of Humpies & SRC. We do both schools and guide trips for these. Filling now.

Grande Ronde Campouts (October 1-20)

2009 promises to be another fine fall. Ask about our group special this year!

 

That’s about it for us. How busy is that?

Hope you had a wonderful & safe July 4 th.

 

Best of fishing,

Dennis & Mike Dickson www.flyfishsteelhead.com

425 238 3537

Fishing Report 6-29-09

"A Day Off"

My Dad, brother Rob and I try to do something in fishing every year, which to me is always a good thing. This year we decided to spend a couple days on the east side of the mountains. After traveling over to pick Rob up at his home in Winthrop, we headed even farther east for Lake Chopaka.

The only real downside of such a trip, was passing not only the Chewuch but the Methow River as well. To head off fishing somewhere else? There is something wrong about this plan on several levels. I took solace in knowing my favorite summer time water is still a bit high right now, but it is coming down! I’ll be back.

Chopaka Lake

After fighting weeds and warm water (Dad jumped a bunch of fish mooching a “Halloween Bugger” in the deep part of the lake, but I must confess, this is so not my kind of fishing……

We got up early the next day, broke camp and headed down the hill, again. After traveling north again, we ended up at a private gig for nonstop flyfishing action. What? I left the lake wishing we had found something in between. Maybe I am just too picky. Oh well. Family time is always time well spent. I promised the Dickson Boys we would do our Methow River preview week after next, on the eve of my Methow River guide trips.

Back on the Westside:

The waters on both the north sound streams and the Olympic Peninsula are down and fishable as we speak. King salmon, summer steelhead, Searun Cutthroat and Dolly are happening. Mike has spent of his guide time last week again on the Skykomish River. He mentioned he is doing well on sinktip patterns such as marabous & egg-sucking leeches.

The surface fishing of the Upper Skagit I would rate as only “OK“. It’s pretty weird that the west slope got all the snow this year. The east side sure doesn’t have it. Anyway, we are also getting good reports of multiple fishes moving into some O.P. waters. Mike is too happy with his steelhead, to leave the Sky, and I will probably just hang around the Skagit & the Stilly until I head over to the “Met“.

Skagit River: River is going back into snow melt but the Water visibility is still around 8 feet above the Sauk, and 5 feet, below. Summer steelheading is only spotty here. Most guys are flyfishing big marabous in pink/white, blacks, blue, & purple in the upper river for the hatchery Chinook. (Watch your regs.)

Sauk River: Not a lot of fishing until the water drops to summer-low. When it does, I recommend fishing the big pocket water above the Whitechuck River confluence.

Skykomish River: Mike's guiding has been primarily on the Sky for both steelhead and Chinook, with the occasional Dolly. He still rates the upper Sky (below High bridge to Sultan) as fair to good for steelhead, and Sultan down the Monroe fairfor steelhead but good for Chinook. Sinktips and winter flies are the drill until the summer flows drop and warm.

N.F. Stilly: The North Fork water is down. The water visibility below Deer Creek is now starting to be conducive to surface fishing. Both hatchery & wild summers are beginning to show. River access below Deer Creek is the trick. I generally look for the good steelhead fishing to begin after July 4.

Next week I hope to finish up a new article entitled Ocean Pinks: The love -hate relationship. Should be fun.

Best of fishing,

Mike & Dennis " http://www.flyfishsteelhead.com"

 

6-22-09

"Father‘s Day"

It is easy to commemorate Father’s Day. Mine has always been a hero in my life. One of the most asked questions I ever receive is,

“So did your father get you into flyfishing?”

My response, “Kinda”.

Life on Canyon Creek was early episodes of my flyfishing days. I have had so many fishing adventures with my Pop over time, it would be difficult to sort them all out.

I remember a summer day when his oldest brother Henry, Dad and I hiked down into the upper headwaters of Meadow Creek after work. (Dad worked in logging road construction (and I became a Fisheries Biologist, go figure.)

Anyway, we broke brush that afternoon, with fly rods in one hand and wicker fisher baskets in the other. Our threesome bushwhacked our way down into this northwest Washington stream. Little wild rainbows were the quarry.

My Dad has always been a pretty good fisher, but if a trout came to hand, it died. Uncle Hank was none the less. We didn’t do waders back in those days. Heck, we didn’t own hip boots. Work boots and greasy levis were the drill.

As a rule, the brothers used to trade fishing pools along the way, somehow I would fill in around the edges. On a good day I could even manage to find my share of fish.

It seems like it also was a custom, that the guys would meet up midstream somewhere, and Dad would slip a few trout in Uncle Hank’s creel. He was a good younger brother.

On this particular adventure, we were wading the creek along shallow riffle flat. Couldn’t been more than 6” deep, as Meadow Creek was running summer time low. Uncle Henry trips on a streamside rock, and falls flat on his face in the water. He didn’t look hurt so my father and I just waited for him to get up. Getting wet was just part of the trip, but I’ll have to admit that “falling in” a tiny stream was a bit of a surprise. The trick was to give your buddy the impression, this was serious sport. I remember my cousin Lynn falling over a waterfall in the upper Sauk chasing Dollies. He was practically a legend.

Anyway, after the trip and fall, Henry did get up but not before doing the strangest thing. For some reason, he decided that instead up simply lifting himself up to his knees, then to his feet, he started rolling down this little creek, commando style. It was like he was taking enemy fire, or something.

My father and I just stared as his sibling goes rolling down the stream in a half a foot of water.

Dad finally exclaimed, “Henry, for crying out loud, Stand Up!” As if on cue, Uncle Hank stops rolling in the creek and jumps to his feet. I swear there wasn’t a square inch of him that wasn’t soaked with water. All in a stream section no more than six inches deep.

I think the real funny part was actually listening to this late Uncle tell his version of the story. The tale would vary somewhat depending on the audience, but it seemed like there was always raging currents and a narrow miss with a log jam in there, somewhere.

Mark Twain once said, “I never let the truth get in the way of a really good story”. But of course my adventures are always true. At least the way I remember them. And now you know the rest of the story.

Fishing Report:

A busy guide week for sure. Waters on both the north sound streams and the Olympic Peninsula are down and fishable. King salmon, summer steelhead, Searun Cutthroat and Dolly are the players.

Mike was out on the Skykomish River again yesterday, guiding steelhead & hatchery Chinook. He said his angler hooked a nice steelhead on his third cast. Cool. They have been doing well on sinktips and winter patterns such as marabous & egg-sucking leeches. He has new version of the blue/purple in a string leech that he really likes. Both Highbridge to Sultan and Sultan to Monroe sections of the Sky, seem to be holding fish.

I have been on the Skagit and the Stilly North Fork. Fishing is what I would classify as “OK”. Spent a lovely morning conducting an into to flyfishing with Diane and Von below the confluence of Boulder Creek. Even swam a couple fish. Very nice couple.

Here is what I know:

Skagit River : 6,900 > 10,000 cfs. River is in snow melt. Water visibility is around 6 feet above the Sauk, but zilch below. Summer Steelheading is spotty at best. Nice upstream Dollies on the move as are the hatchery Chinooks. Most of the fly-guys are throwing sinktips. Big marabous in pink/white, blacks, blue, & red\orange are the most popular. Mike & I generally fish both surface and subsurface, as my gig has been on top for Dollies, when I can.

Sauk River 6,900 cfs. The river is coming off the big snow pack from last winter. It has good visibility above the Suiattle River, decent below. Summer low flows in late July thru September is the drill. Fish the big pocket water above the Whitechuck when it does. Falling in is optional.

 Skykomish River : 4,000 cfs @ Sultan. Mike's guiding has been primarily on the Sky. His trips have produced both steelhead and Chinook, with the occasional Dolly/Bull. He still rates the upper Sky (below High bridge to Sultan) as fair to good for steelhead, and Sultan down the Monroe fair for steelhead but good for Chinook. Sinktips and winter flies are the drill until the summer wild fish move in. Water levels are flyfishing well.

 N.F. Stilly : 1,270 cfs. The water is down unless this rain kicks in. The water vis. below Deer Creek is now starting to be conducive to surface fishing. Both hatchery & wild summers are beginning to show. Getting river access below Deer Creek is the tuff. I always look for the real steelheading to begin after July 4.

Color me Pink:

It’s no mystery, as the odd years generally finds everybody is impatiently waiting the arrival of the Humpy Salmon. In the following weeks I will discuss some flyfishing strategies & flies for the ocean > beaches > river estuaries > rivers. As a wise man once said. “It’s all good.”

Happy Fathers Day Dad. Have a great week!

 

Best of fishing,

Mike & Dennis flyfishsteelhead.com

 

 

6-15-09

King for a day

Wow! Where do I start? Even the hot weather wasn't enough to keep the rivers from fishing prime this week. I always enjoy this time of year on the Sky. It is the first good time to see all the river channel changes. This year of course is no different.

One of the cool things about fishing the Sultan to Monroe stretch of the Skykomish is occasionally a guy can bump into a nice Chinook while swinging for steelhead. As neither species are actively feeding I really don't think it really matters what you fish. What does matter in my experience is where and how. Here is article I wrote back in my early years. Check out Steelhead Flies: Fact and Fiction

As mentioned in the article, while the rivers are still high and cold, my strategy is to treat early summer steelhead (and kings) just as I would winter/spring fish, "low and slow" with something wiggly.

Salmonfly.net featured the Cop car series, so if you haven't seen it, you might want to check that out. As the rivers drop and warm, my summer time tactics change up quite a bit.

Fishing Report

Skykomish River: 6,220 cfs. Morning temperatures, 50 degrees

Top flies: subsurface winter patterns. Cop Car & Blue/purple marabou. Low and slow.

Skykomish success seems to be who you talk to. There are fish around. Not as many as last year, but the river temperatures are running in the lower 50's, flows are moderately high and the "High Water" pools from High Bridge to Lewis Street are fishing well. Too many sleds out, but what's new. Not a lot of cloud cover, but with the snow melt and 4 feet of visibility, the happy fish are lying in predictable taking places. Early summer fish aren't fussy about fly patterns. It is where and how you fish them.

Stilly, North Fork: 1,820 CFS, Morning temperatures mid 50's

Stilly is fishing well both above & below Deer Creek. Flows are down, so the canyon is good. Fish are spread out so best to cover a lot of water. Fortson to Boulder River is summertime clear and best to revert to low water tactics. Yes, there is life beyond dink bobbers and jigs, but scale down those flies and leaders to compliment the gin clear waters.

Sauk & Skagit:
The Sauk is running full tilt (@ 11000 cfs) with snow melt. The Sauk is not fishable and the Skagit is only marginal below the Sauk confluence. Not much summer hatchery steelhead on these rivers but the Skagit Chinook kill fishery is going full swing, so you will have to work your way around the sleds if you fish in the upper river.

Best of fishing,

Dennis & Mike Dickson   www.flyfishsteelhead.com

425 238 3537

 

 

6/8/09

Cool Steelheading

The summer weather we took last week, released a bunch of snow in the north county watersheds. Good news for many areas, as our local rivers are open for fishing, again. Steelhead are swimming.

The Skykomish River (@ Goldbar 8,800 cfs) is always one of my early best bets, particularly if the flows are between 6,000 and 10,000 CFS. This is a perfect scenario as the Sky has just fallen back into shape. Try a float from Sultan to Monroe. New summer steelhead love heads and tailouts. The winter is full of snow right now and that spells cold, so the sinktip is in order if you are swinging flies. A type 4 sinktip will cover most waters. You can fish about anything in the fly order but I find marabous in #1-4 to be about right and my favorite color for these fish is the blue over purple.

N.F. Stilly (@ Deer Creek 2,100 cfs) is about perfect. The river is pretty dirty below Deer Creek right now, but the Fortson area is where the early fish head off to anyway, so I would fish from there down to Boulder Creek. The river doesn't add much color until it confluences with Boulder, so you might want to fish accordingly. Smaller more subtle flies are in order. The good old Muddler Minnow in a #4 is hard to beat.

The Sauk (@ Sauk 11,900 cfs) is blown but continues to drop. I usually don't head up there until late summer when flows have gone to summer low, and then I am fishing above Darrington for native trout.

The Skagit (@Marblemount 6,000>9,000 cfs) is well fishable but I usually try to steer clear of the hatchery Chinook kill fishery. I head downstream and fish below the Sauk confluence. Your flyfishing tactics as described in the Skykomish section are good here. As you will have both steelhead and Dollies on the move, any of the Cop Car series is a good bet.

Skykomish Summer Steelhead school July 10 or 11
Come join us as we float the Skykomish River. These one day schools will cover every aspect of reading water, finding and presenting the fly, fishing the correct gear, including fishing the Yancy line system. Contact us for more info: Mike 425-330-9506.

That's my report and I am sticking to it.

Best of fishing,

Dennis & Mike Dickson www.flyfishsteelhead.com
425-238-3537

 


6/1/09


The post Memorial Day

Gosh, seems like if you watch the news little alone read a paper, there simply isn't enough in life to be positive about. I guess a guy needs to be careful where you take take your news.

My father is 88 years old now. A Pearl Harbor survivor. When I am not out of town, we try to hook up. The other day, the weather decided to play nice so he and I headed for a local lake. Hang out time. As I have fished Lake Riley since I was a young boy, it is a throw back of memories of many years.

Dad and I will still go fishing the same old way. Dad comes over in his old truck towing his 14' Lund car topper boat. We head off for local waters. This time we are headed for Lake Riley near Arlington. As I live only minutes away from this particular body of waters, it wasn't long before we were out on the lake.

Dad tends to be what you might call a conventional fisher. He knows all I really care to do is flyfish so our day's fishing, amounted to his trolling slowly along the lake fringe with his pop gear and worm. I was happy casting the fly along the edges with my new little 5 piece 3 weight. As this is going to be a client rod, I wanted to try it out before heading to the Methow River next month.

I don't spend much time anymore playing with what I call "Opening Day" hatchery trout, The lake also has some nice wild cutthroat which we always release so that is cool. Besides, a day spent with Dad on the water is never a bad day. Both the trout and my Dad humored me this day and before long, some dead hatchery trout lay in his creel. I remember the new 3 wt. performed surprisingly well so again, that was cool.

For some reason, this day with Dad somehow brought back memories of my early youth and my first encounter with a summer steelhead. I call the story Life on Canyon Creek.

The sun got high and we both got hungry. Our day tradition generally finished back at a local hamburger stand. I buy, as Dad paid for gas and truck. Feels like a fair exchange. Sometimes we catch some fish, sometimes we don't. It's all good. It is another memorial Day.

June 1 Stream opener!
Boy, it always feels good to get back on the river. I am planning to fish both the North Fork Stilly and the Skagit this week. Such a tuff life.

"Before you criticize someone, you should walk a mile in their shoes. That way, when you criticize them, you are a mile away and you have their shoes."

Jack Handey 1949

Best of fishing,

Dennis & Mike Dickson www.flyfishsteelhead.com
425 238 3537

For information on booking a trip see Rates and Booking Information

5-17-09

Pink Salmon UT-oh

Oh I just talked to the WDFW Regional Biologist and the good news is; Looks like the Snohomish Stilly & Skagit river systems are projected well above escapement levels for the Pink Salmon returns this fall. That's a good thing, right? Well......Yes and no. The Yes: The fact that it appears this fall's Humpy salmon returns are projected in healthy numbers is always a good thing. The fact that we may be fishing is not only great for the fishers but the local economy as well. Perfect, sort of. Our local WDFW biologists work so hard to get it right, and then their fisheries managers go to work. Maximum Sustained Yield (MSY) is a fancy way of saying, lets harvest off (kill) all the excess fish we think are coming back, and see what happens. It is a little like sitting down with your teenager and saying, "Look, by my projection, if you work every day you can this summer, you should make this amount of money." Your happy kid smiles and says, "Great Dad, could I have your car keys and credit card?" I might as well go out and spend the money I may make, right now." The way the crazy system works, is the kill fisheries are turned lose, before the actual numbers of fish are accounted for. The fact that pinks salmon prices are up this year, in a dismal economy? I don't think I would want to be a Humpy Salmon. My philosophy is simple. "If it has an adipose fin, it must be wild. If it is wild it belongs back in the water." Even for the lowly Humpy salmon. And you thought all of our fish problems were environmental.

OK, I would like to declare that spring in the Pacific Northwest has officially arrived. May time is trout time, by my standards. At least in the lowland waters, anyway. So many great options to get you on the water. Here is a great resource. WashingtonLakes.com

I am hoping the snow comes off early enough for my Dad and I to make our annual B.C. Lakes pilgrimage again this spring. Here is an B.C. episode I enjoy sharing called The Fishing Dog. I mentioned last week that many of the B.C. waters are nearly a month behind, so you might want to do your homework before heading out. Still good advice.

Carp Fishing: I am so glad Washington's ugly half sister, the Carp is getting a little more respect & recognition. It was only a matter of time. These prehistoric "freshwater bonefish", can grow to gargantuan proportions, but don't be fooled into thinking the carp are dumber than a post. It is my humble opinion these not so silly fish are as wise as any that swim in fresh water. I like flyfishing in; Banks Lake, Moses Lake, Potholes reservoir, and the Crab Creek drainage for my Carp hunt. If you are more adventurous yet, try the shallow warm bays of the Columbia above Rocky Reach dam.

Did I mention the lower Yakima while searching the Smallmouth Bass? I don't really care to fish the trout streams during spring run-off. Too much water. A couple major exceptions to that is the Salmon-fly hatch in Swan Valley Idaho, along South Fork of the Snake. The other is an Anchorage Alaskan stream for poundage rainbows.

Our own local steelhead streams open June 1. The Cowlitz River on the South as well as the Skykomish on the north are worth adventures for the June summer steelhead.
September: Pink Salmon Fishing:
Late August will find us, wading the saltwater beaches for the Humpy salmon along the bays and lagoons before we begin our guiding season September 1. As soon as the Pinks enter the North Sound streams in numbers, we change up tactics including a waking surface fly and tiny trout rods (which happens to be my favorite Skagit River show.) Way cool. Flyfishing & Poor Economy?) The good with the bad. Sure, a poor economy effects us all, but the strong will survive, it's what we do.

Best of fishing,

Dennis & Mike Dickson

www.flyfishsteelhead.com

425 238 3537

 

5/10/09

Happy Mother's Day

With night time temps reaching into the 30's on the home front, I think someone forgot to tell Mother Nature, this is supposed to be spring. For me, early May can mean: A Mothers Day hatch on the Yakima. Everything is coming off a little late. May- June Basin Lakes: A good time for sure but keep your eyes peeled for the latest weather. One day it's early summer, next day practically back to snow. Picking the right weather day to fish is a little like a crap shoot this year. How weird is that?

May- June Watch those Columbia River Dam counts for shad. Way too much fun. Olympic Peninsula steelhead streams are closed now. Had some awesome fishing this spring if you looked in the right places. Very cool.

June: Looks like I will be spending some June time chasing Carp in some of the basin lake bays. Extremely challenging fishing but can you stand to touch them? I am watching for a string of warm days to get these brutes a going.

June-July Chill: BC Lakes are getting the same weather we are. Most waters up there are nearly a month behind, so you might want to do your homework before heading out.

June-September: Local steelhead Streams will be back in the action come June 1. I like the Cowlitz River for early summer steelhead on the south end and the Lowly Skykomish on the north for the June Summers. More June: Smallmouth Bass: This one of those fisheries that tend to grow on you. The lower Yakima is a stellar Smalley fishery. If the upper river isn't being kind, check it out down below the town of Prosser. Post runoff is my favorite time. Speaking of favorites:

My favorite Washington Lakes June trout fishery is Omak Lake. Caution: Need the tribal permit to fish there.

July-September For the Washington trout rivers, I would have to say it's the Methow, but the river levels won't be back to post runoff until after July 15.

September: Pink Salmon Fishing: North Sound streams are us. Waking surface flies and tiny trout rods. Way cool.

October: "We are all over the Grande Ronde!"
A deal for you: Our most popular Grande Ronde 3 day Camp-out: Oct 12-14. $699/angler I am opening up to the public for next week only: Book 5 guys and the 6th (goes free). Offer expires May 17 or until it's taken. We get raves over our GR video. Check it out! Pretty much everything local and happening.

Happy fishing, and don't forget the Ladies in your life!.

Dennis & Mike Dickson

www.flyfishsteelhead.com

425 238 3537

 

5/03/09

Aftermath:

I have said so many times. Spring is my second to the most favorite time of the year. Nature is finally in bloom in the Pacific Northwest, as we say finally say good bye to another winter steelhead season, . We also bid Adieu to a lovely steelhead fishery in the Olympic National Park on April 15. Here is a steelhead article and fly description I recently wrote for Salmonfly.net. It is called the Mono Loop Queets River G.P. (Sounds like a mouth-full to me.) I have another fly pattern I developed just this year for really dirty water steelheading. I call it the "Bunny Intruder". I will talk to Steve @ Salmonfly.Net about doing a piece on it next winter. Queets fish really hammered this one! Check out our latest video from this spring - http://flyfishsteelhead.com/video.htm

The Skagit system officially closed to fishing April 30. The April weather never did warm enough for a really good top water fry fishing for Dolly/Bulls this year but the action was definitely there. We were fishing and fish were rising. That is never a bad thing. Trouting is gearing up. I certainly enjoy "matching up" as we head for the region lakes next weekend. We do have openings on our Eastern Wa lakes school on May 9th, if interested get back to us. We might even head for Alaska to chase some early chunky Rainbows of June. Large surface attractors were really awesome again last year. Stay tuned on that one.

The past few years I have been spending more of my mid-summer days on the lesser traveled trout rivers, but that won't happen until the rivers fall after the early July run-off. For now, I will just have satisfy myself with tying some big sloppy cutthroat dries. June is always an interesting time, and this year as we primer for next winter's Caribbean Tarpon flyfishing, I find no better pre-adventure, than to flyfish the Carp flats of Banks Lake. Very cool. I used to do this a lot. Will let you know how that goes.

The North Snohomish County CCA banquet is May 14th for ticket info contact Brett 425-359-0107

Happy fishing,

Dennis & Mike Dickson
425 238 3537
www.Flyfishsteelhead.com


Salmonfly.net
Ifish.net
joincca.org

 

4/27/09

May is almost here, and that means trout in my book. We took some pretty good rains last week that should have brought the steelhead into our local rivers. That's the thinking. Mike spent his time over on the OP fishing the Sol Duc and Bogi. I will let him give you the skinny on that. He is suppose to be back later today: Mike here, got back late after a 2 hour ferry wait last night. Fishing was decent, we had one day that was slower with one hook up from a Jack steelie, but all the other days had some good hook ups, with a few landed fish. Of course the big one got away, Matt says that will haunt him for a while. A few fish were real bright, a gear guy told us he got one with sea lice on it last friday. Remember to watch out for wading on the reds, they are the spots that are lighter with the dirt and moss rubbed off the rocks.

I am trying to get my hands to tie some lakes trout flies. Jeezzz...... And to think: Not long ago, it was all about 3/0 Gami hooks and 60# shock tippets for Caribbean Tarpon. Then from early March to until April 15, it was 15# tippets and #2 hooks for OP steelhead. Last week I found myself tying 4x fluorocarbon leaders, and #10 hooks for big Skagit Dollies, and now I am tying tiny 18's in Choronomids fro Seep Lake trout! Thank goodness, my next gig will be big sloppy dries for my summer time trout rivers. Current Fishing Report: The Skagit & Sauk rivers took their rains this week, and the Dollies went with it. The Skagit above the Sauk is again back to fishing, but unfortunately it is still so cold. Better fishing is still scratching the bottom for them, but I am going to do that, I just as soon do steelhead. There you go.

Remember the Skagit System closes to fishing, April 30. Mystery Lake Flyfishing Schools May 1 or 2 and possibly the 9th. I always get excited about this one. Weeds will be still down, water is cold but the weather should be improving as we get to the weekend. Happy to report next weekend.

The North Sound CCA banquet is May 9th. They really need your support. We are donating a couple trips for them to raffle off. It will be held at the Cottontree Inn in Mount Vernon
Tickets are $65 individual and $120 for couples and price includes new CCA membership or membership renewal.
Contact Steve Leckenby @ 360-428-1805 or Frank Koterba @ 360-647-9715 for ticket purchase information.

Also another good group of guys is the wild steelhead coalition, they are also very active. Check them out to see what's the latest scoop - wildsteelheadcoalition.org

If you find yourself looking for another fishing web site try IFish.com I think you will find their fishing conversation refreshing and informative.

Best of fishing, Dennis & Mike Dickson

www.flyfishsteelhead.com

Coastal Conservation Association

IFish.com

 

4 /19/09

About the time, we were ready to throw up our hands and declare 2009 is the year that winter never left, the weather turns [today] and, all is good. The Skagit & Sauk rivers had been running low and very clear. The Dawn Patrol fishing team was beating feet to the water, knowing it wasn't even a case of who fished best. It's a matter of who could get to the undisturbed steelhead first. Our North Sound rivers finally got the shot of rain that didn't all go into snow (not that this is a bad thing) and
the Sauk responded. Perfect. The gin clear waters so typical of the Skagit, a steelheaders curse, is prime time for Dolly/Bulls. Floating lines and intermediate sinktips are all that is needed to jump some lovely fish to 26". Not bad for a 5 wt.

Fishing forecast: Look for spring to finally get her way as the Skagit River system closes April 30. Most guys have given up and are thinking about resident trout, so you have a lot better chance of finding a little water to yourself. Virtually nobody is touching the Dolly scene so that one goes for begging. Mike and I will fight them off in our steelhead/Dolly combo trips next week, but there you go.

Here is a preview of a favorite fly of mine described in an up coming Salmonfly.net. It is called the Mono-loop Queets River G.P. Even though the Queets has recently closed, it's a really fishy steelhead fly that Sauk fish will jump on. Try it.

Our Mystery Lake trout school May 1 or 2 is coming right up. Perfect gig for the do-it-yourselfer. Always a popular gig. Looks good.

Politically Active: Over the course of years I have witnessed so many organizations that have come and gone. Those who have attempted an impact in our fisheries management is commendable but sadly lacking. We finally have the Coastal Conservancy Association. The CCA may be new to our area but don't let that fool you, these guys are for real. The Washington State machine has pretty much chewed up anything in their way over the past 40 years. We & our dwindling fisheries may finally have a voice. Before you give up completely, check them out. I speak as an outfitter as well as a biologist, the CCA may be exactly what we have been looking for. Both chapters, snohomish county area and skagit county have fundraising banquets on May 9th for the skagit area and May 12th for the snohomish chapter. More info to come.

Do yourself a favor and check them out.

Best of fishing,

Dennis & Mike Dickson
www.flyfishsteelhead.com

 

4/12/09

“It’s not like that”.

Just came back from a couple weeks of guiding on the Olympic National Park’s Queets River. (Permit # 164) Thanks to all who joined me or Mike this year. Kudos goes to a the long time angling client Jackie, who travels from Hawaii, to fish with me a few times each year.

Next stop, Methow River Cutthroat this summer. Perfect. Local fishing: I must apologize I have not been around to give the scoop on the Skagit and Sauk Rivers. Mike said that there are a few fish around but more anglers than fish, one of the best times to fish can be the last couple weeks as the rod pressure slows and more fish have time to work their way up river. No magic potion: I remember listening to long time angling Guru Gary Borger a few years ago. He was expounding the virtues of a world class waters at a Trade Show. He interrupted his seminar to caution the wise. “Listen, let me tell you something about flyfishing trout in New Zealand. If you are not catching fish at home, don’t think you are going to go down there, and start reeling them in.” So true. The Queets River steelhead flyfishing is the class 101 in dirty water steelhead flyfishing. I over heard two long rodders mention in conversation they hadn't touched a steelhead for several days. Yes, The Queets system does have more returning steelhead than most of our local streams, but if you don’t know where to look for them, or how to present the fly in off colored water conditions, I am pretty sure your outcome will be pretty much the same as back home. Wasted trip.

Anyway, Mike & I saw high and low waters this season. I really commend the Quinault Tribe in their wild steelhead fisheries management, as well as the ONP fishing regulations. Kudos’s to both for a fine job. Half the 40 stories & articles I have written have been about steelhead so I won’t belabor personal philosophies in dirty water steelhead strategies, but suffice it to say, the Queets River steelhead are a special fish in a special place. When I think of the hundred guys crawling all over each other, chasing what seems like the last Skagit steelhead. All that come to mind in reflecting the Queets experience is, "It's not like that". More like the Skagit in the 80's. Perfect. Salmonfly.net will be coming out in the April 15 issue. with a favorite fly of mine developed for the Queets steelhead. Be sure to check it out. Fishing Forecast: Switching gears. Mike and I will be back on the Skagit until April 30. Surface Dolly fishing is a by-product of the C&R fishery until April 30 and a real favorite of ours. Mike has come up with a killer fry pattern. Our winter has been very stubborn about loosening her grip this spring, but as the Skagit River finally begins to warm, the salmonid juveniles are out-migrating. Large Dolly/Bulls are there to meet them. Small rods and floating lines are the rule. Very cool. Only weeks away from our annual migration to Mystery Lake Trout School. Can’t believe it is that time again. Where do the seasons go?

Best of fishing,

Dennis & Mike Dickson

www.flyfishsteelhead.com 425 238 3537 425 330 9506

 

 

4/7/09

Mike Here, Dennis is still on the O.P. I just got back last night so we are a little late getting our report up. This time of the year is one of my favorite times, the weather has been great, the fishing has been great and the most of the fish have been chrome bright. I know the word on the street has been that the O.P. fishing has been slow.... some rivers have, some haven't. Most of the O.P. rivers will close till June so if your going to get out you better do it soon. The sol duc will remain open cause of the springer's. They are just starting to come in too.

On the local scene, the steelheading has been tough. The surface dolly fish is underway and we have caught some up to 24 inches.

In May we will be fishing some local lakes and heading over to the east side to fish our favorite seeps lake. Get ahold of us if your interested in checking out a new lake or just learning how to fish it.

Happy fishing,

Mike D

 

 

3/29/09

Spring is here? Mike just returned from another week on the Queets. His big day was a 3 fish outing, landing 2 native steelhead. He shared that day with two other boats, no walk-ins. Perfect. I am heading out tomorrow for the O.P.'s Queets/Clearwater drainage for the next two weeks. All geared up and pretty excited.

As on the local scene, the rivers over there are really low right now, but the Queets runs with color, anyway, so we are all good. Big flies on stringer hooks are working best. Both Mike and I have come to the conclusion, if the Queets steelhead can see the fly, they will probably whack it. Bubble gum pink articulated bunny leeches is all you really need right now, but black is right up there. Cop Car is always a constant.

Skagit Fishing: The juvenile fry & smolt are getting up and about. The slow hold of winter has delayed the migration a bit, which has retarded the surface fishing but as the trees begin to leaf out, watch that top water stuff to take off. Here is the good news. The low & clear waters of the upper Skagit, is custom built for the Dolly action to heat up. I like 12’ leaders to 3x fluro. on floating lines to get it done. Fishing forecast: The Queets fishing usually only gets better as we approach the April 15 deadline. The last two weeks of April is a lovely time to chase the Skagit Dolly action. (One of my favorites) Steelhead should improve on the Sauk and Skagit if we can get rain in the hills. (Never thought I would say that!) I have always found better steelhead fishing if the steelhead out-number the anglers. I get questions all the time on a myriad of topics but maybe none more than choosing boats.

Here is question/answer I received from Paul S. Hi, Dennis!
Paul S. here. Been out with Mike once, a while back. Also, a huge fan of your blog/reports, not to mention your writing style [hey, man, when are you gonna write a book!?!]. Quick question, hoping to get your advice. I'm gonna swap my Hyde drift boat for a raft, so I can hit more water and store it more easily [I live in the city]. Do you mind my asking what brand and length raft you use? Currently, I think I've got it narrowed down to either (1) an AIRE 143R with and NRS fishing frame, (2) an Aire Super Duper Puma 14 with an NRS fishing frame, or (3) an Aire/Outcast PAC 1400 fly-fishing raft-frame package? I know you're busy. So no hurry. But I'd certainly more than respect/appreciate your quick 2 cents on the issue [especially since a lot of bloggers out there seem to have agendas, and all that]. Anyway, thanks, Dennis. And thanks for all the instructive reports and articles, too.

Respectfully, Paul S.

Hi Paul, We have 2 Pac 1300's for the Grande Ronde Wilderness and really like those, so the 14 would certainly get my nod. All the boats you described are trailer boats, but yes, technically you could break it down and store it in the garage. All great boats. So glad you enjoy the writes. Good luck my Man.

Hell, there are no rules here – we’re trying to accomplish something. - Thomas Edison

Best of fishing,

Dennis & Mike Dickson www.flyfishsteelhead.com. 425 238 3537

 

3-15-09

Fishing is where you find it. More prophetic words were never spoken.

The north sound stream levels are coming off a seasonal low. Local rivers, namely the Sauk and Skagit, barely felt the recent rain, as they only got a touch of color. Our recent precipitation appears to have been locked up in snow pack (which is never a bad thing). Fishing on the Sauk and Skagit is marginal, but a few of the best weeks are still ahead. Mike talked to a client today that had a couple hook ups on the lower Sauk.

The coastal scene is another matter. The weather around the Olympic Peninsula is just warm enough to produce the rains. The biggest shot of water went to our Queets River. This Olympic Parks water went out yesterday with the rains, but falling back nicely, today. Flies that have been working this week were basically anything big, ugly, and wiggly. I personally like bunny leeches, marabous, and our Queets G.P. Look for our article and description of this pattern in the April 15 issue of Salmonfly.net. Mike and I hold a standard for leader length of “a foot of leader for each foot of water visibility”. As a broad gentle flowing stream, the Queets River isn't much of a dink bobber show, but if swinging flies is you gig, this lower O.P. river, is a winter steelheading fly fisher’s dream. I think the fishing only gets better as we approach April, so Mike and I are pretty stoked about the guiding on that one.

This is why: In my opinion, the Quinault Tribal fisheries Queets River steelhead program is light-years ahead of most rivers in steelhead restoration. Their wild steelhead brood program has not only stabilized the wild native steelhead population, but has quietly and consistently produced possibly Washington's finest steelhead fishery along with it. In comparison of sheer numbers, the Queets produces nearly twice the annual wild winter steelhead return of the entire Skagit/Sauk river system. I have always maintained, if it is good for the resource, it is good for the fishery. Such is the Quinault tribal fisheries program. It is little wonder, Mike and I will spend most of our guide time on the lower OP until the Queets closure, April 15.

After April 16, things change up quite a bit. Hopefully, spring has sprung and winter has lost it’s grip. As the Skagit River warms a bit, the juvenile salmon annual out-migration is in full swing. Big Dolly/Bulls know this and are there to greet them, This phenomena makes for a most lovely small rod, floating line fishery. Having steelhead in these same rivers pools during this out migration, just makes this Skagit fishery even better. Mike has now developed a killer juvenile smolt pattern for these Skagit fish. But that is a story for another day.

Best of fishing,

Dennis & Mike Dickson

www.flyfishsteelhead.com 425 238 3537

 

3/8/09

Hello Boys & Girls, As I look outside, I see my home's landscape is back to winter white.....as in snow. Hmmm. Not sure what I think about that. Mike just got back from a big stint out on the Olympic Peninsula. He found The Olympic National Parks waters, particularly the Queets River, to be productive for steelhead, while the state waters such as the Sol Duc and the Hoh, not so much.

Openings - Need a partner for March 18th on the Sauk, 26th on the Queets and Skagit school on the 20th-21st.

Our River Levels page @ flyfishsteelhead.com pretty much says it all. Everything around Seattle is low and cold. The coastal waters are coming in. Local scene: Skykomish River: Closed N.F. Stilly: Closed Sauk River: low, and cold. Skagit River: low, and clear. Olympic Peninsula: Sol Duc: Moderate height, fishing so-so. Better bobber show than a fly swing Hoh: Just came back into shape. Fishing not as good as hoped. Queets: Water is dirty but in. Fishing is excellent after they pulled the nets. (Don't forget you are fishing within the Park!) Clearwater: Clear and cold. Fishing "OK" Fishing Strategies: I like fishing early and late when the rivers are running clear. Soft colors such as blues & reds are good. I prefer big flies and loud colors such as pink, white and black (which is good anytime) when waters are dirty. When the river is off colored, expect fish anytime there is light, as steelhead can move comfortably all day. As much as I would like to tell you differently, there really isn't a magic fly. What is important doesn't change much: If you can eliminate 90% of the river and concentrate your fishing in places where steelhead travel and hold, that is what I call, "Reading the water." It is impossible to catch steelhead in water in water, he isn't. Steelhead lie in all types of water. The trick is recognize the "Fly Water", and concentrate your efforts in the lie water where you can present the fly, effectively. Knowing where and how to swing a fly to the steelhead is what I call, "Presentation". I have been in pools on Alaska rivers, where 100 steelhead were holding, watch an angler fish it for hours without touching a fish, while the next guy hooked up, immediately. Presentation doesn't just pertain to wary trout and Bonefish. Reading water and presentation are two of the critical keys to catching steelhead consistently.

The third factor is one we don't like to discuss: Steelhead Population size. As a general rules I think reasonable fish fishing starts when the steelhead out-number the anglers. I believe much of the animosity generated across the boards simply comes from anglers competing for what they feel is "the last fish". Tends to produce a great deal of unproductive finger-pointing. I am as guilty of this as the next. Having said that, anyone who actually believes this is simply a "habitat" problem, is out in friggin La La land. Consumer groups are critical to the equation, and until we recognize this, we have exactly no chance to fix it. Coastal Conservation Association CCA Pacific Northwest Lest you think this fishing report was all a big set-up. My apologies. Our multiple fishing groups are so tied at the hip, it will take all of us to make a difference. Epilogue: Get out there and fish. When I am out on the river, it seems like the world rights itself, if only for a little while. Why should we get involved in influencing fishery management? Because we can.

Best of fishing, Dennis & Mike Dickson

www.flyfishsteelhead.com & www.Streamsideflyshop.com 425 238 3537 425 330 9506

 

3/1/09


Two different Worlds

Hi, My name is Dennis Dickson and I am a steelhead Junkie and a confirmed tarpon flyfishing addict.

I confess. I just recently returned from a tarpon binge for the past 23 days and my likelihood of recovery is somewhere between zero and nil. I can only hope for better days and wonderful people like Orin & Bette, Ron & Anne and of course my lovely wife, Dawn. I won't bore you with episodes, but I can tell you that 3 weeks of guiding in the Caribbean, and all I can think of, is getting back there. Such a poor soul. The cliff notes were aptly placed in a recent issue of Salmonfly.net Tarpon Flyfishing

Back to steelhead:
I did get the chance to help my son conduct an Olympic Peninsula steelhead school over the past weekend. Really great class of guys on a wonderful day. Mike ran his gig on the upper Hoh River. Everybody there is still in a buzz about the monster steelhead, taken the other day. Pretty cool, but did it have to die?

No rest for the weary: I got to come back home, but Mike is out on the OP doing steelhead guide trips for while. Next week finds me back on the Sauk and Skagit rivers. Word has it, both streams are fishing well. Oh, Looks like Mike had a cancellation for his Tuesday March 3 guide day on the OP. Happy to wholesale for the last minute gig. Get back to me ASAP, if this works for you. Check out Mike's video on flyfishing the Olympic Peninsula steelhead

Best be mindful for Washington river closures. Here is the WDFW website.

Because you asked: Our up-coming Skagit Steelhead School Mar 20 or 21 is not only our oldest but quite possibly, our most popular, on the water, steelhead seminar. A two year apprenticeship and single day of fishing.

Post mortem:
I am pretty sure I am back home again. Now, if I can get my hands used to tying up 10 pound tippets for #4 -1/0 flies instead of 60# shock tippets and 3/0 gurglers for tarpon.

Sad, really sad. I think maybe 2 months of tarpon guiding next winter might cure me.

Best of fishing,

Dennis & Mike Dickson www.flyfishsteelhead.com.
425 238 3537

 

For information on booking a trip see Rates and Booking Information

2-22-09

Mike here. Well we had another week of beautiful weather. The rivers are crazy low but there is a few fish around if you search for them. When the water is like it is I look for the deeper holes. I fished the H.B. to Sultan float with the drift boat earlier in the week. I should have used our raft, I was hitting some rocks pretty good and had to get out and pull the boat through about 5-6 tailouts. We did happen to find some fish though. The first fish was kind of a funny story with a sad ending. Bob (name changed) a very experienced steel header hooks into this fish, I hear “fish on” and I look over and see his rod bent over nice and then it’s pointed down right at the fish. I yell, bend your rod back… he doesn’t. Instead he starts running down steam in knee deep water over big rocks and goes down into the river for a decent dunking. I’m thinking what the hell is going on. I see the line with lots of slack and thinking he lost the fish. Bob gathers himself, reels up the slack and the fish is still there. Lucky, apparently the line was wrapped around the reel and the fish couldn’t run. Bob knew he would break off unless he ran with the fish. Although running turned to swimming. In the mean time I have pulled the video camera out and have started filming. As he is reeling into the fish it starts coming right in and we think maybe it’s not very big, then about 10 ft. from shore it rolls and we both go whoa, nice buck in the teens. He runs back into the river, rolls and back to normal fight. About 3 minutes into filming the fish rolled again and spit the hook. Damn. The next fish was on long enough to say fish on ….fish off. Arggg. All in all it was a very nice day on the river with the float to ourselves.

I just got back from a couple days on the peninsula. The Sol duc is gin clear and tough, the bogi is just a trickle, the hoh was running about 4-5 ft. of vis with a bit of weekend traffic. There is a couple spots with log jams to keep an eye out for. I drove down to the mouth which was real cool, you could really hear the ocean roaring. I saw 2 fish roll with in a hour of fishing. No pulls down there though. I also drove by the Queets and it looked like it had 3-4 ft. of vis. I heard they put in the back road to the upper campground on the Queets. The old road along the river above streator crossing isn’t going to be fixed cause it keeps blowing out. Sounds like we will get some rain soon I can’t wait.

We have one opening for our O.P. school on Saturday and a guy that needs a partner on the O.P. for the 26th.

Happy fishing,

Mike D


2-15-09

Iheard the fly show in Bellevue was money well spent. I couldn't make it but It's good to see the growth and support for our community. For the fishing, well on the bright side the weather has been great. I have had some nice zen moments getting some pretty swings on the lower skagit with the sun shining through scattered clouds. I broke my favorite spey though so I had to use my 7wt. I made a scandi line for it that works ok, needs a little more grain wt. The down side is the local rivers are low and fishing is a little slow. There is a couple O.P. rivers that are producing fish. I'm headed over this next week to get in on the action. There is a few fish around but look for the local rivers to turn on after the next rain.

A client Dennis fished with called me up once he got home and let me know how good the tarpon was in the tropics. They caught lots of fish and didn't want to catch the big tarpon because they "take to long to land" That's a good problem to have. Dennis should be home this next week, I'm sure he will give a colorful report of the trip next week.

We have one opening on our O.P. school for Feb. 28th and I have a guy that needs a partner for March 26th.

Please take a moment to follow the link below to CCA’s action center, which will allow you to easily send an email to the Governor and your state Senator and Representatives with a few clicks of your mouse. We urge you to click on the following link, which will allow you to send a pre-drafted email to your legislators and the Governor opposing SB 5127 and any effort to weaken the Commission. The Commission was created by a vote of the people and is under attack for the recent positive decisions it has made. WE MUST STAND UP FOR THE COMMISSION AND THE FISH. Please forward this email to your contacts, friends and family and ask them to take 2 minutes to contact their elected officials! The link will also provide more details on the issue. Sincerely, CCA Washington Click the link below to log in and send your message: http://www.votervoice.net/link/target/ccapnw29103029.aspx

Tight lines,

Mike D

 

2-8-09

Winter steelheading is underway, now is the time to try and find those big boys. I don't know what to say, the rivers look great. W e have found a few fish lately and some friends of mine have sent me some pics of their latest catch, one being in the high teens. I have been floating around in our drift boat lately, I know we are known for our rafts but I was tired of the cold so I put a heater setup in our drift boat. I figured a mr. heater and a raft don't go well together.

Dennis sent me a email saying that the tarpon fishing has been great and they are now headed to Puerto Rico. I'm only a little Jealouse. I don't know what is better at this point sun and beach's or a tarpon at the end of the line.

I now have more Guys that need partners; 1 for 22nd or 23rd of Feb on local rivers 1st or 2nd of March on The O.P. I have a guy that needs a partner for March 26th and 27th on the O.P. We also have some openings for our sauk school on Feb. 21st and Feb. 28th on the peninsula schools.

Get out and get a line wet.

Mike D

Years of experience has tought us that it take years of experience to steelhead fish.


 


2-1-09

Dennis is off chasing tarpon for a few weeks. He just left yesterday. He was pretty excited spending the last 2 days tieing flies and messing with equiptment. He is also checking out some Puerto Rico fishing on the last week of his trip. I did the research on that, looks pretty good. I'm busy at home so I didn't make it. Not that I didn't want to go.

Most of the rivers around are looking gr