Steelhead season is underway. Great dates available still. Booking now for the Olympic Peninsula and Skagit/Sauk (depending on openings)
Wdfw is a mess. The Director has resigned, the Wildlife commission has had to step in and change resource management plans. The Skagit/Sauk is supposed to... who knows. There has been lots of time to figure it out. Not sure why we don't have a decision by now as the river is set to close at the end of Jan. There will most likely be at least a couple weeks of a spring season, possibly more. The Skagit and especially the Sauk will be busy so find separation by less popular times/spots. They can be a great back up to blown out O.P. rivers though.
I was at the Skagit steelhead meeting in Sedro Wooley. WDFW had given the excuse that there is a lack of funding in the Mill Creek meeting for a full season and then at the Sedro Wooley meeting says they can probably come up with more funding after the push back.
The flip side of a Skagit fishery is that the tribes get to net the rivers. I understand some anglers not wanting to even open the Skagit because of that impact on such a special fish.
It's a balance. There is a way to make things work for everyone but right now the sportys are getting the shitty end of the deal and there isn't trust that the tribes won't net anyways. Some transparency between the tribes and feds would help. I don't believe anglers have a 10% mortality rate on winter fish (wdfw has said that is a aggressive number to error on the side of the fish), I have seen studys in other states at more like 2-3.5% which is closer to what I have seen in my 20+yrs of guiding. I do believe there needs to be more education statewide on how to be responsible anglers and how handle fish when caught. Especially as each fish returning to our rivers becomes more important.
On the Fishing end. There has been some steelhead caught, bull trout, Atlantic salmon (die commie scum) and a few decent coho. The area that is proposed to be open to anglers is from the Dalles up on the Skagit and the Sauk. It would be nice to fish lower on the Skagit and spread anglers out. Fishing above Marblemount has peaceful water but fish are scarce.
Right now the Sauk has a hazy 2-3 ft of vis at under 5K, much higher than 5.5k and it's probably going to be dirty and best to fish the Skagit. The Skagit looks a little better, and is pretty clear above the Sauk. There is a big storm coming on Saturday night so after that better watch the river levels before you hit anything for a few days.
Guys looking to split O.P. trips. March 21st and 25th. If those dates don't work shoot me some dates that do and I'll hook you up $225 pp or $200 per day for multiple days booked.
O.P. Steelhead School The Feb 17th/18th O.P. school is Full so we added more school dates march 3rd,4th $189pp or $159 per day for both days. 3 anglers max per guide. We go over equipment, spey casting, reading water, presentation and fish!
Also I do a $50 discount per day for multiple full days booked, mention "winter special". Contact Mike 425-330-9506 or Streamsideflyshop@yahoo.com
I will have a permit to fish the Upper Quinault and Queets this year. They are a good option when I want to stay away from the forks crowd.
The Queets fished good last year but as wet as our spring was it was too high for most of March/April. The Quinault was awesome and a great river known for big fish (our biggest was 24#). It also has some of my favorite swing water. The fish show a little later so late feb - April 15th is best. The Quinault is usually the last river to blow out on the O.P. but I prefer the river on the high side as it can run low and clear under normal flows. Even though it runs clear I find the fish to be very aggressive.
Our other Guide Johnathan will be with me running trips and helping with bigger groups too. If you put your own 2 boat group together we give ya a discount.
Get at us if you want to get out on the water. Happy fishing!
Mike Dickson and crew
425-330-9506 or Streamsideflyshop@yahoo.com