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Thursday, November 21, 2013

Switching Gears

Now is that time of year when I am switching gears between fishing for summer runs and preparing for the fun ride of winter steelheading.  I'm about ready to fully leave behind the worst summer steelhead season I've had so far.  Finding rising steelhead was tough and I did not bring one fall steelhead to hand - very disappointing when I am typically able to raise my local hatchery summer runs to the surface with some regularity in Sept, Oct, and Nov on my homewater.  Unless the Army Corps brings the river level down soon, my surface steelhead season is over on the MF Willamette as it is currently running too high for any more surface steelheading until  fresh summer runs arrive next season.

Switching from this:

To this:

 (I tend to tie just a few extras of each pattern to be sure I don't run low and have enough to give a few away)

The season of weather and water dependent fishing opportunities is upon us, a time of doing our best on prophesying the arrival of fresh winter steelhead in our favorite runs and pools.  It will be a time of connecting with my regular winter fishing friends and re familiarizing myself with my winter rivers.  I'll be mentally shifting gears from the visual summertime routine of twitching and swinging wakers to the tactile experience of the winter dry line swing with wet flies on heavy irons (and not so traditional modestly weighted patterns like MOALs, marabou intruders, and Samurai's - a marabou/rabbit strip pattern).  Giving skaters a go in the afternoons will be part of my routine this winter as well.  Bill McMillan has told me that a degree or two rise in water temperature during midday to early afternoon can cause winter steelhead to become active enough to rise to the surface, even in relatively cold water.

Wishing you all a wonderful winter steelhead season.  May many chrome encounters come your way, I'd love to hear your stories so feel free to comment on here anytime.


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