Friday, April 24, 2015

Wind





Your Olympic Peninsula Fly Fishing Guide
Catch & Release, Fly Fishing Only



Wind

Some spring days are better than others. Have a cup of coffee.
Force 5

   We got down to the beach a little after sunrise. The water was flat and calm. But I knew that the marine forecast was predicting building winds, and wind waves, all day, with small craft warnings expected by late afternoon or evening. That is not unusual from autumn through spring here on the Olympic Peninsula, though we can usually see it in the forecasts ahead of time. By the time we got rigged up and headed down the beach you could feel the cold wind puffing up,  metallic grey low clouds schooning along, and in the distant horizon on the water you could see the surface turning black. My fishing guest that day was oblivious to my quiet sense of foreboding. I had previously warned him that we might get too much wind at some point, that at best we had a 50:50 chance of a decent full day on the water. He decided to come out anyway. Fine with me. I would always be willing to reschedule the day if it went bad for us. It only happens a few times each year.


Low tide and wind scalloped sand on a lee shore.


   At first it was fine, really. There was just a light breeze out of the south, maybe 5 to 10 knots, but with hints of more to come. And the tide was running with the wind, the water still flat. As we got to work fishing we positioned ourselves downwind of a high sand bar and some trees, where there was a seam of current eddying along the edge of quieter water behind the bar. As my guest began to make his first casts of the day I noticed right away that he was going to need a little coaching. And the wind was pushing in from his casting hand side. So we worked on that a little, an impromptu casting lesson. 

Just the facts: 

Keep the rod tip tilted slightly away from you, into the wind. 

Use enough hand speed and a sufficient enough stroke to overcome the wind blowing on the line. 

Use a crisp enough stop, straight toward your target, to direct all of the casting energy to the target. 

Immediately follow through after the stop, to follow the line down to the water with the rod tip, and to help keep the line out of the wind. 

And if it gets too windy, cast on your downwind side."  

   Some people handle this better than others, and this guy was a gem- eminently teachable, athletic, and he learned quickly. If you can't cast in the wind you are going to miss a lot of fishing days. And even though the wind was building, and the waves were picking up out there, with white caps forming, he had a decent cast going and we were covering the water out to forty feet in front of us with very little difficulty. And then the wind really came on. By lunch time we were feeling gusts strong enough to make us stagger. Easily Force 4 on the Beaufort Scale. But under the darkening sky there were ominous gusts to well over Force 6. my guest did not mind a bit. No one had told him that he couldn't cast in the wind. So he just kept a positive attitude, ignoring the wind, and went right on casting. And from where we were, we had several hundred yards of "protected water" that was still fairly quiet, clean, and fishable. 


Force 4 on the Beaufort Wind Scale.


It got windy.




And for our efforts, we were rewarded with one bright sea-run Cutthroat trout. And then the day blew out with spume strewn waves, silt and marl colored water along the shore, and casting was not realistic. And though it was not impossible to cast, it was no fun. We had to lean into it as we walked back up the beach. They say that if the wind were to stop blowing in Tierra del Fuego, all of the fishing guides would fall down. We were barely able to eat lunch as the wind increased. Hunkered in between some big beach logs, finishing our sandwiches and coffee, we called it a day. Well, a half day anyway. We went out to the cafe for some hot coffee. And I invited my guest to come back again someday, for a full "make-up day." We have over seven to ten months of good fishing ahead of us on these beaches, so I expect to see this man again this season. The promise of one bright, wild trout can do that to you.




Our reward.

You should come fly fishing with me here this spring. I will keep an eye on the weather for you!

Celebrating 35 years of fly fishing adventures! 
In celebration of my over 35 years of fly fishing experience, I am going to be extending a $35.00 discount to every returning angler date this season. From April through October, if you come fishing with me, and you or a partner have been a fishing guest in the past, you will receive the $35 discount. Must be booked in advance. 

Your Olympic Peninsula Fly Fishing Guide and Instructor

     I am guiding fly fishers on the Olympic Peninsula beaches, rivers and streams. We walk and wade, fly fishing for sea-run Coastal Cutthroat trout in freshwater and saltwater, and in the rivers for Cutthroat trout and summer steelhead. This is strictly catch and release, traditional fly fishing only. Lunch, snacks, soft beverages, and use of some equipment is included. I also offer personalized and private fly fishing and fly casting instruction for beginners.  I would be happy to help you plan your Olympic Peninsula fly fishing adventure, for beginners through expert anglers. Public presentations, Naturalist Guide, rowboat picnics, tide pool and  river trail day trips. Please call, write or email for booking details. Now booking for April through October and beyond. Please call or write for details.

Bob Triggs
Little Stone Flyfisher
P.O. Box 261
Port Townsend, WA
98368

Licensed Washington State Guide 
Certified Fly Casting Instructor
Trout Unlimited Aquatic Educator Award
W.S.U.Beach Watcher
U.S.C.G First Aid/CPR/BLS/AED/BBP/HIV Certified

Phone: 360-385-9618




Monday, April 6, 2015

A Saltchuck Spring



Your Olympic Peninsula fly fishing guide,
Catch & Release, Fly fishing only!

A Saltchuck Spring


April sea-run Coastal Cutthroat trout.
Photo credit Richard Stoll


APRIL is the cruellest month, breeding
Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing
Memory and desire, stirring
Dull roots with spring rain.
From The Wasteland, by T.S. Eliot

   We have been getting out a few times a week, scouting our north Puget Sound region beaches for signs of life. March here was very quiet for trout, which came as no surprise. For one thing we had record rainfall this March. And we also know that many of the trout are spawning then. And we have heard that in some streams that are being monitored here they are seeing the chum salmon fry coming out  about a week or two later than normal. And this would concentrate the trout and the fry in the lower tidal reaches of many streams. (NOTE here that none of those places is open to fishing right now!) So through March we have seen "a fish here and fish there", and generally slow fishing. But things are changing now. Every single day. April magic.



Fred's porch.
   
April is seeping spring into life here in a gradual awakening. You begin to notice that the air is heavier with the scent of things like the soil, low tide, pollen, grasses and flowers. That earthy richness is coming back with the sun's warmth. One favorite harbinger of spring for me is the trillium blooming in late March. By April the Red Winged Black Birds are back. And they are out in fully singing force here now.


Trillium, Hoh River Valley


   The trout are moving out of the creeks, along with the salmon fry. And with each tide they will gradually spread out into the tidal currents. Soon it will seem as though they are everywhere along our shores. And of course the trout are chasing them like crazy now too.The fry that emerged from their gravel redds in streams far to the south of us, in South Sound and Hood Canal waters, will be making their way along our beaches in the coming months. And there will be a growing procession of salmon smolt coming through here all summer. This just gets better and better through the season, and this is a big reason that this region is so popular for sea-run Coastal Cutthroat trout fishermen. 

   Yes, size does matter. And smaller is better sometimes, when it comes to spring sea-run flies anyway. The fry come out of the streams at about an inch and a quarter to an inch and a half in length. So you should be tying your flies sparse and small- Size #6 to size #8, and maybe a few even a bit smaller. But don't think that you need a smaller tippet size now too. Some very big and robust trout come out into the saltchuck to play in the spring. I wouldn't fish for Cutthroat on the beaches with a tippet lighter than 4X now. Even on a size #10 fly.

   Presentation is everything. And if I can share one tip with you for spring time sea-run fishing, it is to work the shallow edges of things very thoroughly. Don't just wade out there thigh deep and bust out those long heavy casts. Try to hang back and work from shore a little too. Especially during much stronger tides and currents. Most of the action will be right at your feet, if you don't screw it up by walking into it all. It's time to get out there and fish!



Speaking of flies . . . 
It's Chum Baby time again!  

    The Chum Baby fly is one of the most important fly patterns to have in your fly box when you are sea-run Coastal Cutthroat trout fly fishing, especially in the spring. You will find that this fly works very well for smallmouth bass, char and rainbow trout too, especially in waters where those fish feed on juvenile salmon. This is an excellent  and long proven successful, general spring fry pattern. If you will be fishing in Alaska in the early season, you need this fly.



 You will soon find them at the Orvis Bellevue store! Dozens of Chum Baby flies have once again begun their migration across Puget Sound, over the I-405 Bridge, and all of the way upstream to the Orvis Bellevue Fly Shop!  

 And you'll find them at The Confluence Fly Shop in Bellingham soon too. Just wait until you try the Chum Baby fly out on spring trout and Dolly Varden. 


Celebrating 35 years of fly fishing adventures! 
In celebration of my over 35 years of fly fishing experience, I am going to be extending a $35.00 discount to every returning angler date this season. From April through October, if you come fishing with me, and you or a partner have been a fishing guest in the past, you will receive the $35 discount. Must be booked in advance. 

 
   
Your Olympic Peninsula Fly Fishing Guide and Instructor

     I am guiding fly fishers on the Olympic Peninsula beaches, rivers and streams. We walk and wade, fly fishing for sea-run Coastal Cutthroat trout in freshwater and saltwater, and in the rivers for trout and summer steelhead. This is strictly catch and release, traditional fly fishing only. Lunch, snacks, soft beverages, and use of some equipment is included. I also offer personalized and private fly fishing and fly  casting instruction for beginners.  I would be happy to help you plan your Olympic Peninsula fly fishing adventure, for beginners through expert anglers. Public presentations, Naturalist guide, Rowboat picnics, Tide Pool and  River trail day trips. Please call, write or email for booking details. Now booking for April through October and beyond. Please call or write for details.

Bob Triggs
Little Stone Flyfisher
P.O. Box 261
Port Townsend, WA
98368

Licensed Washington State Guide 
Certified Fly Casting Instructor
Trout Unlimited Aquatic Educator Award
W.S.U.Beach Watcher
U.S.C.G First Aid/CPR/BLS/AED/BBP/HIV Certified

Phone: 360-385-9618




   .

Friday, March 20, 2015

The Vernal Equinox and a new moon



Your Olympic Peninsula fly fishing guide.
Catch & Release, Fly fishing only!

The Vernal Equinox and a new moon . . .


Shared with gratitude to Irving Mortensen
   
    This first day of spring is sweeping across the Olympic Peninsula with a bit of much needed rain, and a little snow in the mountains, and gale force winds. As I sit here this evening the house is shuddering and I can hear the wind soughing through the trees. We have had a few pummeling 40 knot gusts so far. Out on Admiralty Inlet the seas were pretty rough today, and they cancelled some ferry trips. As it grew dark tonight I could hear two barred owls hauntingly calling to each other beneath the blowing din:

"Who-who-who . . . Who-cooks-for-you?" 

   It was raw and cold enough tonight to put a light blanket on the horse. I gave him a little extra straw bedding and hay too. By the time I got back up to the house the wind was howling, driving the rain sideways. The dogs were glad to get back into the warm house, ready for dinner and a nap. I made a hot pot of tea and set my flashlight out on the table.The dogs are snoring now, hunkered in, ignoring the storm. Stuff like this just makes me feel good.

    It's not like we have had a hard winter here. It has been improbably warm, dry and mild most of the time. We are actually in a drought right now. The rivers have been pretty low for much of this winter, aside from a few spikes in flows from the rare rains and snows we have had, and a couple of high water events. It seems like we are getting just enough rain to keep the rivers alive. Certainly this is good for the fish right now. Tonight the rivers are going up a little again. And for the next few days ahead it looks like it will freeze and snow some more in the 3000 to 4000 foot levels. So the rivers may moderate and pull together quickly after all. A little hint of winter. But the solid long range trend is for warmer and drier weather ahead, so don't be fooled by a cold snap now. Even though we have had spring-like weather for many weeks, and we have been fishing on the saltwater much of the winter, it is only now really spring. 


Spring scouting trip and cheap beer.


    Rumors of fish . . .There has been much talk lately of great sea-run Cutthroat trout fishing  just south of us. And of course I am not surprised to hear that the Chum salmon fry are already out in good numbers in South Puget Sound waters. We are usually a few weeks behind that activity here. I have heard that the chum fry are making their way into our local estuaries now, along the north Olympic Peninsula coast. It takes some time for them to move away from the creeks and out along the shorelines in the currents. Typically these juvenile salmon will be about one and a half inches in length right now, and growing daily. The Cutthroat trout will be right behind them too. On a recent scouting trip, one of several over the last month, we did not see any remarkable action and we only saw a few fish. The anticipation is palpable though. There is nothing like being there on the day that they show up. "If you snooze, you lose." And it doesn't hurt that Saturday's new moon will be pulling on the tides a little harder this month, as it is a "super moon." Now if only we can get out there between the raindrops and winds this week


The Orvis Recon 9 foot 5 weight is turning out to be a very sweet beach rod.

     Somewhere down there in South America they are in their first day of Autumn today, and the end of their fishing season is closing in on them. While way up north in the Arctic Circle my pagan Viking cousins are dancing naked around a huge bonfire. And we here are just at the beginning of our season. In a little over a week we will need to buy our new annual fishing licenses. There's flies to be tied yet, reels and knots to be checked, rods to be cleaned and repaired etc. These blustering chilly nights can fool you. Spring is here and it is time to get ready and get fishing. 

    
Speaking of flies-  
It's Chum Baby time again!  

    The Chum Baby fly is one of the most important fly patterns to have in your fly box when you are sea-run Coastal Cutthroat trout fishing, especially in the spring. You will find that this fly works very well for smallmouth bass, char and rainbow trout too, especially in waters where those fish feed on juvenile salmon. This is an excellent  and long proven successful, general spring fry pattern.



And by next week you will find them at the Orvis Bellevue store! Dozens of Chum Baby flies have once again begun their migration across Puget Sound, over the I-405 Bridge, and all of the way upstream to the Orvis Bellevue Fly Shop! 

 
   Your Olympic Peninsula Fly Fishing Guide and Instructor

     I am guiding fly fishers on the Olympic Peninsula beaches, rivers and streams. We walk and wade, fly fishing for sea-run Coastal Cutthroat trout in freshwater and saltwater, and in the rivers for trout and summer steelhead. This is strictly catch and release, traditional fly fishing only. Lunch, snacks, soft beverages, and use of some equipment is included. I also offer personalized and private fly fishing and fly  casting instruction for beginners.  I would be happy to help you plan your Olympic Peninsula fly fishing adventure, for beginners through expert anglers. Public presentations, Naturalist guide, Rowboat picnics, Tide Pool and  River trail day trips. Please call, write or email for booking details. Now booking for April, May and beyond! 

Bob Triggs
Little Stone Flyfisher
P.O. Box 261
Port Townsend, WA
98368

Licensed Washington State Guide 
Certified Fly Casting Instructor
Trout Unlimited Aquatic Educator Award
W.S.U.Beach Watcher
U.S.C.G First Aid/CPR/BLS/AED/BBP/HIV Certified

Phone: 360-385-9618







Thursday, February 26, 2015

When your stars align



Your Olympic Peninsula fly fishing guide
Catch and release, fly fishing only.

   When your stars align



When your stars align 
photo by Summer Martell
   We have been scouting the local beaches here at the east end of the Olympic Peninsula since early this month. The weather has been so mild that it is hard to believe that we are in the middle of winter. A few days ago we got pink cheeks from the warm sun all day. It was no surprise that there was nothing doing as far as our seeing any sea-run Cutthroat feeding on chum fry yet. Even with the warm weather it is still a bit too early for that, especially when we are fishing any distance from the streams. We are hearing reliable reports of chum fry in the estuaries in the south Puget Sound region, and of course there are cutthroat chasing them already there too. I am guessing we have a few more weeks to wait up here. With everything blooming so soon, and people mowing their lawns already, we are seeing many natural cycles somewhat accelerated. Water temperature plays a significant role in the development of juvenile fish before they emerge form the gravel, and afterwards as well. No doubt the warmer winter here will help our local chum salmon fry to emerge from the gravel a bit earlier as well. And of course we know that as the waters warm up the trout become stimulated and more active feeders. I am guessing that our local Cutthroat trout are spawning now, a bit earlier than usual perhaps. It's just a hunch. But I am following up with some field trips on this soon. And I will share the results with you here. If they are spawning right now it would explain their absence in many of their usual saltwater haunts.

  
Mid winter sea-run Cutthroat fly fishing
   
   Most worthwhile things in life are a matter of timing. We know that this is especially true of fishing. We need to pay attention to weather, tides, winds, natural life cycles of the fish we pursue, we need to understand their habits and prey as well. I find this life deeply enriching and rewarding. When we were fishing at the beginning of the month it was warm and sunny many days, and we fished in shirtsleeves. The shallow places were uncommonly warm, and there were insects in the air. We had trout feeding right in front of us on those days. What a difference a few weeks has made. But we only have a matter of days ahead of us to get ready for the spring fishing to begin to happen in a  big way here in the north sound waters. It's time to get ready. Tie your flies, prepare your tackle, get some practice in on that fly casting.  As soon as it gets going up here, and the sea-run Cutthroat are recovered from their spawning, and fully robust and feeding on the beaches again, I will be letting you know here in this blog. When it lights up here, it does so virtually overnight, so stay tuned! 


   Happy Birthday Lefty Kreh!!

Lefty Kreh at 90


   Happy Birthday to you Lefty!  Master angler, fly tier, inventor, mentor, teacher, writer, WWII veteran of distinction, and so much more.  I count myself as fortunate that I was able to get fly casting lessons with Lefty at many of the winter shows when I lived on the east coast. If you are a fly fisherman- you owe many of the innovations, skills and crafts, equipment etc., to this amazing man and his creative and adventurous life.
Here is a recent radio interview with Lefty, and it is an eye opener. Enjoy!




   We will be back on the water this spring! Just in time for the beginning of another beautiful season of wild sea run Coastal Cutthroat trout fly fishing on the saltwaters and rivers of the Olympic Peninsula, Hood Canal and Puget Sound. Drop me a note or give me a call for details. All trips, casting instruction sessions, presentations, and rowboat picnics must be booked in advance.

Your Olympic Peninsula Fly Fishing Guide and Instructor

  I am guiding fly fishers on the Olympic Peninsula beaches, rivers and streams. We walk and wade, fly fishing for sea-run Coastal Cutthroat trout in freshwater and saltwater, and in the rivers for trout and summer steelhead. This is strictly catch and release, traditional fly fishing only. Lunch, snacks, soft beverages, and use of some equipment is included. I also offer personalized and private fly fishing and fly  casting instruction for beginners.  I would be happy to help you plan your Olympic Peninsula fly fishing adventure, for beginners through expert anglers. Public presentations, Naturalist guide, Rowboat picnics, Tide Pool and  River trail day trips. Please call, write or email for booking details. Now booking for April and May! 

Bob Triggs
Little Stone Flyfisher
P.O. Box 261
Port Townsend, WA
98368

Licensed Washington State Guide 
Certified Fly Casting Instructor
Trout Unlimited Aquatic Educator Award
U.S.C.G First Aid/CPR/BLS/AED/BBP/HIV Certified

Phone: 360-385-9618








Sunday, January 25, 2015

Late Winter sea-run Cutthroat. Sometimes


Your Olympic Peninsula fly fishing guide.
Catch & release fly fishing only!

Late Winter Sea Run Cutthroat. Sometimes.

 Most of us have been enjoying winter fishing on Puget Sound this year. There has been enough mild weather to get some people out on the beaches, fishing between cold spells and storms all winter. Sometimes. February has a way of changing things in the winter. You begin to see the signs of days getting longer, a little more sunshine. And as the month progresses so many good things begin to happen that will set the stage for the season ahead. By mid to late February the chum salmon fry are working their way up out of their gravel redds, and by the end of the month and into March and April they are getting into the saltwater estuaries. Depending upon where you  are, in south sound or north sound for instance, things get going in a slow progression, beginning in the south and moving north with the sun. South Puget Sound areas will generally see some chum fry getting out into the saltwaters a little sooner than the northern Puget Sound areas will. And the Cutthroat will be close behind. 

April sea-run Cutthroat on Puget Sound
Photo Richard Stoll

 We do know that some Cutthroat spawn in late fall in some places. But little is known about what they do, or where they go, afterwards. Do they stay upriver all winter? Do they go back to the salt sooner? Do the males spawn again in the spring with the other spring spawners? What we do know is that all winter long people can catch some Cutthroat in the saltwater. Sometimes. So obviously there are some Cutthroat that are staying closer to the saltwater in the winter. We still don't know which ones we are seeing out there then,(as far as if they are early or late spawners etc.). With some of the new research programs being conducted around the region, we may have more information in the years ahead. It's an interesting thing to ponder. Research and field studies on these fish and their movements and behavior, life history and genetics etc., is not inexpensive. Here are some links to a few good projects. 

This one is from the South Sound Fly fishers:

" Sea-Run Cutthroat Protection
Here in the South Puget Sound the sea-run cutthroat fishery is one that many of our members hold dear to their hearts. This local treasure is a poster child for the potential of a sustainable catch and release fishery. However, there are still many potential threats to the health these great fish.  The knowledge base of the cutthroat life cycle and habits is seriously lacking within the scientific community, and public knowledge is almost non-existent. Time and time again, history has proven one thing. What we don’t know, WILL hurt them.
The SSFF is working in congruence with the WDFW and the Native Fish Society in gathering data on sea-run cutthroat in the South Sound. Members conduct spawning surveys, and are gearing up to collect scale samples in local watersheds to help with range identification.
In coordination with the WDFW, the South Sound Fly Fishers have distributed and posted waterproof signs at fly shops and other sporting goods stores, along beach access points, and public boat ramps to help fishers identify sea-run cutthroat trout and remind them that they must be released. We will be recording catch data to help WDFW better understand the distribution of sea-run cutthroat in South Sound. The sea-run cutthroat is a truly unique fishery that with good catch and release practices and help from groups like SSFF we will be able to enjoy generation after generation."

And this one is from the SeaDocs organization up in the San Juan Islands: 

Chum Baby Time! 
I am tying my spring flies now- Chum salmon fry, "Little Stone's Chum Baby"smaller baitfish, squid, shrimp, soft hackles, spiders, etc. I will use full sized herring and sandlance flies, up to four to six inches long, in the early spring. But by later April and through May there will be tons of very small herring around, and we will be using appropriately small and sparse juvenile herring flies by then. Flies as small as an inch or less, on size 12 to 14 hooks, will not be too small. You can barely tie them sparsely enough sometimes. Of course, as the season continues, we tie ever larger flies, to approximate the forage we are imitating, much of which is growing in size every day. But for now, even my Muddler flies will be uncommonly small.
 On the warmer sunny days in later winter and spring we like to fish the shallow edges of the beaches, especially on an incoming tide. There can be a lot of forage at the edges then, as the shallow water is gaining heat from the sun warmed gravel and sand beaches. Don't forget to bring along some amphipod imitations. A size 10-12 scud will do it, in grayish to olive colors. These "Beach Hoppers"  can be found at the edges of the beach, underneath the surface of the sand, burrowed beneath the debris and tide wrack, and well hidden in rotting beach logs. They like damp dark places. They swim with frenetic jerks and wiggles, and trout love them. We sometimes see sea runs feeding on these amphipods at the edge of the beach, the trout with their backs and fins sticking out  of the water. They are reckless about this feeding at times, you can walk right up to them. It reminds me of stream trout feeding on a "spinner fall." If it gets warm enough in the next few months, we can see some termites and winged beetles or ants getting out early from their slumbers. A few dry flies are a good thing to have any time that you are fishing for sea run Cutthroat on Puget Sound. 
 We've made it this far, there's just a little more winter yet to come. But that's why we bought all of that expensive cool stuff to keep us warm and dry. We could use some rain and snow to rebuild our failed winter snow pack in the mountains. And there is still time to get slammed with a few good storms. But with each passing day and week ahead, there is an anticipation for those better days- Those days when things are so right, with balmy air and little wind, flat water and a moderate incoming tide, and the hungry Cutthroat are feeding right at our feet. Sometimes.

 We will be back on the water by mid to late April this spring, just in time for the beginning of another beautiful season of wild sea run Coastal Cutthroat trout fly fishing on the saltwaters of the Olympic Peninsula, Hood Canal and Puget Sound. Drop me a note or give me a call for details.

Your Olympic Peninsula Fly Fishing Guide and Instructor

  I am guiding fly fishers on the Olympic Peninsula beaches, rivers and streams. We walk and wade, fly fishing for sea-run Coastal Cutthroat trout in freshwater and saltwater, and in the rivers for trout and summer steelhead. This is strictly catch and release, traditional fly fishing only. Lunch, snacks, soft beverages, and use of some equipment is included. I also offer personalized and private fly fishing and fly  casting instruction for beginners.  I would be happy to help you plan your Olympic Peninsula fly fishing adventure, for beginners through expert anglers. Public presentations, Naturalist guide for rowboat picnics, Tide Pool and  river trail day trips. Please call, write or email for booking details. Now booking for April and May! 

Bob Triggs
Little Stone Flyfisher
P.O. Box 261
Port Townsend, WA
98368

Licensed Washington State Guide 
Certified Fly Casting Instructor
Trout Unlimited Aquatic Educator Award
U.S.C.G First Aid/CPR/BLS/AED/BBP/HIV Certified

Phone: 360-385-9618



Saturday, December 27, 2014

Hope, expectations and fly fishing


Your Olympic Peninsula fly fishing guide,
Catch & release, Fly fishing only!

Hope, expectations and fly fishing


    "The charm of fishing is that it is the pursuit of what is elusive but attainable, a perpetual series of occasions for hope" John Buchan




   In this season of light we are reminded of the hope for the return of longer days, the warming energy of the sun, the anticipation of the oncoming new year. Some of us even have hope for the fishing. Most of the time when we think of the word "Hope" we tend to be focused on a desired outcome. Certainly we are hoping to catch another fish, more fish, bigger fish, the fish of our dreams etc. Simply walking out the front door with our tackle in hand is an act of hope. No one goes fishing without some positive sense of anticipation or expectation for the day. For most of us there is a goal, a specific focus- We want to catch a sea-run Cutthroat trout, or a salmon, or a steelhead etc. Our hopes are pointed. We have a sense of purpose. And this is something that helps us get out of the house and onto the water to begin with. We are motivated.  


Hopes fulfilled

   Certainly no one ties flies for hour after hour, especially in the dark of winter, acquiring new materials, hoarding every last feather, fur and tinsel snippet imaginable, filling their fly boxes with numerous patterns, without also dreaming of the fish that they will be encountering in the future. No matter how many times I have heard that fly tying can save me money, I have always had more money invested in tying materials than I have in actual tied flies, and I never have enough flies. This has been going on for years. It's all about that next fish. I sometimes wonder if there is an inverse relationship between denial and hope?


"A perpetual series of occasions for hope."


   What could be more optimistic and hopeful than having a closet full of fly rods?  Who would go to all of that trouble and expense, collecting all manner of rods, in tapers, lengths actions and weights suitable for every species of fish conceivable, without having some sense that there was a fish waiting out there for them to catch somewhere?  Again I say that this can only be an attribute of hope. We are living in expectation. I know people with dozens of fly rods. Not to mention the reels. And everything else.

   In the ancient Greek mythology there is the tale of Zeus and Prometheus, and Pandora's Box.  The story goes that Prometheus stole the fire from Zeus, who was the supreme god of gods. This enraged Zeus and he then created a box that he filled with all of the many evils. Zeus kept his knowledge of the contents of the box a secret. Pandora was warned not to open the box. Pandora opened the box anyway, and the many evils escaped out into the world again. Lying at the bottom of the empty box, only hope remained. In this context one can think of Hope as the greatest potential for anything to happen, at any time, no matter what we desire. I have had a lot of fishing trips that went this way. Anything that could have happened did happen. Not all of it was what we were hoping for. 

   So this leads me to this thought of Hope- to begin the New Year, and to carry forward. Most of the best experiences of my life were never exactly what I had planned on or hoped for. But something worthwhile happened anyway. If I could recognize one aspect of this that held promise it is this- A lack of expectations is elemental. I wasn't expecting anything in particular, or at least I did not limit myself to that. I just went out there and cast a fly. No one could have told me on what day that I would have caught the best fish of the year, after hundreds of casts to the same water for hours. No one could foretell the arrival of the pod of Orcas, that came frolicking along right in front of us as we fished for salmon from the beach all day. Who could predict that we would catch the biggest wild sea-run cutthroat I have ever seen, under a hot, bright sun, in shallow water, over a muddy bottom, on a falling tide. I have had too many moments of grace on the water to ignore this. Somehow we go out the door with our hopes, and we make our plans, set a goal, and along the way something else quite remarkable can happen. But we have to be open to that. The harder we focus on a specific desired result, the farther away it can get. But when we let go of that, sometimes we get a gift. My hope for you is that this will be your best year ever. Happy New Year!


Fly Fishing Gift Trips

   As a reminder to you, and for the holidays- I offer fly fishing gift trips to anglers year round. This makes a great holiday or birthday present, graduation, retirement, reunions, etc. These are a guided day of fly fishing, for one or two anglers, including lunch, snacks and soft beverages. Additional anglers and larger groups are negotiable. I share my own custom tied flies for the day as we fish these beautiful waters. Once you contact me to arrange this gift for your friend or loved one, I will provide you with a gift card for you to give to the recipient. And they can then get in touch with me in advance to work out the details of their Olympic Peninsula fly fishing adventure. This gift trip is valid for beach or river fishing, catch & release fly fishing only. I also offer rowboat picnics on a quiet estuary here, or private fly casting instruction sessions. Contact me for the details.



Olympic Peninsula Fly Fishing Guide and Instructor

  I am guiding fly fishers on the Olympic Peninsula beaches, rivers and streams. We walk and wade, fly fishing for sea-run Coastal Cutthroat trout in freshwater and saltwater, and in the rivers for trout and summer steelhead. This is strictly catch and release, traditional fly fishing only. Lunch, snacks, soft beverages, and use of some equipment is included. I also offer personalized and private fly fishing and fly  casting instruction for beginners.  I would be happy to help you plan your Olympic Peninsula fly fishing adventure, for beginners through expert anglers. Public presentations, Naturalist guide for rowboat picnics, Tide Pool and  river trail day trips. Please call, write or email for booking details.  

Bob Triggs
Little Stone Flyfisher
P.O. Box 261
Port Townsend, WA
98368

Licensed Washington State Guide 
Certified Fly Casting Instructor
Trout Unlimited Aquatic Educator Award
U.S.C.G First Aid/CPR/BLS/AED/BBP/HIV Certified

Phone: 360-385-9618