Silvey's Flyfishing

Silvey's Flyfishing

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Guest Post/ Midwest Winter Steelhead

 I have fished for winter steelhead with Brian for more then twenty-five years. He has taught me a lot on how to fish for steelhead,how to wade the slippery icy-cold Sandy River,how to enjoy a day when the steelhead don't want to play,and how to enjoy the thrill of landing one of the most beautiful creatures on this earth. In my turn,my clunky casting has given Brian the inspiration for his patterns that have a small profile when casting but a big one in the water. Last week, I took my experience to the Midwest for Great Lake Steelies.
 The Great Lakes have been the largely unplanned test tube for an amazing collection of exotic plants and animals often the result of careless discharges of ballast from cargo ships. The Welland Canal bypassed Niagara Falls about 60 years ago resulting in several species gaining a foothold in the Lakes.
One of these was alewife,a small herring family of plankton feeder.Another was the lamprey.The top
Salmonid predator native to the Lakes was the lake trout,but they were overfished and very vulnerable to lamprey predation resulting in a huge reduction in their numbers.Without a top predator around, the alewife population exploded. I remember in the 1960's the beaches in Chicago reeked with piles of dead alewives everywhere. West Coast salmonids were lamprey tolerant and were brought in to control the alewives.This result in spectacular runs of 20-30 pound Chinook in the rivers for sportsman and a thriving sports fishery. That's how steelhead came to the Great Lakes. BTW, the Chinook did not stay that big because the alewife numbers have fallen due to the widespread invasion by Zebra Mussels which are plankton filter feeders.

 The Day I fished the air was about 33 degrees and the river was 35 degrees. The River was flowing at 150 cfs with seasonal norm of 400 cfs. There were flows of ice coming down and my guide stood upstream to alert me to cast when there was a break in the ice to get the fly below the ice. On my fifth cast,the fly stopped and moved upstream, but I could tell it was too sluggish to be steel. It was a sucker.Suckers are native bottom feeders that also migrate to spawn in the same time frame as winter steelhead.My guide thinks that they follow the steelies to get eggs. A long,cold day later, I got two more suckers. In the late afternoon,a fine snow began to turn the river into a gray fog of invisibility. We went to a spot up river that has ledges with deep grooves looking like parts of the North Umpqua. One of these slots was about four feet wide,too narrow to swing,and forgive me but I used a bead under a float. I did get a small but real steelhead.
Next I moved on to the Muskegon River in Michigan. This River runs into Lake Michigan below a dam which keeps in icefree. It was running 1500 cfs that day. The river reminded me of the North Santiam below Fisherman's Bend. The water is a tea-colored and tannic. 

Please note the snow falling.The Bird is a Mute Swan, a non-native invasive species that has significantly impacted native waterfowl. I fished hard and long, swinging flies. I got one good tap that straightened my line for a for a second but no hookup.I did see another boat using a bobber and bead land a nice 25 inch chromer. I kept my honor clean by swinging. The locals like bright flashy sculpin patterns. 

The Great Lakes have been severely impacted by exotic species including like Pacific Salmonids, Mussels,Carp,Round Gobies,Lampreys,Swans, and a bunch of unwanted plants. Some of these exotics do improve the life of the sports fisher and are worth checking out. I was told that they are expecting a real good Chinook run in Michigan this autumn. The Lake Michigan flats also produce forty pound carp every autumn that take a fly better than their Pacific Northwest cousins. It isn't wilderness fishing for native wild fish,but most of us have Midwest relatives, and the fish are a great way to get away from the in-laws for a day.

Thanks Mark for a great post on Midwest Steelhead!

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

RED'S FLY SHOP RENDEZVOUS APRIL 12th,2014


Join me at REDS FLY SHOP RENDEZVOUS this Saturday April 12th on the Yakima River.
I will be demoing Floating Line Steelhead tactics and Spey Casting with a floating line.
It will be a lot of FUN with all the other events they have scheduled.
See You There!

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

WEIRD WEDNESDAY ON THE RIVER

 Started the day perfectly with a hot Wild Buck on the 3rd cast, this fish went about 75yds into the backing on its first run.
 My oar had a big crack it from last season,well it finally broke last week on a rock up by Dodge Park.
I was walking the beach while my clients were fishing and saw this black chunk of plastic and thought that looked familiar. Decided to check to see if it was the piece of my oar that broke off and it was a perfect fit. WEIRD or LUCK?
 Ok now this where the day gets really weird, we are having lunch enjoying some lunch time sun.
Then out of the sky this object comes down and crashed in the middle of the river, I thought at first it was a Osprey hitting a fish(the under color of the plane was white). As this object popped up out of the water I noticed it was Red and looked like a plane,so we picked up our lunch gear and went racing after it. We finally caught up to it it figured out it was a remote controlled plane, with a phone number and reward if you find it. So we called Bob to give his plane back.
I finally was able to give the plane back to its owner mainly to find out what happen and why he lost control of it. It is suppose to have a return home device built in to the plane but something happened and it got out to far for the pilot to control the plane and will crash with no one flying it!
The owner had 2 cameras on the plane both came off when it hit the water. That would be some great Video! WEIRD or UAV SPYING ON FLYFISHERMAN
Now it is after are lunch time fun,we are fishing hard to see we can catch another steelhead.
One of my clients hooks up with a good fish, being a beginner I am yelling at him to let the fish run, don't touch the reel. As I was saying this I can hear the reel Whacking the HELL out of his knuckles.
Then the next thing I notice is the drag has stopped and there is a huge backlash in the reel.
I tell my customer we need to start chasing this fish because we have no drag, and we half to catch up to gain some line back on the reel.
I manage to get some of the backlash out, then this good size steelhead takes another big run and jumps.
At this point the rod is pointing straight at the fish, I was just crenging waiting to hear the 12lb Maxima to let loose and then the fish came off.
We reel everything back to see we have a bent hook, I like to use Owner Hooks because they are very strong but I guess you can still bend them out when everything is going crazy and your drag fails!
WEIRD or JUST STEELHEAD FISHING MISHAPS

This will be one of those days I won't forget, Strange things happen when you are on the river!

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

SANDY RIVER PHOTOS

STEELHEAD FOG

STEELHEAD GUIDES NEW ENERGY DRINK

FEEL THE WARM RAYS OF SUN AFTER A COLD MORNING

LOVE THEM WILD STEELHEAD!