Thursday, November 8, 2012

Get 'em on the swing! A November update...

Bob L. with a true Methow toad
The Methow has more water than the Klickitat right now but fishing has continued to be pretty insane despite a raging river. Targeting steelhead on most rising rivers is tough for many reasons. Poor visibility becomes an issue, places we normally hook fish become far too deep and fast to hold fish, and steelhead are so focused on moving upriver they don't use holding water as much as they would during normal conditions. However you look at it, fishing the rise is a tough deal all around.

High water chromer on the schwing!
Adapting to the river conditions and changing our tactics has helped us do really well during this period of high water. As holding water has spread out with the rise in river levels, swinging flies with various sink-tips has proven to be a very effective way to cover water. In addition, swinging narrow moving lanes has been deadly... especially when anglers learn to listen to their guide and not cast 50' past these zones! It's tough for many devoted swing anglers to tame their casting and only focus on the 30' of water directly in front and below. These lanes are often easily swung with a light switch rod lined with a compact Skagit or other similar head.

Fish your fly! I tell my guests to fish almost every bad cast that's made. Obviously if you end up with a giant bird's nest you may want to strip in and redo things a bit. If a cast piles up- fish it. If it lands too far upstream- fish it. These are the two most common errors I see people grumble about as they strip their line in and attempt to achieve the perfect cast. The reality is, casts that pile up or land too far upstream will sink better anyway! Get a big mend on it, sink the fly, and fish it!

"Fish yo fly!"

I'm finished up on the Methow for the fall and will be finishing out my season on the Klickitat. I have some open dates next week if anyone would like to join me on the river... please call my cell at 509-460-9519 or email me at

Also, I will be hosting several spey casting/swing clinics in December and early January before our winter season gets rolling over on the Olympic Peninsula here in WA. This will involve 4 days of lessons spread out over the month of December. Dates will be December 2, 9, 16, 23, and 30th. I am pretty flexible as well so if these dates don't work out for anyone who is interested please let me know and I'm sure we can work something out.

Senior Brazda and a purty buck on the swing...

For more information regarding the clinics, cost, etc please call or email!


  1. Looking forward to next weekend, if the weather holds, should be good down that way.
    Been hitting the vice hard getting ready.....

  2. Awesome, Dean! It oughta be prime-time with this cold snap we're about to get hit with. Looking forward to seeing you soon!