It has FINALLY happened…we have opened a full scale retail store to support our 15 year business in the guiding and fly fishing travel market. This coming Saturday and Sunday come meet our exceptionally friendly, knowledgeable and extremely experienced staff who have guided and fished all over the world. We will also have a host of speakers and presentations as well as some great door prizes in a raffle to support one or more of the conservation groups we work closely with. Here is a look at what is scheduled so far:
September 6-7, 2014 Grand Opening Event at EWA Store
4502 42nd Ave. SW, Seattle, WA 98116
Raffle at the door for the following:
Pair of Costa sunglasses
Fisknat float tube net
11am – Dave McCoy – Honduras – Permit and Bones
12pm – Chris Haberman, Rod Wall Artist Q&A, Art Director for Portlandia
1pm – TBA
2pm – Mike McCoy – Tying the Sound Searcher and Sound Advice Flies
3pm – Dave McCoy – Why Fly Fish Puget Sound
5pm – Abbie Schuster – EWA Women’s Fly Fishing and Travel Program
6pm – Reid Curry – Alaskan Fly Fishing
11am – Dave McCoy – PNW Steelhead
12pm – Parker Bunbury – SUP Fly Fishing
1pm – Abbie Schuster – EWA Women’s Fly Fishing and Travel Program
2pm – Mike McCoy – North Umpqua Steelhead Flies
3pm – WA Back Country Fly Fishing/Hiking
4pm – Paul Moinester – NO Chuit Coal Mine Campaign
5pm – Waist Deep Media – Fly Fishing Video Projects
6pm – TBA
Chris Haberman – Rod Wall Mural Artist Q&A
Chad Ash – Grape Solar, Alternative Energy for the Field and Traveling Angler
Brian Bennett – Patagonia and Moldy Chum
Eric Neufeld – Winston, Echo/Airflo, free line welding and loop fixing
Dan Marshall – Scott and Bauer
Select Patagonia, Hardy and Winston on sale, limited supply
Look forward to seeing everybody, seeing old friends and making new ones.
Dave, Reid, Abbie, Jonny, Alex, Eric, Ted, Mark, Todd and Jason
Well its that time of year again when all of our favorite streams are getting pretty frigid. Normally we have an over abundance of rain giving us small windows of productive days on the water. This year however the Puget Sound is cold and dry. It’s keeping many anglers off the water due to the bitter cold. I have heard it for a couple weeks now, “the water is too low and too cold to fish”. It’s true that steelhead begin to hit cold water dormancy around 40 degrees and water being its heaviest at around 36 degrees. But, it by no means precludes steelhead from striking your fly. Sudden cold snaps will put fish off, but given a little time to acclimate or a couple degrees of warming on a sunny day and it is game on.
So the rains have stopped for a while now, your river is getting cold and is below what is considered the average flow for any given year. It is by no means low and clear but it is getting there. The river is still slightly green and has visibility somewhere around 6ft. It is around this point where the fish begin to anticipate that the river is going to get low and clear. The steelhead start moving from the slow, lazy water on the edges of the faster water toward deeper and slower water. During this transition is where large flies have produced well for me. You will be chucking the proverbial frozen chickens and your spey casting abilities will be tested. But hey, so long as you get it out there, it does not have to be pretty. Most of these large flies are 6 inches or so in blacks, blues or purples with some form of flash and or colored butt. I tie a lot of my own flies now but some commercial patterns that have a home in my box for these conditions would be the Skagit Minnow with a worm weight or lead eyes, Silvie’s tube snake, Scott Howells Squidro’s and Travis Johnson’s Lady Gaga.
Now we separate the men from the boys. It has been really cold and dry and your river has hit the low, clear and frigid phase. As your fingers are going numb and you wonder what you are doing out in this cold you remember that Mr. Steelhead has had time to acclimate to his new conditions and is willing to strike. He is by no means as active and full of vigor, as he is above that 40 degree mark. But he is looking ahead, with unlimited visibility, for any predators coming his way. He will now park his fins on the slowest, deepest, darkest water he can find, this way he can expend less energy and find water that is degree or two warmer. Mr. Steelhead may also be found at the beginning of pools where the riffle flattens and smoothes out if he needs more oxygen with temperatures being in the 30’s. This is where we break the mold by putting away those big, bright, gaudy intruders you were told winter steelhead just love. Steelhead can count each feather and strand of flashabou under these conditions, so its time to scale the flies down. Leave the super bright flies in the box in exchange for whites, greens, browns and tan flies in the 2 inch or so range. I like to tie various temple dog and arctic fox flies for these conditions. As far as commercial flies look online for similar flies as listed, many flies meet the criteria. I have even been known to tie some summer steelhead flies on size two hooks for uber spooky steelhead.
So grab a couple friends, some warm drinks and go have a good time. If you have any questions just let us know.
1 angler from out of state could spend approximately this while in WA for a single day of fishing with the idea that just 1 of these wild fish had the potential to be caught, admired and released…
Air Fare: $500
Hotel: $100 per night
Guide: $550 per day
Food and Beverage: $40 per day
Fishing License: $20
Rental Car: $200
Daily Shuttle Fee: $30
Incidentals: $150 or more
So on a single day, 1 angler could account for this much to the local economy on a single day:
$1630 for 1 angler
We have a staff and connection of 10 licensed and insured fly fishing guides that with a higher percentage of “wild” steelhead we could book ever single week. Take this number above and multiply that by 10 and this is what the number looks like:
Now if you take the notion that well managed fisheries for the survival and sustainability of these wild steelhead, our Washington state fish, could have a dual season between summer and winter where for 180 days of the year, we had a good shot at these fish, enough to keep our entire staff busy for 180 day a year, this is what that number looks like:
This is 180 days or 25 weeks of the year, keeping 10 local Washington residents employed, paying sales tax on nearly 100% of this figure, supporting other local Washington businesses and several Washington state agencies in the process both directly and indirectly (guide license fees, special use permits on Premier Watersheds, insurance, CPR/First Aid).
This is just our business. Imagine if all fly fishing businesses in Washington of similar size did the same thing? Imagine all FISHING businesses in Washington could do the same thing? Imagine if that season of only 6 months was extended for another 2-3 month period as it once was? Imagine if we valued these fish as a symbol of this awesome state. If we made sure not only our residents but every sport angler from surrounding states and provinces put this same value on them and in return gave same consideration to them, our water, state and successful management of these fish as one of the single greatest game fish on the planet.
We should be embarrassed about how much better the wild steelhead fishing is once we leave our state in any direction but use that as fuel to turn the table and set the tone for change, to return our state fish to glory and stature it once possessed and deserves.
I’ve had some variation this encounter about a million times in my life:
Friend: “How was fishing?”
Me: “It was awesome!”
Friend: “Did you catch anything?”
Friend: “Sounds lame”
Most of my friends ski a lot, much like I once did. It is part of what made us all friends in the first place; we’d skip class for good snow and spent countless January days freezing on the King Pine quad and loving every minute of it. Recently, I find myself spending a lot more time in rivers than on the slopes. That is to say, I have not been skiing in a few years and I’m obsessed with fishing. I guess you could say I’ve officially traded in my season’s pass for a fishing license and my pair of Dynastar downhill skis for a pair of cork handles surrounding a Skagit head on a spool. I literally use my old ski poles as wading staffs for my clients.
Last week I was down in Lake Tahoe gathering with all of my college friends, all of whom still ski a ton. When I got ready for the trip I wasn’t thinking about how much snow there was at Squaw or whether or not to rent fat skis for a day, I was thinking about where to access the Truckee River and what to fish. Not typically a difficult task for a fly-fishing guide, unless there is this much snow in Truckee:
Those are people. On a house. Getting ready to ski off the house. Squaw Valley is ten minutes from here and everyone is jacked up to ski tomorrow, except for me. I’m still plenty excited, just not to ski. I’m gonna explore the river. “Why? Are you gonna catch anything?,” my friends ask. “Probably not, but it’s still gonna be cool,” I reply.
I strapped on some snowshoes the next morning and set out for the river. The challenge to overcome here was to get to the river in 7 feet of snow and counting. I found some railroad tracks (no trains right now on account of the snow) and used them as my snowshoe access road. I came across a clearing and a mildly steep hill that leads to the river and I set off for the bottom of the canyon. When I finally got to the river, strapped the snowshoes to my pack, rigged up and wet that line, I felt many things: alive, free, content, focused, hope, anticipation. I felt professional in this setting, yet humbled by the magnificent beauty in undiscovered (by me, that is) nature. Every turn of the river filled me with new hope and increasing awe. Not a soul to be seen. Soothingly quiet. So perfect there. I will remember that experience forever as one of the greatest days of fishing I have ever had, and guess what? Not even a tug on my bugger or a slap to my Skwala.
So why was this day so satisfying and exhilarating?? Because of the sense of discovery I get from creating my own adventure. Because of the canyon walls covered in ice and snow that felt like they’d never been seen in this light. Because of the moving, clear, cold water. Because “What do you think is around the next bend?” kept popping into my head. Because there are no lift lines here, no parking lots or hotels and because the only things that cut this path I am traveling downhill on are gravity, time and water.
I got back to the house that night and over the fire and drinks I felt a similar sentiment in a different place: the comfort and purity of time spent with true friends. That “alive” feeling that overwhelmed me on the snowy banks of the Truckee was here too. It was in the fire, the snow cave, the Tecate and our frozen beards. Somebody asked me that all-too-familiar question, but this time I respond with another question:
Friend: “Hey man, you catch anything?”
Me: “Nope. Did you catch anything?”
Friend: “Well, no. We were skiing.”
Me: “Exactly. I caught just as many as you did”
So while we may put flies on the end of our tippet because the goal is to find a living creature on the end of your line, the fishing doesn’t have to be all about the fish and you can have a banner day of fishing without a take. Believe it. I tend to find the healing powers of fishing to be in the hope, discovery and freedom that comes from being on the river and out in the wilderness. I also find that waders make the best snow-pants and that it is always a good idea to name your car or truck, no matter what.
For the past few months now, myself and a number of our other guides have been putting some time in on our various waters with many different styles of the new fly fishing specific sunglasses they have been producing. Nothing short of amazing in several ways.
One of my personal favorites is the lack of gap under the frame where light, reflection and the occassional fly have found their way while guiding. On my newest pair that I just ordered, I can’t eve see the frame at all. I have never had that experience from a pair of glasses.
Secondly they are light weight yet durable. Have sat on them a number of times, no bending or tweaking of the arms and much of the time, I forget I even have them on. I think I even asked Dylan where my glasses were once while they were on my face. That might speak to other issues I have but never the less, they are light.
Finally the colors they are coming up with in their lenses are off the beaten path just a bit. Their Amber can be worn on a sunny day by even myself, with blue eyes it remains shaded enough to not burn my eyes. Their gray worked fabulous in Hawaii both in the blue water and the flats on both sunny and cloudy days and their version of copper is simply the most eye relaxing and vision enhancing lens color I have ever worn. It has performed well in nearly every water condition I have put it to use on. Check them out here: