New to snohomish again... and clueless on small streams

Discussion in 'Fly Fishing Forum' started by Tom Knoberson, Aug 28, 2012.

  1. Hey everyone, I just joined and im a very inexperienced fly fisher. Where I use to live I would only get out on the lakes for some bass here and there, but now since im back in snohomish its time to get back to the the fly rod. So today I got out and fished a couple sky tribs and had some good luck! Nothing better then going out for the first time in years and getting some fish on.

    Anyways, im very new to fishing in small streams and i'm really liking it, but i really have no idea what im doing, which fly to use or how to fish the small streams. Any tips would be greatly appreciated! Also I dont know what i have caught, here is a picture of what i was catching, any ideas? I was thinking a small rainbow, but they were all fairly small, 9 inch at the most. but still a ton of fun! 20120828_183219.jpg
  2. Looks like you're doing all the right things so far! Where was this at if I may ask?
  3. That looks like a cutthroat to me.
  4. Your fish would appear to be a rainbow or perhaps a pre-smolt steelhead. There is no identifiable difference between resident rainbows and steelhead and, in fact, resident rainbows form an important segment of the rainbow/steelhead complex. Mature resident rainbows can and do spawn with steelhead and the offspring may remain as residents or adopt the anadromous habit of the steelhead.

    Typically, a steelhead will rear in fresh water for two or more years before "smolting" and migrating to salt water at a length of 6 to 9 inches. Smoltification is the physiological process which allows a normally freshwater fish to survive in a salt water environment and only occurs as the fish is preparing to make his downstream migration. The most obvious evidence of this process is the adoption of an overall silvery coloration with a bluish or greenish back. Your fish exhibits "parr marks", the large bluish-gray blotches along its sides. These are present among most salmonids and indicate its sexually immature codition and, in fact, at this stage of its development it would be referred to as a "parr" (the term "smolt" is frequently, and erroneously, applied to any fish perceived to be an immature steelhead but actually applies only to a fish undergoing the changes described above).

    Seth, why would you say it looks like a cutthroa?
  5. Haha I guess I was way off...So those gray dots and orange/yellow in between those dots distinguishes them from cutthroat to rainbow/steelhead?
  6. Nice fish, and it looks like you're doing the right things out there! I typically fish tribs of the Sky and have been doing well enough on dries that I haven't done much nymphing. My standard dry box includes Royal Wulff in size 12-14 and size 14-18 Elk Hair Caddis.. But really, fish will rise to all sorts of attractor patterns.

    My wife picked out a purple-bodied dry with white wings and ended up with her first 8 fish on a fly rod out there. Happy fishing!
  7. Where are you guys fishing on the tribs of the Sky if I may ask Crispy?...:D
  8. Not necessarily, those gray spots, as I said above are common to most immature salmonids. The cutthroat and rainbow are closely related, having diverged from a common ancestor "only" about 2 million years ago and are, in fact still close enough to interbreed and produce fertile offspring. Coastal cutthroat and rainbow, having co-evolved, only rarely hybridize, apparently remaining separate primarily as a result of reproductive isolation; rainbow/steelhead preferring larger rivers and streams than cutthroat for spawning (this is not the case in the Rocky Mountain states where the rainbow is not a native and interbreeds freely with other cutthroat subspecies).

    It is difficult to differentiate between, particularly, young specimens of cutthroat and rainbow and the easiest definitive way is to feel for basibranchial teeth on the back of the tongue. That said, the coloration of the fish in the picture is not at all unusual for a coastal rainbow, particularly the red horizontal stripe. And, while it is by no means an infallible indication, young cutthroat almost always show the vivid and very prominent red slashes that give the species its common name.
    Derek Young and Thomas Sath like this.
  9. please please please don't post where that fish came from, tom. i live in snoho as well and i have i feeling i know where your photo was taken. if so, it's above a couple sets of falls and there's no question its a wild rainbow. i have taken a couple of 12" fish out of that stream this summer, but as you know it is tiny and could not possibly survive the pressure it would receive from getting published. i can share some good flies with you and maybe we could hit it together some night.

    Dehlan G likes this.
  10. preston, this is a great post. i think i have been fishing the same stream this summer and i have a question for you regarding what you said about parr marks. i have always thought they were, as you said, present only in immature fish. but in the stream in question, the fish pictured here is generally about as big as they get:


    so my questions are:

    1. can they reach full size before attaining sexual maturity? they clearly are reproducing naturally.
    2. do some populations retain the parr marks into adulthood?

    here's a shot of the largest fish i have seen from the same stream, i can't imagine it's not an adult. parr marks are fainter (but so is the overall coloration of this fish), but still quite obvious:


    i covet your thoughts on this.
  11. No worries secrets are safe with me...Now I know the general area from an anonymous tip from a friendly angler time for me to explore, well that is when I have the time to.
  12. Beautiful fish by the way! :rolleyes:
  13. I used to fish the hell out of the Sky tribs before I went to greener pastures(Montana). I think I have fished almost every river and creek up in there. And yes they do truck fish up over both Eagle Falls and Sunset Falls. That's how all the Salmon get up in there.

    I have several write ups in here some place on a few of those rivers all you need to do is search them out here. Lots of good info there.

    I don't talk much about them anymore. But you have to explore to find it all
  14. If I may ask, what would the write ups would be called via searching through these threads Old Man?....
  15. Try searching for the names of some of the Sky tribs. The old man pretty much spills his guts, but it looks like you've already found some nice spots.
  16. Got it....Found it after I sent that post...This forum is like a gold mine.......:D
  17. I haven't found a mountain stream in the State that doesn't have some good 2-4wt action. If you don't mind bushwhacking and like catching small fish then Washington's a playground.
  18. Yes, I agree. Us northwesterns are spoiled when it comes to fishing...Well besides Montana where the Old Man is at...I do need a small machete though for bushwhacking. I'm in desperate need of breaking in my new rod and reel.
  19. You don't need a machete once you get through the first wave of brush. Just watch out for the Devils Club. That shit will jump up and stick it to you.

    I almost miss fishing in those hard to reach places, I said almost. Now here all I have to do is park,get out, and catch fish. I don't have to bust through all the bushes to get close to the water. If I could, the river is so close to the road I could almost sit in my truck and fish. And at least you can see what you are fishing for.

    I'll shut up now as I'm getting antsy to go out again. But I'm just to lazy.
  20. My lifelong adventure and journey has only just begun with exploring these hard to reach places.
    Yeah the Devin's Club is no friend indeed, hiking through the woods with shorts and having to pick those little needles out is no fun at all...:mad:
    A little jealousy is steaming out of my skin that you get to just park walk and almost fish from the truck if you wanted to...Damn you.

Share This Page