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Washington Fly Fishing Fair in Ellensburg

FISHING – The annual Washington Fly Fishing Fair is expanding in 2014 far beyond a fly-tying gathering to a two-day event packed with casting workshops, a nine-hole casting course and a slate of more than a dozen seminars. The programs cover fishing tactics for waters from Western Washington to the Smith River in Montana and everything in between.

The fair, sponsored by the Federation of Fly Fishers Washington State Council, is May 3-4 at the Kittitas Valley Event Center in Ellensburg.

Info: (425) 308-6161.

Spokane-area instructors groomed for fly fishing in the schools

FLY FISHING — An instructor training program for the National Fishing in Schools Program — a nationwide program that brings outdoor education indoors to students in grades 6-12 — is set for Sunday (March 24) at the Loon Lake Elementary School.

The idea is to give more adults the skills and tools to get kids hooked on a lifetime sport.

Info: Sondra Collins, (509) 710-8329.

  

Timely tips on fly fishing for steelhead

FLY FISHING —Red's Fly Shop near Ellensberg offers these Wade Fishing Tips for Steelhead:

Step downstream. Not only is this good etiquette but it is good steelheading. Most trout fisheries are best approached hiking upstream, most steelhead deliveries are best made downstream whether you are swinging a fly or nymphing. Take a step down after each cast. Start a little higher in the run than you think you need to and fish a little further down than you think you need to.

Tippet choice. You only need a few rolls of tippet. For swinging flies use 8 or 10 pound Maxima Ultragreen depending on water clarity. For nymph fishing use Rio Fluoroflex Plus 1X for your biggest flies, 2X for all others including egg patterns. For extremely clear water you can use 3X but be prepared to lose a few flies and fish! Start with a Tapered Steelhead/Salmon Leader.

Fly Selection. You don't need 87 different fly patterns to successfully fish for steelhead. You need about 4-6 that you are confident in and know their behavior so that you can steer and control them like a familiar vehicle. Make sure you have flies that possess the following attributes. You need a dark heavy fly, dark lightweight fly, light colored heavy, light colored lightweight, and a few in between. If you nymph fish, a few big dark stoneflies and a few middle of the road flies, and get a handful of #12 Holo Prince Nymphs.

Don't overthink it! If you have done some trout fishing then you are already fishing well enough to catch a steelhead. Don't spend too much time changing flies, depths, tippets, or sinking rates on your line. Keep your
fly fishing smooth, clean, and in a way that will ambush a steelhead. Keep your fly in the water.

Twice fast is better than once slow. Fishing a run twice fast or even three times is better than fishing it once slow. If the fish doesn't take the first presentation then it wasn't “ambushed”. Better to step downstream,
finish the run, change flies or depths and start again at the top. If the fish chased, but was not hooked, or was simply ignoring the fly then give the fish a short break. Constant harassment doesn't produce very many fish. One good fresh presentation does.

Look for shade. Steelhead love shadows, even if it is just a small piece of shade. Also, try to fish runs that hang onto the shade longest in the morning and get shady earliest in the afternoon. These fish will be
typically be more aggressive than fish holding in direct sunlight.

Fly casting clinics and competition Saturday at Glacier Park

FLY FISHING — The Glacier Outdoor Center is gearing up for the debut of the Glacier Anglers Cast-Off on Saturday with events, programs and free casting clinics scheduled from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. in West Glacier, Mont.

Cast-Off 2011 is open and free for all ages and ability levels, but there's a niche for competitive types want to take a shot at qualifying for the All Cast National Fly Casting championships.

Here's the speaker lineup:

  1. Beyond Bugs (Entomology and Ecology): Matt Boyer, FWP & Karsten Carlson
  2. Trout Hunting: Mark Evans, Dylan Freed  from Glacier Anglers Pro Staff
  3. From Nets to Knots: Travis Morris, product rep for Winston, Ross, Lamson and Scientific Angler

Read on for more details.

Length does matter for fly casters

FLY FISHING — Distance casting isn’t necessary for most fly fishers working small trout streams.

“But there are times, if you can cast an extra 10-13 feet, it will increase your success, especially for salmon and steelhead,” said Steve Rajeff, of G.Loomis Rods.

Rajeff is a bit of an expert on this subject. The nternational casting champion, featured in my recent Sunday Outdoors feature story, holds the American Casting Association one-hand rod record cast of 243 feet.

“If you cast a little farther when fishing a lake, you get a longer retrieve and therefore you cover more water. Saltwater anglers definitely benefit when they can lengthen their cast.”

Two tips for initiating a better fly cast

FLY FISHING — In a Sunday Outdoors feature story on the art of fly casting, Joe Roope of Castaway Fly Shop in Coeur d'Alene offered  two tips anglers should keep in mind on the front end of initiating a good fly cast:

1. Start the cast with the rod tip at the water.

The idea is to load the rod with the weight of the line and the friction of the water on the line on the pickup and back cast.

That’s where the energy is generated. It’s like archery: The bow is what releases all the energy and delivers the arrow.

2. Pick up the perfect amount of line.

Every line-rod combination has a different optimum place to start the cast. It could be 10, 15, 20 feet or whatever, depending on the stiffness of the rod and the weight and taper of the line.

Experiment by putting out different lengths of line in front of you and picking it up for a back cast. Pretty soon you find the right swing weight of line so the rod loads perfectly on the pickup and the cast is effortless.”

Some anglers use a permanent ink pen to mark the “sweet spot” on the line where it meets the rod tip. Just strip in to that point and cast.