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What is in me Sandy Winter Steelhead wallet?

The old stand by T-11 takes another winter steelhead.

The old stand by T-11 takes another winter steelhead.

What tip should I start with?? This is easily one of the most asked questions I get one a day of winter steelheading. With most of my trips in the winter time taking place on the Sandy river, I have adapted my Sink tip wallet to fit the fishable water of the Sandy during a diversity of water levels. The truth is I only carry 8 sink tips and 5 of them are the same, I also use that one the most so I forget to get them off peoples rods so I need the extras.

This fish was taken on T-14 but only to slow the fly down as this was high and fast!

This fish was taken on T-14 but only to slow the fly down as this was high and fast!

The first and main sink I use to not only fish with myself but to guide with is about 11 feet of T-11. Give or take 6″ this is my go to sink tip. This tip lends itself well to easy manipulation, and it carries enough mass to turn over any of the flies that myself and my clients need to entice a potential winter steelhead. Now from one piece of water to the next i may fish weighted to un-weighted flies this can help either to slow the swing down more to combat the surface currents or to gain a few more inches of depth. For any angler fishing the Sandy or rivers like the Sandy in search of winter steelhead, this is a great tip for general searching.

Some times high water does not mean heavier tips, maybe it just adds depth to shallow water!

Some times high water does not mean heavier tips, maybe it just adds depth to shallow water!

Now with only 3 other tips in my tip wallet these are the tips I use in when things are less than perfect or went times are tough. I am going to start with the heaviest. the heaviest tip in my wallet is 11 feet of T-14. This is for very fast high water or the deeper river channel that holds a fish to often not to have this tip ready to at least give him a chance!

Wide spread runs are best covered by sink tips that allow the fly to swing from touch down to hang down.

Wide spread runs are best covered by sink tips that allow the fly to swing from touch down to hang down.

Next on the tip list is 10 feet of T-8…That’s right lighter! For some reason or another the common thought process is that deeper is better. I can tell you that I might not agree with that. I have spent plenty of time casting sink tips to steelhead on double handed rods, that it has become known to me that days spent tying on new flies because I chose to sacrifice my hours at the vice to the river, maybe as payment or trade for the experience I guess. the deep is always trumped by the speed of the swing. The slower fly wins, especially on rivers like the Sandy river. I still lose a fly or two don’t get me wrong. Just more to the fish now.

This lovely fish was taken on the type 3 in a shallow tail out. The fly was un-weighted tip weighed 80 grains!!

This lovely fish was taken on the type 3 in a shallow tail out. The fly was un-weighted tip weighed 80 grains!!

Last but not least is the sleeper tip of winter time for me, the ace in the hole so to speak. I hide in the depths of the dark colored leader, and old Rio DC 10 wt. type 3 cut to 10 feet. this tip is for places to over all shallow for most of the modern tips Spey anglers are throwing. So in turn many of the place i use this sink tip seldom get fished. the secret places are almost as secret as the fact I have this tip on me. Lets just say low riffle water and tail-outs are the focuses of the uses of the particular tip, but not all!!  I have to keep you guessing.

 

I hope this helps some of you out there as to what might help you hook a few more chromers this season. Happy New Years from AWA.

 

It is time!!!

awa-spey-fishing-13

From a couple years back, That is how you start a winter steelhead season!!

The fall has come and gone, now winter is here. So are the first of the winter steelhead. this morning I started getting all my sink tips in line and putting together zip-locks with flies. Which means I need to tie. The simple idea of catching my first winter steelhead of the year is rerally starting to get under my skin, and I know some of you may have it worse than I do. As a winter steelhead guide the first few winter fish to the beach really validate the guides place on the river. Flashes of chrome, long runs and heavy head shakes!!!! Weather the fish slides in at 3lbs. or 30lbs matters not. The ever constant pursuit of the elusive is the pull that makes us few winter steelhead anglers.

The early winter steelhead are bright and ready!!!

The early winter steelhead are bright and ready!!!

So if you feel the way I feel and have the same strange pull to the cold winter steelhead streams of the PNW. The lets go, because it is time!!! I am ready, after today anyway, lol.

Winter steelhead are the picture of hope and survival, as well as FN awsome fish to catch!

Winter steelhead are the picture of hope and survival, as well as FN awsome fish to catch!

My family and I want to thank every  one of this years wonderful guests. I enjoyed having each and everyone of you in my boat. To you all happy Holidays and to a great new year!!!! From Travis, Jamie, and Audrey