November Garden Hackle

Here is the November Garden Hackle.



January is Steelhead Month at SSFF!

Winter steelheading is in full swing and we want to get you in on the action.

We have bundled our January program with education and an outing to make for some outstanding opportunities for SSFF members. Here's our lineup for January.

  • January 14th ~ Fly tying workshop for steelhead flies:

Ryan Haseman will be teaching you how to tie steelhead flies recommended by Olympic Peninsula guide Jim Kerr.
The Workshop will be held at the Evergreen Shores Beach Club at 4:30pm. Materials and pizza will be provided, participants must bring their own vises and tying tools.
To sign up contact Ryan Haseman at [email protected]

Workshop fee $10/person

Jim Kerr has been fly fishing, river fishing, saltwater fishing, a fishing guide, and working on the water his entire life. Jim resides on Washington's Olympic Peninsula where he is a full time fishing guide for steelhead, trout, and salmon. His guide service has been featured in "Northwest Fly Fishing," "Western Outdoors" and "Fly Fishing and Tying Journal" magazines as well Doug Rose's new book on fly fishing for winter steelhead, "The Color of Winter." He can also be seen from time to time on The Outdoor Network, and Northwest Outdoors TV, as a fishing guide for anglers such as Skip Morris, and doing fly tying demonstrations of his original fly patterns.

  • January 21st ~ All-day steelhead clinic by Jim Kerr:

This workshop is designed to get walk in fly anglers comfortable with a variety of spots and techniques that will put them in fish around the west end of the Olympic peninsula.
Here is the way it works.  We meet at the crack of 8:00 am at Jim's house in Forks and sit down to breakfast and coffee. After breakfast we will look over maps of good walk in water on some creeks and big rivers.

Then we will grab a bunch of gear and head out to fish a spot or two, discuss and demonstrate some different techniques and generally try to get everyone on the right track.  We will talk about lines, rods, flies and presentations.  I will have a variety of rods rigged so that you can get a feel of some different systems.  I will also have half a dozen or so spey and switch rods for you to try out, as well as 20 or more different spey lines you can try on your own rod.

Around 1:00 we will break for an over sized lunch, and then head to some more spots and continue. The day ends around 4:30.

Clinic Fee $50/person limit 8 people. Hurry spots are filling fast! To sign up email Chuck Pfeil at [email protected]

  • January 21st & 22nd ~ Steelhead outing on the Olympic Peninsula:

Come chase big winter steelhead with us on the Olympic Peninsula.  Participants are welcome to stay in Forks. Visit the Forks chamber of Commerce website to find lodging.

To sign up and/or receive more info email Jason Small at [email protected]

For all other questions or comments pertaining to SSFF Steelhead month, you can contact us here or comment below


Now lets have some fun!

Skip Morris and Rick Hafele present: Mastering Western Rivers & Lakes

Skip Morris and Rick Hafele, two of the best known fly-fishing authors and instructors in the country, have scheduled a special 2-day workshop titled

Mastering Western Rivers & Lakes, to be held February 25 & 26, 2012, at the Hilton Garden Inn, in Issaquah, WA.


Saturday’s focus will be on rivers: all the major hatches of mayflies, stoneflies, caddisflies and midges will be discussed along with the most effective patterns and tactics. Sunday’s class covers similar information for fishing lakes with mayfly, caddisfly, dragonfly/damselfly, midge and leech behavior, patterns and tactics covered in detail.  Skip will also be demonstrating tying techniques for some of his favorite stream & lake patterns.

Club members are being offered a special reduced cost for this workshop: $125 (reduced from $145) for both days, or $70 (reduced from $80) for one day.  For more information and to register go to:  


To receive the club discount you must enter the registration code - FCM - where required during registration.



This workshop will benefit both beginner and experienced fly fishers.  Class space is limited and pre-registration is required, so sign up today for this great opportunity to get a leg up on the 2012 season.



Skip & Rick also want to thank the Creekside Angling Company (stores in Issaquah & Seattle) for their support of this workshop.

New Vids

With Thanksgiving almost here, a lot of us have steelhead on the brain. These new videos have nothing to do with Thanksgiving, but everything to do with steelhead. Enjoy

Popsicle Fly from Tightline Productions on Vimeo.

"Home" Fall Steelhead Fly Fishing from Evolution Anglers on Vimeo.

Pinx Fox Steelhead Fly from Dimitri Gammer on Vimeo.

Education 2012

photo by: Carlos Porto

During 2011 a variety of educational opportunities were provided including four fly tying classes (2 beginner and 2 intermediate), spey casting and an all-day trout and steelhead clinic in Forks.

Looking ahead to 2012 we want to provide some more fly tying (perhaps shorter sessions focusing on one or more of our traditional outings) and a casting clinic. I’d like to hold one or more small on-the-water clinics like we did in Forks. We could really use some input from you on what you might be interested in. Do you want to have tying instruction around a specific type of fly? Would you like to see a certain type of experiential clinic? Drop us an email or comment on

this post so we can include your ideas in our 2012 education planning.

Doug Rose- OP Steelhead

November's program will feature Doug Rose and his presentation will be " The color of winter fly fishing for winter steelhead on the Olympic Peninsula"
Doug is outdoor writer and a fly fishing guide based out of the Olympic Peninsula.

His books include:
- The color of winter- fly fishing for winter steelhead on the Olympic Peninsula.
- Fly fishing the Olympic Peninsula
- Fly fishing guide to the Olympic Peninsula-a fully revised edition.
- Washington River Maps.
Doug also writes for several outdoor and fly fishing magazines.
Doug lives in Forks with his wife Eliana and their black lab Ruby.

To learn more about Doug visit his website at
This will be an interesting program, hope you all can make it.










Fly of the Month: November 2011- General Practitioner

General Practitioner

Hook: Partridge Bartleet Style Size 2 (depends on preference)

Body: Orange Seal, or Angora Goat

Rib: Sm Oval Tinsel

Hackle: Orange Hackle (long barbs)

Shellback: Red Golden Pheasant Breast

Eyes: Natural Golden Pheasant Tippet

Thread: Orange

It is this time of year where I am sure I look like a kid in a candy store. I literally stand in front of my gear and argue with myself, “Sea-runs? Salmon? Trout? Steelhead?” Then, when a decision is finally made, the car ride out to my agreed upon destination is rife with the pangs of passing by fertile water and thoughts like “Hmm, maybe I should have gone there” or “I wonder how that’s doing now?”

This month’s fly is a somewhat challenging fly to tie, but since we are heading towards the end of the year, I figure everyone is up for the challenge. The General Practitioner is a very well-known fly, but misjudged. When asked to name ten classic salmon fly patterns, I bet the General Practitioner would be on more than one person’s list. While this fly suggests a sort of Dee style fly, its origins are far from what most would call a classic salmon fly. In fact the only real commonality is that this fly was intended for Atlantic salmon.

The General Practitioner was created by Colonel Esmond Drury in 1953 (not the 1800’s). It is a model for most of today’s shrimp imitation patterns, and for good reason. Apparently Drury created this fly after his favorite salmon river’s regulations were changed, forbidding the use of prawns.


Originally tied on a smallish salmon hook, GP’s are fished on a range of hook sizes, and in many different colors.

I am not going to go over every step to tying this fly, I am not sure I could do it in less than 2 pages. I will however, offer advice.

For your first GP, I would suggest taking things slowly. Go online, get a good book, and follow along with the instructions. Lay out all of your materials beforehand so you have them ready to grab. This means clip your pheasant tippets and get them exactly how you want them. When you are tying your fly, do it sections. Tie in your tail, make a half hitch, reset yourself, tie in the back section up to the first set of eyes, or shellback, half hitch, reset. While you are “resetting” look at what you have just done, adjust it and make it just the way you want it before you get too far ahead of that section. You will be surprised how much this technique helps. Another tip for the head of your fly is to smash flat the stem of your final shellback. This makes it easy to tie in and also makes for a smoother head.

Nisqually River Cleanup

SSFF members,

Come join other SSFF members on Saturday, November 12th, between 10 AM and noon, for a river clean up outing on the Nisqually River. The focus will be on removing discarded fishing lines, hooks, lead weights and related packaging from the river bank and shallow water in the vicinity of the WDFW handicap river access. Garbage bags and nitrile gloves will be provided. Bring heavier gloves if you wish. A pocket knife for cutting tangled fishing line from branches and logs would be helpful. Following the cleanup, join other members at Norma’s (Martin Way near the Nisqually exit off I-5) for lunch.


Directions: from Olympia, take the Nisqually exit. From the off ramp, turn right and go straight past the stop light onto the Nisqually Cut-off Rd SE. Proceed for about 1.25 miles and turn left on to Kuhlman Rd SE. At the stop sign, turn left onto Old Pacific Highway SE. Proceed about .25 miles and turn right onto 6 Ave SE. Follow it to the WDFW fishing access at the end of the road. From Tacoma, take the Mounts Road exit. Take the overpass over I-5 and proceed for about 2.5 miles. Turn left onto 6 Ave SE. Follow it until you reach the WDFW access. Bring your parking permit. Hope to see you there. If you have questions, you can reach me at 360-866-9116, or by email: [email protected]

The Elwha River Restoration

The demolition of the two Elwha River dams has finally begun, after so many years of work by a great many individuals and groups. I first heard of the Elwha River when I attended the UW College of Fisheries in the early 1970’s and read about its role in the development of the Port Angeles area through the production of cheap electrical power, but at the great cost of its magnificent fishery resource. Since the dams lacked fish ladders, all but the lower 5 miles of the Elwha River were blocked off to five species of salmon, steelhead, bull trout and sturgeon. The spawning habitat in the still accessible lower river degraded overtime as floods removed the smaller sized spawning gravels, while the dams prevented their replenishment from upstream sources. Fluctuations in river flow in response to power generation needs, resulted in dewatered redds, and stranded fry and juveniles,
and on occasion adult fish when project shut down completely. I was a new to Washington State, having driven out from Michigan to further my education in the early 1970’s. I knew little about salmon, steelhead and or any of the other fish that migrate from the ocean to rivers to spawn. How could this happen, and why hasn’t anyone done someone to fix the problem caused by the dams, I naively asked? A “public policy decision” was the response. Electricity was needed to fuel the development of Port Angeles. Salmon and steelhead were plentiful in the region and could be obtain elsewhere. Fish ladders were expensive and had never been constructed at dams as high as the 105’ tall Elwha Dam. Fifteen years later, my path once again crossed the Elwha River, this time as a biologist with a resource agency. Various conditions had changed, leading to a window of opportunity for restoring anadromous fish runs to the Elwha River. Salmon and steelhead populations were in serious declines, while the upgrade of a Bonneville Power Administration transmission line eliminated Port Angeles dependency on the power produced by the two Elwha Dams. Equally important was the change in public policy that reduced the bias that heavily favored energy producers that made it nearly impossible to get meaningful  mitigation to restore the fishery and wildlife resources affected. I am waiting excitedly to see the salmon, steelhead and other anadromous fish return to the Elwha River when dams are completely removed. I’ve had
the pleasure to hike and fish in this beautiful watershed, and it will be even more spectacular with return of leaping salmon and steelhead. Check out the Olympic National Park webcams showing the ongoing demolition of the Elwha and Glines Canyon dams at

Chum Outing Anyone?

Our next outing will be held on November 5th. The
goal is to fish for Chum salmon. If you have never
done this, you are really missing something. Chum
are probably, pound for pound, the hardest
fighting of the five North American Pacific Salmon.
The tentative plan is to fish in front of the
Hoodsport hatchery. However, if someone knows of
a better place, please let me know before the
October club meeting (10/18/11). When I fish at the
Hoodsport hatchery, I take my float tube and an
anchor. Using the float tube allows me to get out
beyond the “picket fence” of anglers. I can then
spot and pursue pods of Chum as they mill around.
If you are interested in this outing you can either
sign up at the October club meeting or contact me.
My email is [email protected]

I will get back to you. I will provide information on flies, tackle, and
trip details to all who sign up for this outing. I will
also talk more about this outing at the October
club meeting.

-Peter Brooks