2014 Academy 010


As we approach the 2014 holiday season, now would be the time to be thinking of gifts for your children, grandchildren and any other youth you think might like to learn about fly fishing and conservation.  To qualify for The Academy, the applicant, boy or girl, 12-16 years old, must write an essay explaining why they would like to attend The Academy.  A letter of recommendation is also required, written by their science teacher or school counselor.  The dates for the 2015 WSCFFF and WCTU sponsored event are Sunday, June 21 – Saturday June 27th.  The weeklong event is hosted by the Olympia TU Chapter, South Sound Fly Fishing Club and the Puget Sound Fly Fishers of Tacoma.  The Academy will be held again at The Gwinwood Conference Center on Hicks Lake in Lacey, WA.  The youth reside in cabins with Ghillies (counselors), fly fishing gear is provided along with fly tying materials, all meals are included.  Cost for the whole week is $275, there are sponsorships available.  No one will be turned away because of funds.  To learn more about the Academy, go to www.nwycffa.com or our Facebook page.  The application is available on our website or contact Mike Clancy @ [email protected]

This is a life rewarding experience for our youth to learn conservation and the basics of fly fishing.  The youth of today, are the guardians of the future of our sport of fly fishing.    

Possible Quilcene River Rule Change

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) is considering a rule change for 2013-2014 period that would change the current “catch and release” regulations for sea-run cutthroat trout in the Quilcene River. The rule change would allow the harvest of up to two 14” or greater cutthroat trout per day from June through August 15th.  The WDFW believes there are enough cutthroat trout in the Quilcene River to allow harvest opportunities, based on their snorkel surveys.










I personally think the rule change is a bad idea. Sea-run cutthroat trout are much too valuable to the recreational fishery to open it up to a “catch and kill” fishery.  It has taken many years to rebuild the abundance of sea-run cutthroat trout in Hood Canal and Puget Sound. Opening up a harvest fishery on sea run cutthroat trout is likely to drive the population back to its depressed levels because they are highly susceptible to being over fished. They are aggressive, and they school up.

A “catch and kill” fishery will remove the larger fish, the most important segment for maintaining the population.  Larger fish are able to spawn in areas with larger substrate that are less prone to being washed out during floods. The large spawner should be protected, not harvested. If additional harvest opportunities are needed in the Quilcene area, a better option would be to plant more hatchery rainbow trout in nearby lakes, eg., Leland, Lords or Crocker Lakes.

It is unclear whether the abundance of sea run cutthroat trout in the Quilcene River solely reflects the abundance of Quilcene fish, or also represents cutthroat from other watersheds that have entered the Quilicene River to feed on the summer-run chum eggs. I think it is likely that the sea run cutthroat observed in the Quilcene represent multiple populations, not just Quilcene fish.

WDFW is putting the proposal out for public comment.  I hope you will join me in letting them know what you think. The following takes you to WDFW’s webpage for providing comments on the Quilcene River cutthroat trout rule change.



Gary Marston is stopping by in November

This month Gary Marston from WDFW will be coming in to talk about Chum Salmon. He will be covering some how-to’s and the conservation issues these fish are facing.













Gary is not only a fisheries biologist, but also a former guide, blogger and native trout enthusiast. To see some of his past works visit:



He will be our featured presentation for the November general meeting (Nov. 20th).

Fly of the Month November 2012: Guinea and Gold “Chum” Spider















Hook: Tiemco 206, Mustad 37160, Gamakatsu C12U, size 10

Thread: Dark

Body: Pink Edge Brite

Tail: Golden pheasant crest

Hackle: Golden pheasant crest, 3-4 turns. Pink Dyed Guinea, 1-2 turns

Wing: Pink Crystal Flash, 3-6 strands


It was midday, but the fog was still resting on the water.  This late fall day was pretty typical for the Northwest. Gray, wet, the kind of day where it could be any hour. As I treaded across the matted grasses, careful not to step in the hidden channels carved out by the tide, I could see them. They were just under the surface, disturbing the water in that way old salty fishermen seem to be able to spot from a mile out. But these fish were not a mile out, they were close, just a few yards from the beach. I lay my cast out across their path and counted. My fly was light and small. The intermediate line carried my fly down and then came tight.

This little scene was brought to you by Gary Oberbillig…sort of. At the October 2011 SSFF general meeting the club had a tie-in. It was a chance for everyone to get together and tie flies, share ideas and tell stories. I took the chance to tie a few of my favorite Chum patterns. As I walked around after tying a couple Chum Candy, Gary Oberbillig’s vice caught my attention. Well, honestly it might have been his Dremel and peculiar way of de-barbing a hook. Gary was tying a modified version of his Guinea and Gold Sea-Run Spider, a fly that Les Johnson published in his book, Fly-Fishing Coastal Cutthroat Trout. I handed him one of my Chum Candy in hopes he would do the same with what he was tying. Thankfully he did, what I nice guy!

A couple of weeks later I was on the water with Gary’s Guinea and Gold “Chum” Spider. The previously mentioned scene played out and a 15 pound Chum buck was lying at my feet. As I sent him back on his way, I thought to myself, “gee, I would have never guessed that would have worked.” To me, the fly just doesn’t look like your typical Chum fly. But who am I to argue with results. In fact, I fished that pattern for the rest of the season.

Instead of orange as in the book version, Gary uses a deep pink Guinea hackle and a pink Edge Brite for the body. Also, the fly is tied without dumbbell eyes.  I’m sure you could tie it with the eyes for certain situations, but I like my Chum flies to be light. I feel like a light fly is less likely to get lodged into the back of a fish. Edge Brite can be hard to come by. If you don’t know what it is, it is a semi-stretchy plastic film that collects light from its broad side and emits it from its edges. The edge of this stuff literally glows. It comes in sheets, and you can just cut strips off the sheet with a razor knife. Strips about 1/8” work well for this fly.

Now is the time to tie a few of these beauties up and put them in front of fish.

November 2012 Garden Hackle

Here is your November Garden Hackle.

    GH-Nov 2012

Be sure to come to the meeting to see Gary Marston and swap fishing stories.