It’s been generally pretty slow around the shop between the Nooksack being closed prematurely through most of January, the handful of open lakes still on the cold side and the uncertainty about whether or not we’ll have a season on the Skagit going forward. Things seem to be picking up this week with folks either collecting tying materials, getting gear for the new season or saying, “Screw it!” and departing for more tropical climes to chase unbelievably fast and strong warm water fish ready to smoke your reel and see how deeply you can really bend a 10 weight before it snaps. I’m happy to count myself among the latter in addition to tying plenty of flies and amassing new gear for the season. If you’d like to bid adieu to the cold and rain for a week one of these winters drop us a line. We have a number of destination hosted trips in the works and are always open to new ideas too.
We had a great turnout for our January tying night at the North Fork Barrel House in town. Thanks to all that showed up and shared in the camaraderie over a couple of beers. We’re going to skip the tying night in February due to scheduling constraints, but our North Sound TU chapter has a really fun Iron Fly event happening next week at Goods. Let us know if you’d like to participate as a tier or simply show up and watch the madness. It should be a lot of fun. Mark your calendars for some other exciting events in the coming months. The Confluence will be hosting the 2023 Fly Fishing Film Tour at the Lincoln Theatre in Mount Vernon on Wednesday, March 22nd. We should have posters and ticket options here shortly. These are completely different films than the International Fly Fishing Film Festival at the Lincoln last November. You haven’t seen these ones yet. Saturday, May 20th will be the 2023 Speyapalooza at Howard Miller Steelhead Park in Rockport. We’ll have more information to come on that one next month. Beyond all that, we hope to see you on the water and in the shop soon. Enjoy those magical few days when the thermometer breaks 50 and the sun grins down upon us.
RiversJanuary brought some of the finest bull trout fishing I’ve experienced on the Skagit in over a decade. The bulls seem abundant and healthy after such a strong showing of late returning chum and coho and should continue to thrive with what we expect will be a fairly robust chum fry outmigration this spring. Unfortunately, that’s over for the moment with the Skagit currently closed, but we’re expecting an announcement regarding a spring catch and release steelhead season later this month. You can check the WDFW emergency regulations for the latest info or better yet, subscribe to their alerts so you will get the updates automatically.
The lower Skagit from the Memorial Highway bridge is slated to open March 1st for trout and char. It’s a tough area to fish from the shore but if you’ve got a boat, it’s a fantastic fishery with small streamers and fry imitations. The NF Nooksack reopened last Saturday, just in time to close again on February 15th. The clock is ticking, but there are a few steelhead in the system and whole lot of people. If you’re young, single, really into to steelhead and looking to meet lots of like-minded anglers it’s clearly the place to be over the next week.