Another year is winding down and our glory months of September and October seemed to race by at breakneck speed, giving way to a cold, but not entirely unpleasant first bit of November. It’s nice to see the sun still shining and while the rain is probably not far off, we’re doing our best to enjoy the fall splendor on the water with the weather still bordering on pretty nice. There’ll be plenty of days to dawn the Goretex jackets, soppy wool gloves and test your mettle in icy, wet conditions.
For now, we’re dividing our time between coho and chum in the Fraser tributaries of BC, Skagit and Stilly cutthroat and those lowland lakes that remain open through the year. Fishing has remained pretty decent overall if you’re willing to put in the time and do some exploring.
We had a good turnout to our October Confluence Tying Night at Chuckanut Brewery and Kitchen. Thanks to our friends at Chuckanut for hosting us and we look forward to the next round of tying. There are a couple of big fishing related events coming up that you’ll definitely want to put on the calendar. The first is the International Fly Fishing Film Festival on November 21st at the Lincoln Theatre. This event is the counterpart to the F3T we co-host each spring and features several really cool short films. Let’s fill the theatre and have a grand old time. We now have tickets for sale at the Confluence for $15/each or you can pick them up at the Lincoln Theatre. The other big thing happening is Speyapalooza 3.0 at Howard Miller Steelhead Park in Rockport on December 7th. We’re proud to have Sage, Redington, Rio, Echo, Airflo and OPST in attendance again this year with tons of great two handed rods to demo, including the new OPST Pure Skagit Rods we’ve been getting a fair number of questions about.
November is a time to be thankful, and we most certainly are for the friendships, connections and good times that the Confluence helps bring to our lives. Enjoy your time with family as well as those precious days on the water. We’ll be closed on Thankgiving Day as well as Black Friday doing the same.
After riding out a few high water events in October, our rivers are once again settling into low and clear for the moment. This can make for more difficult fishing in some circumstances but we’re still finding a mix of coho, some chum and plenty of sea run cutthroat out there. When the water is low, we like plying the Skagit from Birdsview down for new coho and cutthroat as well as the Stilly. The main Stilly has been challenging with a bigger than usual sediment load coming out of the South Fork but it should start to gain better visibility with more cold, dry weather.
As with most years, we’re spending a good amount of time north of the border searching for coho in the sloughs and tributaries to the Fraser. The Vedder is still producing bright fish throughout the system, but the river has definitely peaked and fishing is beginning to slow down. The up side is that the crowds have been down too so it’s not a bad time to go explore. North side Fraser tributaries from the Stave to the Harrison really come into their own in November and we’re finding bright coho coming up with the tides. Fly-wise, BH Olive Woolly Buggers, Green Globs, Olive Sparkle Buggers, White Coho Killers and a variety of Rolled Muddlers have been productive. Those same Rolled Muddlers have been the ticket for cutthroat in our lower river portions as well.
All in all, chum numbers are way down in BC and the Fraser and its tributaries are closed to retention this year. Let’s hope we see decent numbers of chum returning to the Nooksack as we get further into the month.
While many of our lakes closed at the end of October, we have a number still available to fish. Pass, Squalicum and Lone on Whidbey remain open year round, and WDFW just announced that Lake Padden will remain open through January 5th, 2020 and was restocked in October. This time of year, afternoons and evenings seem to be most productive once the water’s had an opportunity to warm up. Minnow patterns, leech imitations and smaller chironomids and blood worm patterns are the way to go. Fish are as fat as they’re going to get for the season and there are far fewer people out there than in the spring, so don’t overlook a favorite lake this time of year for enjoying a few hours of solitude away from the ratrace.
North Sound sea run cutthroat fishing tends to be pretty slow this time of year and with our salty salmon seasons done, we’re not spending a ton of time on the beaches until the New Year. South Sound and Hood Canal continue to fish well through the fall and you’ll find some big cutts following the chum around. We’ve got the flies if you have the desire to put together a beach outing.