Archive for the ‘Newsletter’ Category

2012 Christmas Newsletter Essays

Thursday, December 20th, 2012


Flatwings tied by Jack Devlin


y Les Johnson

It is around Thanksgiving when I begin to look for what my family has for generations called “Our Christmas Coho”. In my high school days just about every man and boy in our extended family was charged at one time or another with bringing one home and preparing it for the smoker. After being properly smoked it would be kept in the freezer until Christmas when it would be the centerpiece of a splendid holiday buffet.

A Christmas coho however could not be just any old coho salmon from one of the many rivers near my family’s haunts along the Washington coast. It had to be a prime, late-arriving native fish, bright as a bar of sterling silver and thick through the shoulder. In those days we had them, entering the Sol Duc, Quinault, Humptulips, Satsop, Wynoochie, Naselle, and other rivers that will go unnamed, from Thanksgiving through early February. (more…)

Doug Rose Fly Fishing Fall 2012 Newsletter

Thursday, September 13th, 2012

I caught a nice cutthroat, a strong 13-incher, in Dabob Bay yesterday. It hit a black version of Jeffrey Delia’s White Ghost. Its bronze flanks and vivid red throat slashes suggested that it wasn’t going to be one of the fish that we pursue in the salt this winter. I imagine it will be in freshwater after the next good rain.

It’s that time of year again.

The day before yesterday I hunted grouse with Ruby, my black Labrador retriever,  on a bitter cherry flat near Tarboo Lake. I fished Admiralty Inlet for cutthroat the day before that, and the day before that I checked out my favorite tidewater creek. I’ll be hunting ducks in a little over a month.

There’s something about autumn. It’s the time of year that I resent any day that I don’t spend at least part of it on the water or in the field. That’s because many of my very favorite things to do in life–chase after cutthroat in saltwater and rivers; hunt with dogs; fish dry lines for summer steelhead–occur in the fall.


Doug Rose Fly Fishing Summer 2012 Newsletter

Tuesday, June 19th, 2012

Although the Summer Solstice is only a couple days away, it sure doesn’t feel very much like summer on the West End of the Olympic Peninsula. Oh sure, June is typically cold and gray and wet out here. But it seems to me that the last few early summers have achieved new depths on the ghastly index. I remember routinely swimming in Gibbs Lake in early June back in the early 1990s, but when I was on the river last week I realized I was wearing virtually the same clothes and jacket that I do winter steelheading.

Fortunately, the weather doesn’t have to be pleasant for the fishing to be good. Hatchery summer steelhead are in the Calawah, Bogachiel and Sol Duc. My friend, Waters West’s Dave Steinbaugh caught a spring Chinook a couple weeks ago on the Hoh, and a client of mine got into some very nice cutthroat last week on the Bogachiel. This seems to be one of those summers when good numbers of cutthroat are in the West End rivers early. And over on the east side of the peninsula, several of my friends have reported good fishing for cutthroat in the salt.

The biggest news for me this summer, of course, is our move back to Chimacum, on the rain shadow side of the peninsula. I lived in east Jefferson County for 25 years before we moved west, and Eliana and I are very excited about moving back. Our grandson is close by in Seattle, and our oldest friends are within a few miles. I am only a few minutes from some of my favorite cutthroat beaches. And I will be close to my beaver ponds, tidal creeks and the saltmarshes where Ruby and I will hunt ducks this fall.


Doug Rose Fly Fishing Spring 2012 Newsletter

Friday, March 9th, 2012

I saw five elk herds the other day. One was in town at the airport. Another was on the upper Bogachiel. Three were on the upper Hoh.

There are lost of ways to mark the arrival of spring on the Olympic Peninsula–Indian plum, red-flowering currant and skunk cabbage blossoms. The song of sandhill cranes and red-winged blackbirds. And daylight minus tides. But, for me, none is quite as reassuring as seeing the elk, after the long wet miserable winter, basking in the sun and savoring the green shoots of spring.

Of the four newsletters I write each year, the fishing opportunities on the Olympic Peninsula change more  during the period covered by the spring edition–March through May–than any other season.

When it first appears, most everyone’s mind is focused on winter steelhead. That’s especially true for the people who travel to the peninsula to fish. Those of who are lucky enough to live here do have other options–in particular, the early spring saltwater cutthroat fishery on Hood Canal and Admiralty Inlet. A few intrepid souls also work chironomids on the year-round lakes, and some extremely patient and optimistic anglers now try for blackmouth in the surf in areas where they are open. (more…)

Doug Rose Fly Fishing Newsletter, Volume II

Thursday, December 22nd, 2011

Papio, Wives, and Sacred Places

by Ron Hirschi

I dream of many places, mostly of those connecting me to a very precise location. I’m not quite as good at this as I used to be, but sometimes I can put myself in that place just as I fall asleep so that the experiences are renewed, replayed, as if, as the song goes, “My life was on video tape.”

One place that I return to time and time again is on the island of Kauai. I first got to enjoy the warmth of its waters in 1989, the year my wife turned 40. At the time, I was just getting started as a writer and had been chosen to create a set of environmental books for kids by the Audubon Society. There were negotiations to be made in New York, between my publisher, Audubon, and myself and so, I told my wife I was supposed to go to the big city for the meeting, announcing I had to be gone for her birthday. Not so good since we always enjoyed celebrating in some fun way and this was, afterall, her big 40!

What I didn’t tell her was that the meeting was in early December. Her birthday is on Halloween, leaving me time to come up with some kind of a special surprise. I was working as a biologist, making ……well, not big bucks, but enough to afford a trip. Then too, I was about to sign a deal for eight books and felt pretty good about my future as an author. So, I came up with the idea of surprising her with a trip to Hawaii.

In those days, there were still these wonderful little businesses in small towns where you could stop in and talk to a travel professional and book trips to just about any place in the world. I went to Poulsbo, near where we lived on Hood Canal, and was happy to meet a young woman who had just come back from Kauai, an island I knew nothing about, but from her description, imagined it must be a kind of heaven. No high rise hotels, very few tourists, lots of quiet out of the way beaches where you could be the only person for miles. I booked a trip.


Doug Rose Fly Fishing Summer 2011 Newsletter

Tuesday, July 5th, 2011

It was a couple days before the Summer Solstice when I originally finished writing the summer newsletter. The weather was terrible then–in the 50s and raining. Then my computer went haywire, and I couldn’t upload the file to my blog. Then I went to Michigan for a week. Now it’s the Fourth of July. The weather has improved significantly since I wrote the  newsletter. But you never really know on the Olympic Peninsula, do you? So I’m going to leave in the stuff I wrote about the bad weather a couple weeks ago. We could easily slip back into the rain and drizzle anytime.

There are a lot of different kinds of fish to pursue on the Olympic Peninsula in early summer–and in a wide variety of settings–and the weather doesn’t have to be good for the fish to bite. I have experienced some of my best early summer steelhead fly fishing on the West End rivers during really depressing weather. And the kind of soft drizzly days that keep the young-of-year baitfish near the surface also often produce excellent fishing for cutthroat in the salt. This is a good time of year to hit the low elevation lakes for trout and to slog into your favorite beaver pond, if you have one. If the wind isn’t up, this is a perfect  time to wade the coastal beaches for surf perch. And if you have a saltwater-worthy boat, it is the best time of year to tie into some tasty black rockfish near the kelp beds at Neah Bay.

I concluded a saltwater cutthroat clinic the other day. We don’t usually catch too many fish in clinics, because we are working on a lot of different techniques and go over things pretty quickly. But the angler I spent the most time with got several small cutts and one really nice fish on sand lance patterns. There was quite a bit of bait around, and we saw a number of other cutthroat rising and rolling. He emailed me afterwords that he had done even better when he returned to the spot a couple days later. (more…)

Doug Rose Fly Fishing Spring 2011 Newsletter

Monday, April 4th, 2011

We are a couple weeks into spring according to the calendar, but the weather on the West End of the Olympic Peninsula seems to be heading in the opposite direction. It barely got to 50 degrees over the weekend, and the rain still has more of the feel of winter than spring. There are some hopeful signs, though. Walking Ruby along the Sol Duc the other day, I saw not only new wood sorrel leaves, but at least one plant was already in flower. As improbable as it seems, doves and band-tailed pigeons are back, and I’ve been hearing varied thrush and pileated woodpeckers in the woods. The most reliable indication that spring has returned–the tides–have also turned. There is now a lot more beach to walk at Kalaloch and Ruby Beach and Rialto Beach during daytime.

Springtime steelheading is in the sprint toward the finish line. There are plenty of bright fish around, but we are going to start encountering more and more spawners. The Hoh closes on April 15, and that’s when I quit guiding winter fish. As always, the Quillayute System rivers–the Sol Duc, Bogachiel and Calawah–remain open through April. And springers are open now in the Sol Duc and Quillayute, and you can continue fishing for them in May. But, to me at least, mid-April is the time to begin focusing on other species and other settings.

Before I get off the subject of steelhead, though, I want to say something about my “Winter Steelhead Fly Fishing Manifesto.” The response I got to it from regular viewers of the newsletter and blog, as well as people who had never heard of me before, was amazing. It received easily ten times the number of comments as a typical essay, and virtually all of it was positive. I got emails from all over the country, from fellow fly fishing guides and complete beginners, from people who fished the rain forest and Quillayute rivers long before I got here, and people who have never even seen the Olympic Peninsula. I even got one from Herb Jacobsen, one of the fly fishing guides who pioneered winter steelhead guiding out here and whom I mentioned in the essay.


Doug Rose Fly Fishing Christmas 2010 Newsletter

Thursday, December 16th, 2010


Mr. Glasso’s Moment  ©1995 Jack Datisman (48″x 96″, acrylic on hardboard)

There are three things that you can count on when it comes to my Christmas Newsletter: 1) it will feature Les Johnson’s superb essay, “Our Christmas Coho”; 2) it will also contain a selection of articles and photos by some of my friends, who also happen to be some of the best fly fishermen and writers in the Pacific Northwest; and 3) it will have a copy of my good friend, Jack Datisman’s painting,”Mr. Glasso’s Moment.”

The photo above of is of Jack’s painting. I discuss the fascinating story behind it in detail in last year’s Christmas Newsletter, which you can find in the archives. In a nutshell, it’s a depiction of a steelhead about to hit Dick Wentworth’s steelhead Spey fly, Mr. Glasso. Dick tied the fly in honor of his great friend and mentor, Syd Glasso. The first time Dick fished the fly he caught a nearly 22 pound winter steelhead on the lower Sol Duc. Jack’s painting memorializes the moment the steelhead turned on the fly. You can see the painting in the Thriftway in Forks.

As for the rest of the newsletter, here’s a rundown of what’s in store this year:

It begins with Les’s great story about catching a last minute coho for his family’s Christmas dinner. The reining dean of Pacific Northwest fly fishing writers, Les needs no introduction. He is the author of a number of classic fly fishing books, including the recent Fly Fishing for Pacific Salmon II and Fly Fishing Coastal Cutthroat Trout. He was an editor of Fly Fishing and Tying Journal and other magazines, and is one of the people most responsible for the implementation of catch-and-release regulations for cutthroat in Puget Sound.


A Winter Steelhead Fly Fishing Manifesto

Wednesday, December 15th, 2010

“Everyone wants to get to the top of the mountain but not very many want to walk the trail.” Dick Wentworth, in conversation.

Syd Glasso only wrote one article on fly fishing–a 1970 piece, “The Olympic Peninsula” for The Creel, the journal of the Fly Fisher’s Club of Oregon. It contained a concise and accurate overview of the fly fishing opportunities on the peninsula’s coastal rivers. He also talked about Spey flies and the lines he created to get down to winter steelhead. He wrote about dry fly fishing for cutthroat on the Hoh and Calawah. He also made it very clear what he thought about boats on the West End rivers and the crowds that were drawn by the coastal rivers’ abundant and heavy winter fish.

“The plain truth is that boats on these relatively small rivers leave a fish no place to hide, no sanctuary. Every square yard of good water is covered, if not by one boat then by the next, and the fish are harried and chased from one end of the river to the other.”

I sure am glad Glasso isn’t around today.

Two winters ago, I stood on the bank of the lower Calawah while a client fished and watched a half-dozen drift boats float by in less than two hours. This was a weekday in late February. As recently as five years ago, it was possible to hike into that run and spend half a day and only see a boat or two, if that. The lower river is a notoriously tough float, especially when it’s low, and in the past only a few local guides with intimate knowledge of the river worked it. Now a whole passel of guides and sports from outside the area routinely float the Calawah.

It’s even worse on the lower Hoh. Last year, David Christian and I fished Barlow’s in early March. Because it’s at the end of the lowest float, we hoped to beat the boats there. But a guy and his girlfriend had actually camped on the bar, and he had fished it before we got there. We fished anyway until the first boat showed up. On our way back up the Oil City Road, we must have passed at least a half-dozen rigs with empty boat trailers heading the other way. They were apparently being spotted.

A couple of weeks later, a client and I drove a long way up a muddy gravel road to the upper reaches of a major river. We had encountered people everywhere we had been so far that day, but I told him I was pretty sure we would have this place all to ourselves. When we got there, two boats had just launched are were floating into the water we wanted to fish. Their trailers had out-of-state plates. (more…)

Doug Rose Fly Fishing Fall 2010 Newsletter

Thursday, October 14th, 2010


Well, I’m still tinkering with the changes to the web site and trying to work out the links between my camera and computer and the blog so I can include more photography. But I’m not done yet, and I figured I had better post the newsletter now–while there is still some autumn left. I’ll unveil the changes in the Christmas Newsletter. That makes more sense really, because its’ the biggest newsletter of the year, the one where my friends contribute writing and artwork, and I recap my angling and hunting year and describe my winter clinics and seminars.

For now, though, let’s focus on autumn. I don’t have any clinics or speaking engagements this fall. With a new dog, a book to edit, hunting season and fishing, I’m sticking close to home until spring. I do have an article coming out in Northwest Fly Fishing next month. It’s about saltwater beach fishing on the Olympic Peninsula’s coastal strip, something I find myself doing more and more often. It was a fun project because Steve Probasco, the magazine’s  editor and his wife, Cindy, and I did a couple photo shoots on the south coast. Steve’s a great photographer, so I know the piece will be beautiful. (more…)

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