River is Dirty, Hood Canal is Gin Clear
April 14, 2016
With the river blown out I decided to brave the reverse commute and head TOWARDS Seattle to go fly fishing. My long time pal Chad Gillespie, now Captain Chad Gillespie according the US Coast Guard, told me to get my hind end over there and do some Sea Run Cutthroat Fishing with him. I hadn't fished Sea Runs since I was a kid with a spinning rod and had been dying to try it.
Chad grew up on the Kitsap Penninsula and has been fishing the Hood Canal and Puget Sound since he was young. We went to college at the same time and he was my guide mentor. Yep, Chad inspired me to take up guiding. I met him when he was a student assistant teaching the fly fishing class at Central Washington University. Its a P.E. credit. How sweet is that? I had done a little fly fishing and like a lot of kids thought I was pretty good at it. Till I met Chad. Oh man he was lite years ahead of me. I had spent my youth slapping flies down on small creeks without much use for entomology or mending. I had heard about it but assumed it was just to keep the city folk entertained. I grew up in a very small town, forgive me.
Anyway, as it goes on Chad got me straightened out enough that he invited me to float the Yakima River in his drift boat. Keep in mind at this time there were NO FLY SHOPS IN ELLENSBURG. You had to buy flies at the pawn shop. Not kidding. You could get a saddle, ammo, an old chain saw, VCR, and flies all at the same place. My point here is that the guiding industry here was small, and with no shops to employ or meet other young guys opportunities to float the river were few and far between. Unless you count renting a paddle raft from the college and casting flies towards the shore as your buddies spin it around in circles fly fishing. Tried that, once.
So Chad takes me out fishing and 1 minute into the float I was like "oh man this is awesome", just being rowed for on a big western river is fun to begin with. Then Chad spots a fish feeding gently on Caddis up under a cut bank in a hard to reach spot. By the time I knew what was happening he had us anchored up and was pointing where to cast. I looked a the spot all choked in brush and took the polite and self preserving route as not to embaras myself by saying, "oh man you spotted him you cast". I was just in awe watching the fish feed up under the sticks. I hadn't watched a trout in a big western river feed like that before. I still remember the spot even. Right above the upper railroad trussel near Thorp right below the Diversion Dam. Years ago we could launch there with permission from the local farmer.
Anyway, Chad whips out his 4 weight and after a couple magical false casts he lays in the perfect cast, mends, and BAM! Trout on just like that. At that moment I was like, "I am going to be a dammed fly fishing guide on this river even if it kills me". Well here I am. 17 seasons later. Chad taught me to mend and fish the Yakima River. After graduation he was a high school teacher and is now a full time fireman. Since that time Chad never stopped fishing, to the contrary. He bought a sweet power boat, set it up for fly fishing, got his USCG Captains License and started a guide service. Fjord Fly Fishing was chosen as the name since Hood Canal is truly a fjord, similar to many of the Norwegian fjords in Norway. Chads home town of Poulsbo was founded by Norwegians and still carries on this Norwegian Heritage today.
Chad is an old friend, and is kicking off his new business and I want to rally some trips and get some of you out there on Hood Canal. Its a beautiful trip and you'll have a great time. You can book dates by calling Red's at (509) 933-2300. We have Chad's schedule all the way through May and he reported a few days ago that the larger Sea Run Cutthroat seemed to have moved out of the creeks and the bite is on. You can find all the information you need to get hooked up for this trip below. With the river in rough shape this spring it might be a great trip. You can book your trip and we'll email all the information that you need to have a great day on the water chasing SRC trout.
Thanks so much and get out there!
Sea Run Cutthroat Fishing on Hood Canal
The Puget Sound, especially Hood Canal, is famous for its vibrant Sea Run Cutthroat fishery. These hard fighting sea trout will impress you, and the backdrop of the Olympic Mountains is absolutely spectacular.
Come fish with a fully licensed captain, Chad Gillespie of Fjord Fly Fishing. You will be fishing out of a great 16' aluminum open style power boat, the ideal boat and platform to pursue these game fish. The luxury of fishing from this platform is that you can cover MILES in just a few minutes. You'll cherry pick the best spots and cover water rapidly. There are even drift boat style leg braces for the caster on deck!
Your guide, Capt. Chad Gillespie, who owns Fjord Fly Fishing has been chasing these wily game fish with a fly rod for the past 25 years on the Kitsap Peninsula and has a deep knowledge of the area. Plus he's just a great guy to spend time with.
Joe Rotter, part owner of Red's, and Captain Chad go way back. Since Chad works full time as a firefighter in addition to guiding, Red's helps manage Chad's fishing schedule as he is often working his other job. Call (509) 933-2300 for reservations and we can take care of everything.
The Prime Fishing Season
Fly Fishing Puget Sound and Hood Canal for Sea-Run Cutthroat is a year round catch and release fishery. The prime months to pursue Sea-Run Cutthroat are from May through October, primarily because the weather is fair and the Sea-Run Cutthroat have emerged from their spawning streams. However, there is a great winter fishery from December -February for Sea-Run Cutthroat particularly in Hood Canal.
Tides and Conditions
Don't overthink this part. You are with an experienced guide and no matter the day or tides, he'll find the right beach or adjust your meeting time to coincide with the best bite. Just pick a day that works for you and let Chad do the rest.
Where Do We Meet?
For your convenience, you will meet Captain Chad at the WDFW boat launch on Misery Point Rd., Seabeck, WA
Directions to Misery Point water access site from Seabeck:
- Southwest from Seabeck .6 mi on Seabeck Holly Rd,
- Right .6 mi n Miami Beach Rd,
- Left 1.4 mi on Miami Beach Lp Rd to public fishing sign, WDFW access on right.
- Rods and Reels if needed
- Tippet and Leader
- Water and Light Snacks
- Life Jackets
Cost and Details
- $495 per 2 Anglers, plus tax
- Up to 7 Hours on the Water
Call for Reservations! (509) 933-2300