Re: Dead steelhead in the PM Flies Only – No Kill


Hello all,

I am writing this blog in response to fly fishermen jumping down center pin, spinning guys and bait fisherman throat about the dead steelhead found on the PM-Flies only.

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It looks like everyone is getting cabin fever because the arguing has started. Some of you may have seen the picture above posted across media sites and so on. If you have no idea what is going on, there has been dead female steelhead on the PM- Flies only, No kill with their eggs ripped out and left to rot. Let me be the first to say I do not support the killing of fish unless they are going to be eaten.  It’s a shame that someone will put that much effort into catching a fish and leaving it to rot with it’s eggs zipped. I kill a couple of fish every year for bait where it’s legal but the meat is always eaten by a loved one or me.

I am getting sick of is all these fly guys jumping on the ban wagon of that the person killing these fish in the PM flies only are a “center pin fisherman” or a “spinning fisherman.” Well, how the heck do they know that? What if it’s a fly guy who killed a hen to chum with egg flies in the fly only section? I have never done it but heard it’s a really effective method. My point is, who knows who is killing these fish in the flies only. I don’t know a single steelheader who chums with skein.  If you ask me, I think it is a stunt of a fly guy who is killing all these steelhead to make us bait guys look bad. That fish was probably killed, had the eggs stripped and then put in the snow next to the house just to get everyone riled up. People must be really bored.

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What I am also sick of is these fly fishermen making them selves’ sound so elite.  Like, they are a lot better than us bait fisherman. I know of more fly fisherman who snag intentionally then guys who bait fishes. Obviously, not all fly fisherman do but I am trying to make a point. Who gives a crap what you fish with, as long as it’s legal. I could care less if you fish a fly rod, a pin, mooching, or a Barbie rod.  I question a lot of fly fisherman and there ethics. However, if it’s legal, why should I judge how you fish and try to make it illegal? I use to fish beds but then I figure out how to float fish a 5 eggs bag in a deep hole and catch steelhead consistently. To me, it’s a whole lot more fun then flossing fish on beds, or fishing a fly for that matter. Like I said though, who am I to judge how someone fishes so who are you to judge how I fish.

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As for banning chum, I am so sick of hearing about this. There are so many fishermen who have no clue what they are talking about when it comes to chumming. Who ever has chummed, knows that chumming is never a guarantee for a big number day. Sometimes it works and sometime it doesn’t. If you have used chum, you would know this. I have seen a hole not produce so I threw a hand full of chum with no luck. Come back to that hole an hour later and nail a couple of fish with or without chum. It has happened many times. Chumming does not shut down a hole for the rest of the day like I have read on the Internet. Also, I know a whole lot of guys who chum and I don’t know a single guy who uses steelhead eggs for chum like guys have mentioned. It’s all salmon! I also know of only one kid who takes more than a 16-ounce bottle of chum down to the river.  This kid takes trash bags full of chum. I do not agree with this at all and neither does any steelhead fisherman I know who chums. Not all bait fishermen are bad guys and should not be looked down upon by the fly ballers because no one is better than the other.

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I am sick of reading from guides and flyshops about how we need to ban chumming or how fishing bait is so wrong. I am starting to re-think what shops I want to support who want to ban my way of fishing. There is no evidence that these practices are harmful to the fishery or I would not be doing it. Guys I know who fish bait or chum only kill fish they are going to eat. So the fish killed is being used regardless if it’s used for bait or not. The guy who is stripping fish of eggs is a disgrace to all fisherman, not just “bait fisherman” and we should all work together to find this “fisherman.”

So please fly fishing buds, back off of the blaming and picking at us. It’s only dividing us more and will never work because I will always fight for my right to fish the way I want and that is using bait under a bobber Lets work together to end poaching and just enjoy being on the river with each other. Who cares what you or I fish with?

I hope everyone can get out from behind the computer screen and fish. It’s been a long winter. Good Luck!

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13 thoughts on “Re: Dead steelhead in the PM Flies Only – No Kill

  1. The whole bait vs fly fishing fiasco really bugs the hell out of me. It’s no different than the keep vs catch and release argument. Point is, it doesn’t matter what you use, people will snag fish, plain and simple. So that whole argument is BS. Fish with whatever the hell you like, be proud of what your doing/using. As long as it’s a legal method who cares what or how you fish. To each their own. I bait fish with a fly rod and I use a fly with a fly rod. It’s no different. I know guys that use flys on spinning gear. We as Fisherman need to get off our high horses, stop bickering and start standing up for the sport before anti’s attack us next. We need to stick together as sportsman and stop pointing fingers. It doesn’t matter if it was a fly guy, bait guy or hardware guy. To kill a fish, rape it of its eggs and leave it to rot is wrong! PERIOD!! It’s no different than someone poaching a deer for horns. I fly fish, I bait fish and I hardware fish. Do what makes you happy and quit the blame game it gets old! The bashing that goes on in some of the forums online is deeply disturbing. People bitch like a bunch of old women at a nursing home. It’s gets old. Get outdoors, fish, enjoy yourself and just be happy we have such a wonderful resource. Help keep it as such… Rant over

      • I agree that there is some fly guys that seem to have a major ego problem. As if they walk on water. But that can be said for just about any Fisherman. Just have to laugh it off and keep fishing.

  2. Good write up. First off let me say that the entire PM is a world class fishery and we all see stuff every year both salmon and steelhead fishing that should not happen. Lets get together and focus on getting the Donk’s out of the entire river and not just the fly water. As for fly vs bait.. Spinning rod vs pin/spinning rod, here is my take. Any method of fishing where fish are not actively taking your bait is garbage. I see more and more chuck and duck with fly gear every year and in MOST applications these fish are being flossed. What do we do? Real salmon and steelhead anglers need to come together and work to get treble hooks banned (unless on a body bait) and work on restrictions on leader lengths for C&D. I think if true fishing ethics find their way back into mainstream than the rest will take care of itself.

    • Not everyone who “chuck and duck” fishes is a flosser or snagger. I do it all the time,(c&d) I also use sink tips and fly line and swing streamers. Yes you can line and floss fish that way too. I also will fish the same set up with my spinning gear while bouncing or floating spawn, flies, wax worms, wigglers. It’s no different just a different way of casting. You can line, floss, snag a fish with just about any way of fishing. If one does it intentionally than that’s one thing but the bashing of anyone who chuck and duck fishes gets old! I also don’t agree with the banning trebble hooks mentality. Limit the size if you choose, I use tiny tiny trebbles all the time when I float spawn. Banning trebbles is no different than fly guys wanting “flies only” I said it before and I’ll say it again, the battle is with the snagger/poacher (not) someone who chooses a different method than you.

      • There is no legitimate fishing method for salmon or steelhead in a river that requires use of a treble.

      • Totally disagree! To each their own. I use a size 12-14 all the time when running bags and skein for steelhead or salmon. It’s smaller than the trebles used on hardware. Banning a certain persons equipment is no different than making a certain section of river “flies only” I’m against BOTH!

  3. I agree, I don’t steelhead fish much anymore but I will b the first person to say not all but most fly fisherman are self centered and excuse my language but assholes. They have been trying to take the rivers away from regular fisherman for years. my take on that is you have to be an extremely horrible fisherman if u need a section just for you because u can’t compete with a real fisherman. Now I have a lot of other reasons for my thoughts and my dislikes on fly guys but I am just going to stop before I get to fired up.

    • Kevin I would not say all of them but there are definitely a few. I have some good friends who fly fish only who are serious about what they do. I have no problem fishing next to these guys. But, some fly fishing guys are so arrogant I don’t even want to fish next to them.

      As for designated sections, I have no problem with this section. I enjoy fishing it from time to time. However, I think it’s BS that they want more water for themselves. There is no scientific proof that no kill waters are better. If they keep fighting for waters of their own, I want my own water for jig fisherman only : P

  4. Why is everybody so perturbed about a few steelhead gettin killed legally in the trib streams? Its done all day every day in the smmer by the boat people in lake michigan. They dont naturally reproduce anyway. I’M A FLY FISHERMAN BUT SMOKE AND EAT A FEW FISH A YEAR. No apologies.

    • Dan,
      These steelhead are being killed in the flies only, no kill, meaning you can not keep any fish. I do not agree with someone breaking a law like this. What I have a problem is people coming at bait fisherman like we are all doing it. It’s not right!

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