I’ve had a few days off from guiding so I decided to take a trip up to the fly water and walk in for some trout fishing. I looked quite out of place with my five weight and trout net. There were a number of folks after salmon so I only got to fish seriously for about an hour, but I did manage to land a decent rainbow, quite a few steelhead smolt, and I hooked two kings which promptly broke me off on 6lb flouro. Smaller egg patterns and lighter, flourocarbon tippet were necessary in this very low, clear water.
If you want to try eggin’, first thing you need to do is go somewhere with lots of salmon and preferably lots of trout. The fly water on the PM is probably the best place to egg, though there are some big trout in the middle river and the nesting salmon tend to concentrate them or at least make it more obvious where they might be (though note that trout season is now closed on the middle river, so you’re really eggin’ for steelhead there). The most straightforward way to get started is to fish the holes and dark water pockets behind gravels blind. In the fly water these tend to be pretty shallow, 2-3 feet deep, though in some spots, particularly in the lower fly water and middle river, they can be significantly deeper.
Eggin’ is pretty much just nymphing behind gravels with eggs, so the rig is very similar to any trout nymphing rig you might use. My preferred setup is 18″-36″ of 10lb-15lb Maxima Ultragreen tied directly to a 1/2″, neutral colored Thingamabobber. Length to indicator and diameter of line to be determined by clarity and depth- lower and clearer, go lighter and longer. I then tie a piece of 8lb flourocarbon directly to the Thingamabobber, the length of which should be about six inches less than the depth of the water you’re fishing.
Tie a 18″ piece of 6lb flouro to the 8lb flouro using a bloodknot. Tie an egg to the 6lb flouro. Fishing two eggs can increase hookups (but also tangles) and allow you to experiment with different tippet sizes. I usually tie eye to eye from the first fly to the second using 6lb flouro, though if you encounter heavily pressured fish in very low clear water you may want to use 5x or even 6x flouro to your second egg. Going down in tippet size is always something obvious to try during a difficult bite.
Now go back and affix a single split shot to the leader just above the bloodknot between your 8lb and 6lb flouro. The knot is intended to prevent the split shot from sliding down the leader. I typically use a large split shot, like a BB or even AAA, though they can be difficult to cast. A single #4 is usually sufficient, though you get down quicker and better in faster water using something heavier. And importantly, a heavier weight will keep more tension on the indicator thus allowing you to detect more takes more efficiently. So start heavy and only go lighter if you absolutely cannot cast the heavier weight.
I prefer to use smaller size egg patterns tied on smaller hooks when eggin’ for trout. I use #12 and #14 hooks and tie a sparsely tied #10 size nuke egg on them, steelhead orange being probably the best inside color for nuke eggs this season for both trout and salmon.
If we don’t get another big push of kings, eggin’ should be pretty good over the next week or so as the trout won’t be getting their fill of the real thing. And you never know, maybe you’ll hook into an early steelhead?