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To start off my weekend, Steelhead University was absolutely incredible. Literally some of the same people who taught us all how to fish, all in one place. Jeff wasn’t able to make it but when I told him all the people I got to meet, he couldn’t believe it; All the people that he grew up idolizing and all the people that taught him how to fish. There was so much information to soak up and even when the presentations were over, all of the speakers (and even Nick Amato himself!) were happy to talk fishing all day. I am definitely so thankful and fortunate to have the opportunity to attend such a great event!
After a full day of Steelhead, Steelhead, Steelhead, I am ready to begin winter steelhead and stop trying to fight the weather for salmon. Jeff fished the Humptulips on Saturday and didn’t do very well so we decided to stay close and fish a few Puget Sound rivers with some friends. Around noon, the boys hooked 2 small silvers and a dolly fishing spoons and spinners and we speant 80% of the day walking around instead of fishing.
I was telling our friend Andrew how I was NOT a fan of this type of fishing because I had no idea what to bring and ended up packing around too much food in a ripped plastic bag, had too many sweatshirts on to be walking around all day, and wished I brought another rod so I didn’t have to re-rig to try something different.
I was just getting ready to cast a spinner and our buddy casts right behind the rock I just wanted to claim. Sure enough, while I’m telling him he “stole” my hole, he says “there’s a fish”! You have got to be kidding me?
Now I’m really not a happy camper and just want to go throw jigs for chum. So Andrew says I can use his rod so I can fish some eggs. Awesome! Thank you! I’m at least happier I can change it up a little bit and really fish the hole. So I put on a nice ball of eggs and sure enough, right behind the same rock first cast. “Oh, there we go”! Okay, thank you Andrew! I am so happy! It wasn’t the nicest fish and I was drift fishing with braid so it didn’t put up the best fight, but I was pleased to at least get something and feel a bit more confident in my fishing by being able to change it up.
It wasn’t the Humptulips trip or the first steelhead trip of the year that I was wanting to do, but it was a new place, a learning experience, a good laugh with friends, and I went home with more eggs than I used!
October 08, 2012
I truly have a special relationship with the Humptulips river. If fishing was this much fun all year long, I would become a fishing bum and quit my job. However, I only visit my friend, "the hump" in the fall and I look forward to it all year long.
I did fish for a few hours last weekend before the rains came (actually it rained on us) and fishing really wasn't quite up to par. I was beginning to think that my favorite salmon river was going to disappoint me this year. We got our kings and a few silvers, but we worked hard and the water truly, really was less than desirable.
Last week, we got plenty of rain and Saturday, my long lost friend "the hump" treated me with the best welcome mat I have ever walked on.
We had our boat limit by noon on Saturday. 2 kings and 7 coho and I was on cloud nine! We released several coho with color and wild males and really just had an amazing time. We didn't land on a pile of fish and the fish weren't quick to jump on anything, but we fished hard, tried new things, and ended up being rewarded very well.
After an afternoon of cleaning the fish, Sasquatch pizza and a little studying, we enjoyed a few too many "mystery shots" from a typical Hoquiam dive bar. With the water dropping to a more desirable level, we expected Sunday to the same, if not better, than Saturday and our welcome mat was pulled right out from underneath us. I took my friend, "the hump", for granted.
It was colder, wetter, and the water clarity even worse. We fished hard, we fished new spots, and new techniques and I ended up personally having the pleasure of LOSING 4 fish :( I got greedy and expected my friend to just kick out a ton of fish and for my just land everything without trying and I was rudely awakened.
Jeff, who rowed most of the day, ended up with his limit of 2 coho's and a king OF COURSE! We got a few chum and heard of even more chum
My arms are sore from unsuccessfully pulling plugs on the longest stretch, well I think it was the longest! I had a great weekend despite the slow day and hard work and it was truly just a perfect reminder not to take good fishing for granted, work hard, and remember how good it feels to get to practice new things like pulling plugs. Now if only I could get a fish on those plugs!
Next Saturday I'll be at Wholesale Sports in Federal Way teaching egg curing, but hopefully I'll get to put in some more fish time on Sunday.
October 08, 2012
Fish on!!! After last weekend’s super slow fishing, it was so great to have MUCH better fishing! Last weekend to keep kings and we made it count! Saturday, we ended up with 4 kings and 6 silvers hooked and went home with 2 kings and 3 silvers. The action was very consistent all day and all of our fish were caught on green label herring.
Jeff’s dad always brings good luck to our fishing trips and got a great king and our buddy’s wife got to fight a monster king. We didn’t land that one, but it put up a fight so good, we had to chase it down a little ways.
I decided to take out my parents on Sunday after a last minute decision to head back out on Sunday. I was so happy my parents were able to come out after a call to them around 6 PM asking them to get up at 4AM. I was really hoping the action would be as good as Saturday with my parents out because they really don’t come out often enough.
The fishing started off amazing. We couldn’t even get all of our rods in the water and fishing before we got the next fish on and with 3 takes in about 20 minutes, we were expecting a stressful day but only stress because we kept having to fish and net fish. We were misled for a few hours as the fishing really slowed down and we didn’t hook another fish for several hours. On the low slack tide, we decided one more pass and happened to land in a great school of coho. We got 6 more fish to the boat in another 2 hours and everyone in the boat got to catch at least one!
~Bry (starving for rain)
October 02, 2012
We have been out on Grays Harbor trying a new location while we wait for the rain to come back to Washington. Last weekend was great fishing. 7 fish and off the water by 1PM! 3 of those fish were hooked while I was trolling so that was exciting, however, I didn’t get to actually fight any fish last weekend or this weekend!
This past Saturday we hit 2 fish at the first part of the incoming tide and we were hoping that high slack tide around 1 PM would be the best fishing time. It was windy out there to say the least and the tide exchange was much bigger than the previous weekend so the water was white capping and the 5 to 10 degree on the new sled just wasn’t cut out for that type of water. It fortunately was sunny outside, however it was extremely difficult to stay on a troll line, at a consistent speed, and it’s difficult to feel confident when your rods are jumping up 2 feet every time a boat runs by and you find 5lbs of seaweed dragging behind your herring every time you pull up. We decided to head out before it got too choppy but that was unfortunately right around 1PM after we saw about 4 fish landed all around us. Not the best timing, but we luckily got out of there with just a little salt on our faces and two fish in the box.
Tried again on Sunday and while the water and winds were MUCH calmer, the fishing was worse. We only stayed out until about 11AM. Only saw one fish caught all morning and that just wasn’t convincing enough for us to stay out there with just two rods in the water. On a sunny note, I got to run the boat some more and am really just enjoying being able to continue to learn more and more every time I go out. Whether it is a fishing technique, a new trick, or learning to run the boats, the learning in fishing is endless!
~Bry (who is still hoping for some rain)
September 09, 2012
Headed out to the Cowlitz to really test the new boat on Saturday and I must admit, I wasn't quite as impressed as I thought I would be. The boat was amazing, but the fishing was not. We fished the lower Cowlitz, around the Toutle, and we were accompanied by at least 50 other boats and did not see a single other boat with a fish on. We landed this beauty early in the morning and got a few pike minnows to go along with it, but other than that, it was slow pickins!
We dropped in at the Nisqually on the way home and hit a couple on bobber and eggs, but it too, was slow pickins! And also like the Cowlitz, tons of people! I didn't think there would be so many people in the afternoon, but it was probably one of the busiest so far this year.
Love the new boat, but I'm ready for rain, the drift boat, and the Humptulips!!!
September 01, 2012
Jeff's boat is finally here!!! After three years of working extremely hard saving for his first sled, his new Willie Fuzion is here. Hi picked it up Friday, broke in the motors Saturday, and introduced it to the river Sunday!!! And what a boat!!! Willie must have outdone themselves! I have to admit, having a sled that has everything you need really makes fishing QUITE comfortable!
We hit the Nisqually right after high tide and ended up with 4 adults in the box by the end of the day and lost 2. All fish were hooked on bait divers which was actually very cool to experience in a sled in a small river. We didn't get any jacks which was slightly a surprise because last weekend, we ended up with 6 jacks, no adults!
Some of the fish were getting a bit dark, but still bright compared to some of the fish we've been seeing in the upper Skok. A lot of people bank fishing, as always, but the fish are definitely biting! We had quite a few takes on the divers that were pretty good takes, but for about every one that we actually hooked, we had one fish just tease us without committing for the bite. Needless to say, I'm beyond proud of Jeff and extremely excited to learn to run the sled! Hopefully I can learn that faster than rowing the drift boat, which seems like I'll never be comfortable enough to go by myself!
August 27, 2012
I had the pleasure of meeting Jack Glass this weekend and when I say “I had the pleasure”, the pleasure was all mine. While I only spent a few hours with him on the water, it was easy to tell what a genuine and kind hearted man he is.
Jack has been guiding for over 20 years and I knew immediately that I wanted to fish Buoy 10 with him. He’s extremely active in the fishing community not just in radio shows, tackle shops, seminars, and tv shows, but in ensuring that our fishing habitats are well taken care of. He knows his fisheries, and holds immense amounts of knowledge that can only come with experience. He has taught his son Brandon Glass the trick of the trade and joined partners with him on Team Hook Up Guide Service. Brandon has big shoes to fill, but I am sure that when Brandon learned his father’s fishing skills, he picked up his amazing personality traits to go along with it.
Even before I made my 3 ½ hour journey down to Astoria, OR, I had been talking with Jack via email and was at a sense of peace, comfort, and security for my trip. He was extremely courteous and hospitable. We were on his 25’ Alumaweld which spaciously fit all 4 customers and Jack. Everything was prepared and ready to go when we got to the dock and we were on our way within 10 minutes of boarding.
We fortunately had another girl on the boat. It was her very first time salmon fishing and Jeff and I were prepared for the “Buoy 10 experience”. No pressure Jack! He was extremely easy to converse with and explained his methodology very clear so that it wasn’t simply a “guided trip”, it was a learning and fishing experience.
The morning was slow and it was clear to all of us. We watched the boats follow each other around the area looking for a biter only to see a couple fish caught all morning with over 100 boats. Wendy landed a great Coho bringing in the first fish of the day! Shortly after, we got a tule that was safely released ;)
The weather started getting nasty and we got the real Buoy 10 experience. Sea lions everywhere, huge rain pellets, winds that kicked you sideways, and waves that knocked you off your feet. With only half of the boat having rain gear, by 2PM we were getting exhausted and uncomfortable.
I knew the trip was coming to an end and was preparing for the “last pass” shout out. However, that never came. Jack wasn’t out there to work his 6 hour trip, he was out there to give us a Buoy 10 experience. He endlessly worked to find fish and wasn’t stopping because half of the boats had headed in and we were soaking wet. In fact, even when he asked us if we were getting ready, there still was no “last pass” but instead “yeah you guys have a long trip back home. Let’s get our rods up and run it again”. And several more trips back up the river and for the couple of hours, we missed a few and got 4 more kings to the boat and we were limited on kings. Wendy, of course her first time out, gets her complete limit of salmon with both hatchery Coho and a king.
Jack worked hard and it paid off. I truly was surprised to see realize that this really wasn’t just a “guided trip” but an experience. He wasn’t just there to take us on the water, but to get us fish and to share his knowledge. I have only been on three guided trips and they were all equally as unique and amazing in their own very different ways and each time I am surprised by the wonderful experience. Our trip with Jack Glass completely exceeded my expectations and I am so glad I got to meet and spend the day with such a wonderful man.
Between both Brandon and Jack, they have several boats to accommodate several types of fishing and several different species. Booking with Team Hook Up Guide Service is not just a guided trip, but an experience. From the first phone call or email with this team to the final fish in the bag, it’s a trip I won’t forget and new friend that won’t be forgotten.
August 18, 2012
Another weekend on the Skokomish river! Not as busy on the river, both for people and fish. I've been fishing the upper river and the fish are certainly not dime bright, but there's plenty to go around and it's so amazing to see so many rods with bobbers up there. It can definitely be challenging some days (Sunday's are the worst), but if you can find what the fish are biting on while their on a biting streak, it's just incredible.
We had at least 20 "bobber downs!!!" on Saturday morning before 9 AM. They are tough to land with all the fallen trees and snags, but it's so fun to fight kings in such a small river and even just being able to see your float go down cast after cast after cast. It stops being competitive, and just easy to enjoy a fun day even if you never land a fish.
Sunday was quite a bit slower, but we still managed to get one hen to the bank. Robin got to join us again, which ALWAYS a treat in itself, and she lost the first fish of the day and learned why there is cheap line, and why you pay a little more for the good stuff :) It turned out to be pretty hot Sunday and the fishing was slow but everyday can't be 20 "bobber downs" in just a few short hours so you win some, you lose some but it's still one more day you get to be on the river!
The crowds are dying down and since the fish have been in the river for so long, we typically got the fish during a bait/scent change up. Something new to liven up the hole. I didn't make it to the tide water area this weekend, but heard it was producing a few fish. It's almost game over for fall kings on the Skok but it was great while it lasted!
August 11, 2012
That time of year already? The Skok opened and I really had a great weekend. The fishing truly wasn't as great as previous years but it's to be expected with the opening day over a week later than normal. Some fish were dark, a lot of jacks, and A LOT of people!
However, we took out several new people; some only experienced with a few trips, some never held a rod before and everyone managed to get into at least one fish. Even though the river was insanely crowded and we saw the good, the bad, and the ugly, we managed to get 5 keepers between 3 people. Not too shabby for opening day! Day two was 11 fish with 8 people and day 3 was insanely slow having about 4 bites on the red eggs soaked in krill oil, but no actual participants that were willing to bite.
Much to my surprise, I saw quite a bit of bobber/eggs which was pleasing and most everyone was polite and considerate. All in all, it was an amazing weekend and I a successful fishing trip!
July 29, 2012
Almost derby time!!!! After a GREAT time on NW Wild Country Saturday morning, we went crabbing with a few friends. Our spot definitely isn't as good as last year only because it's full of small crab females. We're averaging about 3 keepers per pot but check out our last pull! I couldn't even count the crab in here but we ended up with 8 keepers!
Steelhead Girls is officially live! http://steelheadgirls.com/ Check us out on Facebook too!
I will be serving beer at the derby along with two very good friends of mine, Robin Cotte from SKCPSA and Chellsea Fitzgerald! Purchase your tickets at any participating retailer or online and I'll see you at Pt. Defience Marina! Stop by and have a cold one!
June 30, 2012
This weekend was supposed to be spent cleaning out the garage, but it happily turned out to be full of fishing instead! With Jeff's new boat coming by the end of the summer, we decided we needed to take a guided trip with one of the best to show us the in's and out's of a motor with a jet pump. Who better than someone who has the same motor and very similar boat than Mark Coleman from All Rivers & Saltwater Charters! Mark has been extremely informative and friendly on the rivers and I asked him Thursday if he had anything open in the next 6 weeks. He said his season with the jet sled was just about over but he'll see what he could do. Friday at 6 PM, he was able to pull off a Saturday trip for us! We fished the Skykomish and went 2 for 4!
The day definitely started off with something I have never experienced. Jeff and I both landed a fish within 10 minutes of leaving the launch! His boat hospitality and the help of his deckhand and little brother, Mitch, exceded all my expectations. Not only did he put us on fish, he showed us a new river, cooked us an amazing lunch, and shared MANY laughs with us all day. In additional to his normal guided trip, he graciously answered any questions that Jeff and I could think of in regards to how to run his sled and his motor. We are beyond grateful for Mark rearranging in order to fit us in on his last day and all of the knowledge that was shared with us all day. Not only is All Rivers & Saltwater Charters an all around guide service, Mark was an all around and outstanding guide going above and beyond a typical guided trip. Check out all the species and trips offerred by ARSC and check out his weekly reviews in Steelhead U's report section!
Sunday we crabbed hood canal for opening day and had a feast for dinner! While it wasn't quite as good as expected being opening day, there were PLENTY of pots in the waters and a terrible tide exchange to match! We got 10 keepers in two pulls (4 pots), and had our fair share of "undersized" crab. Hopefully the rest of the season will produce as well as last year and we can squeeze one more solid year out of our "honey hole"!
June 23, 2012
Despite the terrible, fall-like weather, I had a great weekend fishing on the Wynoochie. I have some unfinished business with the Nooch that I didn't get to settle this winter, but feel a bit victorious after this weekend. I've never landed a Wynoochie fish, have drifted it in a blizzard my third time fishing, have tossed cookies at the launch (which is a sure sign of a bad day), and have had some of the worst fishing experiences on that river. After someone spoke aloud, "red skies in the morning, sailor's warning", I put on all my rain gear and prepared for another bad day.
7 AM....bobber down! "FISH!" This little girl danced 5 cartwheels across the current and took 2 runs. We don't fish summer runs very much and this is my second summer run....ever! After we gracefully landed her in the net, I realized I wasn't breathing, my hands shaking, and there was no smile on my face. I was so nervous and has so much adrenaline that I could barely even enjoy the fact that it didn't land on the line and snap off. I can take a king bull-dogging me for 10 minutes. I can take a winter run screaming downstream until I barely have any line left. But nothing gets me more nervous than the acrobatics of a summer run. I hate nothing more than to see my bright jig head fly out of the water barely attached to the fish and my float catching wind.
Now that I've come to the realization that this 6 pound steelhead is safely in my cooler, I am very pleased with the trip. We camped with great friends (Steelhead Notebook retreat!!!), tied jigs in the dark, Jeff caught a 3 lb triploid on Lake Sylvia, I got to have Chellsea in the boat again, and I got to row my little arms off and showed that Nooch who's boss!
June 17, 2012
I've really been searching for some early summer runs the past 2 weeks and have seen a couple but haven't had the pleasure of any gracing the end of my rod yet. I'm definitely going to fish for summer runs more than normal this year; normal is never fishing for summer runs ;) so I have plenty more opportunities!
I did fish the Cowlitz again a couple times until we started getting darker fish and the bite was a bit less consistant so this is a pic of the last springer I caught this year!
In between fishing for springers I've tried a few places for summer runs but only managed to get jumbo trout and sucker fish! My friend Chellsea on the other hand, had the pleasure of fighting two nice steelhead and landed one of them which happened to be wild. Both caught on float/jig. My fortune cookie Saturday night read, "if you go fishing, your catch will be plentiful". Crazy right? Except it wasn't meant for Sunday! Oh well, it's still early in the season and I have plenty to learn about summer runs in the next month so FISH ON!!!
May 19, 2012
Bad news first right? Jeff broke my new rod last week. Good news, I replaced it before the weekend and broke in a new rod the right way. This must be one lucky rod! We had an amazing weekend down at the Cowlitz and got to spend it with a ton of great people. Our friend Angel came down and fished for salmon for the first time in her life! I got my limit and Jeff got 1 but we couldn't find a biter for Angel.
After a night that seemed to go on too late with good friend at Blue Creek campground, we tried again running on less than 3 hours of sleep Sunday. Angel lost the first fish of the day and Jeff got his limit by 8:30 AM landing an 18 lb'er! Our buddy Andrew got his limit in a few hours and I ended up hooking 5 today, bringing home my limit. Despite the rain, we had an amazing time, laughed more than anyone expected with being in the pouring rain all day with basically no sleep in two days, and caught springers!
Saw a few colored ones this weekend but also saw one summer run. Next weekend.......round two!!!
May 12, 2012
Took a MINOR break from fishing and went SHRIMPING this weekend!!! There really is nothing like hood canal shrimp in May! While we didn't get complete limits, we managed to leave with about 115 shrimp to 4 people.
After shrimping, Jeff and I headed to the Cowlitz to catch the afternoon bite. While I rigged up my rod and got my bait hooked up, Jeff managed to lose one and land another. In about 15 minutes, he got a jack! We fished until about 7 PM, but it was amazing weather and I knew I got fresh springer and shrimp when I got home! Celebrated mother's day with our moms, the sun, and a whole lot of food! Was a great weekend to say the least!
May 5, 2012
Last week was a 4 day week at work and I couldn't WAIT for Drano Lake on Friday morning. We have been preparing for this for MONTHS! Here's a breif overview of how the weekend started:
1 AM: Alarm clock goes off.....SNOOZE! The first mistake of the day.
2 AM: "Jeff, get up! We gotta go!!!"
7 AM: boat launched and we are trolling with his dad and uncle! 2 rods with maglips, 2 rods while herring behind a flasher
7:30 AM: kicker motor dies and is not running.
We dock the boat and see what the problem is. The gas is not running through the motor properly. So we take it into Hood River to a marine shop and they give us some advice as to what MIGHT fix the issue. As we're taking off, we realize the wheel berring on the trailer is shot. Wonderful! We somehow managed to drive 4 hours to Drano, launch the boat, and drive a nother 30 minutes to Hood River before realizing there was an issue. We head to Les Shwab. And after seeing all their amazing reviews on commercials, we are sure to be on the water in no time....Right! They are "busy" and will get back to us this afternoon as to whether or not they can fix it. We eat lunch and try to pass the time. Go watch the toilet bowl with jealous faces and nap in the car. at 5 PM, we go back to Les Shwab and after it took all of 5 minutes for them to take the wheel off, they inform us they have to order a new axel and it will be ready on Wednesday.
"OK! Let's drive 4 hours back home!" Jeff and I stay up all night packing and switching gear to head to the Cowlitz and a successful weekend is exactly what we had! Jeff got his limit both days while I brought home one fish and we got to set the tent up for the first time this year. We did have a fantastic time at the Cowlitz, but let's hope 2013 Drano brings some better luck with the new boat!!
April 29, 2012
Another successful weekend on the Cowlitz this weekend! I worked hard again at my schooling all day Saturday and Jeff came home with a special present for me; My very own 13ft free drifting rod!. Just a "little" something he thought I'd like to have. Lucky me and it must be one lucky rod! After missing TWO, yes TWO fish, I managed to get my limit. To be honest, I'm really not good at losing fish. I mean, I'm REALLY no good at losing fish! When fighting the first fish I landed, I noticed my leg shaking uncontrollably. When I was fighting the second fish I landed, the same thing happened. I just really didn't want to lose ANOTHER fish. Jeff took one look at my face and said "breath". I wasn't breathing!! Luckily, I landed them both and got to take a little afternoon nap :)
I certianly saw more winter steelhead thanspringers, but some were actually really nice steelhead! Jeff also lost a springer but landed a nice 12 lb steelhead! It was so nice to have my fishing buddy back this weekend and to get my first springer limit of the year all with a new rod! While Terry is having the trip of a lifetime up at the Skeena, I'll be spinning circles in the toilet bowl at Drano Lake. Be sure to check out Steelhead University the next two weeks for the reports!!!
April 21, 2012
I work hard and play harder. I've been focusing most of my time on my studies, especially the past month. We tried for springers a month ago on the Columbia and failed along with most of the river that weekend and came home empty handed and hungry for springers. Last weekend we got down to the Cowlitz for a few hours and Jeff got the pleasure of meeting this beauty while I brushed up on my drifting skills.
This weekend, I promised myself no homework, no errands, and plenty of fishing this weekend and I did just that. Jeff was busy working and I knew I would be flying solo so I would get to stay as long as I pleased. I headed down back to the Cowlitz on Saturday and it was slow pickins to start. I saw 3 fish caught before I enticed this beauty with my eggs around 1 PM. Being completely unprepared for the amazing weather we had, I was confined to under armour and my waders all day but I had the entire day to fish so I continued until 6 PM pleased with one of five fish that I saw caught that day.
Sunday, I headed back down and landed the second fish of the day by 8 AM on red Fire Cure egg/sandshrimp cocktail. I forgot my camera so no pic of that but it was about an 10 lb beautiful buck shaking scales all the way home. Being far more prepared for the hot weather, I lathered on the sunscreen and prepared myself for my first springer limit of the year. With all the time left in the day, I was certain that I would hook up again. Little did I know, the fish and I were not on the same page. With just one more fish caught around 10 AM, I still wasn't giving up. I fished for the next 6 hours trying every different bait combo/color/TRIO that I could think of but nothing was apetizing enough for the finnicky springer. The bite seemed to pick up around 3 PM with 4 more fish being hooked, but none on the end of my line.
Either way, I worked my tail off! I am exhausted, weak, tired, and sunburnt. Poor me....What a great weekend I had! It's was 100% worth all the work I have been doing just to get in some special springer time. :)
April 03, 2012
I'll admit it....I'm a toilet bowl junkie. I love Drano lake. Even when fishing is slow, there is something about having boats within 3' of you on all sides and moving a max speed of 2 mph. Perhaps it's the sun that occassionally comes out, the clear aqua colored water, the many friends you make on the lake, or the many lures that bank anglers graciously give you by tossing them ever so gently into your boat. Among all of these wonderful things, the best part has to be the many spring chinook that stack up in this giant slew.
Although this year is no "record breaking" year, there are still expected to be plenty of springers to go around. With forecasts in the 9,000's, I am beyond excited to make the long journey down to Drano Lake. Excited to sit and watch the ever-so-slight thump of a rod with a prawn spinner on it to only be hammered by the most aggressive, head-shaking, chrome slab on the other end.
We are ready to go to say the least. With a little experimenting in the columbia, the rods are rigged, the herring is sitting patiently in the freezer, the flashers and plugs are cleaned with all swivels and hooks in tact, there are over 20 prawn leaders pre-tied, 20 dropper leaders, and the entire tackle box has been restocked. Now if only the fish were as ready as I am......
March 18, 2012
It is March right? We ventured down to the Columbia for the first time this year and while the water was pretty high, the clarity was oddly pretty good. It snowed, hailed, sunshined, and blew cold wind all at the same time and there were over150 boats out all weekend. We didn't get to see any fish being caught, but heard of about 10 for the entire weekend. We were fishing in the area between highway 205 all the way down to I-5.
Big thanks to Mark Coleman from All Rivers Guide Service (http://allriversguideservice.com/fishingschedule.html) and Swanny from Swanny's guide service (http://www.swannysfishing.com/springers.html) for keeping me posted all week on the conditions. They both managed to be the few who did get into some fish!
I must admit I haven't been hitting the water as much as I'd like. With springers shortly approaching and a few other things going on, my mind has been elsewhere. We hit the Skookumchuk on Sunday and it was a beautiful day out (with a tiny snow shower). Jeff landed one and let it go "because I don't want no 6lb Jack". For those of you who listend to NWWC you'll know what he was talking about. It was one of a few fish seen caught but all were very bright fish!
My first time out there was nothing short of amazing. From the minute I arrived in Forks to the minute I took off my waders. I was invited by Teedub from http://sidedrifter.com/ to fish with Mike Z in search of the infamous wild coastal steelies. The weather, water clarity, and company couldn't have been better.
Since all of the other rivers have been blown every weekend for the past couple weeks, I decided to head on out to the Skookumchuck where I heard there might be a few fish! Now, this is the river that I caught my very first steelhead and while it's certainly not my favorite, it holds a special place in my heart so I was a little excited to hear they were showing up.
We went on Sunday morning and figured it's a small river and still early in the season for that river we could get away with getting there right at daylight rather than before daylight to stake out a bank spot. We were sadly mistaken and upon arrival at 7:30 AM, there were already at least 25 vehicles that lined the road. We headed back down river and fished a few pockets with no success. Decided if there were that many people and they were all at the top, there had to have been a reason. After meeting up with a few friends they informed us they had caught a couple on jigs but it was packed on the back. We watched for a while and fished for a little bit in in-between empty pockets and Jeff managed to land one after I casted into a tree!
My favorite fishing quote is "you can't catch a fish if your line's not in the water" and the one fish we land was when my line was not even rigged up let alone in the water! Anyhow, we saw a total of 4 fish caught on Sunday including ours and at least 50 fishermen in the half mile stretch of the upper skookumchuck. I wasn't thrilled with the trip, but it was so good to be able to get out again after 3 long weeks of no fishing.
Well I have been traveling far and wide across the Pacific Northwest in search of some decent water and chrome. I really haven't had very much luck the past few weeks and was beginning to get discouraged. I fished the Bogy, Snoqualmie, Kalama and a couple coastal rivers finding no luck anywhere.
This weekend my bad luck was begining to end until it took a turn for the worse. The one that got away:
It was a nice day, just Jeff and I in the boat. I pulled divers (not the first time but the first time I did it successfully!) And got to row some pretty intense rapids. I got Jeff into a nice little 6 lb native after he got me into about an 8 lb hen which was released. On the last hole of the drift, I plopped my side-drifting rig with a hot pink prawn and cheater upstream a bit and instantr fish on! What a beauty she was! Jumping a total of 6 times and several shorter runs, I had her 2 ft in front of the boat. The bank guys were hooting and hollering with good jobs and way to go's. This was the most beautiful hatchery steelhead I had ever laid eyes on. I was shaking I wanted this trophy so bad. After managing to get her ALMOST to the boat, I gave one cranks too many and she spit the hook. It was tears the rest of the way to the launch but after Jeff tried for quite a while to cheer me up, I realized the best part of catching a fish is the fight, not the slab in the box or the picture on my wall. That is one fish I will not forget and will hopefully get to come across again. Maybe she has a brother that I could tango with ;)
It's sure been cold but there has been some pretty good action on the Snoqualmie. Some rain sure would help though!
Using my new custom Fetha Styx rod I was able to find this bright beauty. Float and jig worked best for me.
A how I've missed winter steelhead! The past couple weeks I have been lucky enough to hook into just a couple to get my blood ready! I've been targeting the coast a bit and hit the Bogachiel on Saturday! While the water was extremely high and colored, it was still barely fishable. I must say, between the couple rivers I've hit, the fishing hasn't blown my socks off, but still nice nonetheless to be on the water.
While I stood there staring at the water wondering how in the world I was supposed to fish water that fast and high, with a bobber, they graciously started throwing some details my way. I did end up hooking one but unfortunately lost it to that fast high water. I hooked it about 50 ft below where I was standing and the bank was basically a cliff so walking down wasn't an option. As I tried to hold that silver bullet against the current, it gave a jump and it was gone.
Not the way I want to start my winter steelheading excursions, but it was good to be out!
What a refreshing change of pace this weekend was! Not to say that I don’t miss the Humptulips or it’s amazing, monstrous fish (or the launching the boat in the dark, seeing another boat in your favorite hole, using several quart jars of eggs, having to release wild coho after wild coho only hoping the next will be hatchery, or the cheap motels in town so you can do it all over again the next day), but I was in dire need of some close-to-home fishing, sleep, and getting caught up on homework!
We drifted the Skok this weekend and it was a pleasure to be able to take out two people who just don’t go fishing enough! They didn’t quite understand the addiction that comes from fishing, but they sure were a riot to have on the boat as Jeff and I caught our fish! A few quotes I will share:
Jeff: Justin, why don’t you fish? Doesn’t Bryanna’s silver make you want to get one of those?
Justin: My hands are too cold. They are red and blotchy and they HURT!
Me: Put them in your pocket to warm them up really quickly.
Justin: I can’t. I have to drink my beer and urinate. How can I do that with my hands in my pocket?
Justin: This isn’t normal! Normal people do not stand in the rain all day to look for fish! I just don’t understand what is wrong with you guys!
After Jeff’s “free-spirited” brother hooked the first fish to the boat (nice silver), he decided it was time for a break after about 20 minutes. After about 40 minutes of break, he started casting a spinner. He accidently foul hooked a chum and didn’t realize that they fight a bit harder. He was huffing and puffing and grunting trying warn us that “this is a HUGE fish!” After getting a barbed hook stuck in his pants, being stabbed with a scent injector, losing fish because he thought they were tree-snags, and a day of wearing my pink FlyGal cap (he forgot a hood!), he was ready for ice cream of all things.
We ended up bringing home 3 nice silvers (all spinner caught) and 4 fairly bright chum (all caught on prawn tipped jigs under a bobber). We caught at least 15 other fish that were either lost or released and I got to spend my Sunday night cleaning fish and curing eggs. It was quite nice to be able to have some free time that doesn’t consist of spending 2 hours driving not to say that I wouldn’t give up every other weekend of the year to go back to that.
What a great weekend again on the Hump! Saturday the nets were in until 10 AM so it was a bit of rough start but we still managed to hook into at least 5 in the first hole. As the day progressed, we were 2 coho's and 1 king shy of limited boat. A LOT of wild coho's out there. Sunday the day started out amazing! got our 3 hatchery hen chinook out of the first hole and left with just 1 coho shy of limited boat. Again, a lot of wild coho's and we got 3 fish in 3 passes for chinook on kwikfish! Tough spending the entire day looking for hatchery coho the entire river but it doesn't get much better watching your plug rod get slammed over and over again! The crowd was also much smaller this weekend and it was so nice not to feel like we were in a mall on the river :)