Happy Valentine’s Day!
It’s pretty rare that Jeff and I fish alone these days. In fact, we’ve been known to not wake each other up when we know there aren’t other people waiting for us and then we kick each other later when we’re wishing we were fishing. But this weekend, we had some last minute changes and friends cancel and ended up alone on Saturday. Other than missing an opportunity to take friends that have been waiting to go fishing, I was really pleased to wake up to that piece of info.
We took our chances on a potentially blown river and to our luck, there were just 4 other boats at the launch and the water looked fishable. We headed to the first hole and peacefully started fishing in silence – something that is truly golden and I had no idea how much I missed that. For the most part, Jeff & I don’t display our affection. In fact, we’re much more like fishing buddies when we’re on the water than we are significant others. We got to hug and kiss and high 5 each other without feeling weird or bothering anyone. We hooked 3 of the more beautiful steelhead I’d ever seen, all 13-15lb flawless hens. It got a little chaotic trying to net, motor, and fight the fish with just the 2 of us, especially when he had a fish and I had to run the boat, but it was amazing. I was all smiles and giddy like when I first started fishing. We knew the drill, there were no tangles or competition of getting to fish the better spot or the better bait; it was just 2 best friends sharing their passion.
I have to admit that I let my good mood get away from me when I started thinking about a few people in the world that feel the need to judge you. You know, the kind of people that make assumptions about you and give you dirty looks. The kind of people that you get a bad vibe from even though you’ve never exchanged words. The kind of people that talk down to you or pretend like they know what goes on in your head. I try not to be that person and unfortunately, I’ve always let those people get to me. I am not someone that “doesn’t care what others think”.
I care very much what people think of me, especially when it’s not good. If I’m being a bad person or creating negative spaces in other people’s head, I’d like to remedy that to ensure I’m being the best person I can be. Of course, you can’t control others and I can accept that but if you truly think I’m doing something you don’t agree with, I’d love to get to know that scenario and fix that judgment.
I let one person in particular bring me to silent tears and then started remembering all the bullies from my pre-teen days. The names that will stick with me forever and that although I’d never openly tell them, but the ones that made me cry for hours after school and question existence. After I got off that pity pot, I realized that I wasted several hours of one of the best days I got to have with my best friend because of ONE person. That was the downstream effect. Because I couldn’t understand what I did to make this ONE person dislike me so much. Well, I got over that pretty quickly once I realized that.
I won’t pretend that I’m still not bothered by that person or their judgment on me, but I won’t let him ruin a perfect day that I had with my best friend. But I will remember not to cast judgment on others and to always be kind. I won’t even cast judgment on that person because for all I know, I really did do something to offend them. Or perhaps they are unhappy in their own life. Whatever the issue is, they have their own reasons and I know that I don’t ever want to be THAT person to anyone.
This is why I had an amazing day with my best friend. Life’s lessons are taught in such unexpected places and I’m so grateful that I woke up that morning thinking we had a buddy meeting with us in 30 minutes.
I think it’s safe to say we’re in the heart of winter steelhead! It was a pretty rough start this year for most of Washington with the exception of a few rivers. It’s still pretty slow for the most part but the fish that are around, are quality fish. I’ve been busy, busy, busy with exams, the Washington State Sportsman Show, taxes (I actually like those), and still trying to heal my body while building some strength. Lots of goals and accomplishments, but sometimes the journey is exhausting.
I knew I was only going to be able to fish one day this weekend and it ended up being everything I needed. Our buddy Andrew is almost always able to cheer me up and make me laugh non stop and it was just Jeff, Andrew, and I. We got on a couple of native fish in the morning and the rain came pouring down! I really need some new wading gear and I ended up soaking through 2 wading jackets. Something I’ll never deny is that I HATE being wet. I learned quickly how much more I can enjoy fishing when I’m not soaking wet and I must have forgotten for a while how nasty it can be when it pours all day.
I whined quite a bit and I certainly didn’t deserve anymore fish, but the man upstairs must have knew that I needed a little more to cheer me up! This guy hit and fought harder than all of my other fish this year. I’m quite alright with catch and release on wild steelhead all day long, but Jeff really likes to see fish in the boat so he was also pleasantly surprised to see a hatchery fish.
A great day on the water despite being soaked but this was exactly what I needed to head back into the work week!
Alas! We ran into some chrome bullets!
Saturday we ended up with 2 hatchery fish and 1 beautiful native hen that we released:
We had to wait for the temps to warm up again on Sunday, but like clockwork, once the sun hit the water, it was fish on! We had 2 fresh native fish which we also failed to get pics of….because we figured we’d have plenty of hatchery fish the rest of the day! Well…..We ran into a little bit of trouble. Turns out when you hit a good size rock the boat keys are liable to fly right our of the ignition and sink to the bottom of the river. I wish we were just up the creek without a paddle, but instead we were downriver miles above the nearest take out with no main motor and only 3 hours left of daylight. While the guys tried to Jimmy-Rig some stuff, we warmed up Elk burgers!
Thankfully, our intelligent mechanic buddy also was fishing that day and he came to our rescue and got us up and running! We didn’t hook into anymore fish, but we spent a couple hours trying to figure out how we were going to get back to our truck with the boat out of the water. Those keys also happened to have the trailer keys so now, until we cut the lock, this is how we unhook the trailer so I can drive to work LOL.
I have another exam in just a few days so I’ll be studying away but hopefully can spare a few hours this weekend to get out again! I’ll be at the Sportsman show on Sunday so come say Hello at the G Loomis/Shimano booth!
It’s been a while since I’ve blogged, huh? That’s mostly because there are no fish in Washington! Well, that’s kind of a fib, but it’s sure been slow the last month!
I do have to update that I finally passed my first CPA exam and I have 3 left. This means I’m that much closer to getting to fish more
I also harvested my first deer on Christmas eve!
Now, back to fishing…..I’ve been out here and there mostly to the Wynoochee, Satsop, and Kalama and have to say that I’ve been skunked everywhere! And not just me, we’ve had some of our buddies pick up a total of 2 fish in the past month between 4 different rivers, but certainly nothing to blog about…..Now, to piggy back off my post in November about the steelhead forecasts.
The Skykomish system has not been showing good returns. In fact, so few to the hatchery that they closed many areas for fishing at this fishery is primarily an early run (Dec/Jan). The Wynoochee has a decrease in smolt plant so I’m definitely contributing that to the lack of fish. The state stopped planting the early run on the Cowlitz and this is the first year we’re seeing that impact. All that being said, there are some other coastal rivers that have shown a bit of promise for the early season but most of these rivers hit their peak in February. It’s slow everywhere but if you’re really wanting to get into fish, head to the coast for now.
That’s a bit too far for me to travel for a bit of a gamble being that it’s a little early so I’ll continue to fish the closer rivers in hopes for some early stragglers.
My next exam is Jan 28th so I may or may not be able to attend the Puyallup Sportsman show, but if you spot me, be sure to say hi! I always love meeting people in person and I’m not that great at recognizing people, so stop me!
Here’s a few fun pics from the last few weeks