Where are the Steelhead?

For those that weren’t able to make to 3 rivers on Saturday or were but noticed that I went really fast, here’s the slides from my presentation. If you were at the seminar, I truly appreciate the support and attendance from everyone! I don’t love public speaking but everyone’s encouragement and kind words made it a lot easier. I am truly appreciative for the opportunity to attend and hope this data helps you find some steelhead this year!!

Below are the 2015 smolt plants. These fish will primarily return this 2016/2017 season but you may also see 3 year returning fish from the 2014 plants. *Note: The bold items are the most relevant and highest plants:

There were a few major increases and decreases between the 2014 & 2015 plants. * ote: the Wynoochee plants are not expected to continue to decrease. This was because the return for the year they created the smolt was fairly small so they weren’t able to harvest as much to produce smolt.

Below is a little bit of an arbitrary number, but I wanted to be able to compare rivers against one another. The “return” shown below is based on 2013 smolt plants and 2015 escapement & catch records turned in. Note: There are many factors that make this arbitrary. Catch records not turned in, wild fish in escapement figures, 3 year fish in escapement figures, successful or never caught fish not counted, tribal & commercial catch not recorded, different environments from that year to this  year, etc.

The reason I generated these figures is to say that because the Bogie and Skookumchuck had good plants & historically the best returns, I expect to see good returns again this year. While the Wallace and Skykomish are low compared to the numbers presented, they were the top rivers in the Puget Sound and they also had the most plants.

A few tips to think about when looking for spots on the river to fish or rivers to fish:

Below are my suggestions if you’re looking for wild steelhead *Note Mike Z and Bad Ash Fishing are both great guides to get you into wild steelhead on the coast!

  • Humptulips
  • Satsop
  • Bogachiel
  • Hoh
  • Queets
  • Kalama
  • Calawah
  • Solduc
  • Wynoochee

Below are my top suggested place to try this season based on smolt plants, return statistics, opportunity for big limits, & time of year.

Below were the steelhead counts to the hatchery updated by WDFW as of 17th. If you want to get out for Thanksgiving, head to the Bogie, hump, or Kalama for wild fish *Note: Kalama wild fish are not recorded, but they have 24 to the hatchery so far.

Power Pro Maxcuatro

Power Pro Maxcuatro

Power Pro’s new braided line Maxcuatro is exactly what it claims to be. I’ve always been a fan of Power Pro and really didn’t ever have any concerns. So at first, my thought was “if it isn’t broken, why fix it?”

And then I tested it out and can see now why they “fixed” an already phenomenal product. It truly is just as strong but thinner. It uses a 4 end construction (one line size smaller than regular Power Pro) to achieve this, but what does that mean to me?

* I can hold more line on my reels! This means I don’t have to buy it as frequently and I don’t have to re-spool or flip the line as often.

* I can get away with a stronger line without compromising my capacity.

* I can cast farther! Thinner line means it slides through my guides easier creating less resistance and more accurate casting.

Initially looking at it out of the package, I didn’t notice much difference. It felt like brand new braid; super smooth, a little bit waxy, and pliable. I’ve been using Maxcuatro on almost all of my reels since for the past 6 months and I wanted to wait until it got worn out before I reviewed the product. It’s still not worn out and I haven’t had to re-spool or flip the line on any of my reels!

I’ve mostly used it on my float rod and trolling/plug rods – although I usually only need to change those once every other year. The first fishery I went to is an area that involves casting really, really far – an area I’ve always struggled in. But this year, I made my mark more times than not (which is rare) and I didn’t lose any floats from being snagged up (also rare in this area). It’s lasted me all spring, summer, and fall and landed many big kings.

I’m quite anxious to start winter steelhead to see how it runs bobber doggin’, although I don’t have any doubts. It still feels just as smooth as 6 months ago so I anticipate that it will slide through the floats faster than regular Power Pro getting me into the slot faster. I usually only fish 30lb Power Pro for steelhead so by switching to 50lb I’m not getting the full advantage of having more line or a thinner line, but a smoother line and with the added advantage of more strength to keep from losing my gear and line off my spool.

Maxcuatro is available in Hi-Vis and Moss-Green in 50lb, 65lb, 80lb, & 100lb in 150 yard, 500 yard, 1500 yard & 3000 yard spools.

I’ll keep you all posted this winter as I try this out on winter steelhead!

~Bry

Fall Salmon

I’ve been slacking on blogging, right? Yes! I have actually been out fishing doing more than just studying – well, sometimes both LOL.

A few weeks ago we headed back to the Hump before we got all that rain and we were still fishing down low. It was one of those days that I was contemplating staying home to study and sleep but figured one more time before the rain was coming. This year with all the pressure that came along with studying I sadly find myself regretting being on the water if I’m not actually going to catch a fish. This never used to be the case – I was a “bad day on the water is better than a good day of work” kind of gal and the river is where I went to escape real life. But I can’t seem to escape the guilt that creeps up inside of me when I do ANYTHING except study – even cook dinner. So, if I don’t catch anything, I feel horrible.

This was one of those days. The weekend before I was on fire in the same exact hole, although I couldn’t quite get to the same spot which makes a big difference in the river. So, I watched float after float go down and the few times mine would go down, I’d be a bad position and set the hook too late. I was ready to leave. It was afternoon and this was more of a grind than I would choose to partake in knowing I should be studying. We headed down river and fished a few holes on the way out and I FINALLY got one to make it to the net! All of a sudden, my day was made and the regret and guilt were gone….just like that. I just need one fish every time.

After all the rain we headed out for a half day – because I needed to be home to study. We got skunked and were happy to call it in early. So, I took a weekend off not really by choice but forced by the rain but I really wasn’t complaining – no guilt this time! We headed back to the coast last weekend with the water still a bit high but just dropping into shape. We did get a few coho to the boat caught on twitching jigs and spinners but I really had a blast with the chum! We pulled wrapped K15′s searching for any willing biter and I got to study while waiting for the bites. I didn’t get much study time in since we were getting hit after just a few minutes, but I had a great day!

I took another exam last week (that was number 4 and I have zero passed) but I won’t find out for another month. So, in the meantime I’m moving back to exam number 1 and hopefully some more fishing this weekend!

How I Refill My Cup

 

 

I spent an entire year preparing for the last 2 weeks of my life. A time of my life that I look forward to starting from the time it ends. Jeff and I started hunting 3 years ago and how I lived my entire life without it, I have no idea – much like fishing. We spend 2 weeks every September camped up in the mountains with his best friend in search of ourselves and elk. This year has been rough for me with studying for my CPA. I can’t explain how much more horrible studying is than going to school, but trust me, I’m a different person because of this (and not for the better) and it will probably take me years to become the original person that I was after the pressure and stress of my CPA are long gone. I needed this elk trip more than I even knew.

I was hesitant about going because it’s 2 weeks with no service and I literally hunt from before the sun comes up to when the sun goes down…….how can I take 2 weeks off from studying? Well, I did and it was AMAZING. In addition to hunting, I watched my best friend get married on opening day and finished my vacation with a trip to the river. My cup is overflowing with gratitude and peace. My relationship with God is stronger than ever and I don’t really care today that studying hasn’t been the number one thing on my mind and for a brief moment, it wasn’t the most important thing in my life.

I struggled this hunting season with many things and while I came home reborn, it took a few days of depression and regret to get there. I learn every year that without the bad, there is no good; without the rain, the sun doesn’t feel so good; without the devil, you don’t see how great God is. I headed up the mountain on day 2 of the season and Jeff got one down that morning. There was excitement both for his accomplishment and because we will eat this year! But there was jealousy and pressure to keep up with my teammate. Hunting brings out some of my greatest fears: heights, my lack of strength, the dark, scary animals, being lost, car accidents, and myself. I stayed on the ground although our greatest opportunity was tree stands 30ft up. After 5 days and an insane amount of pressure, I finally caved and admitted that to get close enough to an elk this archery season, I was going to need to climb a tree…….And I DID IT! I got myself up there in the dark and hunted several stands over a few days. I wasn’t given the opportunity, but the feeling of accomplishing my fears is what put the last drop in my cup. I felt like a million dollars! It wasn’t easy and I was exhausted, mentally, physically, and emotionally. My body ached from the adrenaline all day long, my mind was tired from talking myself through sitting there all day long despite the wind or creeks, and I was emotionally drained from going from such a negative space to such a positive one.

         

I ended the season back on the ground and without an animal, but what I accomplished and came home with was worth far more than a few hundred pounds of meat (of course because we’ll come home with that anyways).

Now, for what you guys really care about! I spent a day cleaning and unpacking and then went fishing!!!!! FINALLY, back on the water! It was a SLOW morning and I hadn’t seen a single fish hooked or a bobber down and it was 2 pm. Finally, my float goes down! I set the hook and my line wraps around the tip of my rod as I feel the pulse of a fish on the other end. CRAP! As I’m trying to twist and turn my rod before the tip breaks, I’m certain the fish will lose itself. And I start to reel, I feel the weight again. WHAT?! This little king whooped my behind taking several long runs to the snags and 3 leaps out of the water. We finally got it in the net and just when I thought I couldn’t be more full, I began overflowing with happiness. My life is complete in this very moment.

I was just telling my mom the day before that this year, fishing has almost been more stress than relief. Because I didn’t get to go as much, I had less opportunity which meant less fish caught. I grew jealous of those that got to fish all the time like I used to and even more jealous when they would have good fish days. Getting up early wasn’t worth it if I wasn’t going to catch fish and I started only going when conditions were in my favor. Without the reward of the catch, I wasn’t getting what I needed anymore and the pressures of knowing that I could be studying weighed so heavy on my mind that it wasn’t worth it.

But today, it would have been worth it either way and now it was REALLY worth it. I got one! The only one so far! We still had many miles of water left and the tide was changing to our advantage. We ended up filling the boat within another hour and were out! So happy. So full. So peaceful. So grateful – for life.

Today, I opted out of deer hunting to sleep in, clean my house, and blog and while I regret it a little bit, I’ll also study so it’s a nice way to ease back into my regular schedule and pressure to study. I’m back but I’m rejuvenated and feeling ready to take on my next exam!