Finally, Some Steel!

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!

No fish in the rivers!

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

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!