Fishing with Triple “S” Guide Service!

Jeff and I have been trying to meet up with Lee Freeman from Triple “S” guide service for quite a few months and just haven’t been able to find time. With our new boat and salmon season, we fished with a lot of family and things have finally calmed down. Lee was so flexible with our schedule and short notices and we were so glad to finally have picked a day! With bad winter weather and low, clear water everywhere we almost had to cancel again, but Lee kept a good eye on the water and we made the journey to Oregon last Saturday!

Lee has been fishing his whole life and guiding for 15 years on his beloved home rivers. Lee not only offers guided trips for salmon and steelhead, but sturgeon as well (hence the triple “S”)! He also not only offers trips on the Columbia in the sled or even drift boat trips on the smaller rivers, but peaceful trips in the raft on even smaller water. He guides all over northern Oregon including the Columbia gorge area and the coastal rivers.

It never ceases to amaze me how kind, generous, and genuine people can be; especially in the fishing industry. You meet some of the worst, but you also meet some of the best. Lee was truly an outstanding guy. Though i’m not sure how he finds the time for all that he does. Lee is a firefighter who works both on the coast as well as volunteers in his area and also helps run VIP Outdoors which has some of the best tackle designed by people who really fish: http://vipoutdoors.com/. He has a family full of beautiful ladies who he prides very much and of course the obvious, guides year round!

The trip on the water was intimate and peaceful in the drift boat. Lee does exactly as he says, “taking a guided fishing trip shouldn’t just be about catching a lot of fish, it should be a learning experience as well”. He not only showed us a technique that we clearly don’t try enough, but he taught us so much more than just what we did that day. We got the full experience for all species on that quaint body of water. We talked fall fish, springers, and steelhead all in one day, on one body of water.

He worked hard to put us on fish from the moment he arrived at the launch to the last windy run. First light we were on our hole and already fighting for who gets to reel in his rod if it goes off. Of course we kept it old school and roshambo’d (rock paper scissors) for it and I lost. Sure enough, within 5 minutes of pulling plugs, Lee’s rod slams down and Jeff grabs it faster than I can even think about trying to steal it.

We continued down the river and took turns with having “dibbs” on his rod and sure enough, 80% of the plug fish were on his rod so it kept things quite interesting and Lee quietly snickered as we fought over the golden rod all day.

We had the pleasure of fishing out of the Pavati which was nothing short of amazing. Absolutely the most amazing drift boat I have ever had the pleasure of fishing from and they didn’t skimp on any detail. We were spoiled with heat, extra room, being rowed around and baited up all day, and of course “the golden rod”. Lee’s organization was impeccable not to mention. It definitely made things simple and carefree when he had everything ready at the drop of a dime (or the snap of a leader).

The water wasn’t like the typical rivers that we fish so most of the holes were a new experience for us and extremely interesting to see how they were fished. The hole that I landed my first fish in was a good looking hole and Jeff asked which rod usually got hit in this spot. Lee replies “Always the right rod” (my rod, woo hoo!) and just like clockwork, my rod slams down! FISH ON!!!! The scrappy little hatchery brat ran and rolled all over the place finally tiring itself right into the net. Now these fish can fight! We don’t have hatchery fish that fight like that, especially not on plug gear!

After Jeff gets a great native sidedrifting, we go back to plugs and learn what a “cold water plug bite” is. Unlike any plug take we’ve ever seen, the rod SLOWLY (heavy emphasis on slowly) loads up and Lee pulls hard and hooks the lethargic fish. Jeff jumps up to grab Lee’s rod only to feel a few head shakes, slack line, and the subtle thump of the plug again. What was that?! The infamous cold water plug bite that Lee kept telling us about!

I got to hook the last fish and it was a doozy! Darn me for losing it because I’d NEVER seen winter steelhead dance across the water for so long in 35 degree weather. Summer runs, yeah of course when the water is 60 degrees, but this fish scared the bejeebees out of me and I let it win! I got to fight it for about a minute before it dance the lure right out of its mouth and as discouraged as I was, Lee kept the spirits high and tried to make me feel like it wasn’t my fault. What a gentlemen! Jeff just calculated my 2013 land ratio J

Near the end of the day, the wind picked up harder than I have ever fished in and we were absolutely unable to fish productively. Lee tried his hardest, let Jeff row the Pavati (lucky guy!), and we tried different techniques but there was just no hope in what I called hurricane winds.

We ended the trip going 3 for 6, memories to last a lifetime, new fishing knowledge, and a new fishing friend. He’s not someone that you can just go on a trip with once, but someone that you build a relationship with. This was the first time we met and fished with Lee but it certainly won’t be the last time you see us in a Triple “S” Guide boat.

~Bry

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