Bryanna’s blog

Drano Lake 2018

Published May 30, 2018 | By Steelhead Girls
I’ve spent 11 days in May fishing our favorite place, Drano Lake which included a lot of time off work and busy weeks! Overall, Drano was okay to us. It can’t be great fishing every day, but this year there was a whole lot of random boats doing well which I’m happy for, really, I am……..But when a bone isn’t thrown our way every once in a while and you don’t see the normal boats doing that great either, it makes you wonder what’s going on. You make changes, clean things, try different things, and still……We never felt like we had it figured out like we have in historical years but sometimes, that’s just how the Fish God’s play the game.

Birthday Weekend:

We kicked off the season with Jeff’s annual birthday trip with his parents. Jeff & I made it down Friday to see what was going on while his parents & his uncle met up with us later that evening. We managed to get a few that evening and having missed the entire morning, we were very happy with where we ended the day. We skipped the morning bite that entire weekend so that we could sleep in and be ready to go all night which ended up paying off……..Most of the days.


Saturday night was May 5th (Cinco de Mayo) and it was sure a site to see in the toilet bowl! There were more people than normal that night celebrating with a few extra beers and the fun began! Fishing wasn’t that great, but it didn’t matter because the entertainment was enough to keep us out until dark! There were a few people, and even a pup, that went swimming – mostly by mistake and a WHOLE LOT OF LAUGHTER! This place is where the friends are made and after 10 hours in the bowl, your guard is gone and part of your sanity is also gone. We got a few more fish Saturday but still, it wasn’t limits and we certainly weren’t one of the top 5 boats.

Sunday quite a bit slower during the day and I think we scratched out one fish all day. There is something about Jeff’s dad on a Sunday night after he’s had a few beers that the fish really like. After 5 PM we ended up losing a couple but putting another 6 fish in the box for a final count that was one shy of a limited boat. This is the fishing that we’re used to. We couldn’t even get all of our rods back out before we’d get another fish! We called it a night before getting that last fish and decided once again to sleep in for our last morning.

What a mistake that was……..His uncle left Sunday and his parents were done fishing, leaving mid-morning. It was only Jeff and I so we only needed 4 fish and after a night like Sunday night, we were feeling pretty confident that we finally figured out the key and we were going to be heading home early. I launched the boat around 7:30 and there were a couple of guides taking out. “already tired of spinning circles, huh?!” HAHAHAHAHAHAH Turns out the morning bite was on fire and they were done for the day. Oh boy. We’ve never got our gear in the water so fast…..But we were a bit too late.

We did get a fish on the first pass which we felt was a fantastic sign! I even got it tangled up with a bank angler and we ended up having to go all the way to shore to get our fish. This is where people end up hating Drano but usually, if you’re nice, people are nice back – and if they’re not nice, they get to listen to my version of what chipmunks sound like in the woods and hear a cute little lady wish very ill things upon them using provocative and rude language. Thankfully, these guys were awesome and were more than helpful so that I could land my fish. We quickly got out of their way and back on our side of the line thinking that we weren’t actually too late for the morning bite! We started back up where we left off and had ANOTHER bite before we’ve even made a complete pass. I lost my first fish this year…….I struggled to keep a fish on the surface because I wanted it in so badly and Jeff took a risky shot and stabbed my fish off. We learned that getting a fish first pass was bad luck. We went 1 for 6 that morning and we left around 1 PM with our pride in our almost empty fish bag.

Weekend 2:

We took another long weekend, although this time only 3 days. Fishing appears to have been great – according to social media – that week so we were excited to be back! We weren’t missing another morning bite but the boat ramp was a nightmare! I was there at 4 AM and parking farther away than when I got there at 7 on the weekends. Our friend had the CUTEST little puppy that we got to spend the weekend with. We ended up with a couple that day and got up even earlier Saturday for another day out! We have this superstition that sunscreen is the biggest fish repellant that could ever exist. I put some sunscreen on in the morning and wash my hands thoroughly, but I do not reapply throughout the day – I layer up.

Our friend met up with us a little bit later and it was apparent that he loaded up on the sunscreen in anticipation of the nice weather in the forecast. We had a couple that morning already, but that was the end of our bites for the day……….Thankfully everyone except me had already gotten at least 1 fish for the weekend – I lost mine. The next morning, again bright and early, I finally got my fish on a plug in the main lake. I used to have to be the one you’d keep an eye on. I’d take your rod right out of your hands if you weren’t doing a good a job. I’ve been really good the past 2 years and I even call fish out for other people and hand them the rod if they haven’t had a fish yet. Being that I lost my only opportunity this weekend, I ran quickly from the bow to grab the rod as soon as I saw it going off. I landed it! My skunk is over!

Weekend 3:

We headed back again but this time just for the weekend. We were fishing early in the morning this weekend. We didn’t too very well, losing a couple of fish the first day. We continued to watch what seemed like an episode of Opera….You get a fish, and you get a fish, you get a fish, one for you too!

There were 2 or 3 guide boats that seemed to be doing pretty well, but other than them, it was completely random and frustrating to say the least. Even our buddy Steve who is ALWAYS one of the top 5 boats was doing worse than us. What is going on this year? This is our place. This is the place that we’ve put hundreds of hours into. This is where we’ve grinded for years so that we could quickly adapt to the ever changing fish in this system. It didn’t seem to be paying off for anyone that has earned the right to have phenomenal days. When it’s fish for EVERYONE, it’s awesome. But man, when it’s not fish for us or the usual anglers, it’s as confusing as being 13 years old. We like to clean the “funk” off when fishing is slow because it’s proven to fix things time and time again at Drano Lake. We told Steve to go wash his boat and the next day, fish after fish after fish. I’ve never seem him so animated and excited. His skunk was over, but ours was not and our boat had been cleaned about 10 times that weekend.

We lost more than we landed and again, we headed back even more confused than the weekend before.

Weekend 4:

It was just Jeff and I for the holiday weekend and we were determined to end our season the right way. We’re used to limiting on our last day and leaving early…..that’s just how it works out. I couldn’t tell if I was starting to get allergies (which I’ve never had) or a cold so I loaded up on all the medicine I could think of and we headed down at 1 AM so that we could get the morning bite. We showed up around 6 AM which was a little bit too late but we saw a couple of fish on before the morning bite died. We mostly fished the main lake with the damn counts as low as they were and as the day went on, I determined my issues were not allergies. I quit the allergy medicine and loaded up on the cold meds to get myself through this weekend grind. We pulled over and took an afternoon nap because we really wanted to be focused for the evening bite. With it being just us, the opportunities aren’t really there to take “shifts” and let each other nap like we normally can.

We had already lost one fish that day and after we woke up, we thought we’d try float fishing since it wasn’t something we’d done for a few years. That proved to be just as slow as trolling and we’d rather troll so we switched it back up and got back on the motor. We hooked up again and surprise! Lost that one too.

The next day, we were at the launch in the dark and ready to fish right away. Like the weekend before, we watched as random boats hooked up and their fish seemed to cooperate. they stayed down, right below the boat and when it was time to net, they came up quickly to the net. Why can’t ours do that?! I struggled this year between fighting the fish on the surface which is never a good idea and pulling too hard because I want the fish in the net so darn bad. We found ourselves a biter and my instincts kicked in and grabbed the rod before Jeff could see what was happening. I let it take out 14 ft of line before I picked it up and fought it to the surface. In an effort to get it to go back down instead of thrash on the surface, I tried to drop my rod in the water but there were still 2 other rods out and they were in my way. Trying my hardest not to lose this fish, I lost it. That was our last bite at Drano Lake and shortly after, we called it a really day and were on the highway by 9:30. We were set to fish another day but between my cold and our bad landing ratio, plus only having 3 bites so far, we decided to finally give ourselves a rest and get some housework done.

This year was humbling to say the least. Never let yourself get too confident no matter how many years you do well. We never did figure out what we were doing wrong or what the other boats that normally kick ass were doing wrong either. We’ve never seen so many fish spread out between boats; it’s usually very apparent who knows how to catch them down there, and who is still on their first year or two down there. We tried EVERYTHING and nothing seemed to change the situation so we have nothing left to do but hope that next year is back to what we expect. We expect to grind and work and try new things. We expect to have slow days and maybe even no fish days. We don’t expect to have slow days when we’re seeing fish around. We definitely don’t expect to go home empty handed if we’ve seen more than 10 other fish caught that day. We need to not only make sure we can make the fish react again, but also how to improve our landing ratio. I personally went 7 for 13 this year. That’s a 54% landing ratio. I’m not okay with that. Some were beyond my control but there were at least 3 that were 100% my fault and I’m only okay if that number is 0%.

This is why we love Drano Lake. It does this to us. It makes us try. It makes us put all of our skills to use. It pushes us so far beyond our comfort zone, that we start thinking outside the box. And when it works, there’s no fishery that rewards like Drano. <3

Here’s a few more pics from our trip :)

Springer Limits!

Published April 8, 2018 | By Steelhead Girls
We headed back out one more time before the Columbia closure and my birthday alos happens to be next week so I get to celebrate 2 birthday weekends!The weather prediction was pretty rough including 20-30 MPH winds and rain all day. After last weekend, we realized that our rain jackets are not up to pare anymore and so we were kind of dreading sitting in the rain all day. We didn’t have time to refill the propane for the heater so we figured if it wasn’t good fishing and we were soaked, that we would call it a day early.

We started out trolling, using the same herring brine we always use except we bought a different brand herring since it was our only option. We saw a couple of fish caught and were just thinking it was right time, right place for them. Then, we started seeing the same boats hook up and we’re up to a dozen fish seen caught. Unless it’s a new fisher (or the Cowlitz), we don’t usually experience this. We’re very well prepared and are extremely cautious with smells and taking care of our gear. Either we have a black hex on us, or our bait is doodoo.

We saw a couple of fish caught on anchor as the tide pushed out closer to low slack and attempted to anchor in our usual spot. Most of the day, the weather was really great but all of a sudden, the winds started picking up especially in our anchor spot. We didn’t even attempt it as we knew it was entirely too windy so we scoped out the bottom down river behind a corner in hopes to avoid the wind. We picked a semi random spot where there weren’t any other boats but the contour looked promising and we were below all the other anchor boats.

I don’t get seasick but I got a little queasy wrapping plugs in the wind & current. It felt like reading a book in the car for some reason! I wrapped 4 to get out and another 3 to swap out so that I could take a little lunch break and get some food in my system. Right as I was about to doze off, Shawn’s rod goes off! We jump up and start getting the other rods out of the way and the fish was gone. We were pretty darn excited to finally get a bite and it being so fast, it made us feel pretty good about the spot we were in.

We got the rods back out and within minutes…….fish on! I ran to the back of the boat to grab my rod and unfortunately, it was native. Bye bye springer. We’ve hooked 6 springers so far this year and 4 of them were wild, 1 lost, and 1 hatchery. The wild run is clearly doing well this year!

Again, rods back out and minutes later Shawn’s rod goes off…Fish in the box!

Back out the rods go and I’m rewrapping some plugs to keep the bait fresh. Fish on again! Jeff lets me grab his rod because it’s my birthday weekend (so sweet of him) and it’s a hatchery fish! Two in the box!!!

Rods back out and I’m wrapping more plugs. Before we can even get both rods out and get another plug wrapped, Zach’s rod goes off! Fish number 3 in the box! Freshly wrapped plug on the last rod and I’m working on the replacement while Jeff’s rod goes off! We got a fish on every single rod placement (usually it’s 1 or 2 rods that keep getting hit) and we have our springer limit!

We didn’t even notice the weather was getting bad because there was just so much going on. We got out of there and were heading home by 3. Truly a fantastic day that took us by surprise!

The lower Columbia is now closed unless they give us an extension. We’ll likely be toying around at the Cowlitz until the dam counts are high enough to start our Drano Lake season. Next Saturday will also be my birthday weekend (lucky me). I’ll be the BIG 3-0 next Thursday so hopefully I get another birthday fish on Saturday. Sunday is some wedding fun and family birthday time.

I can’t get over how much happier I am now that I’m not studying. I didn’t get my CPA for a big career change; It was just a goal of mine and added stability in my life. there were many times that I questioned why I was still working on it when it sucked away so much joy from my life, but I always try to find the silver lining, especially when God was giving me so many signs to keep studying. Hopefully one day I find all the reasons why I went through what I did, but for now, I’m quite content knowing how much more I appreciate my life, friends, and family.

Fishing tip: We always use borax for our sardines but tried rock salt & tons of scent the last 2 trips. It really firmed them up and made them a breeze to wrap and they really soaked up the scents that we added. However, after only a short period of time in the water, the scent was gone. This worked great for us with our prawns & tune for super baits, but the salt seemed to really suck out too much of the moisture in the sardines. Back to borax it is! We add scent with Pro Cure bait injectors & letting pre-wrapped plugs sit in scent before sending them out on the hunt.


A Springer For Dinner!

Published April 2, 2018 | By Steelhead Girls
We haven’t been hearing very good reports on springer fishing the Columbia and while it’s still early, the closure is coming quickly and we want an opportunity to do well while it’s open. There’s always a chance for an extension, but that’s not a sure thing. We headed back down Saturday morning just the two of us and anchor fished all morning. We trolled all afternoon and enjoyed the great weather and each other’s’ company, but unfortunately, we didn’t get a single bite. We saw about 5 fish hooked up (including one that a sea lion stole) but at least that was better than the reports we’d gotten from the day before!We have a friend that is kind of new to fresh water fishing but putting in a lot of effort to learn a few things. We took him and another friend out on Sunday in hopes to at least get 1 to finally enjoy a meal. We were a bit later than most people and we ended up is our second option for anchoring but figured we’d just have to make it work. It was terrible weather and all of our fancy Gore-Tex rain gear was seeping through. One guy with his PVC Helly Hanson gear with duct-tape’d holes seemed to be the driest on the boat. After 5ish hours of not seeing a things and switching up the plugs about a hundred times, we finally have a fish!

Jeff grabs it and unfortunately, it was wild. We’ve been out 5 times and caught just 2 fish at this point. Both are wild; the worst kind of springer you could get since we’re all solely after the table fare when it comes to this fish. At least we can have some confidence in the anchor spot and our gear, but we’re feeling a bit discouraged and definitely envious of all the boats with cover as we try to find things to keep our mind occupied and laughter as we slowly get more and more soaked.


The tide slacks out and it’s time to start trolling. We get all switched over and make our first pass. Right at the tail end of it, we finally are getting a bite! As our buddy goes to grab the rod, it topples over and into the water. His cat like reflexes thankfully saved the day as he reached down in the water and grabs it thankfully with a fish still on the end of the line! We all start reeling the other rods up only to find out that 3 out of 4 rods are tangled up in this disaster. With all that gear and weight, the fish came in pretty quickly despite its size and in the net it goes! We couldn’t be more grateful to see a missing adipose fin and we’re finally going to eat a fresh springer dinner!

It all happened really quickly so we’re trying to figure out if we should be dancing, bonking the fish, getting things untangled, or something else. We’re just kind of standing around, moving things, staring at the fish. We finally get things sorted out and make another pass. Our plan was only to make 2 passes since it was fairly late in the day and we all had plans at home.

Our adrenaline is high from the fish and I’m getting greedy and want to make an additional pass. This is rare from me lately since I always have studying on my mind and am usually the first one to want to leave when fishing is slow. Jeff says “I’m so glad you’re not studying anymore. 2 months ago, you would have been wanting to leave hours ago.” I hope this is a statement that I remember for a long time because it resonates with me today. The fact that I spend 2 years missing out on my passions, friends, & family because of this goal that I had and now I am free to do what I want. I can feel the passion coming back and it’s guilt free. Jeff stood by and supported me during this time even when I become someone that he didn’t really like. He hoped and prayed that the would get his best friend back when the exams were passed and thankfully she’s coming back. Two years is a long time to spend being someone that you don’t like and not having much control over your life (unless you decide to quit), so it doesn’t change overnight but the past month has been bliss. I surprise myself with my ability to juggle things, be productive, and love people. I’m happy for simple things again, like being on the water even if I’m soaking wet and freezing.

Anyhow, we made one more short pass and headed back. We all felt that it was well worth the miserable weather and can’t wait to enjoy dinner!!! This is what all the hard work that goes into springer season is about!

Springer Season Officially Started

Published March 26, 2018 | By Steelhead Girls
We swapped out the anchor and moved on to the big river to see if we could find a springer or two. We started out trolling and didn’t see anything caught so at slack tide we switched to anchor fishing. It was pretty nasty weather so sitting is always difficult to do for a long time. It’s that point where we are so incredibly jealous of the boats with covers haha.My rod got hit but didn’t stick and about an hour later, we were talking about our friend Jerry’s rod and how well his plug was working. You know, when that one plug is working so hard the rod holder starts absorbing the shake? Then, whack! Fish on his rod! Unfortunately, it was a native fish and was sent back on its way. Truly, unfortunate because the amount of work and money that gets put into these fish is purely for the table fare. We do eat some of salmon & steelhead, but springers are what we look forward to eating every year.20180324_145445_1I was supposed to have dinner with my best friend and Jeff just couldn’t leave the river knowing we were going home without springer for dinner so we ended up being 2 HOURS LATE. She surprised me when I met her with 4 of my other amazing friends, a table full of balloons, flowers, cards, & presents. They all waited hours for me to get back from fishing to surprise me with a celebration for passing my CPA exams. I decided that since I don’t have to study anymore, I could rally and go fishing again Sunday so we called it an early night and headed back out Sunday for round two really hoping to go home with dinner. We seemed to be just a few feet away all day and ended up going home with no fish.

I thought I was just very tired from being out the night before but turns out I ended up with a nasty cold. I only get sick once a year so hopefully this is it, but I was hoping to escape the germs this year! Assuming I’m not still sick, we’ll head back out this weekend and the following Sunday for more Columbia fun and cross our fingers that they extend the fishery.

But for now, we’re officially in springer season and couldn’t be more excited for our favorite fisheries!!


In Between Seasons

Published March 18, 2018 | By Steelhead Girls
This is probably one of my least favorite “fishing seasons”. The time between where there aren’t many steelhead around anymore, you’re kind of tired of steelhead, REALLY excited for springers, but there aren’t many of those around either. You end up needing to choose between investing time in maybe catching a couple of steelhead or instead, catching 1 of your favorite fish.The Cowlitz has been Jeff’s kryptonite for a couple of years. It’s a different type of fishery and it’s not his strongest fishery lol. But, it’s one of the only rivers that we fish that is still open and has fish. In fact, their run is supposed to just be getting started. So, we headed there with the plan of fishing for both steelhead and springers to see what we get. We ended up with just 1 steelhead which was better than our normal skunking, but that effort definitely could have been spent on the Columbia potentially getting 1 springer instead.We’re not the biggest fan of fishing the same mile long stretch of river which seems to be where most of the fish on the Cowlitz are caught, so we spent a good part of the day fishing around and trying to ditch the crowds. Not that the Cowlitz isn’t big enough to handle it all, it just gets old running the same water all day long, especially when we suck there and aren’t hooking fish all day lol.We did get shorter rods and are switching to sidedrifting this year for the Cowlitz only. I love bait. I will almost always choose bait over an artificial lure with the exception of a worm. Jeff is a bit more open minded than me, but still, he also is a big bait fan. The Cowlitz fish seem to want a bead or piece of yarn lol. It’s not my favorite place for steelhead to say the least.

Anyhow, we’re both ready for springers so we’ll continue this in between fishing until we start hitting the Columbia and then DRANO!!!

Finally…….A Reason to Celebrate

Published March 12, 2018 | By Steelhead Girls
I PASSED!!!!! I officially passed all of my CPA exams and am free!I honestly did not expect to pass so I had no special plans to celebrate. Jeff and I fished by ourselves on Saturday which is always a nice change. It’s a bit more chaotic with only us in the sled and that means that we don’t get very many pictures. We have always been a little bit bad at getting up to go fishing when it’s just us so we were naturally off to a late start. It was a surprise to see too many boats at the launch and we were one of the last, but we made it count! We ended up with 6 fish (4 native) and the most incredible weather.Jeff actually got 4 of the 6 fish because of course, he’s a way better angler and he gets first water all day in the sled. He also decided to throw artificials while I was stuck on bait, because well, that’s what always works. He knew that all those other boats were throwing bait and the fish must be tired of seeing bait after bait after bait while these huge boats run back and forth. Sure enough, he got all 4 of his fish on artificials and I only got 2 on bait.Sunday, we headed back and didn’t hook a thing for a couple of hours. We even got there on time and were ready with many different rigs to test out. There were only a couple of boats which is probably because of lower/clearer water conditions and we don’t think people did as well as us the previous day. We ended up making some changes and hooked 2 native fish on Sunday. Not quite the fantastic day that we had the day before, but it was the first time I’ve been able to fish with absolutely no guilt. I took a nap each day, slept in the car, fished all day, and got up before him. These are things that I haven’t done in years guilt free.

I can’t describe the feeling that I have. I remember what fishing used to be like before the guilt that came with the CPA exams and it’s all back now. The feeling of being able to disconnect from life. Not caring about what I need to do on my list or what I have to do that night. There is no agenda. And when I fish, I only care about enjoying that exact moment. Only those closest to me and those who have studied these exams know the extent of what it does to your life, your relationships, and your mental well-being. I know that I am young and have a lot of life left to live, but I truly hope this was one of the most stressful times in my life. I am at peace and so incredibly grateful to be able to enjoy life again. Every single minute is not to be taken for granted and being able to spend this time clear headed in our beautiful rivers does this to me. Thanks to all of you that supported me along the way and that told me you’ve been missing my blogs. Having this space to share how my fortunate opportunities right now in my life is very meaningful to me and I appreciate everyone along the way. <3


The Good ‘Ol Days

Published March 6, 2018 | By Steelhead Girls
This was my last weekend of total freedom before I get my exam score back and it’s likely back to books. I took advantage of it and fished both days for a change.There were a few fish caught, all wild fish, and great weather.I got new waders Friday (very much needed) so I was excited to break them in except, for some reason, Jeff thought it was a good idea to remove them from my truck and not replace them with my rain gear. I did maliciously eat his lunch but after 2 bites I felt guilty and offered it back to him since it wasn’t intentionally. Thankfully, the weather held up most of the day so it was just a bit wet before heading home for the weekend.

I skipped the detailed story of my weekend trip because what I wanted to talk about was the state of our fisheries. Although I’ve fished for over 12 years, I don’t have 20, 30, 40 years under my belt. The “old timers” share stories of how fishing used to be. I’ve always wanted to be a part of “those days”. The fishing hasn’t quite been the same the past two years as it was my first 10 years and I mostly attributed that to my lack of fishing because I was studying but now I’m wondering if we’re coming out of “the good ‘ol days” and moving into a slump. This year I’ve heard from almost everyone that the fish just aren’t here. The salmon never really showed up. The steelhead don’t seem to have hit their peak although the runs are almost over.

Sure, there are good days here and there and maybe there are more during the week when I’m at work, but to hear to many people mention that they don’t know where the fish are and on multiple systems has me wondering if this is the is part of the Ebb in our fish history. Or, perhaps I just haven’t been as lucky as other years and the stars don’t align like they used to on the weekends. I am an analyst and I like to observe and collect as much data as I can before coming to conclusions. The fishery system and the way its managed could take a lifetime to truly understand and I’m eager to free up some space in my head to continue to learn these trends and factors contributing to our fisheries.


The Search Continues For The Lucky Hat…

Published February 25, 2018 | By Steelhead Girls
I went out fishing with another new hat this weekend to see if it was lucky. Just in case, I brought a back up. ;)We started out the day really slow. Nothing for several hours and then I switched the hat. The water coincidently warmed up 2 degrees around the same time. Within 5 minutes of putting on a trusted hat, Jeff’s hooked a fish! He lost it pretty quickly but it was the most excitement we’ve seen so far! Then, within the next pass, Jeff’s uncle Wes was hooked up! He landed a hot little hatchery hen and we had one in the box!At this point, we definitely were thanking the trusted hat and talking about turning the brand new hat into a “grocery store” hat. I really like this hat so I didn’t want to throw in the towel that easy so I switched it again to give it one more shot.Jeff hooked up again and it was a nice 14 lb’er! It was getting quite cold again and the fishing pretty much died down so we called it a day and headed home before we got miserable.We had a friend flake out Sunday so we decided to run errands and I got craft (I have a wedding to plan by July!) but it was so nice to be out once again with no agenda and nothing to worry about afterwards. I didn’t care when I got home. There were no lingering thoughts of other things that I could be doing. I didn’t care about work. I didn’t care about anything except fishing. This is what it’s supposed to be like and what I’ve been missing the past 2 years while I worry about studying. Soon, I’ll be back to this mindset all the time!

I’m still a little bit unsure about my new hat and think I’ll give it another try next time I’m out, but I’m definitely still superstitious about my hats!


I’m Back For Winter Steelhead!

Published February 20, 2018 | By Steelhead Girls
Well, after several months of not blogging, I’m back… least for a little while!I took what is supposed to be my last exam on Tuesday and life has been wonderful ever since. I do not get my score until mid-March and in an effort to “keep it real”, I feel very bad about how it went and I’ll likely be retaking it.However, in another effort to live in the present, I am SOOOO glad to be back on here writing a blog!This winter I have been out a few times and have put a few fish in the box! I don’t know if it’s just me, just the days I’ve fished, or if I’m completely off base, but we haven’t had a lot of stellar steelhead days and I haven’t heard of many from others. Normally, this is peak time and we’ve started seeing limits. I won’t lie, we had a phenomenal day on Sunday, but it was the first of the year that it was that we’ve encountered that many steelhead in one day. Hopefully it’s just me because I’ve been out of touch with the real world for a few months :)We took Jeff’s coworker and his friend out. We’ve fished with both of them a couple of times but Shawn had never caught a steelhead before so we were really hoping to see him get his first. It started off with surprise snow and a little slow……so slow that we contemplated going somewhere else for the day but then Shawn missed a bite so we figured we’d stay a while and see if we can find another. Before I get going into the day, I’ll just share that I’m a bit superstitious and I wore a brand new hat that morning. I always bring a second in case I feel that something new is unlucky.Jeff hooked up and put the first fish in the boat so now we’re getting excited and feeling good about what the day will bring. Less than an hour later, Jeff hooks up again! A feisty wild fish that was quickly released. Next up, Shawn! Finally! He is fighting his first steelhead and he successfully brings in a perfect hatchery hen.Shawn did manage to get possibly the biggest steelhead I’ve ever seen though. I won’t pretend like it’s a state record, but I’ve never seen a 20lb steelhead in person and we’re guessing this is around there. It put up an incredible fight and Shawn fought it flawlessly in a really difficult spot and his second steelhead ever. He was a natural and I’m not sure that I would have been able to land this beast so HUGE kudos to him!

The rest of the day was so full of fish I can’t remember who got what and in what order. It was a great day of fishing to say the least. I was spending more time tying leaders than fishing so I swapped my hat for a trusted one and within 30 minutes, I was finally hooked up. I hooked 2 more (1 was native) before giving the new hat one more try.

I didn’t hook anymore fish once I switched back to the new hat but Jeff did. I think that I’ll retire that hat to the “grocery shopping” pile instead of fishing pile ;)

I had such a great time carelessly fishing and like usual, great company. In fact, Shawn probably hooked half of the fish hooked to the boat! I casted in more trees than he did and he fished all day. It was cold, snowed on and off all day, and the boat fished until dark. I have just 2 weeks left until my scores come out but I couldn’t have asked for a better day to start my break off. It truly was a day that goes into the history books.

AND…..I get to blog again for a while! Thanks to everyone for continuing to check my blog and for hounding me when I see you around the tackle shops and rivers about needing to blog. If it wasn’t for that, I probably wouldn’t have known how many people enjoy my blogs as much as I enjoy writing them :) <3

Taking a Break

Published May 31, 2017 | By Steelhead Girls
I took another exam on 5/26 so I got to enjoy a nice weekend with a few extra days off and NO STUDYING! Sara Ichtertz and I have been trying to coordinate and plan a trip together for a few months and we finally were able to make it happen last weekend after the Bonneville Damn fish counts improved again. And a bonus, we got to see Kari on the water!!! <3I don’t generally take more than 1 day off after an exam because I have so many more to move on to, but given the circumstances, I took 4 days off and enjoyed every single minute. We headed down to meet up with Sara Friday night and were on the water bright and early Saturday. Fishing was pretty slow (okay, really slow) and we went 1/2 but I still had an amazing day. It was really hot, Andrew grilled us his infamous Teryaki Chicken, and I spent the day getting to learn about an amazing woman who’s passion flows on paper fluently. She writes for NW Sportsman Magazine and has a blog, For the Love of the Tug”.Drano Lake is my favorite place to fish partly because of the beauty of the Columbia River Gorge, partly because I love springers, and partly because it’s one of the most difficult, temperamental fisheries I’ve experienced. A challenge is always good and is what I love about fishing. We’ve been going down there for years experiencing some amazing fishing, and some really bad fishing. It’s not a place that you just decide to head to and expect to do well. In fact, chances are, you’ll just watch the handful of boats that have experienced the challenges do really well and you’ll just pray all day that God sends you a sign as to what you’re doing wrong.But………Once you figure out what you were doing wrong and learn how important it is to be prepared and ready to get innovative, it’s one of the most rewarding fisheries. Sara got to experience a little bit of both. With a really tough first day, she watched as we tried different methods, depths, scents, ways to rig, speed, & how our minds began to calculate. The next day, she watched as we entered the Toilet Bowl and got 3 in 4 passes, and a couple of times, couldn’t even get all of our rods fishing again before we’d get a bite. She watched again as things slowed down, we thought we were dying of heat, and stuck it out all day long!We headed back out for one more day which we intended on leaving by 11 AM and we were blessed to get 2/3 that morning before we packed up for our last Drano trip of 2017 and headed home.


Sara somehow captured these emotions and moments on camera exactly how I see them in my head. I am beyond blessed to have been able to meet her and have the stars align on this trip. I really never can capture exactly what Drano feels like and all of my favorite moments where I just want to sit in silence and embrace my life in that moment, but she provided me with a way to relive that feeling and that is key to the success in my happiness. Working full time and studying for these exams is by far the most difficult thing I’ve ever done and I’ve sacrificed a lot of fishing trips to sit in my office and study so it’s vital that I reflect on my happiest times.


I cannot thank her enough for coming all the way up from southern Oregon and leaving her life for 3 days to sit in a boat with 3 complete strangers. She is ambitious, driven, and I’ve definitely stored those qualities from her to apply in my life. She’s extremely talented and is doing wonderful things to our fishing industry and I’m fortunate to have gotten a chance to bond with such a radiating person.

There truly are too many feelings for me to put into this blog post and I’m back on my studying schedule, so I hope you find as much beauty in some of her pictures as I do <3

Last Hoorah Before My Next Exam

Published May 31, 2017 | By Steelhead Girls
I’ll be at Sportco on 5/20 for the G Loomis rod trade in event so this was my last fishing trip before my next exam. I’ll be buckling down for the next 12 days!This weekend we went back to my roots where I fish for springers with globs of eggs, shrimp, sardine, scents, drifting, float fishing, divers, you name it. This is my kind of fishing! Although trolling can be much more effective and you get to see a lot more people catch fish which is why we invest so much time doing that. After all, springer season is about meat in the freezer and doing what it takes to make that happen!I was pretty pumped to get this little guy to the boat and was perfectly okay with missing a few others. I wasn’t perfectly okay with losing a really nice summer run, but we ended up going 4 for 8 and had plenty of meat in the freezer!I’m back to the study grind as I cram for my next exam. Wish me luck and I’ll be back on the water memorial day weekend!!<3

Jeff’s Birthday Trip

Published May 14, 2017 | By Steelhead Girls
Every year we make the 3 hour drive down to Drano Lake for Jeff’s birthday with his parents, best friend Herb, and his uncle Wes makes it down for at least 1 day. We’ve been doing this for several years and every year we get better and better. I’d be lying if I told everyone that Drano is like shooting fish in a barrel. Sure, if you have your stuff dialed in and it’s your lucky day, it can be. But that doesn’t come to just anyone and it requires a lot of work and if there’s ever a place where the tiny little details come into play, it’s Drano Lake.Aside from the memories we create with Jeff’s family and all the friends we’ve made down there, Drano is my favorite fishery because of the people. There are so many friends that we’ve made and without the little tips that the locals and guides have thrown our way over the years, we wouldn’t have the opportunity at fish like we do.Every year we go down there, something has changed. The fish want herring, then they want prawns spinning, then they want super baits but only under a rotator flasher, then they want coon shrimp, then they want a Leo flasher, it’s never fully dialed in. This year, we spent the first half of the day watching the few boats basically create blood baths while we struggled to get a bite. After half the day, we figured out a few things going on, made the changes, and put 3 fish in the boat. The one thing we didn’t have was those darn Leo flashers that everyone seemed to be using.While we were cleaning our fish and boat at the end of the day, we shared the bank space with Bill Harris from Legendary Chrome Guide Service, David Loper with Takedown Guide Service, and Jacob Munden with Rising Son Adventures. We shared a few laughs as Jeff and I tried to pick their brains a bit. We got a few more tips and tricks and shared what worked, what didn’t, and how frustrating it is that things change so often. Jeff’s mom was playing the role of Mamma Dukes trying to scrounge up a Leo flasher for us. Bill Harris came to the rescue and gave us one of his even though no one in the area sells them and are darn near impossible to get last minute.See why I love this place? In fact, one of our favorite guys down there, Steve Rich (aka pink hands), was the first person to conversate with us many, many years ago in a parking lot. He was just trying to throw a bone to a discouraged couple with parents trying to keep the mood light. We spent the rest of the weekend sharing jokes and laughs and the rest is history.Although this is Jeff’s birthday, he knows that it’s a grind and quite expensive to go down there but it’s a place that will always challenge him and there’s not many other places we can limit the boat on upper river springers. He decided to get us all birthday presents! Now, Jeff doesn’t really do presents very well, but when he tries, he blows our socks off. We each got our own wrapped present even with our names on it and a personalized gift to go along with the main gift: A Drano Lake hoodie with our job role on the front:

Jeff: “Captain Ahab” – because he truly doesn’t know when to quit. Even when tears are shed. And don’t you dare undermine his authority!

Me: “The First Mate” with my favorite – a bottle of Crown Royal

His dad: “Captain Gordon” with a sailor hat – because after you put a few Budweiser’s in his dad, the captain takes over and he puts us on fish

His mom: “Mamma Dukes” with her favorite Guiness – because she was the neighborhood mom taking care of all the kids

Herb: “The Deckhand” with a bottle of Kraken – because we’ve made too many memories with that bottle and he quickly jumped on board our boat, learned the ropes, and is always making sure we’re fishing effectively and efficiently!

His uncle: “Bar Keep” with a bottle of Fireball which has many stories underneath it – because his role is to sit on the cooler at the front of the boat and ensure everyone is well hydrated

Steve: “The Pink Hand Joker” – because well, his hands are pink from April to August and he has enough jokes to keep you laughing all weekend.

The second day was a good one for us. A little rough in the morning, but it was slow for everyone. We kept adjusting things and trying to figure out what it was going to take to turn these fish on and around 11 AM, we finally started lighting into them. Captain Gordon put 9 fish in the boat that day, including a double! Herb was fighting his first fish of the trip and Jeff thought the other rod was snagged onto it so he basically just opened the bail and let Herb do his thing. After a couple of minutes, we realized the lines were nowhere near each other and Jeff reeled down to find his own fish on his rod. A DOUBLE! I netted Herb’s, he jumped on the motor, and we netted Jeff’s within 2 minutes. See what I mean when Captain Gordon gets on the motor?!

While we were getting ready to wrap up after a serious of tangles, ripped off leaders, and complete chaos, I see the rod next to me getting bit and I quietly put down my bird’s nest and moved a little bit closer. I’m pretty notorious for snatching fish from people, especially springers, but I’ve been good this year! I’ve even handed the rod over or walked right past a reel taking line because others haven’t had as many opportunities as me. But something in my gut told me this was mine and no one else on the boat was the wiser. I’m starring at the reel, not the rod, waiting for line to start peeling and Jeff notices me. He shouts to grab it but we’ve been here before and I told him that it wasn’t ready. He gives the motor a shot and I pick up the rod, fully loaded, ready for my fight. Out of no where, he tries to grab the rod right out of my hands like this ones his. He already caught his 2 that day and it was literally already in my hands. I wasn’t going down without a fight though. While the rod was being tugged and pulled by each of us before the first crank had been reeled, I tucked the butt of the rod under my arm and put my hands on the handle for leverage to bring the rod back down to my level. MINE! Sweet victory! I won!!! After a long battle, and a few net attempts with a 12′ rod and a 5’2″ little girl, we finally got this big boy safely in the net.

The last day was just Jeff, Herb, and I which was nice because it was a lot slower. We had to make our 3 hour drive home and work early Tuesday morning so we didn’t get to fish into the afternoon bite, but we left going 3/5 at 4 PM.


At the end of 3 days, we came home with 15 fish and a lifetime of memories. We learned a thing or two about a new flasher, we were reminded how important scents can be, and that even the tiniest detail like where you put the bait loop on the shrimp makes the difference between a bait that is fishing and a bait that is simply keeping the hooks warm. Drano 2017 is one for the books and I can’t wait for next year!

Birthday Week!

Published April 16, 2017 | By Steelhead Girls
I got to springer fish the past 2 weeks and thankfully, we’re not going to starve ;)We got to head out with Amy and Brady which is always a treat and we celebrated my birthday the right way! It’s rare that I don’t study during fishing and while I did a little bit in the morning, I took the entire afternoon and evening off and played on the water. The boys got the fish in the boat, and Amy and I celebrated for them! Best bonus of the day, we got to clean up the boats with Kari! :)This weekend we headed out with Ray and Lloyd to get a chance at the Columbia during the extension. It’s always a gamble down there when you only get to fish it a couple of times a year so we were fortunate to get 2 fish in the boat. I got A LOT of studying done between wrapping plugs and unfortunately, we got home really late and decided to call Sunday a “stay at home” day.It’s a nice change of pace for atmosphere and company and it was a great past 10 days. I really haven’t loved my actual birthday the past 2 years because studying hours every single day isn’t what I planned on doing at 29 years old, but my friends and family made the other days very happy. One day, I’ll be done studying and hopefully I’ll enjoy my birthday again!PS. Sportco’s tent sale is coming on April 20th!

Spring Fever!

Published March 18, 2017 | By Steelhead Girls
Despite my lack of blogging, I have been fishing lately, but not a lot of catching.We have been enjoying some new friends in the boat and that’s really one of our favorite things about fishing. We’ve had a ton of fun, just not much action in the steelhead department.We did however get our first springer of the year this weekend!!!The water clarity was horrible and we almost turned around to go home, but we figured we’d give it a try with some bigger profiles and bait over artificials.I’ve been studying my heart away and tightened my fishing to just once a week so I’m feeling extremely fortunate to have had the opportunity to get this fish. :)

Happy Valentine’s Day

Published February 14, 2017 | By Steelhead Girls
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.

Winter Steelhead in Full Swing

Published February 5, 2017 | By Steelhead Girls
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!

Finally, Some Steel!

Published January 19, 2017 | By Steelhead Girls
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!

Fall Salmon

Published October 25, 2016 | By Steelhead Girls
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

Published September 25, 2016 | By Steelhead Girls
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!

VIP Outdoors Fish Like a Girl Tournament

Published August 15, 2016 | By Steelhead Girls
I don’t even know where to begin with such a spectacular weekend so I guess I’ll work backwards to my favorite part :)I was completely satisfied with my weekend and had actually forgotten that I hadn’t studied for almost 3 full days. I’m paying for it now, but I’ve barely been fishing this year and when I did go, there was an immense amount of pressure and guilt on my mind to make sure I studied every time my rod wasn’t in the water. In case anyone doesn’t know, I’ve been studying for my CPA since January and have yet to pass any exams sooooo…….Only 4 more exams to go! I needed this weekend more than I thought I knew.Sunday, I was tired; I was exhausted; I was almost lethargic. I was on an entirely different level of tired where I couldn’t even fall asleep, and speaking words seemed to be too much effort for my body. It took me a few hours and a Rockstar to snap out of it and it was just in time for me to catch a fish!Herb and Andrew had already landed a few and I lost a nice one that took me out over 100 feet on the surface of the water. I finally got on one that I was able to land and my energy level rose to its normal level. Back to the laughs, stories, and keeping the gear fishing! We ended up hooking quite a few more and everyone except Jeff got fish; although that’s completely by his choice because he usually just likes to see fish landed.It’s rare that we spend a lot of time of photos because we all just want to either be getting our stuff back in the water, or eating LOL. But Andrew always makes sure to take awesome pictures and knows the value of a good shot. I was sooooo excited about this fish not only because I got to land 2 really nice ones, but because this picture is one of my favorites!I got to hang out with my best fishing buddies Andrew, Herb, and of course Jeff and the day couldn’t have been better in my mind.Now, for my really fun part of my weekend…….The Fish Like a Girl Tournament!Pro Escobedo with VIP Outdoors reached out to Willie Boats with an unreal idea last year. They were on board and this was the second year that Pro was able to carry on with this event. Sarah Dodd from Reel Women of Fishing NW actually won last year and it’s been great to see her taking out her cute pink/black brand new boat to new adventures.Pro spoke about why he started this and what it means to him and it hit close to home for me. When I started fishing, there weren’t really any girls that I knew that fished other than fly fishing (and I didn’t know those girls anyways). There weren’t many companies that made stuff that worked for me and I got a lot of strange looks on the water – This is why Steelhead Girls was created! Years later, through the power of social media, I have found A TON of girls just like me! We fish with our spouses, friends, solo, & strangers just because we love to fish. I don’t have to try to be “one of the guys” because I’m not an outsider anymore……….I’m one of the girls who loves to fish and there are so many just like me. This is why Pro started this derby. We connect and bond in a way that we can’t with men. We support each other just because we are women and we know what it’s like to feel like a woman in a man’s world.This Tournament means getting to meet complete strangers or have a reason to fish with your best gal pals. Most of us don’t have a bunch of girlfriends that fish so events like this is how we meet and find one another. Plus, we can win a wicked BRAND NEW DRIFT BOAT!I didn’t win the new Willie drift boat, but Jessica Goering did win and it was well deserved with a 31lb fish caught with guide Shea Fisher.Shea owns and operates The Fishere Fishing Guide Service and is the beau of our very own fellow lady angler, Kristin Bishop with Reel Women of Fishing NW. He has a few dates left this B10 season (8/16, 8/18, & 8/19) so if you’re looking for a last minute trip, he clearly knows how to catch the big fish! 425.577.9445There were so many friendships created and SO MANY FISH!Vydellity AndersonKristin BishopAmy Spoon (who also had tuna and sturgeon trips all in a few short days)Ashley on a trip with Brandon earlier in the tournament

Janae with a nice one!

Lizz Mullong getting things handled with Brandon Glass!

I only got to fish the last day, but I couldn’t have asked for a better group of girls or guide to spend the day with. We had all met before through various places and events and this is actually the SECOND time we all got to fish together this summer. We are 6 very different girls that come from different states, backgrounds, ages, fishing experience, and jobs! Other than being girls in our 20’s and 30’s that love to fish, we probably wouldn’t have much in common looking from the outside in. I’m not the most outgoing person in real life but I feel so comfortable around these girls, it’s like they were meant to be in my life.

Jamie Lebon – the chill, down to earth, starts her drinking before breakfast, not a bad thing to say about anyone kind of girl

Morgan Nicks – The girl who’s eyes light up like a little kid on Christmas morning when she tells you about her favorite type of fishing

Jessica Jenner – Always smiling and laughing, outgoing sweet girl that is so eager to learn as much as she can about fishing

Kari Smith – One of the first ladies that I found loves fishing just like me who is always the life of the party and down to fish and hunt whatever, whenever

Ashley Chaudiere – The Ice Princess, Hockey playing girl with the million watt smile that fits in with everyone, boy or girl, and always has a funny story to share

And me – The one who turns into a 6 year old child when the boat gets on plane and crashes through the current

And of course, Brandon Glass although he’s clearly not one of the girls LOL.

I fished with his dad, Jack Glass, a few years ago and was so happy to find out that Brandon was open the only day I could fish. His dad is basically a fishing legend and Brandon is following in his footsteps while creating his own legacy. Brandon greeted us first thing in the morning wearing his captain hat, bibs, and flip flops handing us mimosa’s before we even got on the boat. He knew us way to well.

Brandon fished us hard. He made every effort to put on fish and didn’t lose hope or show discouragement when we quickly realized that fishing had slowed down quite a bit from just 2 days before when several derby worthy fish were caught. I got to sit in the back and pick his brain and much like his dad, he was more than willing to entertain my curious mind.

We searched and searched and finally I hear “fish fish fish fish Bryanna fish!” I waited for the okay to grab it and he calmly walked me through the process and kept my nerves at ease. We got that beautiful fish in the net and I wasn’t sure if I should keep it. It wasn’t going to win the derby, but it was a perfect mid-teen’s hatchery URB that was going to have meat like a springer.

We kept the fish and I was more excited than I think I’ve ever been. I was literally beyond the point of emotion and had to stop talking a couple times because I felt the tears were coming. I’ve worked really hard the last few months and missed a lot of fishing trips and even missed the fulfillment when I did finally get out because of the guilt and pressure I felt for not studying every second I had. I’m not a lucky person and I usually feel that my fish are well deserved because of the time and effort that I put into fishing. I was the last person I expected to catch a fish like this and the whole day just seemed overwhelmingly fun. I took my victory shot and Morgan Nicks busted out her fancy-pants camera for me!

If you know Morgan (and if you don’t, you should go find her on Instagram or Facebook), you know that she takes beautiful pictures and knows how to capture the true beauty of a fish. She grabbed her camera right away and captured a few killer pictures for me.

Brandon continued to fish us hard and searched for action, switching bait/hardware, trying new depths, and even different places on the river. He entertained us for hours and fished us even later than it would have been possible to turn in a derby fish just because he wanted to get us some fish. Jessica landed a really nice coho that we had to release and had another bite that didn’t stick in the last hour of fishing.

The boat learned pretty early on that I really love boat rides. It’s something I never grew out of and the faster we go, harder we hit the waves, more air we catch in our seats, the more I laugh. The wind was blowing pretty well and the water was almost too rough to stand when trolling but we were all really excited for the boat ride back. Brandon made it worth our while and we all turned into laughing, squealing, little girls for the last 15 minutes as we made our way back to the dock.

We were off to the banquet with our hair and clothes soaked from the ride back in but we didn’t care. We were hungry, eager to see who won, and happy to have been blessed with such an amazing day fishing.

We hurried ourselves to the banquet and couldn’t wait to get our FISH CUTE hoodies at registration. A local and fellow fisherwoman started Fish Cute 3 years ago and its shot through the roof. In many states, she sells clothing that is made for women who want to actually look cute when fishing! She is constantly designing new items and having killer deals. Check out her items here:

Janae was able to bring along 3 youngsters that got to fish all 4 days!

There were SO MANY prizes to raffle off including Yeti product, rods, reels, fillet knives, huge spoons of fishing line, custom rods, gift cards, a million hats, a smoker, vacuum sealer, and so much more! Pro rounded up thousands of dollars’ worth of fishing stuff for all of us girls and made it worth our while even if we didn’t win the boat. There were guides, spouses, sponsors, and of course most of the ladies that participated and he had a great dinner for all us as well a bar for us to celebrate this amazing event. He was eager to get feedback on how to improve the event for future years so that we can keep encouraging and supporting the ladies that love to fish.

I can’t thank Pro enough for this event. This is why I feel welcomed in a man’s world. This is why I have a new group of girls that I can relate to. This is how I learn new fishing techniques, tips, and fisheries. I can’t wait for next year and we have already started planning our trip!

Thanks again to all the guides and sponsors that teamed up with Pro for the Second Annual Fish Like a Girl Tournament! I can’t wait to do this again and am so grateful for such an amazing opportunity!

Salmon Season

Published August 8, 2016 | By Steelhead Girls
Fall salmon are upon us! We’ve taken a few quick trips to the Nisqually in the past couple of weeks and while it’s still a bit early for that river, it’s so close to home and it’s easy to make half day’s :)Fishing has been a bit slow and we’re picking them up randomly via float fishing, divers, side drifting, you name it. I was a very happy girl when I picked this one up because it’s been since springer season that I caught a salmon or steelhead! It’s about time!Buoy 10 this weekend for the Fish Like a Girl Tournament with Brandon Glass and a boat full of ladies! Good luck to all the ladies who are participating this year and I can’t wait to see who wins the boat!!

Third Annual Outdoor Chic Clique Trip!

Published August 1, 2016 | By Steelhead Girls
Another successful Outdoor Chic Clique trip goes down in history! 2016 was our third trip out with Ken Culver on the Tequila Too in search of Rockfish, Lingcod, and salmon. Each year there are new girls and old girls, girls in their teens and girls in their 50’s, girls from Westport and girls from other states. New friendships are made and old friendships grow stronger. It’s once a year that we get to surround ourselves with other women who are there just to support each other.

Amy Spoon created The Outdoor Chic Clique Facebook group as a place where women can go to feel supported by one another and meet others who share their same passions. We get tips from one another, we share deals and new product information with one another, and most importantly, we create friendships.

Morgan, Amy, Ashley, Kari, Bryanna, and Jamie

5:30AM came early this year and the marina was full of groups of girls with huge smiles on their faces, and large coffees in their hands. There was a lot of pink and a lot of camo and a local fishing company called Fish Cute was very well represented. We bought our derby tickets and got ourselves situated on the boat as we got our first set of instructions of Captain Ken Culver. Off to get rockfish first!

As always, it was a quick and easy limit. The teamwork started right away as we helped each other get fish in the boat and get tangles undone. The deckhands had their work cut out for them today, although I’m sure they don’t complain much with a boat full of fun girls. We hit a few spots to find salmon and before the bait got to the appropriate depths, the deckhands sat back and watched our surprise as salmon started biting. There were a couple coho that were released without harm and quite a few kings that made it to the cooler.

Jessica with her rockfish!

Brittany, Ashley, and Kari with their rockfish!

Amy with her rockfish!

Amy, Bridgette, and Rachel with their rockfish!

Bryanna with her rockfish!

Debbie with her rockfish!

Jessica, Jamie, and Morgan

Brittany Church set the bar high with the first king to the boat which also won the derby for the day (wahoo!):

We moved around when the bite down fished with the current. We headed to areas where we could catch both lingcod and salmon and Ashley Chaudiere was the only one to get all 3 species in the boat:

As always, our crew was nothing less than amazing. The deckhands and even the captain were on board helping fish get in the net, keeping our hooks baited, and keeping us away from the other side of the boat – we seem to magnetically draw ourselves to each other. They worked relentlessly and didn’t just do the job. They took the time to teach us and show us. And even though they laugh at our steelhead hooksets, each year we get better and better. They help us feel fulfilled and accomplished no matter how annoying we might be; they don’t seem to mind.  We are so grateful that Ken has allowed us to take over his boat every year. They get to do this stuff every day, but they make it seem like a special trip for us. They know what it means to us and even though they did the same thing the day before and will do the same thing the next day, they continue to create a fun and exciting environment for us.

Rich teaching Amy how to bait the herring that was going to catch her the big one!

Bonus: A few of the girls (even one all the way from Canada) made a second trip with Kerry Allen with Offshore Northwest to catch some tuna the next day! These girls rock:

Here are a few things that a couple girls had to say about our trip:

From Morgan Nicks:

“I am beyond blessed to have gotten to know these talented women over the past few years! Social media definitely has its pros and cons, but it has allowed me connect to this hilarious, smart, adventurous, fun and crazy group of gals! Each of these women support each other and want to see the next succeed. There’s always friendly competition, but with these ladies it is so positive and uplifting! In a world of so much hate and sadness, it is a wonderful feeling being connected…” to so much happiness. I am constantly seeing amazing hunting and fishing posts from these women and I can’t help but get butterflies for them as if I was part of their day ☺️ Life is good in the PNW!


From Kari Smith:

“Fishing isn’t just a hobby, it’s a lifestyle. I am so thankful I have so many wonderful ladies to share this adventure with!! From out of state to out of the country, The Outdoor Chic Clique has created bonds that can never be broken!! Thank you ladies for another amazing trip to Westport for bottom fish, ling cod and salmon with Ken Culver on the Tequila Too. Followed up by a second day trip offshore for some killer tuna fishing with Kerry Allen from Offshore Northwest!”


Thank you Amy for continuing to organize this and continuing to support other women! It’s because of you that we grow as anglers, as hunters, and as friends. Thank you to Ken Culver, Joel Krebs and Rich Graham (and we missed you Dan!) for giving us such a fun trip – These are memories that we’ll never forget! Thank you to all the girls that continue to support one another with our passions!

One More Drano Trip

Published May 9, 2016 | By Steelhead Girls
We decided to make one more trip down to Drano because the week before, we really only got one good day of fishing and the damn counts were great. Again, we experienced what Jeff calls “The Drano Slump” where we make this big trip only to find out the fish want something else, there aren’t any fish, or we seem to be the only ones who can’t get a bite.Our friends Kari and Derrick headed with us and it was Kari’s first Drano experience. We got to the launch early enough to be fishing in the dark and we felt confident! We watched a few other boats hook up, mostly on Superbaits/pro-trolls, and a couple on plugs. Following exactly what worked for us the weekend prior, we waited for our turn! We waited and waited and waited. We started the journey over trying to figure out what the fish wanted, speed, presentation, scent, bait or no bait, depth, and we had 2 pole endorsements so we had a boat full of rods out!We finally got 2 fish near the end of the day and missed 2 others with a new captain on the motor! We decided that pretending to not know what you are doing is all the fish really want! We set out Sunday in hopes for better fishing and a little more wind than Saturday. We got what we asked for as far as wind goes and the fishing was okay.We fished until 1PM to make the long drive home and we got 2 fish my mid morning. One on a plug and one on a Watermelon Superbait behind a Pro-Troll Flasher. We got a couple new plug rods a few months ago that have yet to be broken in with fish so we were excited to see that one get the plug fish! It was the IMX 1021-2cs which is rated 10-20lb 8’6″. The IMX blank makes it great for small plugs by allowing the plug to work more freely but but it’s still got the backbone for big king plugs and fish! It’s pretty cool to see the rod working all the way through the butt.Taking my first CPA exam this Friday so this is what I spent a good portion of my time in the boat doing. Wish me luck!!

Jeff’s Birthday Trip

Published May 3, 2016 | By Steelhead Girls
Jeff’s annual birthday trip to Drano Lake was a success! I won’t lie and tell you that the fishing was fantastic, because it wasn’t. We started fishing Drano several years ago and we fell in love. His parents started joining to celebrate his birthday and it’s now an annual trip. We’ve made some great friendships over the years and each time we go back, we add new friends and share laughs with those that we only get to see once a year. When you spend every daylight hour in a tiny little lake with the same people, you’re bound to share a few laughs (and beers) with fellow anglers.We came home with 8 fish over a 3 day period and went a solid 24 hours of fishing without a single bite and didn’t hear of a single boat limiting either of those days. We finally dialed in our Superbaits and the fish made it to the lake and ended up with a few for the box.It was a grind, both mentally and physically, but I got my studying done and we ended up with the highest class of springers there is! This is the stuff we dream of filling our freezers with! We tried about everything you could imagine on Saturday ranging from Brad’s Superbaits behind a Pro-Troll flasher, prawn spinners, herring, died herring, plugs, Wigglers, you name it. Sunday night we finally got our first fish with Captain Gordon (Jeff’s dad) on the motor. It was complete chaos but there was so much joy and excitement. We weren’t getting skunked!!!! We got another that night just as the daylight faded away and were the last boat in the lake. there was a bit of drinking involved and we made some of our best memories :)It took a while, but we made more friends, saw old friends, and laughed a lot. Monday Jeff’s parents left for home early and it was just the 3 of us. We relaxed, napped, laughed more, got a little sunburnt, and most importantly, CAUGHT FISH! Our time had come and we were finally the boat that kept getting bites! Almost all of our fish were caught on Brad’s Superbaits stuffed full of smelly goodness. In a fishery that we only go to once or twice a weekend, it took a while, but we finally dialed in the right speed, weight, size, scent, etc.I finally got my first springer of the year and hopefully got rid of this depressed state that I’ve been in for the past month spending countless hours fishing only to hear “you should have been here yesterday”. Drano Lake holds a very special place to Jeff and it’s a continued challenge that he enjoys trying to master from several hours away. It’s a trip that we spend months preparing for and make some of our favorite memories. We just may make it back there this weekend with the damn counts finally on the rise :)

Positive Attitude

Published April 3, 2016 | By Steelhead Girls
What we anticipated for and what happened this weekend were 2 completely different things. The weather was going to be great, we were going to limit on springers by noon, and we were making new friends. While some of those things were true, it definitely wasn’t what we expected.We were going with a friend that I met through Jury Duty back in November and a coworker that fished with us last springer season. We headed out bright and early Saturday morning only to see blue flashing lights behind us about 45 minutes into the drive. Turns out, the trailer lights must have shorted out because the super kind officer “ALMOST RAN RIGHT INTO THE BACK OF US!” After he threatened us with a couple of tickets, had quite a rude attitude, and intentionally tried to find as many things wrong as he could, he came back from his patrol car only to see that our trailer lights turned back on and let us kindly go with a warning about my tail light which is actually out.We got to the river early, headed out, and saw 2 fish hooked right at first light. It was going to be a great day! Well, we didn’t see much more action, didn’t get a single bite, saw 2 fish lost to the sea lions, and fished until almost sunset. We got a bit sunburned, were running a bit late, missed the bit on tuna because we forgot the tuna at home, and were exhausted, but the guys had a lot of beer and we all had awesome attitudes despite getting skunked. As we’re on our merry way home, we here a “POP”. Strange! Nothing felt different or smelled or anything. Sure enough though, we blew a trailer tire!I didn’t exactly have the appropriate equipment but we made due with what I had, improvised, and it took ideas from all 4 of us to get this tire changed. Still, positive attitudes and we were not letting this ruin our moods! We got to the park and ride only to find our new friend Ray had a dead battery! Full of laughter and disbelief, we quickly jumped the battery and all headed home.Ahhhh, time for sleep since it was so late and were getting up just 7 short hours from now. Except we needed a bit more brine and guess who was out of salt! Well, it’s okay because we can get pizza while we’re out and have food for fishing the next day!We started Sunday off great until we realized that we left the tuna at home again! That’s okay because we were just going to get them all trolling at first light like it was supposed to happen Saturday! Well, that didn’t happen either……….We saw even less fish caught today and DFW did a test gill net pull and even they came up empty. But then, a bite! We have a fish on!!!!! Ray did awesome landing it and we had it in the net! OMG!It had an extra fin. It was wild. It couldn’t be retained. We defied the odds, beat our luck, only to find out we had to give it back to become sea lion bait.But it was action right? We maintained a good attitude and prepared for another strike! That didn’t happen. Hours went by, the tide changed, we sat on anchor, and watched 1 boat right behind hook up. We had one strike on anchor that didn’t stick and finally called it quits around 5. We thankfully got home safely and without trouble and still had our positive attitude and left laughing.It was great to get to fish with Brian again! He fishes the salt water quite often and has his own boat for that, but freshwater isn’t something he gets to do but a couple times a year. This was the first time we hung out with Ray outside of the horrible Jury Duty, and he was awesome. We talked business, politics, fishing, hunting, family, you name it! I had such a great time despite our horrible luck and despite not bringing home any delicious springer, we made great memories and new friends. Hopefully we’ll get one more shot at the URB springers next Saturday, but if not, we’ll head back to the good ‘ol Cowlitz to get our springers until we get to fish for URB’s at Drano in May!Here’s to hoping our string of bad luck is over right now!

Springers are here!

Published February 28, 2016 | By Steelhead Girls

Even though I had yet another weekend of fishing, the real excitement and success came from a springer that Shawn caught on the boat! The first springer of the year and I can’t wait for dinner tonight!

We weren’t exactly targeting springers but we did make sure to have a few bait rods out just in case. We almost always have a couple people fishing bait no matter what, but this springer happened to be hungry for an artificial lure with steelhead scent. One of my favorite things about springers is their unpredictability, change of preference, and the uniqueness of each one. We didn’t believe Shawn when he hooked up and said “it’s a springer”. It ran to the other side of the river and I quickly jumped on the bow to show him how to steer the fish back to our side. He got a bit nervous and told me “don’t mess with my fish” lol. Once he got the fish back over and we saw that purple back, the atmosphere changed. Jeff grabbed the net, I grabbed the  motor and there weren’t anymore words said except between Jeff and Shawn. The fish was now in the boat and they celebrated with beer.

Aside from the springer, we had another great accomplishment! Shawn’s son’s (mother’s, brother, cousin, just kidding) girlfriend was out with us. She got her first salmon with us this fall and she got her first steelhead this weekend! The first fish to the boat and she did awesome!

We had almost everyone else get at least one steelhead and I hooked 4! Another victory for me!

Steelhead Limits!

Published February 22, 2016 | By Steelhead Girls

With my studying, I’m having a hard time getting to fish both weekend days so I get very happy when we have a good day if we’re only fishing 1 day a week.We headed back out with our new friend Steve and old friend Jerry in hopes to get a couple nice fish like we did last weekend. Aside from an hour of freezing rain (at least it felt like it was freezing), we had a phenomenal day on Sunday!

Going 9 for 14, we ended up with 8 fish in the box and 5 of them happened to be nice, big, bright hens!

We’re definitely more skilled at bobberdoggin but we’re fishing a river with shorter, deeper pockets so it’s a little bit more work to get our gear down quickly with the bobbers on. We were pleasantly surprised this weekend to have done so well side drifting. And as with bobberdoggin, we always try to have a mix of baits and artificial lures so that we can really key in on what the fish like that day. We try to treat every week as if it’s brand new with new water conditions, boat/angler pressure, different fish, different weather, and Jeff worked hard to make it pay off this Sunday!

Let’s hope this weather holds up so we can fish at least one day this weekend too!

Valentine’s Day

Published February 14, 2016 | By Steelhead Girls

This weekend was definitely one for the ladies!We headed out with an old high school friend and her boyfriend who happens to be as fishy as us and had a great day!Not only was it great to catch up with her and get to know her boyfriend, they treated us with so much wonderful food! ahahaha. They are welcome to join us anytime and Jeff has designated Jess the official cook anytime she comes fishing :)

It was a little bit tough deciding where to go because we have recently gotten a lot of rain. Even when we got to the river, we were very skeptical about whether or not we would catch anything. After about 2 hours, Jeff finally hooks a nice little buck! 30 minutes later, Jess is hooked up! She’s only been fishing for a little over a year, but she picked up really quickly, goes often, and ended up out-fishing the boys (of course). When we have new friends join us, I always am quick to jump on the bow with them and make sure they are fighting the fish correctly so we can get their fish to the boat. I was ready to take this approach and she actually didn’t need my help! Steve has clearly taught her well and she was able to bring her fish to the boat like a pro!

She got this nice super hen shortly after Jeff’s fish

From that point on, there seemed to be a hook up every 30 minutes after that! Jess got another nice hen, although it was wild. I also got 2 fish, and unfortunately, our new friend, Steve, could only get trout to bite his hook.

Our friend Kari and Derrick also got a couple fish, but more importantly, she got this great hatchery hen on a yarnie!

There was a little joke that we had in our boat regarding a very optimistic co-worker of mine. He seems to be the most positive person on the planet, and even after just 10 minutes of conversation with him, you walk away feeling good about yourself and life. We decided to adopt his positivity and while Jess and Jeff designated themselves to his team, the whole boat ended up having a great time full of fish, laughter, and positivity.

So Jess and Steve, I hope we can fish again soon! A trip like that is exactly what I needed to take my mind off my studies and work :) Thank you guys!

A Blessed Start To The New Year

Published January 3, 2016 | By Steelhead Girls  

It’s our tradition to fish January 1st, no matter what the water conditions are. We actually had great conditions for Friday and headed out with our friend Trenton who is still a little green to the fishing sport.

We ended up getting to be first boat down the river and in the very first hole, I hooked up. You’d swear I never fought a fish in my life. Jeff loosened all the drags the night before (because it’s bad for the reels to always have the drag tightened) and we forgot to tighten them back up. It was a big huge steelhead mess as I tried to find the right tension while fighting a fish that had free reign over my line. I ended up losing that but we got all the rest of the drags set appropriately :)

After the third hole, we found a pod a fish. It took a bit of work pulling the boat back upstream after each fish, but we managed to go 2/3 out of that hole.

The rest of the day had the same landing ratio, but we had a great time. Jeff likes to get the boat limited, even if he doesn’t want to bring home any fish so he was a little frustrated that we ended up going 4/10 when there was 3 of us and we should have had all 6 hatchery fish by 9 AM. Trenton and I had a fantastic time and got quite a few laughs in despite our “sometimes grumpy captain that let a few swear words slip.”

We were headed back to the river with our friend Andrew Saturday morning and we noticed that it was a bit foggy and icy when we left the house. The morning was full of ironies which we realized after the next thing happened…..

We were headed on I5 south near Nisqually when out of nowhere, we began sliding. Jeff was driving, Andrew was front passenger, and I was behind the driver seat. What seemed like the next 30 seconds was probably only 4 seconds. We slid across 4 lanes on the freeway, hit the guardrail, and flipped a few times eventually landing upside down in the far right lane. The boat thankfully detached sometime between hitting the guardrail and flipping and ended up in front of the truck about 50 feet.

After we stopped moving, we all gave our noises indicating we were okay and got ourselves out of the truck and off the freeway immediately. Thankfully, a few others stopped to call 911 for us and ensure that we were in relatively good condition. Jeff took an ambulance ride for some minor back discomfort and some X-Rays just to be cautious. The drift boat, rods, tackle, waders, etc were all recovered and in perfect condition to our knowledge. The truck on the other hand, isn’t going to seeing anymore boat launches.

I shared on Facebook around 11 AM and the support and concern was overwhelming. Literally, overwhelming and I ended up turning my phone off so that I could try to get some rest. We are all still doing fine other than some bruises and soreness. I’ve experienced a lot of support from our fishing community but this was by far the most. There were several people in the morning that made posts regarding the accident just sending prayers and wishes to the unknown victims. A few friends drove by and recognized our truck and stopped to check on us although we had already left the scene for the hospital. The amount of prayers we received reinforced my feeling of love and support from our amazing industry and circle of friends that share our passion. It just goes to show that fishing is so much more than a fish.

It wasn’t the way we wanted to start our New Year, but we are all feeling blessed beyond words. The Man Upstairs had his angels looking out for us and I’m a great believer that everything that happens to us, was supposed to happen. There is no doubt that we were meant to be in that accident and walk away essentially unscathed. Who knows if I’ll ever find a reason or understand why, but perhaps it’s just to keep us grateful for our lives.

1st Winter Steelhead Trip

Published December 28, 2015 | By Steelhead Girls

We finally got to head back out fishing after the long closures in our state to ensure coho returned to the hatchery and to successfully spawn. The rivers were in shape, and we were anxious to hit the water!Saturday started off pretty good as far as hook ups go, but not so great on the land ratio. We watched a few trees fall in from the dropping water (pressure against the loose banks from the high water is released as the river drops) and watched the dirt and mud follow creating almost no visibility for that bank. The lower in the river we went, the more clarity we lost and as the afternoon went on, we hooked up less and less.Sunday was a very slow start but quite the opposite as Saturday. We went 8 for 10 so our landing ratio was great and we worked hard to stay above the falling banks and trees to keep our clarity. I think at the end of the weekend, we only hooked 2 fish on eggs! The rest were either on yarn balls, cured prawn, or sandshrimp rags.My favorite presentation at Steelhead University this year was Cody Herman’s and this was the perfect time to put my new knowledge to use. It became a little joke because I was trying to convince the boat that the fish would hold on the opposite side of the river as the slide, even if the bank with the slide is where we would normally catch fish, inside and softer edges, maybe deeper, etc. I didn’t think the fish would want to swim/breath in the muddy river with all the silt because it gets in their gills, and their migration path would move from the bank to either the middle of the river, or the opposite side.Jeff wanted to make fun of me, but we actually ended up catching over half of our fish on the opposite side of the muddy bank. Thank you Cody!!! It could be a variety of reasons why this happened including coincidence, but I was excited and felt that I was able to contribute to the captaining which is rare.

It was a great weekend and while I only landed 2 fish, one was this great 13lb hatchery buck. The rest of the boat landed hatchery hens so we got a few quarts of eggs to make up for what we weren’t able to get during coho season :)

Back at it next weekend and I get 3 days to fish! Then, I’m starting the last leg of my educational journey……..Starting to study for the CPA exams. Woohoo!

Good People

Published October 11, 2015 | By Steelhead Girls

We started off our Saturday getting stuck at the boat launch (which is just a gravel bar) because my 4 Wheel Drive went out in my truck. With prideful heads, we tried every attempt we could think of and just continued to dig ourselves deeper. We tried reverse, using boards to drive on, pushing and even jacking it up and putting a MATTRESS under it to hopefully gain traction (that was a bad fail and we ended up sling-shotting a mattress from under our wheels). We finally swallowed our pride and decided to ask a couple others that were launching if they could pull us out.After asking a couple people with “trucks too small” and “transmission problems”, we came across the kindest group of anglers ever! James Mitchell and his friends assured me that they would get me out. No questions asked, no hesitation, they forgot about the rush at the launch, the others that may be before them and came right over to help out some fellow anglers. They got us out easily with one try and I felt so blessed and grateful that I had to fight back my tears of joy. I know how anxious we can get at the launch at daylight and how hard it is to stop what you’re doing and help someone else but they did it without question.My expectations of the day were different now and I didn’t care if I even landed a fish. I had just encountered a rare form of generosity that was greatly needed and I was able to fish instead of sitting and waiting for a tow truck that I couldn’t afford. The fishing and weather were terrible, but our boat was all smiles and laughs. There were some positive vibes with us and as we neared the end of our drift with no fish in the boat and soaked to the bone, we decided to pull plugs in the last hole.

within a few minutes, we were hooked up! Back to it, hooked up again! One more try and one more king to get our limit on kings! It was clear which side was getting hit so I swapped seats with Jake and when we were just getting ready to call it quits, BAM! Taking me out 130ft TWICE, we limited on kings just as we got to the takeout.

With all the rain, we were forced to take out the sled on Sunday and hit a different coastal river and weren’t quite as lucky. The weather was awesome, company just as good, but no fish. We fished near some awesome high school boys that were doing exactly what teenage boys should be doing and having a blast. It was refreshing to see good ‘ol fashion kids playing and fishing outside and hey! We made it both in and out of the boat launch today!

PS, there has quite a bit of controversy over whether or not my fish was photoshopped and I’ll clear the air right here. NO! I WOULD NEVER CROP A FISH IN MY PICTURE! I have more integrity than that and would never lie to impress or gain attention. I was initially confused and slightly offended by the accusations but there has been an outpouring of support from so many fellow anglers and supportive people in our industry. I can’t be anything other than grateful after a weekend like this. There has been so much support and help from anglers in our community and I’m proud to be part of it.

Back from hunting!

Published October 4, 2015 | By Steelhead Girls

I’m back! We didn’t bring home an elk, but we had an awesome time and learned A TON!But more importantly, I’m back to fishing! YEEEESSSS!!!Jeff had to work on Saturday so I took the sled out with a few friends in hopes to get some silvers. It was the first time I’ve ever taken the sled without him so really, I just wanted to hook a fish or two to prove to myself that I can fish without my buddy haha. And…….We did it! We went 2/4 and the two we caught were kings that couldn’t be retained, but we had an awesome time! A good friend that fishes with us often was able to bring his girlfriend (Drew McCarty) and she got this beautiful king!Andrew also brought his girlfriend Ashley and she got the other king (likely 30lbs!) but we weren’t quite able to get it all the way in the net. I was thrilled to have hooked a few fish, gotten some great kings, Drew’s first salmon ever, and my first trip without Jeff was a success!Jeff was back on Sunday to be our captain and we definitely got a lot more fish LOL. To be fair, everyone got more fish Sunday, but there’s no doubt in my mind that he would have at least tripled our number if he was captain on Saturday. We caught way too many fish to keep track, but ended up with 6 silvers in the box! Jeff even got what we think might be his biggest king, although we didn’t measure it so that we could quickly get it back on it’s way. Here’s a few pics from Sunday:

I’m so happy to be back from hunting, feeling refreshed, calm, fulfilled, and blessed. And ready for more fishing! :D

Last hoorah

Published September 5, 2015 | By Steelhead Girls
We had one last hoorah before we go in full force for hunting season! We’ll be gone for 2 weeks and we might come back to do a little salt water fishing, but I’m glad we got to squeeze in one day for fishing before we re-gear our minds for animals :)It was an awesome bite in the morning but it quickly died off and with a lot of other angler pressure, we struggled to find places to fish that w=had fish in them. We released about 5, 2 in the box, and lost who knows how many!It was a great day none the less and we had a lot of laughs and got to spend the day with a good friend we haven’t seen in a while. My first passion is definitely fishing and all the preparation that goes into hunting has left me aching for some more time on the water and I couldn’t have asked for a better day today.Good luck to all you ladies fishing the next 2 weeks and hopefully the next time I’m on here, I’ll have a freezer full of Elk ;)

Buoy 10 2015

Published August 24, 2015 | By Steelhead Girls

After seeing everyone else catch huge Buoy 10 fish and limits by 8 AM, we finally got to get out of the mountains (elk scouting) and hit the water!Saturday morning we trolled above the Astoria bridge and got 4/6 of our kings. Once the tide slacked out, we headed down river and fished below the bridge to find 2 more kings and hopefully a few silvers! Since there are so many native silvers and they can’t be retained, we don’t target coho and most of the time, head for the launch after we get our kings. With the water so warm, coho have a very difficult time surviving period let alone after being hooked, landed, netted, de-hooked, and then released. We tend to find wild coho floating down the river because their mortality rate is so high. So, we really just needed 2 more kings and we were done :)It took a few more hours to get those plus a hatchery coho but the weather was great and times were good! We BBQ’d, had a few beers, and even watched the Doc and his daughter go swimming!We finally got our last 2 fish and hit the launch around 1 PM. Back at it Sunday but this time we were a bit more dialed in! We hooked at least 20 fish by 10 AM and got to be a little bit more picky about which kings we kept and got 6 awesome kings by 9:30 AM. Most of the fish were caught on bait behind a flasher, however, a few on spoons.We packed up camp headed back home by 11 AM with enough time to hit the Puyallup for a little humpy fishing!

Neah Bay

Published June 29, 2015 | By Steelhead Girls
With the low water and all the things going on our lives, we haven’t been fishing in almost a month! We decided last year that a trip to Neah Bay once or twice a year was well worth the groceries that were brought home and this would be an annual thing from here on out. So, we headed up this year with a few buddies and while we didn’t get limits of ling cod, we easily limited on black rock fish (sea bass) and even got a bonus king and Cabazon!It was the first fishing trip that I’ve been on since I officially finished school and it was amazing :) I got a bit sea sick the first day (no puking though!) and basically slept through most of the morning and early afternoon, but we made a quick run into town and I got my saltines and ginger ale and was ready to go back out in the evening!The second day was much more productive (at least from me) however, I’m disappointed and sad to report that lost a really nice king for the dumbest reason ever…….I ripped the hook right out of its mouth because “I’m not targeting salmon and I get to catch them all the time.” I am still in shock at my behavior and fish fighting skills. After 2 full days of tightening our drags all the way down and getting our fish in as fast as possible, I forgot how to play a salmon and did everything in my power to bring the fish in the net as fast as possible and I lost it.While I do get to catch kings all the time, not everyone on our trip does and I’ve never caught an ocean king! The further I get from that moment, the more stupid I realize I sound and will think twice about not caring so much about landing a salmon!On the upside, we all came home with 100 rock fish, 8 ling cod, 1 Cabazon, and 1 king. Not too shabby and Jeff and I both have a bottom fishing trip coming up in July out of Westport so I think it’s safe to say, we have all the bottom fish we’ll need for the rest of the year! :)

Drano Lake 2015

Published May 3, 2015 | By Steelhead Girls
We head down to Drano Lake every year for Jeff’s birthday and spend at least 1 full week preparing for the trip. We go with his family and our friend Herb and count down the days to this trip. This year, unfortunately, we were less than impressed. More surprised than anything!The damn counts were great and there were definitely fish in the lake! But they weren’t biting the regular prawn spinner/herring behind a flasher. This year, it’s some strange salt water show all the way up in the Columbia River Gorge. We normally bring some of that gear, but never get anything on it so this year, it was left at home. Just our luck! ;)Friday morning was a super great first light bite but there was a little more traffic at the launch than expected and didn’t quite make it into the water before the bite shut down. We had a slow morning but picked up a few in the afternoon.Jeff’s mom got this hog on a herring! Weighed in at 22lbs!!We headed back out Saturday morning expecting another first light bite, but were sorely mistaken. The winds picked up greatly and a few boats got a few fish, but it was nothing like Friday morning. We headed into the Toilet Bowl around 9 AM and had 3 bites all day, but lost all 3. We went back to the launch feeling defeated and decided to head into a few towns to find some tackle that might work.Feeling hopeful on Sunday morning, we tried something new, and were again, sadly disappointed. We picked up around 9 and went to what we know……The Toilet Bowl. We had one take all morning and called it quits around 11 AM. Feeling defeated and spent, we basically spent the 3 hours car ride home in silence and bid Drano Lake farewell this year.Still a better weekend than most weekends, but we’ll head back to the Cowlitz next weekend and maybe finally move into our new house :)

First springer trip!!

Published April 7, 2015 | By Steelhead Girls
We finally made the official first springer trip and were quite successful! We ventured down to the Columbia for the last scheduled weekend that it was open in hopes to bring home some quality dinner. We started out on anchor with sardine wrapped plugs while the tide moved out.We saw a couple fish on first thing in the morning but didn’t get our first fish until about 11 AM. It was biting for a few seconds and the rod was loaded, but in our boat, you don’t touch it until the reel is peeling line. It wasn’t peeling line but man it sure looked like it was on there good so we picked it up and….NOTHING! We didn’t get anything else on plugs that morning, but when the tide came back in and slacked out, we decided to pick up and troll herring behind flashers. We go one within 15 seconds of the rods being out and it was my step dad’s rod! He did great fighting it and it was extremely exciting to see him land his first springer!We ran back up and got hit again! This time it was my co-worker and it was his first time out with us. He had a hot little fish that took several runs and dipped and tucked under the boat weaving from one side to the other! He thankfully landed it and we were feeling great with 2 upper river brights in the box!I was glad that the two people that don’t get out with us were the ones to get the fish, but I really wanted one. It’s just always so much pressure to get the first one and then it’s all fun for the rest of the season.So the next day we headed back down to the Columbia for some Easter morning fishing! We didn’t have any plugs wrapped to start the day so after we got 4 rods out, I spent the morning wrapping 20 more plugs to switch out. I wasn’t thrilled about that because I knew that if I was looking down with my hands full, I wasn’t going to be the one to see a rod get hit which meant I wasn’t going to be the one to get a fish. I watched 3 rods get hit while I was busy keeping them baited up. We got one hatchery and 2 wild fish and I was obviously irritated.Jeff thankfully announced that the next fish is mine since everyone else already had their turn. Again, at high slack tide we pulled anchor and began to troll. Again, I was dealing with the plugs and was cutting off all of those beautiful wraps because we wouldn’t be using them again for at least a week. Sure enough, a rod goes off and my hands are full! We unfortunately lost that one which only added to my discouragement because I know (I say that) if I was fighting that one, I wouldn’t have lost it. We ran back and made another pass and sure enough, the same rod goes off but this time, we announced it was my turn!I was kind of happy to have gotten this one, although it was smaller than all the others we got this weekend, it was definitely the best fighting. Stripped me out 130 feet upriver all on the surface. It was pretty awesome to watch it run on top of the water like that, but even more nerve wracking. Once we finally landed it I was happy to finally have the first one of the season out of the way!Next weekend is my birthday weekend and the Columbia is still set to close so maybe a little drift boat action or back to the good ‘ol Cowlitz!

Cowlitz Lemonade

Published March 16, 2015 | By Steelhead Girls
It seems as though I have let life get in the way of fishing again. And when I think about it like that, I tend to obviously think that life events take a precedence over fishing until I get to a burdened point in life and finally realize why. It’s not that fishing should remain more important that life events, but that fishing is my release for life’s lemons and I quickly forget how to make lemonade. Once I realize that the steps to making lemonade include fishing, my life seems to fall back into place.I’ve gone out here and there over the past month, but my heart was heavy, fishing felt like a chore and I couldn’t take my mind off the things going on at home, and I wasn’t catching which probably contributed to the slump that I was in. I go through this process about 2 times a year and thankful to say that I’m over this one and I was anxious and eager to hit the river bright and early Saturday morning.We’re in springer mode although the thought of actually putting fish in the boat is always at the top of the list so we hit the Cowlitz to target a bit of springers, but get some blood in the box by targeting steelhead as well. I got out of slump hooked up for about 5 seconds only to be left with a bare hook and a happy steelhead that got away. I did manage to land one which I was quite excited about!Brothers Jerry and Jason also got into some nice ones!Sunday I was feeling even better and even more excited. We headed to Blue Creek and first pass, Zack gets a fish on! Second pass, my turn! Well this was a good way to start the day! Shall we try 3 for 3 passes? We unfortunately weren’t so fortunate, but we ended up with 4 in just a couple of short hours before it slowed way down.Jeff always runs the boat and anyone that knows me, knows how much I hate running the sled. I’m terrified, I’ll row a drift boat all day but the sled creates so much anxiety through my veins, that I cry. It’s expensive, powerful, fast and I don’t want to be the reason something happens to it. Well, Jeff hooked up and when it’s an average or small fish, he stays on the motor and fights the fish, but this time, it was a big, hot steelhead and he immediately ran to the front of boat which left me with the motor. As I try to remain calm, I’m delegating the others on the boat and trying my best to keep the boat around the fish and make it as easy as possible to get this fish in the net so Jeff can regain control of the boat.Of course it’s not that easy. It was several minutes of shear torture (but no tears this time) as we drifted slowly towards the next corner which had a few ripples which means I might have to actually maneuver around them or lift the motor up. I’m warning Jeff that he better hurry up because I can’t do this and he just wants to patiently land this fish.Finally! It’s in the net and I immediately go for his rod so he can get the motor. It was a very nice hen full of glorious eggs that will become the next batch of steelhead bait, but I needed a beer after that. It was entirely too much.My life is still a little bit hectic, but much like running the boat, I’m getting better and better at the things that make me uncomfortable and are unexpected. Once I realize that the ripples aren’t as bad as they look and that I can do this, I am able to remember how to make lemonade :)

A Little bit of fishing before the rain

Published January 19, 2015 | By Steelhead Girls

I didn’t have much time last week to blog, but last weekend we had a great day on Sunday with Jeff’s parents! I had to work on Saturday but Jeff and his buddies did pretty well for themselves. Jeff even got to shake hands with this beautiful hen and there was a couple more “first steelhead” for a few friends!


On Sunday I was determined to fish even though I had to head back into work that evening. We took Jeff’s parents out and right off the bat, we were bringing fish in the boat. We had a little confusion with how to reel (the spinning reels stay below the rod and if you reel towards yourself, the handle comes off) but after that was cleared up, we were fishing with perfection! Well, sort of :)

As usual, Jeff got the first fish in the boat. Then the second and decided his dad could reel that one in. Jeff must have passed on his good juju because then his dad was on fire! He hooked a total of 6 fish and we were off the river by noon!

This weekend the rain storm just started in and we had a big trip planned with Mike Z in Forks on Sunday, so we thought we’d mess around a little on Saturday. We headed out despite the rising rivers and pouring rain and while we only got one fish all day, it was another first! Our friend Jerry brought his brother out and he bared the rain and got his first steelhead! We headed out a little bit early because we started getting soggy and got rained out Sunday so we watched the Seahawks take another win home!

Last trip before it’s back to school

Published January 4, 2015 | By Steelhead Girls
We rang in the New Year being completely skunked! It’s a tradition of ours to go out the first day of the new year and steelhead fish. We did just that and the river levels weren’t in the greatest condition so we headed to a place that we normally don’t fish until February because it was one of the only rivers in shape…….and we got skunked. Not even a bite! It was a great day and beautiful outside, but no fish.We headed down to southern WA on Saturday and redeemed ourselves by landing a nice coho, a kelt, and went 3/4 on winter steelhead.The first fish of the day was around 10 AM and my eyes were wondering to the houses along the river when Jeff saw my float go under “honey!!!!” The immediate reaction was simply to set the hook without even looking and sure enough, “Fiiissshhh”. It took off running down river and it was heading straight for a waterfall! Okay, it wasn’t really a waterfall, but it was some pretty gnarly rapids and I was still standing in the boat 100 feet upstream of the fish.Jeff said “you’re gonna have to go chase it” and he picked me up like a child because the water was almost waist deep and while the fish continued to scream down river, I began running…..and running….and running. I’m not sure how I managed not to slip and fall and I dredged through the river and my fish headed around a corner. I just kept thinking, this is a blast, but there’s no way I’m going to get this fish. I was laughing the entire way and then I heard our buddy Curtis come stomping behind me with a net.We’re huffing and puffing and the finally gets tired and brings itself to the bank. Wow! What a rush! And well, this isn’t the first time in my life I’ve needed to be picked up out of the drift boat to chase a screaming winter run. ;)The next fish wasn’t until about 1 PM and it was on a diver. Curtis was letting out one rod when mine started getting hit. We all take turns and because this was a diver fish, it’s fair game so I was going to let Curtis have it. Well his hands were full with the rod he was letting out so I snatched it up. To be honest, it didn’t fight much at all which I am now okay with, because it was a beautiful wild hen and I’d rather it come in quickly than to tire it out like the first fish.The third fish was Curtis’s and the second to last place that we fish on the drift. Jeff was making fun of him because he was drifting a peach cheater and an uncured chunk of prawn. It was referred to as “snot”. Sure enough, he got slammed! And his “snot” produced a great hatchery buck.We decided not to fish today (Sunday) since I technically start school today and the garage is a disaster, plus we’re in day one of a storm. So we’ll hopefully be back in shape for next weekend and I’ll get a bunch of homework done while he’s cleaning :)

Kicking Off Steelhead Season!

Published December 28, 2014 | By Steelhead Girls

I’ve been so busy with life lately, that I forgot how important fishing is! This quarter (school) along with out abundance of rain has kept me from the river for quite a while, but I’m back now and hopefully more regularly again! :)I took the day off work on Friday to hit the river for our first steelhead trip of the year and was rewarded with this beauty:There were quite a bit of small fish all weighing in under 8 lbs, but it was still great to be out there. Jeff, who runs HIS boat and always gets first water, landed 6 out of the 9 fish hooked that day! Saturday we took our buddy Patric, his girlfriend (a steelhead virgin), and our other buddy Trenton (also a steelhead virgin) and hooked 10! They were a bit bigger and we got Amanda and Trenton both of their first steelhead ever! Amanda even got her limit (2) and hooked 3!I worked pretty hard all day keeping the rods rigged up and whenever that happens, I start to feel like it’s work and karma rewarded me with this beauty and the biggest of the day. Thank you Lady K for treating us all so fabulous on Saturday!Being able to give people this kind of joy is what Jeff loves. He had a great time hooking 6 fish on Friday, but he had a much better time Saturday being able to assist with this kind of experience!Bonus! Dime bright coho in almost January!Saturday poured down rain so I was looking forward to a little sunshine this Sunday. We took out another Steelhead Virgin, and our buddy Zach. Everyone got to at least hook a fish, but I unfortunately lost mine! Ramsey got his first ever steelhead, Jeff put 2 in the box (again, that first water all day sort of thing ;)) and Zach also landed a great hen to replenish the egg supply!We’re hoping to carry on our New Year’s tradition this Thursday with another steelhead trip so I’m crossing my fingers that the weather permits it! Then, next weekend is my last weekend before it’s back to school for my second to last quarter and hopefully a nice, easy quarter :)PS: After this weekend, I realized that it was time to break out my “go-to” warming techniques to keep me cozy and fishing while in freezing temperatures. I originally was going to direct this to the ladies only, but after all the whiny boys this weekend, I decided it can be helpful for everyone :) 1. Get a good layer of Insulation underneath your clothes. You know, the old Long Johns are actually great with today’s new technology. I don’t go fishing without Under Armour thermal pants and long sleeve shirts. Sometimes I’ll wear two cheap long sleeve athletic shirts as a substitute.2. Fleece sweats are a must! When I first met Jeff 9 years ago, I made fun of him so much for wearing this ridiculous black fleece sweats with stirrups. Now, it’s either my brain that wised up, or my age that made me stop caring what I look like, but they are a must. There’s nothing warmer than fleece sweats.3. Fingerless gloves WITH MITTENS. Ladies, I know, these are impossible to find in fishing departments to fit our tiny hands. Take yourself to Target and spend $5-$15. They have a huge selection and they are made for our dainty hands! They aren’t too expensive, and they even fleece and water resistant materials. Look for the ones with fingerless thumbs too so that you can tie knots and open bait loops.

4. Wear latex/nitrile gloves under them to keep your fingers from getting wet.

5. Put one Little Hottie Hand Warmer in each mitten. they’ll warm up the fingers in no time and I fish with my mittens on. The only time they come off is to cast (which I only remove one finger to hold the line) and to bait up!

5. While we’re talking about Little Hotties, if it’s really cold (or I’m feeling like a baby), I’ll stick them in my bra. If it’s too hot, wear 2 sports bras and put them in between. It’s at the core of your body so it keeps most of you really, really warm. You can also tuck one under your bra strap on your shoulder to keep your shoulders from getting sore. Therma Heat back warmers are the best, but expensive if you’re using on a regular basis.

6. Get your boots one or two sizes too big! I spent my first 2 years in boots too small and it took that long to realize my toes couldn’t wiggle and that’s why they got so cold!

7. Wear a normal pair of socks and then thick, cozy socks on top. Don’t get too tight of ones or you have the issue with number 6. I also don’t ever use the Little Hottie Foot Warmers because they don’t work unless air circulates and they bunch up at the feet.

8. Last but not least, bring an extra hoodie or rain jacket if it’s going to rain! You can change halfway through the day and voila! you get to wear dry clothes again

Hope you stay warm out there!

Rainy fall fishing

Published November 2, 2014 | By Steelhead Girls
Well, Saturday we got out with some new friends which is always great! We’ve had quite a bit of rain and most of the rivers were blown so we hopped in the sled and fished big, high, dirty water. The weather was awesome for us and the fishing was even better! We pulled plugs most of the day, but did a little spinner and jig fishing. It’s always a favorite time of year to pull plugs because you get so many take downs and the rivers are loaded with chum after a storm like we’ve had and chum are pretty aggressive with a big old sardine wrapped plug stuck to their face :)  We were just a few fish shy from a limited boat and called it a day. Sunday, we went out with the “A-Team” which means buddies that fish with us often so they know the drill, lol. The river was on the drop so we brought out the eggs and started with some float fishing and what a good decision! I lost count of all the kings we landed, lost, missed bites, and we got a few bonus coho in the box too! We had a pretty good bite for the first couple of hours and when it died down, we headed in search for some more keepers.We got to fish all sorts of methods and got more kings, chum, and coho. The rain came back and we were off the water by 2. Not a limited boat, but I limited and we were soaked ;)And of course, when the fishing is good, we never take enough photos because it’s a race to get back in the water!Back to the weekly grind with a whole lot of eggs to cure up and fish to fillet! We’re expecting another batch of rain so hopefully I’ll at least be able to get out one day next weekend! It’s not looking to optimistic for our weather forecast this winter!

Salt water salmon

Published October 6, 2014 | By Steelhead Girls
Fall salmon make it so hard to keep up with homework! Another successful weekend out on the big water! We made some last minute plans and was able to fill the boat up with some new friends!We headed out on Saturday with our friends Andrew and Zach and Andrew’s “Uncle Phil” who doesn’t get to catch many fish :)He ended up with a king and quite a few silvers all chrome fighting machines! We got to test out some new flashers and even got a coho on a spinner which is always extra fun because it’s not the primary method when we’re in the salt water.I wanted to know about the game, I would watch it! lolOn Sunday, we headed out with Zach and Amy and Brady which was our first time fishing with them! It’s always great to meet new people who share the same love for the outdoors, and an added bonus when it’s a girl! We stumbled through some tangles, rough water, and as the sun came out, tide came in, and wind died down, we started nailing them!Amy and Brady are avid hunters and fairly avid fishermen but don’t get out quite as often as us so it was a blast teaching them all kinds of new techniques and getting to see them put their new skills to use fighting fish in the big water. They were great company, learned fast, and Jeff even let Brady net a few fish, which is really, really rare for him haha.After a great morning, we cooked up a few elk burgers and called it an early day and headed home with 8 chrome coho in the box. Luckily, it’s Brady’s birthday this month and Amy just got him a new smoker! Looks like the perfect time to bring home this many fish!We didn’t get any pics, but we ended up getting quite a few fish on some green and blue flashers! Go Seahawks!!

Loving coastal fall fish

Published September 29, 2014 | By Steelhead Girls
Some of the best fishing happens when we transition from summer to fall. The rivers are low and clear, the fall fish are patiently awaiting in the Bay for big tide swings, full moons, and bringing those water levels up and dirty so they can begin their journey up river.The water conditions were perfect this weekend and we headed to the top of the river to get those traveling fish that are staging up for a little break. It started out very slow in our first hole and the few fish we did catch, were a bit on the dark side. Not quite what we were expecting. We headed down river and searched around for some more fish and found a few more pulling plugs.The fish were biting alright, but we were having a difficult time keeping them on and most of them were chrome silvers. Jeff pulled over and let me give it a whirl on the oars! I’ve pulled plugs and divers before in the drift boat, but never got any participants until Saturday! I got my first plug fish and got to finally return the favor, and put Jeff on a nice fish!We kept fishing around and were a few silvers shy of our limit but headed to the takeout to get the evening low tide and dig our own sandshrimp! I unfortunately spent most of the night doing homework, but was well rested for another day of salmon slaying!Sunday, we headed down river a bit to see if we could find some brighter, fresher fish and we did just that! We released quite a few darker fish, but managed to fill the box with chrome! We even got a bonus hatchery steelhead! It was our friend Zak’s first time in our drift boat and he did great! We all got fish on so many techniques, but majority of the fish on Sunday were on eggs.We had several groups of friends in their boats and it was another fall fishing trip to go down in the history books. I love steelhead, but fishing the coast each fall with tons of friends is the type of trip that I look forward to every year and it’s exactly the type of trip we needed to get our fishing “fix” after so many weeks of hunting and preparing for hunting!

Back to fishing again!

Published September 22, 2014 | By Steelhead Girls
Elk hunting is over and I couldn’t be happier to get back to fishing 100%! I did love hunting, but the passion still lies on the water :)I got back last week so on Saturday I got to hit the water! Jeff had to work so I headed to the Humptulips for a little king fishing before the water got too low for a boat. We started out slow, but we ended the day hooking about 14 kings and well, we had to pick through the boots to find some chrome, fresh, kings. After we put 4 kings in the boat, we put on some spinners and floated down to the launch looking for some moving silvers. It’s a bit early and the water it REALLY low, but we found one! It was a nice wild, 10lb buck that was peacefully released and I have to say, of all the kings that day, the silver was the one that got me excited! I’ve missed those flips and death rolls!So Sunday, we fished locally and searched for some more silvers but were unfortunately left empty handed. Not even a single fish. So we called it a short day and headed home.Beyond excited for another weekend of fishing but Saturday can’t come soon enough! Hopefully we’ll be on Gray’s Harbor, but even if we do get a decent amount of rain, I’ll be excited to be on any body of water!

Buoy10 2014

Published August 18, 2014 | By Steelhead Girls
While I was whining and crying about having to go to my wonderful 3 year old niece’s birthday party on Saturday, I was wishing the worst on Jeff and his friends as they headed out to Buoy 10. I didn’t deserve the wonderful trip that I had on Sunday.Poor Joey did end up getting quite sick, but not after catching a nice 23 lb’er. The boat got one more jack and a wild coho which was released.They headed in and I met up with them to fish on Sunday.It started out slow and spinners didn’t get anything the day before so we only put one out on Sunday with the other 3 rods fishing herring behind a flasher. We watched a few boats here and there hook and got one jack right off the bat, but nothing else for us for a few hours. As the tide changed, we headed below the Astoria bridge and watched the fog get thicker.Zack got a nice 24 lb’er and as we were letting the rest of the rods out, I feel mine get bit. I’m just about at bottom and I keep paying out line. I’ve never had this happen and I can hardly think straight! Thank goodness for all the practice with back bouncing! I let out a couple more feet and finally set the hook. Fish on! This is awesome!It takes me for quite the ride! I hit 80 ft on the line counter and begin to get worried. I let Jeff know that it’s going, 90 ft, 100, am I going to run out of line, 110, 115, 120 ft, crap! We head towards it and I was able to bring it back it. What a wild ride! We tango for a few more minutes and finally ease this beauty into the net.I’m so happy and feel so bad for all the trash talking that I did the day before. What a poor sport! We find another school of fish and get everything back in the water and Herb gets a nice 21 lb’er. We hook a couple wild coho and finally Jeff gets his big king!It’s 11:30 AM. We’re done! Forget finding hatchery coho, let’s get out of here!Such a great day and all of Jeff’s hard work paid off for his first Buoy 10 trip! We won’t make it back this year as we’ll be heading out for Elk hunting, but fall salmon are in the air!!

More ocean fun!

Published August 5, 2014 | By Steelhead Girls
We headed out to Neah Bay for a brand new experience! We really don’t do much salt water fishing and we’re both missing the smaller rivers and are completely ready for fall kings, but it was a really cool experience to see so many new water creatures!The first day we got a couple small ling cod and a few sea bass and then we found a nice little pocket of sea bass. We worked on them for a bit and limited the boat on rock fish twitching jigs. We even got a pretty nice size ling in the mix!The next day “Fogust” was really making it hard for us so we stayed close to shore and targeted ling. I was at the ocean the last time I went fishing and all I wanted was a ling. Even when we salmon fished, I fished deeper in hopes to get a ling. So on Saturday, I didn’t get a ling and all I wanted on Sunday was a ling.All the boys got theirs and I had lost 2. I finally got one and I was beyond excited! So by lunchtime on Sunday, we got our limit of ling, a Cabazon, and a bunch of different types of rock fish. The fog wasn’t going anywhere and we were more than satisfied with the amount of fish going home so we headed home.We’ll be back in the small river for some fall fish and a couple little trips before the big hunting getaway!

Outdoor Chic Clique Charter Trip

Published July 20, 2014 | By Steelhead Girls
My first ocean trip! Amy Spoon organized an awesome trip with 24 girls from the Outdoor Chic Clique, a Facebook group, and Horns and Hooks was there to catch it all on camera! There were ladies from as far as Idaho and Oregon who came to Westport to fish on the Tequila Too. We searched for Yellow Tail Rockfish, Lingcod, and Salmon (kings and silvers). We ended up with a couple Yellow Eye Rockfish, 260 Yellow Tail Rockfish, about 10 Lingcod, and 10 silvers.I headed out with a new friend, Kelcey Helvey, to celebrate her birthday and meet up with Kari and her mom for a little girls night out the night before. I was initially very nervous about getting sea sick, but I actually ended up loving the ride to our fishing destination! There is something about being on a boat crashing against the waves that makes me feel like a 10 year old on a roller coaster and I was happy that the ocean was no different.I unfortunately didn’t get any lingcod which is what I REALLY wanted, but I came home with 10 rock fish which will cook up just fine! We started out with little flies for the rockfish and a few ladies even caught some salmon. I’ve fished in some water that was pretty thick with fish, but we literally just dropped our lines in the water, and came up with two fish every time! We had that limit in no time! We headed out a little farther for some ling and while I lost two, I did land a very, very large Yellow Eye Rockfish by accident. We quickly sent it back down so I didn’t get any pics or measurements, but it sure was awesome to reel in such a big fish!After a couple of us landed a few of those, the captain made the good decision to relocate where there were less Yellow Eye rockfish. We got a few more ling and then headed back towards the coast for some salmon! We mooched for a couple more hours and it was awesome to see those fish run all over the place in the wide open water! A few Seagulls fell victim to the herring but were safely released back to the wind!I’d have to say the way back in was my favorite part. We drank a couple beers, took a lot of pictures, and got to socialize and meet a ton of ladies who love to fish! It was a great event from Amy and she did an awesome job rounding up sponsors and putting together prize packs. Looking forward to the next one!

LOVING the sun!

Published June 1, 2014 | By Steelhead Girls
I couldn’t have asked for a better, more beautiful weekend! We put away the Cowlitz springer gear last weekend and headed to a smaller river for some beautiful scenery and peace and quiet. I’m happy to say we didn’t see a single other boat, and we got quite a few shots at some fish in all different techniques. What a nice little change of pace from Drano, Columbia, and Barrier Damn on the Cowlitz!Sunday, we headed up to the Sky for the opener and it wasn’t the greatest fishing, but it was another beautiful day! It was busy as expected, but the weather was perfect! Overcast morning with some good biters before 8 AM. The bite really did down in the late morning/afternoon after all the boats have gone through, but we ended up going 7 for 7! Only one hatchery fish, and 3 of those fish were down river steelhead, but it was still good fun and a great way to end the weekend!Back to the grind this week, field course on Saturday, and fishing again on Sunday! I have finals next week too so either fishing will clear my mind enough to do well, or I’ll have to fit some serious studying in between all that :)

Last go ’round at Drano Lake

Published May 13, 2014 | By Steelhead Girls
What a slow weekend at Drano Lake. I’m not sure if the fish are late, or just not going to make it but the fishing isn’t nearly what it should be this time of year and with all those fish coming up the river. We always troll the main lake first thing in the morning before heading into the toilet bowl and both days seemed awfully slow in the lake. The afternoon bite was decent in the toilet bowl, but still very slow. We lost one adult and got a jack and saw about 20 other fish caught.Sunday was a little better in the main lake in the morning, but nothing but a jack for us. Still not much of a plug bite with most of the fish caught on herring or prawn. We saw about 4 other jacks that morning. We headed into the toilet bowl and lost another adult and landed one more, but that was it for the weekend. We of course ate well again; I swear I eat better fishing out there than I do at home, and the weather was perfect, but I wished fishing was a little better. I’m glad that we have not taken a skunking out there this year, but we never really had that “Drano lake fishery” kind of day. Just a bunch of onsie twosie’s here and there.We won’t be back again this year and I’m taking next weekend off from fishing to get caught up on homework, but we’ll be down at the Cowlitz until June!

Jeff’s birthday at Drano

Published May 4, 2014 | By Steelhead Girls
Jeff’s birthday weekend was another success! Despite the damn counts, it really wasn’t that great of fishing, but we managed a few ;)We took a three day weekend this time and let me tell you, Friday way a SLOW start for us! From the top:Thursday morning before work, Jeff walked out to see gas pouring out of the vent in the back. It was hot and tank was full, okay open the lid and vent it out. Didn’t tell anyone else not to walk around there or wash it off because gas was all over the trailer and strap.We stayed up late Thursday wrapping plugs in the hotel room and put them in a bait cooler and in the boat that night. Jeff walked out in the morning and saw a cat in the bed of his truck. He shoo’d it away and turned around to see the cooler open and plugs destroyed around the boat. Two thoughts entered our heads: why don’t we have my cute new pink BB gun and how did that stupid cat manage not to get any of those hooks stuck to its stupid face?We cleaned the top ones and fished the ones that were still at the bottom of the cooler and looked and smelled okay. We watched a few boats hook up around us in the main lake and cooked up some breakfast (mimosa’s, fruit, & egg mcmuffins – yumm!).We headed to the toilet bowl a little confused as to why we had half the people in the boat, but two fish each day by this time the weekend before and there were so many fish headed upriver. We made some friends and swapped some beers and by 10 AM, we were throwing fruit at David Perez in exchange for more beer and fruit. We somehow ended up with a rotten banana that we watched get swapped with several other boats. We politely threw back a strawberry and chucked the banana in the garbage.We watched boats hook up right in front and behind us pass after pass. Around noon, we’re still fishless and we’ve seen at least 20 fish hooked. Something isn’t right. We headed out and cleaned everything. I mean everything! Thank goodness for Lemon Joy! An entire bottle, gone and everything was clean. We started over with new bait, new plugs, no garbage (by garbage I mean banana – thanks David!), nothing that could be bad juju.We headed back into the toilet bowl and fish on! No way! Thank goodness Jeff was smart enough to try the only thing that made sense. Clean everything! We went around again, fish on! Hot damn! Thank goodness!!!! We went 3 for 6 that afternoon and kicked ourselves for missing the entire morning bite but was so proud of Jeff for figuring out that bad juju.The rest of the weekend was great! Not really any morning bites and it progressively got slower and slower as the days passed and the strange thing is, no plug bites! Last weekend, almost all of our fish in the morning were on plugs and we couldn’t buy a plug bite this weekend. Damn cat…..Jeff’s birthday was a success with some of his favorite people around. We ate good (ask the other boats that were there), we drank good (ask them that too), and we caught fish! One for the memory books!Not sure where all the fish are and neither is anyone else, but hopefully next weekend picks up!

Drano trip number 1

Published April 27, 2014 | By Steelhead Girls | Edit
One of my favorite fishing places……Drano Lake!I can’t even begin to tell you how much effort Jeff has put into the Drano Lake fishery. Many trips where he left at midnight right after work when he worked at a restaurant; started with his drift boat then moved to his dad’s Whaler until he got his own boat; thousands of dollars spent on that fishery with a few fish to show for it. I think the most we’ve caught is 3 fish in a trip and we fished at least 2 days with a full boat and had to sit by watch boat after boat with fish on.So far, this is Jeff’s year. We made our way back down there so we could get dialed back in for Jeff’s birthday weekend next weekend. Our buddies knew the counts weren’t as high as we’d like them and we could very well go home empty handed but the next weekend, if there were fish, we would find them. He’s spent the past year perfecting prawn cures, herring cures, and finding his favorite Maglips. Right after we launched, we heard only 5 fish were caught the day before. Yikes! That doesn’t sound very promising…..We started in the main lake and got one right off the bat! YES!!!! A few of my close friends know that when we’re trolling, back trolling, pulling, anything with the rods in the holder, YOU DO NOT TOUCH THE ROD until you’re told to. This is serious and I can’t help but get feisty when this rule is broken and fish are lost. Well, a few of my friends also know that I’m known for snatching your fish if you’re not quick enough. If Jeff says get it and you take longer than 1.5 seconds to pick it up, it’s mine. I’ll be damned if we lose the fish because you were too slow. Although I’m working on this part, after elbowing Jeff’s mom and stealing a rod straight out of my mom’s hands, I’m trying to be less greedy. Well, Herb was just too slow! I ran from the back of the boat as soon as I saw that first hit, hopped over a few things, and snatched Herb’s fish. I hollered “you’re too slow Hermie!” and I crank down on the first fish of the day. Okay, RUDE, I know! I just don’t know what gets into me! It’s like I need to sit on my hands or something! He was a great sport and helped everyone get this fish landed. He even high fived me after and let me do a happy dance. We were all just happy to see a fish this early. If this is all we go home with, at least it’s something! We saw another half dozen and then we got another! It’s 9 AM and we already have 2! This is record breaking for us out here! It quieted down and we headed into the bowl. We saw very few caught, but a few nonetheless. Nothing else for us the rest of the day until our last pass…..the rod with a brand new Shimano Tekota 300LC got whacked hard! Nothing…A second later, another but it was clear the fish still wasn’t on. We watched the rod get chewed up, but nothing promising and then, nothing. We reeled up, re-baited and decided it was not time to go. Back down she goes and as I’m letting just a couple more inches out after it’s down, I find out the drag is lose. Of course. A brand new reel and we didn’t check the drag! NOOOOO!!!!!! It’s one thing to just have a fish miss, but to find out it was our own fault?!We made a few more rounds and left satisfied with our two fish hoping to hit the sack early.The next day, we hit the main lake again and got another! So far, Herb, Myself, and Nyef all have fish and Jeff’s so selfless, he just wants to sit back and watch all his hard work pay off. We got one more that day and headed home early each with a fish to each for dinner.This place is very special to Jeff and thankfully it’s one of my favorites too. It’s so beautiful, the people are beyond friendly, and I’ve never felt more “away” for just a weekend. The drive sucks and it’s expensive, but if it’s only a couple times a year, it’s like a mini vacation and well worth the cleared mind that it creates. Some don’t like the crowds or the monotonous fishing, but we love it and I’m glad! Back at it next weekend with Jeff’s family to celebrate his birthday and we’re all dialed in!

Springers are so emotional!

Published April 23, 2014 | By Steelhead Girls
We didn’t get out to the Columbia again for the last day, but we did hit the smaller rivers and were pleasantly rewarded :)I had a very rough work week last week and decided, again no homework for me! Not so much because I didn’t want it, but I just couldn’t focus and I paid for it when I took my midterm today. Back to the good part! We got up bright and early, found the sweet spot and pitched bait for hours. Jeff got one on about 9 AM and it was definitely a nice one. Took up upriver and kind of hung out in some really heavy, boulder water and sawed him off at his main line after about a minute of fighting.He was devastated but had never been more motivated. We were drifting bait and I started getting a bite. I lowered my rod to give some slack and after about 4 good bites, I put the wood down. FISH ON! And I just so happened to be breaking in my new IMX 13ft center pin rod!After 3 seconds the smile wipes from my face and I get into a comfortable spot to bring this guy in. It seems as though the longer I fish for springers, the more stressful they get. I get this knot in my throat and this nauseating feeling in my stomach. My heart races and there’s absolutely nothing I can do to hide the sheer panic in my face. Jeff usually has to tell me to breathe and relax and that just makes me lose focus on the fish, which makes it worse. When I finally get the fish landed, a huge wave of relief washes over me. I get pretty anxious about all fish, but nothing quite like these guys. Perhaps because there are so few and far between and we’re fishing primarily for the table fare, not the rush. Funny how that works….Anyhow, all of this emotion happened in about 20 seconds and we see the fish hit the surface. It’s a jack…..Now, it’s just a bonus fish and it’s all in fun! I’m actually playing around and I realized that I was tricked because my rod is so sensitive! How cool is that?! We have the IMX 13ft center pin rod and that’s what Jeff fishes with for springers so I know my rod is more than capable of handling a 15lb springer, but how awesome that I can actually play and enjoy a fight from a jack!We fished for several more hours and when I went in the car to take a quick nap, not even 10 minutes went by and Jeff had a nice 13lb’er. He was extremely happy that he made up for the missing fish this morning and we get to bring home dinner again :)Now hopefully I can find a good balance again between work, fishing, and homework! Off to Drano Lake for the next couple of weekends! Springer lovin’!!!!

Birthday fishing!!

Published April 14, 2014 | By Steelhead Girls
We really haven’t been fishing much lately so all I wanted for my birthday was to fish all weekend and not have any homework so I wasn’t worried about getting off the water at a decent time. I took last Friday off work so I could finish all my homework for the weekend and we headed down to Kalama in search of our first springer for the year. With the reports last week, we were pretty confident the odds would be in our favor, especially since it was MY BIRTHDAY!Jeff, Andrew and I headed down to meet our buddy Kiley and start the weekend celebration! We started out Saturday anchored up with plugs dancing away. We watched as a couple boats around us hook up and wait patiently. As the tide slacked out and our plugs lost energy, we picked up and trolled herring the rest of the afternoon. Again, we watched a couple boats hook up and patiently waited our turn.Andrew and I celebrated a bit too much and dozed off while Jeff and Kiley kept an eye on the rods. We wake up quite startled when Kiley’s rod goes off. In a complete panic, we reel all the rods up and get the fish in the boat. FINALLY!!!!! It wasn’t my birthday fish, but it was the first springer of the year in the boat and a huge relief to know we weren’t complete bad luck or something. The wind and tide made it extremely difficult to fish so we packed up and headed out with our one fish. We continued my birthday celebration and Kiley graciously gave us half of his fish! YUM!!!! lunch tomorrow!We hit the sack early and woke up refreshed and ready for another beautiful day on the river. Again, we anchored up with our dancing plugs and again, watched as a few select boats got tagged repeatedly. Jeff, being the genius that he is, figured out where we needed to be based on a few variables and we re-anchored and put the dancers out. After just 30 minutes, a plug gets hit. “DID YOU SEE THAT?” I could hardly think. I couldn’t decide if I was happy or mad because the rod wasn’t going off. I relaxed and went back to eating that delicious fish when that same rod goes off just 5 minutes later.Jeff picks it up and hands it over to the birthday girl. I could hardly breath. I can’t lose this fish. This is my birthday fish and my first springer of the year. It gets within sight and I swear, I see the native fin. In fact, I see it twice! I actually am a little relieved because if I lose it, it doesn’t matter! I bring it up closer and it’s not native at all. My mind is playing tricks on me! Oh my gosh, get this thing in the net ASAP!Thank goodness, the Kwikfish completely sewed it’s mouth shut and we get it in the boat. I’m smiling a little, but I’m not jumping for joy. My knees are shaking profusely and I can’t think. Andrew and Jeff are so excited and start taking care of the fish and get the other rods out as I just stand there. Speechless. I start crying. Balling. Tears running down my face; I can’t think of a time where I felt a bigger sense of relief. They think it’s hilarious and I try to wipe my tears so I can take a pic of that plug and get it back out there dancing around. We finish out that tide cycle and go back to trolling hoping to get the last two fish. Again, we watch boats hook up patiently waiting our turn. We didn’t end up finding anything else, but we all split the fish that we did get and made a million memories this weekend. I couldn’t be more grateful for getting to spend it with 3 awesome people and getting my first springer of the year. :)

A little catch up

Published March 24, 2014 | By Steelhead Girls
I’m finally on spring break so I can do a little catching up on my fishing life! It’s been fairly nonexistent compared to normal which is very disappointing but I passed another quarter of school and still have a job :)Since we got the sled we’ve tried several times to do the whole, Cowlitz Blue Creek boat full of cookie cutter winter runs. Last year, we went about 6 times and failed every time. We managed to hook ONE for about 2 seconds and that was it for the entire year. Jeff’s been doing some research and trying some new stuff so we hit it up a couple weeks ago when everything else was blown. We didn’t get skunked, but again, we weren’t very successful. It didn’t sound like anyone was very successful so it wasn’t a terrible day. We got one fish and it was a good thing that it was Jeff that hooked it, but it really wasn’t the “Cowlitz” that everyone hears about. This was all I was able to capture of the moment!We took another week off and got geared up for SPRINGERS! Springers might be my favorite fish to target (and to eat!) mostly because the time of year. It’s finally getting nice out again, we fish the Columbia and Drano lake a lot which is a little more relaxing and easy to take family, and we are just so darn successful on the Cowlitz (as compared to winter run)! Plus, our birthdays are in April and May so we do birthday trips for springers :)We spent all night Friday night switching our gear, wrapping plugs, and getting the boat ready. We headed down with a truck full of buddies and the sun in the weather forecast. I was so excited I couldn’t even sleep on the way down. And I sleep everywhere. EVERYWHERE: school, work, cars, dinner, everywhere. So for me to not be able to sleep, I had to have been REALLY excited!We found out spot and set up. Since it’s still a little early, we were anchor fishing Kwikfish. Of course, the boldest colors with the juiciest sardine wraps and all 5 rods were out. We had a great day BBQ’ing, sharing stories, napping (I wasn’t the only one this time), and of course, trying to catch the first springer of the year! We didn’t catch anything, but we did get a pretty cool show from a couple of bored tugboat drivers! They were right across from us obviously killing time, doing donuts, racing, and even a little face off to see who could push who harder.I even drove the boat! I don’t like driving the sled, especially not in small rivers. It’s big, expensive, and fast. I don’t like going fast in anything and in the sled, if you’re not going fast, you can’t stay on plane and you won’t get very far in a small river. I try to avoid having to drive it at all costs but Jeff insists that I learn. I don’t mind driving it in the big water because there’s really nothing to worry about except seals and logs but at least I practiced! ;)One more week of spring break and a couple fun birthday trips coming up! I’m ready for springers :)

New IMX rods!

Published February 24, 2014 | By Steelhead Girls

This weekend with the water on the drop, but still high and murky, we weren’t expecting much and we got a little surprise!

We took out our new G Loomis IMX side drifting rods (review posted under REVIEWS/ARTICLES) in search of a few hatchery steelhead and we got much more than we bargained for on Saturday. Grayson got the first to the boat on a pink work with black head which was perfect for the low-visibility.

We ran up to make another pass and I was caught off guard when felt the solid weight behind my hookset. Fish on!! As it comes screaming towards the boat, I reel as fast as I can to keep up and realize when it stops under the boat, it’s not a small fish and it’s certainly not done. I get nervous that the guy on the net won’t be able to make a stab quick enough as I try to lift its head to the surface. After a few jokes about me “cupcaking” the fish, I warn the guys I wasn’t playing around and this fish was big! We check out the new rod and it’s fully loaded and they believe me when we finally see the silhouette of this beautiful hen. We get her in and I’m beyond pleased to see its hatchery! I just landed a 14lb hatchery hen! SCORE!!

Herb, who ALWAYS has a great attitude waited patiently and fished hard while Jake and Grayson each landed another fish. He was finally up and he deserved all the glory that his fish had. An almost 20lb hatchery buck that was perfectly blushed but still shaking scales.

We went 5 for 5 that day and hooked one the next day. Lloyd, who wasn’t quite as deserving as Herb, was just getting discouraged enough to ask to be taken to the boat launch at 1 PM because he was “unlucky” and fishing from the sled just wasn’t for him. After everyone ripped him a new one, he finally got back out fishing and what do ya know? Hooked into another almost 20lb hatchery buck. What are the odds? Normally, I say negativity gets you nowhere and you have no place fishing with us if you want to be negative but for some reason, it worked for Lloyd that day! We all were more than happy for him and happy that he can put a smile on his face and enjoy the rest of the day even though we didn’t touch another fish the rest of the day.

High water and low vis were tough this weekend, but we fished big, bright stuff, we fished hard, and we fished everything. No matter how silly the spot, fish seemed to be holding or travelling through everything. Who knows what the next weekend will hold, but I’m glad I got to go out and enjoy two solid days of fishing and 4 awesome new rods!

The Sweet Release

Published January 20, 2014 | By Steelhead Girls
I didn’t go fishing last weekend for a number of reasons, including a ton of rain, homework, and a very important meeting on the Chehalis basin. So this weekend, I was beyond excited to go fishing and release some stress! I put the homework away at 8 PM on Friday and turned on the TV. I hadn’t put homework away before 11 PM for the last 10 days and it felt so good!We woke up Saturday and I was wide-eyed and ready to go. Like when we go out for our first springer trip of the year, neither of us sleep the night before and we both wake up before the alarm clock and don’t sleep on the way down there.I was a  bit off my game and wasn’t paying very much attention at first. I’ll admit, all I could think about was how I needed to schedule my weekend and what homework I was going to accomplish before Monday morning. I was still having a good time, but I wasn’t relaxing like I should have been. Thankfully, the cards clearly knew how stressed I was and made it work for me anyways!To be honest, I’ve never caught a steelie on a pink worm! EVER! I haven’t really fished them much and my confidence in them was a little low unless I was on the OP chasing wild steelhead. This year, I said I wanted to fish a worm until I caught one so Jeff tied up a bunch of worm leaders. Good thing about being busy, I get out of leader duty except while I’m on break :)I was still being a bit lazy and absent minded and was trying to drink my energy drink when my float went down. Of course it happens at this very moment when I’m not looking and I only have one free hand. I throw down my water bottle and set the hook with just a tiny bit of force and feel very subtle headshakes. “That’s a fish”. Maybe a trout or sucker fish, but a fish for sure. It quickly came in continuing with the subtle headshakes enough for me to tell everyone else to stay in the water because this wasn’t keeper.We only had about 2 ft of visibility so we had to get it all the way to the surface next to the boat to see what it was and as fast as we realized it was a big beautiful steelhead, it realized what was going on and went ape-shit crazy. It started bulldogging me like a king and doing quick, short runs. I kept my calm (which is rare) and so did the rest of the boat as we began working as a team getting rods out of the way, net ready, motor ready, and drag loosened. I was playing this baby to the finish. I wanted to savor every second of this fight and make sure I did everything I could to make sure I kept him on the hook. One big 20 yard run was enough for that feeling to go away. Drag tightened, and I’m laying down the wood. I won’t lose this fish.We get it in the net and head to shore for a quick pic. The beautiful rose blushed buck was just what I needed to feel the sweet release of stress. This is what I live for and this is why I have sleepless nights during the week so I can get my homework done. What was I doing thinking about regular life stuff on the river?! How dare I bring that on the boat and bring that into Mother Nature’s world. This was not the time or place for that.I took water in the boot and water up my sleeve and felt nothing but sheer, joyous release as we let the 14 lb wild buck go. I was done. That was all I needed all weekend.Of course, I wanted to see more and went back out on Sunday to see if we could get some more but we were left empty handed. Jeff was really disappointed, but I was satisfied. In fact, I was grateful. I would have been happy with a 7 lb hatchery fish and I was blessed with a beautiful 14 lb native buck with the prettiest shade of pink on his cheeks. Bring it on work week!

Changed up fishing buddies

Published December 30, 2013 | By Steelhead Girls
My fishing buddy was stolen by Joey Princen to fish for beautiful, wild steelhead so I headed out with our buddies Jake and Grayson to search for anything chrome :)As always, I’m anxious to fish without Jeff no matter what the situation. With my crazy, busy schedule, it’s rare that we get time to hang out so fishing time IS when we hangout AND I always am eager to bring him back a fish. Doesn’t matter what it is, I’m like a little cat bringing a dead mouse to his feet. Mostly desire to show the teacher what I’ve learned and can accomplish on my own, partly my girly side trying to impress my beau <3Right now, almost all the rivers are LOW and CLEAR! A few exceptions to the rivers made up primarily of glacial melt, but I wasn’t fishing one. With almost 10 feet of visibility in the water, I spent the week prior tying up the smallest little 1/4 oz jigs in the most subtle winter run patterns I could come up with. I fully intend on writing all about my choice for jig fishing in low, clear water this week :)With just one other boat at the launch, I made my first cast in the morning with my most confident jig. It must have been nothing but wishful thinking to hope for another fish on the first cast of the day because I cast straight into a tree. Yes, even I cast into trees on occasion. Great……We fished our float and jigs for a little while before switching up to bobberdoggin. A technique that is easy to fish from a moving boat and great in almost all water conditions. This technique was new to Jake and Grayson so I was eager and excited to pass on some knowledge that had been taught to me. They were a little skeptical but we were over halfway finished with our drift, fishless, first boat down river, and at this point, was only out there for the good company. I hit the first fish and while it wasn’t much, it was bright, hatchery, in the net, and a perfect little mouse to drop off on the porch.On to the next fish….You know when you have something you’re really not confident in on your line? And you don’t want to change up for the sake of time or missing water so you fish it secretly hoping to cast into a tree or drift over a log under water?Maybe a jig that looks bulky and big in the low water, or a washed out skein with only a few eggs in your favorite king whole? Well, Grayson had a blue easy egg on that was intended as a joke and he just couldn’t shake it. Apparently, it was for good reason when he hooked into a chrome bright, scrappy 10lb’er. After a few head shakes, the elusive fish became even more elusive when it broke free from the 10lb leader.Grayson was heartbroken, but we were glad we were getting into some fish, and still, having a really good time. Just a few minutes later I hooked into a fish that will haunt me for a LOOONNNGGG time. As I set the hook, the fish begins absolutely screaming upriver. She showed herself with two cartwheels and began charging the boat. As I reel as fast as I could to keep up with her coming at me, she too, broke free from my light line.These were chrome bright, fresh from the salt steelhead. It this clear water, you make your choice to fish light gear, but I guess you have to remember the type of fish you will be catching should you be so lucky to hook into one. We didn’t get to see another fish, but I was glad to bring home something and have a really good day to put under my belt.Jeff caught this beauty on his little trip and while he had about as much fun as I did on our separate trips, we missed our company and the teamwork that keeps us strong. I’m still not skunked on steelhead if you count summer run, but only Andrew was so lucky to bring a winter run into the boat on Sunday. Not a bad way to go out in 2013 but here’s to an even better start on New Year’s Day! May the new year bring you many fish and even more memories to cherish forever!~Bry


Published December 22, 2013 | By Steelhead Girls
We did hit the river one last time for those killer b run coho and only ended up with 4 in the boat. 3 out of 4 were awesome fish, but it was hard, we fished hard, and we didn’t have the same ending our prior weekends were.I am embarrassed to admit that I took 2 naps on the boat and ate lunch. Anyone who’s been on our boat, knows that does not happen. Jeff and I are both perfectly okay with fishing every single minute that we are on the water. Heck, that’s what we’re out there for right?! But I was feeling spoiled and this was entirely too much work for silvers after a night of just 3 hours of sleep.We decided that steelhead were in the forecast for Sunday! Our buddy actually took us out in his drift boat so it was a nice relaxing day for all of us! There wasn’t a single other boat at the launch and we anchored up for the first slot. First cast of the steelhead season and a brand new jig tied the night before. FISH ON! I kind of thought maybe it was an old salmon or something. There’s no way I could be so lucky to have a steelhead (that felt heavy!) on my line on the first cast of the season. One glance and sure enough….that’s a nice steelhead!With a little bit of hooping and hollering I got an awesome fight from a very nice hatchery fish. This is the best feeling ever! The adrenaline is pulsing through my veins as this silver bullet screams away from the boat and I tug back to keep away from the logs. Everyone is anticipating getting this fish in the boat and the closer it gets, the farther it runs. And then finally, a sweet feeling of satisfaction as I watch the fish enter the net.The day was complete and it hadn’t even started yet. Although, I felt a huge wave of stress gone after getting the first of the season, I had no desire to stop now! We fished hard the rest of the day and didn’t get another until about 1 PM but this is what steelheading was! I got small buck in the afternoon and we fished all the way to the launch. I’m officially in steelhead  mode and I’ll be tying leaders and jigs for the rest of my winter break :)FISH ON!!!!

Loving life and these late coho

Published December 16, 2013 | By Steelhead Girls
I finished finals last week so this was my first weekend fishing without homework in 3 months. In fact, I’ve only been fishing one day a weekend so that I could get a little bit more studying done and I got to fish BOTH days this weekend! :)It’s kind of crazy how different my life seems when I’m on a break from school, but I am so happy! Life seems to have so much more meaning, fishing is even more amazing, I’m a thousand times more motivated, and I actually have time to think about how blessed I am.Waking up to fishing Saturday morning was easy. I was so excited to get up, so excited to fish without worrying about whether or not it will be productive, and just enjoy the day! It was a pretty slow start and we had only hooked two fish by noon and I was beginning to feel spoiled. Spoiled because we have limited the boat with 4-5 people on b run coho the past 3 weeks in a row. Thankfully, one of the two fish hooked was mine and it was a hatchery hen, but it was kind of boring. Like steelhead fishing for coho.Then all of a sudden, we found a pod! We hooked 6 fish in one pocket! Granted, none of them were mine, but fishing was exciting again! I don’t really like coho that much only because it’s difficult to go from catching a 30lb king to a 10lb coho, but these coho are typically all over 10lbs. This is the first year I’ve really targeted the B run coho and they are quite impressive! All the fish have been on spinners so that means more bait without using bait! Plus, I don’t stink afterwards ;)We hurried home and got all dressed up for another holiday party and hurried home to sleep before another day of late coho fishing. We had a full boat with 5 people and fishing was great right off the bat! We had all 10 fish by noon and almost all were hatchery! Unreal to get so many huge hatchery coho in mid-December!We got home around 3 PM and I got so much stuff done! I was in a great mood and couldn’t stop thinking about how blessed I am. I had an amazing weekend, I’m in the Christmas spirit, I caught a lot of big fish, and I DON’T HAVE HOMEWORK!!!!!!If we get a decent amount of rain, I’ll definitely be switching to steelhead this week, but if not, I’ll be back chasing b run coho next weekend!

Last coho trip?

Published December 2, 2013 | By Steelhead Girls
Not sure if I’ll be chasing the elusive steelhead or searching for more b run coho…..Oh what a tough decision to make when just 2 days I caught my second biggest coho ever! This year is full of big fish for me so let’s hope I can make it into the 20 lb steelhead club this year!I only fished one day this weekend and spent the other day off doing some Christmas shopping. Another great day with the b run coho as we filled the boat up with scale shaking fish. Near the end of the day, we were getting ready to call it a day and we all really wanted one more fish so we were fishing harder than ever. We find a new hole and whack! first pass, Curtis hooks up. Second pass, whack! Patrick hooks up. Now I’m really wanting another one and sure enough! WHACK!!!!!! Third pass and before I could even set the hook, the fish was leaping upriver with my spinner in tow.“WOOHOO!!!!” Thank you for one more fish! This coho, about 15lbs was acrobatic as ever! A little color to it but this buck was my second coho ever! We’re usually in full steelhead mode by this time of year but we are just loving these big fish and certainly aren’t quite ready to switch gears yet.We all pretty much got our limits and got fish in almost every hole we fished and probably have the last coho fillet in the freezer for this year.This weekend I’ll be going to a meeting in Olympia regarding the Gray’s Harbor fisheries to support the “1000 man march”. This is a fishery that we fish often and finally have an opportunity to voice our concerns and help support some very dedicated men who has put their blood, sweat, and tears into keeping this fishery alive for anglers.
The commission, a citizen panel appointed by the Governor to set policy for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW), will convene in Room 172 of the Natural Resources Building, 1111 Washington St. S.E. The meeting is scheduled to begin at 8:30 a.m. on 12/7/13.An agenda for the meeting is available at hope to see many fellow anglers there to support what an amazing fishery we currently have.~Bry

Chasing coho’s

Published November 24, 2013 | By Steelhead Girls
A very frosty morning led to an absolutely beautiful day on the water. I was actually nervous to head out that morning because of how cold it was! It’s certainly no different than the weather we fish in all winter long, but this weekend was really the first weekend of our winter weather and I wasn’t quite ready for it.We got to the icy launch and after a failed attempt of launching the boat, I gave up out of shear fear. Not only have we launched the sled in colder weather, we’ve launched in the snow and ice and this was no where near that weather. In fact, we’ve even had the truck start sliding while I was out of the car trying to hook up or take off the boat, but nothing that an extra push on the brake pedal didn’t fix. This morning as I slowly backed the truck down with Jeff ready to drive the boat off, I begun sliding even with the brake pedal engaged and the emergency brake on. As I picked up speed, I VERY QUICKLY panicked, put it in drive and floored it hoping the truck would get traction and get me the hell off that launch. Thankfully it did :)After I gave up, we watched another truck do the same thing, but with a much smaller boat. They slid to the water where they finally got traction and launched their boat. As we tried again, some other anglers waiting to launch threw dirt on the launch. What a great idea! Everyone successfully and safely was able to launch. Thank goodness for some people who had their coffee that morning!And lesson learned! There are many tactics that would have and did work in that situation, but panicking was not one of them! Keep calm and fish on! So, after that experience, the rest of the day was perfect. We had plenty of opportunity to land fish and catch our limit. While we had a land ratio of 6:14, we were all very happy with what we put in the box and the fun we had. Clarissa knocked out two firsts and actually had a 100% land ratio! She got her first plug fish AND her first spinner fish! She’s fished bait almost exclusively but she’ll be a hardware junkie in no time :)We laughed endlessly, sang countless 90′s songs, and I’m sure annoyed the boys to no end but it was truly a girlfriend day on the river.Sunday was a low-key fun day full of sleeping in, chum fishing, and getting home early to finish my homework. Now, I’m ready for the holidays and ready to start my Christmas shopping!!!!~Bry

Fishing is good for the soul

Published November 10, 2013 | By Steelhead Girls     

Fishing may have been the cause of my poor exam scores two weeks ago, but it will also be the cure.

My life is kind of crazy and while I love everything about it, sometimes it’s a bit much to handle all at once. Thankfully, I have the best support team I could imagine. I work 40 hours a week in a regular 9-5 desk job as an accountant; I go to school full time, which equates to 7 hours every Monday and 7 hours every Wednesday; I fish every weekend; I visit my family every Friday afternoon; I always make sure I make it to family and friend celebrations. Between the work and school alone, it can be overwhelming to say the least, but fishing is my outlet. Some say I could study on a Saturday or I could clean on a Sunday. I could attend one extra BBQ in the summer or I could stay out later drinking on a Friday night.

But you see, I can’t do any of that when there’s fishing to be had. Fishing is the reason I can do so much. Fishing is the ONLY way that I can handle my chaotic life. Plus, I never have time for Jeff during the week. If I didn’t fish, when would I spend time with my very best friend?

I spent all weekend with my best friend and Herb (WHO I HATE………just kidding, Herb!). We had a blast, caught some fish, had too much Kraken, and spent a lot of time with some other friends too. Now, we didn’t catch 40 lb kings or 12 coho in 4 hours, but I’ll take a good time fishing over studying any day!

Ask any boat who saw us this weekend. We may have been a little loud, loved catching chum on plugs, or wore silly hats, but we had a damn good time!

So, I scored poorly in all 3 classes a couple weeks ago and said I was going to take a weekend off from fishing so that I could study and get those grades up. But I didn’t and I don’t regret a single second of it. I don’t care that I have 4 loads of laundry, need an oil change, or haven’t cracked open my accounting book since Friday at noon. I had a fabulous weekend. I’m ready for Monday morning and ready to start counting down the days until Friday.

Failing isn’t an option and I’ll bring my grades up to my standards but I will not give up fishing for school or anything else. It’s me and it’s who I am. If school has a problem with it, I’ll just have to sleep less during the week :)

Exploring turned out to be beneficial

Published October 27, 2013 | By Steelhead Girls
Because the water was is so low everywhere, we figured it wouldn’t hurt to explore some new water today. Have fun, have low expectations, and see if we can’t find fish where we haven’t really fished much.Surprise….It worked!We headed out to the salt water on Saturday with 3 of our friends and went 4 for 5 on coho. They weren’t a tremendous size, but they were nice! We do catch fresh fish in the rivers, but geez, these guys were so super fresh! We hit a river on the way home and was unsuccessful, but went back out on Sunday and went 10 for 15 in just about 3 hours!It was unreal and awesome! Usually we are praying for rain but we’ve had amazing fishing two weeks in a row and I’m  not sure I’d like anymore rain!

New rod, new records!

Published October 23, 2013 | By Steelhead Girls

Well, now that I finished my tests in all three classes this week, I can finally tell everyone all about my awesome weekend! Catching some awesome coastal fish and spending the days with some awesome people!

First off, I landed the biggest fish of my life. Estimated at 45 lbs, this big buck could NEVER have been landed without my new float rod; the G Loomis 10’6″ SAMR 1265C 10-40lb! I couldn’t have been happier about using this rod as my quick replacement. I’ve used this rod as a float rod when in a pinch or when a friend needs one, but never REALLY used it and put it to the test. I won’t be replacing my fall salmon float rod, I’ll just be borrowing our trolling rod when this season comes around.

I also landed the most fish I’ve ever landed in one day and I literally was huffing and puffing by the end of the day. Still fishing, and still fighting, but in reality, this rod did most of the work for me. I would have been done by 10AM if I didn’t have such an awesome rod. I also landed more fish than everyone else in our boat :)

Joey got some killer shots and there was an unreal amount of teamwork! Everyone offering nets and photos, and opportunities for double headers! Stacy even got to come out and had the hot rod Saturday morning!

An unbelievable weekend that was truly just a wonderful time. The fish weren’t that bright and almost all were released, but they were big and it was fun! I don’t have time for the gym so if I could just have fishing like that every weekend, I’ll get my workout in for sure! 

A Little Proud

Published October 14, 2013 | By Steelhead Girls

Well, I have to be a little proud. It’s rare when Jeff and I don’t fish together. We both work Monday through Friday and make fishing on the weekends our top priority. When Jeff gets called into work on the weekends, I typically am a little glad for a break to run errands but this weekend, I had nothing to do so we got his buddy to agree to go with me and took the boat out by myself :)

I’ve rowed many times for a long time, but never without Jeff. For anyone who has heard about when I catch fish without him around, you know I’m like a little cat that brings a mouse to the doorstep. I’m so proud and can’t wait to show him what I did. Seriously, like a little kid and it’s a bit ridiculous because I’m 25 years old and don’t get that feeling even a little bit when he’s around. Only when he’s gone, do I feel the need to MAKE HIM PROUD! haha.

Another buddy of our was taking his new boat our for his first time rowing alone as well so we teamed up and pep talked each other through it. We got to the first hole which wasn’t as good as expected. Lloyd landed one and lost a few others and Andrew also got a silver. We stayed hoping for some more opportunity while Andrew headed down to find more fish. They were successful in numbers and got off the river well before us but we were awfully proud of the quality of fish we found. Hey, we fished until dark and only had 3 in the box, we have to make it sound good somehow :)

We lost a few others and got a few nice ones and headed home so Jeff could take us out on Sunday. It was a cold and slow morning, but we were richly rewarded with 3 amazing kings all completely sea lice ridden and as bright as an ocean fish. We didn’t find any silvers, but Lloyd got some rowing practice in, and we were home early enough for me to get this blog done after taking care of the fish and bait.

A great weekend and I’m going to sleep feeling extremely proud. A small accomplishment, but it’s a start! Now it means I can take a boat full of my best fisher ladies!! Dream fishing day :)

More coastal salmon

Published October 6, 2013 | By Steelhead Girls   

We hit the coast again after the rivers dropped in and we started up high on Saturday knowing all the fish ran straight up river. While we landed a ridiculous amount of fish, most were sent back into the river because they were a bit too dark for our liking. We found a few holes that we could pound out a few fish and everyone got more than a few chances at some fish so it was starting off to be a great day.

We found a nice little hole that was getting a lot of hits, but boy was it tough to land them. We had to chase a couple down and Herb even got spooled by a monster! Luckily, the fish popped off once the line broke at the reel so we were able to reel all the line back up, but man it sucked to see that beauty get away.

About 15 minutes later, as I’m rigging up Herb’s rod again, Jeff is fishing my favorite, custom, float rod and hooks a huge fish. Not only was it huge, it was dime bright, which was rare that day. He gets it just next to the boat and everyone’s words were “holy SH**”! Right as Herb went to net it, we heard the worst noise you could imagine………..”snap”. My heart sunk…..My rod snapped in two and broke the braid. We watched that beauty tow away with our float still attached and Jeff got a good punch in the arm. Well, no more float fishing for me all weekend! And, I’ll need to try to replace a custom rod. GREAT!

The beer was pouring and I was pouting. I just wanted to get to the launch, dig razor clams, and sleep. We fished a little more and I got a little happier. The fish that broke my rod will haunt me forever, but at least it broke on a killer fish and not in a car door or in a tree. Trying to be optimistic here :)

Saturday we went a little lower in the river hoping for some brighter fish. We got some brighter fish, but nowhere near the numbers as the day before. The crowds were fewer, and the fish were definitely a lot nicer, but we only killed two and we were at the launch by 2. We had a nice little lunch and home to clean clean clean all those fish, clams, and eggs!

Can’t wait for next weekend! I’m now in full fall salmon mode even though I’m out one rod ;)

Fall fishing at it’s finest

Published September 29, 2013 | By Steelhead Girls

After just a few hours of sleep, we headed out to the coast for some more fall fishing. We started the day off right with a nice king on a spinners and got a few more on spinners and jigs. No silvers landed for us, but we Clarissa lost a couple coho on eggs, the boys landed a couple more kings, and we decided this rain was getting the best of us.

We headed down river moving as fast as we could without going so fast that we couldn’t fish and plucked another king and coho out. We released quite a few, lost even more, and ended up with a body count of 3 kings and 1 coho and a whole lotta EGGS to cure up.

Other than celebrating my mom’s birthday today, I couldn’t ask for a better weekend! Jason Aldean concert, fishing for huge fish, and spending the day with my family and curing eggs! Back to the grind tomorrow and I’m at it again next weekend! Now if only it would stop raining a little ;)

A whole new breed of fish

Published September 22, 2013 | By Steelhead Girls
We’re over the early salmon runs and were ready to head to Gray’s Harbor for the REAL fall salmon when we made the last minute decision to fish the rivers because of full moons and less than ideal tides. We headed to the coast and the first day, did pretty well for the entire boat! I went 0 for 6 unfortunately, but the weather cleared up, we had good company all day, and Jeff limited pretty early in the day.We went razor clam digging that night, our buddies cooked up the most amazing 10PM dinner, and we were ready for day two. I was determined to land at least one fish Sunday.Well, when we launched, the weather was great and within 2 minutes of heading down river, the storm kicked in. We fished in a darn tsunami. Well, not really but it sure felt like it! I hooked a nice coho first thing in the AM and lost it right at the bank. I will say however, it was not my fault and my fellow buddies didn’t feel the need to move out of the way when it wanted to run, so I was pretty limited on how I could fight it. All in good fun, everyone was hooking up here and there so I wasn’t too upset :)I was expecting to hook up again, but the bites died down and we decided to head out and it unfortunately took us 2 hours to row to the takeout because of an incoming tide AND upstream wind. Poor Jeff…….Hopefully we either get a lot of rain to push the fish in the rivers, or we get little to no rain this week and they open Gray’s Harbor back up :)

How I Get Revenge

Published September 16, 2013 | By Steelhead Girls 

The plan this weekend was to take Jeff’s aunt Karen and uncle Jerry from Montana out. They just wanted to fish with their nephew, catch a big one, and bring home a bunch of fish to can. Friday morning I get a call from a “sheriff” at about 11:30AM. Having two younger brothers (that have called me to get them out of trouble before), I was trying to figure out what in the world they did so early in the morning to be getting in so much trouble that they had to call big sister to help.

He was actually calling to ask me about my supposed snagging on the river; And I don’t feel bad for assuming it was my brothers. :)  Apparently, Chief [something tribal sounding] called him to report me and my friends’ snagging problem on the Nisqually. I was very surprised and told him that perhaps someone didn’t like one of my recent blogs and thought they would try to get me in trouble. He was very persistent on wanting to meet me but I said I was fishing the next day. He was asking about who I was taking, if I was running  guided or charter trip, and where I was. Sounding very official and educated on his questions, I answered truthfully with Jeff’s family, no, we aren’t guides, and the military launch on the Nisqually.

He was closing the conversation by setting up a meeting in the morning at the boat launch so that he could discuss in person. When I asked what his name was again, he replied with “uncle Jerry”. I GOT PUNKED!! I feel that I was warned Jeff’s uncle is a whole lot of fun and that I would love him. Everyone was absolutely right! After offering to bring the beer and gas the boat, I couldn’t wait to meet this man!

I left work early and headed home to make sure everything was perfect only to find out that Jeff got called into work Saturday. We were pretty bummed because his aunt and uncle had to go back to Montana Saturday afternoon. He got some extra work done while in town and last minute decided he would stay if he could fish on Sunday! Back to the game plan! We unfortunately had to bail on some other friends, but we couldn’t give up another opportunity to take him fishing! the fishing started out decent and we released a few dark fish assuming the fishing would be great all day and we could be picky. They just wanted fish to can so they didn’t care if they were dark, pinks, anything! We really just wanted nice kings!

The terrible thunder storm rolled in around 9 AM and we had Jeff’s dad, uncle, and aunt all fishing without rain gear, in a Washington thunder storm. They pulled out that beer and fished their way through it! The bad weather really turned off the bite and we struggled to put anything else in the boat. We had just one 10 lb coho which was a great fish, but not quite what we intended to send them home with.

After a very fun day of fishing, tons of picking on ME (uncle Jerry says “you seem like the kind of girl that’s easy to pick on”), beer drinking, and great stories, we called it quits before the next forecasted storm headed in. I mistakenly decided to clean the fish on the boat and was getting the last little bit of blood out when the fish slipped right off the side of the boat! GONE, JUST LIKE THAT! The only fish we had and the only fish that they could send home!

They joked about buying whole salmon from Johnny’s Dock and I PROMISED that we would have fish for them when they came up again in a few weeks and they were more than welcome to come back out. Uncle Jerry said he’d only come out if Jeff could get them out while I was at work or something. I was not welcome back with them and he told Jeff to find another girlfriend because he didn’t approve of me! They really did buy salmon on their way home and even sent the eggs back to us, but I’m still saving all the next fish we catch for them. They were wonderful people and I can’t wait to see them again if they’ll allow it. Uncle Jerry was a riot and Aunt Karen might love fishing more than me…

Well, I Jeff keeps telling me he was joking and that they liked me and surely hope so! He pulled a fast one over on me before I even met him and that my friends, is how I get even :)


Pluggin’ it….

Published September 9, 2013 | By Steelhead Girls

This weekend had much better fishing for me than the last :)

However, the fishing wasn’t as good in general. With all the rain we got on Thursday and Friday, the Puget Sound rivers got pretty blown out. The Puyallup was too high and unsafe for anglers, and the only other river in the area with pinks is of course, the Nisqually. We got there early to launch the boat only to find that everyone in the entire lower Puget Sound must have had the same idea. Not many boats, but there were so many anglers that we barely were able to launch the boat and I almost got stuck at the launch because there were so many cars parked in the way of the entrance/exit.

Once daylight hit, we really saw the water clarity and height and were immediately disappointed. The water had about 6 inches of visibility and we knew that there wouldn’t be much of an egg bite today. We did fish bait under a float in the first hole for about an hour and oddly enough, got a big pink! We tried twitching jigs and spinners and couldn’t find a fish. There weren’t many kings rolling around in the upper river so we headed down to see if the clarity was better in the tidal water.

Not much better down river and we still didn’t see any kings rolling. We fished for a few more hours before coming to the realization that the river was entirely too murky but were optimistic about Sunday. The river was dropping about 50 CFS/hour and it had to be in better shape the next day. Maybe less people with it being Sunday and football day too!

We were right about it being better on Sunday. Clarity started off about a foot which is still less than ideal, but we could work with it! We started off with our usual float and eggs and couldn’t find a biter so we found some plug water and was blessed with some biters! Even the pinks wanted in on those big, stinky K-15’s! They didn’t stick about 80% of the time they hit, but it was exciting to have some action and even more fun when we hit a king!

All in all, we went home with 3 kings and 2 pinks. I got probably the last tan of the year and I actually got to catch fish this weekend :)

Only 2 more weeks until Gray’s Harbor!!!!!!

Labor Day Weekend

Published September 4, 2013 | By Steelhead Girls
It was such an eventful Labor Day weekend, I took two days to write a blog this weekWe fished the Nisqually all weekend and I must admit, it was one of the most humbling weekends I’ve had. I got the worse skunking of my life! I’m pretty selfish when it comes to fishing and I don’t take many of my friends, because it’s so much work and I don’t actually get to fish much. I know, extremely selfish. My anxiety level rises about 100% when everyone else is catching fish, but I’m too busy getting line untangled, rigging up rods, cutting bait, etc etc to actually fish. It’s okay every once in a while, but we’ve done a lot of that this summer and I WANT TO FISH DANGGIT!Saturday:Being the great guy that Jeff is, he invited his co worker and his two daughters out fishing on Saturday. I complained the night before about “babysitting” all day and I was grabbing a diver rod if it was mine to fight. He joked about me being so selfish that I get satisfaction from a diver fish. I said I would happily help the kids, but I was taking full advantage of Sunday and Monday without new friends and children. That deserved some pretty bad karma and I got exactly that.Jeff apparently sucked up a bunch of rocks in the  impeller the weekend before so as soon as we launched, we were powerless and spent the first hour taking the motor apart to clear out the rocks. It gave me some time to teach them all how to fish a float, mend, set the hook, etc so it wasn’t time wasted. We hit the first diver spot and Robin (the daddy) got a native. Put up a great fight, but they wanted fish in the boat. We worked our behinds off trying to keep the girls entertained while trying to get fish. We had casting lessons, French braids, and lunch when we headed up river. I finally hooked one and it was coming right in!“c’mon Caitlin! Help me fight this one!” With both of us fighting this fish that seemed to be a dark, small adult, we were having a blast. The fish took off, reel screaming, and we soon realized “this ain’t no 4lb jack”. She saw the fish and heard us talk about how nice it was and she took off running to the back of the boat. She wanted no part in losing this fish. I didn’t even realize she wasn’t there anymore as we got the fish in the net.She also wanted no part in killing the fish, but her 6 year old sister wanted to be the “bonker” so long as she didn’t have to touch it. We took a couple pics and headed out for the day. I ended up having a great time and didn’t even care that I was helping all day. They were actually  A LOT better than I was expecting and I felt terrible for even complaining. Guilt wasn’t karma enough apparently.Sunday:I was finally getting the day of fishing without rookies. We headed back to the Nisqually with Curtis and Cameron and they were well seasoned. We pulled divers in the first hole and didn’t even get a bite so we moved to a bobber hole. They were hooking up quite a bite, and fish were rolling all over. Me however, I was left untouched as they released two natives and put 6 fish (one pink, one coho, and 4 kings) in the box. I was using the same bait as Jeff, trying to copy as much as I could and I was left empty handed. That bite died down and we moved to a new hole. Within 10 casts, they had 5 fish hooked. Me? Still biteless. I was getting pretty irritated at this point and they just thought it was hilarious. No one could figure out why I couldn’t get a stinking bite.I went home empty handed with my pride shattered. That’s what I get for being so selfish about taking kids and rookies out.Monday:Again, we’re going out with some other well seasoned friends and there was no way I was getting a skunking like that again. We hit a different bobber hole and sure enough, same scenario! The three of them got quite a few bites and put 4 fish in the boat (one silver, three kings) while I STILL remained fishless.I was so positive and optimistic Saturday. That didn’t work so Sunday I was discouraged and cursing the lucky fishermen who were getting bites. I put a little Captain in me and tried desperately to change my attitude. With my pride in my stomach, we headed up river for some new fishing.First pass, fish on! I BROKE THE CURSE!!!!!! I’m trying desperately to land this fish as it screams down river past the boat. Why was I fishing 12lb leader and size 4 hooks again? As we raced to keep up with the fish, the line got caught on the kicker motor. The rod is folded over directly behind the boat. I may lose the fish and break a rod in the process. We get the line off the motor and thank goodness, THE FISH IS STILL ON!We got the fish in the net! It was a dark king and it wasn’t huge, but I’ve never been happier to land a fish and my smile shows it all. High-5’s all around and I needed a celebratory drink. I was ready to go home now and put this weekend behind me. I’ve had dry spells where I may not catch a fish for a few trips. Hell, I think I’ve even gone a couple of months without catching a fish but most of the other people aren’t catching fish either. This was some serious bad karma that I deserved and I’ll think twice about being so selfish. Someone took many years to get me to where I’m at. Many tears shed, many clothes, many cold fingers and sleepy car rides. Jeff took the patience to teach me and I need to be as patient with others who are willing to learn. Humble weekend indeed, but I had a blastThis is the smile of sheer humble, pride swallowing, joy!

Last weekend on the Skok

Published August 25, 2013 | By Steelhead Girls
Clarissa’s husband, Curtis, fished the Skok Friday and says “I went 16 for 24 today. You guys gotta come out tomorrow.” So we do thinking it’ll be a quick morning and we’ll be out of there in no time!Isn’t that always how it happens?? “Shoulda been here yesterday”. Fishing sucked and we hooked 8 between the 5 of us. 4 were jacks, Jeff and Clarissa each landed one and each lost one. The fish were biting their typical finicky way where nothing sticks and we headed out about noon. We hit the Puyallup Sunday and got stocked up on the eggs we wasted Saturday and managed to get a nice silver in the mix. Not exactly the way I’d like to spend my Sunday’s fishing, but I think starting next weekend, we’ll be full swing in salmon season with no breaks until November.Here’s a couple shots of Clarissa fighting her fish. If I can’t hook one, I’ll be sure to be that good friend that captures your fight :)FISH ON!!!!!

Fishing with the parents

Published August 19, 2013 | By Steelhead Girls

Well, we try to take out our parents every once in a while and we got to take his parents out for a night last weekend and mine this weekend.

My dad hooked a king and lost a king and everyone else had a slow fishing day. We went to the Nisqually to see what was going on and there really wasn’t much. A few small kings and some pinks rolling but there was plenty of people and the fish that were there weren’t biting. We tried float fishing, twitching jigs, and bait divers; plenty of sandshrimp and different types of eggs but the fishing was pretty slow. Still a little early, but we needed a break from the Skok!

My mom just wanted to spend some quality time with me before I start school again so we took a day off on Sunday and had breakfast with Jeff’s parents out at the canal followed by a special little niece’s 2nd birthday party.

We didn’t get any pics of the fish, but I got a great one that couldn’t have captured his excitement more. :)


Now if only we could get them all to come out more often!!

Another weekend on the Skok!!

Published August 12, 2013 | By Steelhead Girls    

While the crowd wasn’t any better, the fishing was :)  We headed down to tidewater after quickly realizing the fish aren’t moving upriver for some reason. There just aren’t many fish around!

We managed to get a hole full of float fishermen and Andrew and myself got out two fish in about 30 minutes and then we focused on helping our buddies get the right egg and scent combo. We both had some new people out there and unfortunately, we weren’t really able to get anyone else on fish but saw a few more landed before we were crowded out by the snaggers.

I unfortunately lost my phone today so I didn’t get pictures on my computer but i’ll be sure to share if I ever find it! We may not be back to the Skok this year because it’s really not pleasant being in tidewater for longer than 30 minutes and I just can’t be around that many inconsiderate people without speaking my mind but if the fishing upriver gets better we’ll try up there again!

Otherwise, it’s a break next weekend and fishing for pinks in the salt! Time to get that egg supply back up :)

Skok opener!!!

Published August 5, 2013 | By Steelhead Girls
The good ‘ol Skokomish opener! We wait all year for this day, prepare for weeks, stock up eggs all year, buy endless bait boxes and bait towels, start with at least 200 leaders prettied, and drink heavily the night before.It was obviously a busy day on Saturday, but we were rewarded and were very grateful for a great day! We always bring out as many friends as we can and it’s always great to see new people learn about how kings bite eggs in the river and watch them catch big kings in a small river. There were a few holes that were obviously full of willing fish and some that weren’t so full but there were a few fish here and there in the morning. By noon, our group of about 15 people was at a ratio of about 10:25 landed fish. We left for a quick nap and headed back to get a few more fish. Sunday was a bit slower and we didn’t kill any fish (nothing to clean woo hoo) but we lost a few and had a few missed bites. It was a great weekend and every year we see more and more bait fishermen who are friendlier than ever and just happy to us and we are to see them. I meant one of my favorite fisherladies on the skok because we both fish bait :)It was good fishing and good to be back in the small river, but seriously, every year that I fish I get more and more passionate and the Skok hurts my heart just as much as it gives me joy and I’ll have a few choice words and hopefully some motivational ones coming up this week on an article about…………FISHING BAIT FOR FALL SALMON :)

Summer fun

Published July 2, 2013 | By Steelhead Girls 

I think it’s safe to say that my dry spell is over! What a great weekend! I am truly blessed to be able to fish every weekend and any negative thoughts I had while I was pittying myself are long gone :)

We fished the Skykomish and right off the bat in the morning; I hit another great native summer run. Again, I am so grateful that she only jumped once. I REALLY HATE WHEN FISH JUMP! My buddy asked me why, and I said that because when I get a fish that does jump, I almost always lose it and I lose it on the jump. He replied, “But it’s so much cooler when you land it and you can say the fish jumped x amount of times!” This is true, but I don’t care. I lose more than I land when they are flipping and jumping all over the place. Coho and summer steelhead are my most nerve wracking fish to fight.

Right after I landed that one, I hooked into a nice low-teen size king and after about 30 seconds of digging and making its way towards the boat, my heart began rapidly beating as the fish made its first jump. “These guys don’t jump! What is wrong with this one!” I loosened my drag and watched the fish do flips around the boat, I lowered my rod and began panicking.

What a silly king. It must be hanging out with the summer run because it was jumping like a dolphin, rolling under the boat, AND using its wide body to defeat me. We’re using the steelhead series 6-10 lb Loomis sidedrifting rods and 10lb leaders. They are absolutely my favorite rods and we use them for ever species, but when you’re trying to land some strange king like this, it just kept using its body mass to sink back down away from the net when I finally lost the fight.

I was really disappointed, but Jeff made up for it by landing this 22 lb hatchery king. Again, it was a challenge to land, but he landed it on the same gear that I was using and he had a blast fighting it. I on the other hand, was almost crying because I didn’t think that I would be able to net it. I had very little time between when Jeff could pull his head up and when he realized he was next to a large boat and decided to take off again s I ended up just sticking the darn net in the water and letting him drift right to his death.

We lost another steelhead and Sunday was much slower. The weather was great, but I have to admit, we spent most of the day playing in the water after Jeff got a king first thing in the morning. After that, we were about done fishing and just enjoyed the river :)

Crabbing this week! Can’t wait!!

When life gives you lemons…..

Published June 24, 2013 | By Steelhead Girls
In case you haven’t noticed, I haven’t been catching many fish in the past 4 months. THIS IS RARE! I had a phenomenal winter steelhead season and since we’ve switched gears to springers, I’ve been in quite the rut. A normal springer season for me means having anywhere between 15-20 springers tagged on my license and Jeff the same. This year, Jeff had about 10 and I have an unbelievable TWO! One of them was a plug fish while trolling so I really don’t count that as MINE unless I was on the motor AND I landed it.This is really the first year that we’re targeting summer steelhead on a regular basis and it’s not proving to be any better for me than springers this year. I’ve been out a few times and still had yet to get the first summer run of the year and still am not even catching any kings! The boat as a whole is doing great and we’ve taken A LOT of new people out so I spend a lot of time tying leaders, baiting hooks, and getting out tangles, but I was still VERY discouraged that I have only caught 5 fish (3 downriver steelhead) in the past 4 months.I had VERY high hopes for Saturday with a boat full of our oldest fishing buddies and amazing weather. I was going to get the biggest and best making all of this suffering worth it. I was sadly mistaken when I still landed nothing and our buddy Ben got his 2 kings, one being an extraordinary 15 lbs and chrome bright.On Sunday, I had damn near given up by 9 AM. Feeling defeated and discouraged, I was contemplating taking a few weeks off fishing and finding some witch doctor to cure me of this curse. Months of my prayers and/or begging the heavens for a fish were going unanswered, the weather was dreary, and nothing sounded better than to put my rod down, drink a beer, and take a nap and beer on the bow of the boat. I continued to fish my hardest and held back my tears of frustration after 2 rods were broken within 30 minutes.Around noon Jeff finally hooks into a little summer run! I surprisingly wasn’t angry, and was very happy for some excitement. The motors still scare the living bejesus out of me, but I jumped right on them and worked with him to get the fish netted. Unfortunately, that little native steelhead did one jump and snapped the leader (I swear I did NOT tie that one!).We went back up to hit the slot again and to my GREAT surprise, I had a fish on!!!! All I could hear was my reel screaming and all I could see was my high vis line heading for the snags. I finally got a fish and there’s no doubt it’s one helluva fish!After a few LONG minutes of the fish playing hide and seek under the boat and through the motor, we landed this native summer run. She thankfully only jumped once and all my friends now, I panic when fish jump. I don’t like it at all!I’m all smiles for the rest of the day and GLADLY watch each person land a fish for the rest of the day. We ended up going 2 for 3 on summer run and 2 for 2 on kings (jack only). We fished new water and I broke the curse!So, when life gave me lemons I prayed and begged and when that didn’t work, I held back my frustration and fished on. I didn’t quite make lemonade, but I didn’t give up and I ended up being greatly rewarded. Let’s hope I can get my groove back! :)Here are a few more of some other fish that we caught this weekend!

What have I been doing?!

Published June 10, 2013 | By Steelhead Girls

It’s been quite a while since I’ve written anything so I have quite a bit to catch up on! It’s my last week in school until summer break so I’ll get much more fishing fun time in!

I did a little Cowlitz, barrier damn fishing this year but wasn’t nearly as successful as the last two years. I ended up with just one from there all season and tried fishing 3 different areas with no luck. Cowlitz springers are the one time of year that I have any chance of outfishing Jeff ;)  This year, Jeff on the other hand, had the hot rod. Here’s a pic from the last time that we fished up there. We fished on the island and he was the only one to hook anything all day and he managed to get all of this by 7:30AM!


After we finished the Cowlitz springers, we shrimped one more trip, this time leaving with the same number of pots that we started with. Again, not the best of luck, but I got some quality time with the GPS/depth finder on the boat and figured out some neat stuff! We’ve had the boat and GPS/depth finder since late August and we have never really done more with the GPS/depth finder than we HAD to so it was cool to be able to find features that would be helpful, but that we weren’t already using.

Of course we fished on the June 1st opener too! We headed up to the Skykomish for our first time in our boat and was less than pleased with the crowds and the fishing. Of course it was a wee bit early and not many other boats had fish, so it wasn’t a total disappointment. The weather was beautiful, company was good, and fishing was, eh, okay. On June 1st, we got a jack springer (caught by Nyef) and a summer steelhead (of course caught by Jeff). On Sunday we weren’t quite that lucky. We lost one and I released a 14lb down river winter steelhead. It was still a fun fight, but I was looking for something a little fresher :)

We headed back up to the Sky last weekend and had a little bit of better luck on the catching, but not killing ;)

We took a couple new friends and Kristal, pretty brand new to fishing, was quite the lucky one! On Saturday, she got a down river winter run, jack springer, and another down river winter run on Sunday. Her boyfriend, Herb, just wanted a nice relaxing weekend to enjoy his birthday. He just got one down river winter run on Sunday, but caught a great sunburn and clearly a lucky girlfriend! Nyef didn’t get anything this weekend and neither did I, but Jeff ended up with a jack springer and very NICE 22 lb wild springer. Unfortunately, we were glad to send that girl back on her way, but it was a great fighting fish and a beautiful site to see on our last pass of the day.

Another wonderful weekend of fishing even though I am, yet again, fishless J We got to take two great people fishing, celebrated a birthday, I ran the sled (which scares the living daylights out of me), got a nice tan, and had an amazing time. I’m not sure what next weekend will bring, but I can assure that there will at least be one new article up next week! :)

I wish this picture did the fish any kind of justice. Without a doubt, the biggest, nicest springer I have ever seen.

Who said shrimping was a good idea?

Published May 6, 2013 | By Steelhead Girls |

A slight change of scenery this weekend and it was quite interesting, but fantastic! We decided Friday afternoon that we were going to go shrimping for the Hood Canal opener. This is something that we do almost every year, except it’s his dad’s “thing” and we just hop on his boat and let him be the captain. This year, his dad wasn’t going to make it and didn’t know where or what condition the shrimp gear was in. That should have been the first indicator that we should not have gone…….

We decided to go and try to just get everything ready. His dad hasn’t had his motors serviced this year, so we had to take Jeff’s boat in the saltwater and find a way to mount the pot puller on his boat. Jeff, the “do it yourselfer” kind of guy, decides that we need a trip to Home Depot and he’s got a great idea! But first, we have to take care of some other things. There was 300 feet of line missing from one of the pots so we had to swing by Sportco.

The adventure began at 6:30 PM

6:30 – Sportco!!!!

Luckily, they had some oars that I ordered 4 months ago in so that was nice, but I wasn’t quite expecting them to be there nor was I budgeting $400 for oars that won’t be used until probably next fall. We got in and got out quickly and Jeff decided, a trip to Kent is most definitely in order!

7:30 – One Red Bull down and we arrive in Kent

It’s beautiful outside and I certainly have the energy. Who doesn’t love a good drive to Kent?!

8:30 – Our final destination – Home Depot

We weren’t sure if we had the right parts, but they didn’t close until 10 so we have some time to figure it out.

9:00 PM – We’re not quite there yet – mom and dad to the rescue!

When we FINALLY get home, Jeff realizes that he doesn’t have the drill at his house. So I make a quick run to my parent’s house to borrow their drill and stop and grab some dinner and coffee, much needed coffee.

9:30 PM – The work begins….

Jeff is not in the greatest mood and I’m trying to quietly and patiently watch him try to find a way to mount the pot puller on a rod holder so that we don’t have to drill new holes in the boat. Jeff accidently drilled my new shoes and tore up my brand new sneakers! After a few seconds of frustrating tears, we start thinking about the bait and realize we also need a trip to Fred Myers!

10:45 PM – Fred Myer, please don’t be closed!!

Frantically running up and down the aisles, we find everything that we need and get ready to prepare the bait!

11:15 PM – Can’t I catch a break?

The blender was the cheapest I could find and I got exactly what I paid for. I could only mix about 1 cup of bait at a time before it started smoking. I decided to put on some gloves and mix it with my hands. Jeff is out trying to mount the pot puller and I’m covered in old fish and cat food up to my elbows.

12:30 AM – Jeff has given up for the night

He comes in and helps me finish up the bait and we debate on mixing more, or hoping that we have enough and going to sleep. We chose the latter.

1:30 AM – Time to catch some zzzzz’s

Perhaps all that Red Bull and coffee wasn’t such a good idea.

5:00  AM– It can’t be time to get up!

Since we didn’t finish the pot puller, we had to get up early to try again but unfortunately, I turned down the spare battery to the drill because I figured we just needed to make a couple holes and certainly wouldn’t need the spare battery or charger!

6:00  AM– Man, I’m glad my parents live close!

I’m glad they were excited to see that it was me that made the dogs bark and wake up the entire house as I stand over their bed trying to only wake up my dad. They really were very happy to see me (that must mean I don’t come over often enough) so that was a positive start to my day however, those tears of frustration must not have gotten any sleep, because as soon as I got to my car, they just started screaming out of my eyes. Man, sometimes I hate being a girl!

7:00 AM – Right on schedule!

Our friend arrives just on time and we hit the road! WOOHOO we’re gonna be able to toss the pots right at 9 AM! We fill up the truck and boat, get some snacks, energy drinks, beer, and sunscreen and turn up the radio!

9:05 AM – First pot is successfully on the bottom!

9:15 AM – Second one didn’t go so well

Our buddy, who has never been shrimping, is letting out the pot and he doesn’t feel like he hit the bottom. Our depth finder is still set on shallow water so we aren’t sure how deep we are or how much rope is on that pot so I go check, and sure enough, we’re at the end of the line and never hit bottom. I hand him the buoy to hold and he TOSSES IT! We watch the big yellow ball sink deep until we can’t see it anymore and we’re down one pot. Well, we have 2 more and that should be fine right?

10:45 AM– It couldn’t get any worse, could it?

We had 40 shrimp in the first pot and 50 in second. We set the first pot back down and were extremely optimistic on getting our limits with pulls like that. Our buddy is setting the second pot again and he says “Oh, I hit the bottom!” Great! Jeff goes and checks just to make sure and when he pulls up, he can’t feel the pot. So he pulls and pulls and pulls another 15 feet of line in and still no weight. He pulls all 300 feet in only to find the end of the rope with no pot.

Our faces were long, we were tired, and even beer didn’t sound good.

1:30 PM – Does anyone know how to drive these days?

I don’t like to toot my own horn, but I can back the trailer up typically without a hitch. The boat launch was an absolute nightmare and I swear these guys only take their boats out once a year. After waiting for an hour, we get the boat up and head to Skok to see if we can rinse off the salt water.

That plan didn’t work AT ALL; too little water, too much boat. So we head home and decide to stop at the next river or lake sign we see.

4:30 PM – And it finally comes to an end

We finally get home, put some stuff away and cook the shrimp and its nap time! I’m out like a light. We decide to go out for beers and relax instead of trying to get fishing gear ready for Sunday. We’ll take the day off clean the garage :)

The garage turned out great; I washed and waxed the boat, and did a little shopping with my sister and mom. We had springer, shrimp cocktails, corn on the cob, and raspberry pie for dinner and hit the sack EARLY! I don’t think we’ll be shrimping again this year, especially because we now only have one good pot, but we’ll stick to what we like and go fishing next weekend.


Springer’s in the boat

Published April 29, 2013 | By Steelhead Girls

AHHA! Finally got my first springer of the season and had a great weekend! We headed to Drano Lake for the first time this year to redeem ourselves from our TERRIBLE experience last year. My rod went off just after daylight around 7:30 AM and not only was I excited that it as my rod, but it was also our first plug fish out there :)

I fought that baby ever so carefully and filled up with joy as we brought it in the boat. Less than 2 hours later, we got another fish, on the same plug no less! Unfortunately, Andrew lost not only the plug, but the fish because of a sharp edge on the bottom of the boat :(

We didn’t get anything else that afternoon except a good sunburn and a few beers, but it was really a lot of fun and well worth the long drive down there for just 2 days of fishing. We spent all night gearing up again and trading tricks with our hotel neighbors and learned about an awesome new flasher out there! It’s called X2 Flashers and has 2 flashers (one inside the other) that spins opposite directions and tape like I’ve never seen. It made the diamond plate look dull! We tried one out on Sunday and unfortunately lost it to a snag before we got to see it catch a fish, but we’ll be ordering a few more this week :)

Sunday was extremely slow which was surprising, but it was still pretty fun. We lost the sun and added some rain, but the wind wasn’t nearly as bad and anyone who has been to Drano Lake knows that wind can make it impossible to fish. We saw a few other fish caught, but it was definitely a lot slower than Saturday! Here’s a shot I tried to get of Phil Stephens from Mystical Legends ( fighting one of the few fish caught that day!

Next weekend will be full of shrimping and springers then it’s back to Drano! Man, I love that place but I sure wish it was closer!


 I’ve come to far to quit now!

Published April 23, 2013 | By Steelhead Girls

On Friday, Jeff fished the Cowlitz while I worked and he went 3/4, one being a jack. So we headed back to the Cowlitz looking for a little springer love. I have yet to catch my first springer this year, while Jeff is on his 8th.

We stake our claim on our fishing spot and begin making cast after cast as the sun rose. The guys 100 feet below us start the morning off with multiple doubles and at least one fish on at all times. They are standing in some pretty heavy current and about waist deep. I watch at least one man fall on the slippery rocks every weekend and you’ll never catch me out there. No matter how many fish they catch. Anyhow, they guys across the other side of the river get a couple while we still have no biters in our area.

Around 10 AM Jeff finally lands into one and I think for sure that I’m going to get one today. Continuing our efforts all day, we did not land another fish and I am still fishless. We decided it would be best to go home and get the boat and come back to a different spot on Sunday. Making the long drive home and just a 3 hour power nap, we get the boat ready and headed back down to try a spot that produced MANY fish on Saturday.

I’m now really thinking that I am going to break the first springer of the year today. Still nothing in the AM except a couple guys got one on some hardware. I decided to get a ride back to the truck to go to the local tackle shop to get some hardware only to find a flat tire on the truck. After trying some fix a flat (Jeff clearly was aware of this flat tire and brought fix a flat just in case) it didn’t do much so I drove to the store anyways hoping to find air or that the fix a flat would inflate on the drive.

No luck on either the hardware or the tire so I kept driving to the next gas station. I am getting strange looks all around the store and the woman asks “what’s that smell?”. Great, thanks. I’m gross, I smell like fix a flat, it’s pouring rain, the boys are still fishing (better not be catching anything!) and these people think I’m crazy! I fill it up and head back to the river thinking surely I will get a fish today. There is no way that I deserve all of this to NOT get a fish. This is my 5th time out this year and I have spent over $1,000 on this darn fish that I haven’t even caught yet.

After many more hours of the repetitive casts made, Jeff hooks one. “Are you kidding me?!” I’m pissed…..Now I’m SURELY going to get one. If he gets ANOTHER one today, it’s my turn and I’ll probably catch a 25 lb’er and my limit! Maybe even a summer run! I’m not sure if I’ve been this discouraged because I didn’t catch one this weekend. I’m quite ready to give up but there’s no way I’m turning back after all of this effort. It would be like dropping out of school halfway through. What a waste of time and money if I don’t finish the task at hand.

Springers bring out something crazy in our brains and for the life of me I cannot justify or explain it. I fish with no sleep, eat gas station food for 3 days straight, drink at least 2 energy drinks a day just to stay awake enough to bait my hook,  throw pounds of eggs into the river each day, all while fishing in the same area as 100 other people. Why we do this, I have no clue but I can’t stop and I love every minute of it. there is no other fish that can do this to me but I sure am glad that Jeff is just as crazy as me because our relationship sure wouldn’t work out too well if he thought I was crazy :)


Am I going to catch a springer or what??

Published April 14, 2013 | By Steelhead Girls

Well it was my birthday weekend and I had an amazing time with Jeff and my family, however, I am extremely sad to report that I DID NOT catch a fish :(

Saturday was filled with errands and birthday parties, but I decided Sunday was the day to fish for sure! We headed to the Cowlitz for a little springer action and I fished ALL DAY LONG with no success. Jeff landed this one around 11 AM so the day was looking bright. Little did we know, that was the end of the daily bite.


We went through 4 quarts of eggs, 2 dozen sandshrimp, and who knows how much scent! I tried both free drifting and float fishing and Jeff even pitched a few spoons but there was nothing else in sight.

So now, I smell like bait, my waders are officially broken in with a thin layer of egg slime encrusted on the thighs, my cheeks are pink, and I guess I’m happy there’s springer in the freezer. Still not my fish and I’m a wee bit bitter, but hey….It’s early and I usually get my fair share of Cowlitz springers so I should share the joy of catching them every once in a while :)


Springer fishing the big C

Published April 2, 2013 | By Steelhead Girls

Ah, I couldn’t have asked for a better weekend; Amazing weather, fish on the end of our line, great neighbors, and a quiet trip just for me and my best friend!

With the springer season expected to close this week on the lower Columbia (but hopefully extended!), we decided to head down to put in our time and continue to learn a tough fishery. We have been fishing the big C for 3 springer seasons in a row and only make it down there about once or twice a season, but rarely have luck. We have caught one fish in the 3 years and a total of about 5 trips but we know you have to put in the time and effort to learn a new fishery; they don’t just produce fish for everyone!


We normally troll near Portland/Vancouver area but decided to head down river a little bit this weekend. We were all geared up and had the directions to the launch. When we launched, some boats went up, some went down, some just fished right near the launch and we weren’t really sure where to go. So we just drove around and tried a few different trolls only to realize our leader rolls flew out of the boat on the way to the river. So we headed back to the launch and Jeff went on a mission to find some quality hooks at any gas station he could find open at 7 AM in a small town so we could tie leaders.

Not exactly the best way to start our trip…….

After getting rigged up again, we saw that almost everyone was anchor fishing and the tide was quit influenced where we were. I must admit, this wasn’t something that we were expecting, but we were prepared nonetheless. We’ve never anchor fished like this but have learned a thing or two at seminars and in books. So we thought we’d give it a whirl and ended up in a not so great “soft” spot. We watched our plugs barely move for about an hour before we decided to move to another location. We happened to run into a friend that I met a few weeks earlier so we anchored up by him and his two young sons (who might be bigger fishing addicts than me)!


It was good company, our plugs were working hard, and I had just started cleaning the boat. Well those springers must love Lemon Joy because about 15 minutes into cleaning, we had FISH ON! Again, this is our first time anchor fishing and we weren’t really prepared. I had no idea what to do with the anchor or the other rod so I threw all 200ft of line out with all kinds of other pfd’s wrapped up and attached to it and just grabbed the net as we floated away from our mess.

We landed the fish (thank goodness!) only to find out it was wild. A beautiful fish and a great fighter, no doubt, but we were looking for dinner!

We tried again on Sunday with no luck in our boat, but watched the two boats next to us land a wild and hatchery fish so it was great to finally see some fish down there! I cleaned the entire boat, got a great tan, and got to spend the entire weekend with just me and my best friend. I’d say it was the best springer trip yet, except it’s nice to get our springer limits on a regular basis when we fish the little C. :)

Good solid fishing trips

Published March 13 ,2013 | By Steelhead Girls

I couldn’t have asked for a better 2 days of fishing! We headed south with Jeff’s dad and 2 very good family friends and it was definitely a trip to be remembered.

His dad’s fishing phrase “we always catch fish when I’m in the boat” has only been untrue one time (it was a boat issue, not fishing). He somehow, and I say somehow because if you saw him fishing you wouldn’t understand it either, landed the first fish! Not only do we not know how he happened to be the first one to get a take-down, he high stuck his rod right into Jeff’s while he was reeling up and the weight prevented Gordon from being able to reel any farther. As the fish darted towards the boat the bobber floated back up the to surface and the line went slack. Thank goodness for barbed hooks because after about a minute of slack line, the fish was still on! Gordon still couldn’t reel up despite having gotten out MOST of the mess at his rod tip. Jeff had to HAND LINE in a 12 lb steelhead all to realize it was a downriver wild fish. Luckily it was a little tired and we could quickly remove the hooks before it decided to take off again :)

That was just one story of many that day. I had a slight injury and wasn’t sure if I would be able to reel in a fish after hooking and reeling in a million small, unwanted, bottom feeders. I played deckhand and spent most of the day tying leaders and baiting hooks. But when I finally hooked a steelhead, I handed my rod off to Peter (Jeff’s family friend) who doesn’t get to fish much and who hadn’t hooked a steelhead all year. We landed it, grabbed a great pic, and let that kelt go back to her journey to the ocean.

The next day, we went out with some of our friends and ended up going 6 for 9! I was still a bit broken so I was the unfortunate one who lost 2 of the 3 lost but I did end up landing one by the end of the day! Of course the first fish hooked in the morning was mine and it was “a bright 12 lb hatchery hen with sea lice”. You know how those fish tails are. The second fish that I lost was AGAIN thanks to Jerry who handed off his rod so that he could do something else. Jerry, fairly new to our fishing boat, decided that instead of rebaiting his hook, he would just grab another one that was already rigged and baited. We gave him quite a bit of greif and let him know that steelhead fishing and lazy can’t go hand in hand. So he gave me his rod to fish while he baited that hook and sure enough, fish on!  :)

It was only 2:30 PM and we were debating on calling it a day. We hadn’t hooked anything in about 2 hours and we all had a really good day but something told us to go fish one more run. While the entire boat fished one side of the river, I decided that I wanted to try the other side. When I called out “fish”, no one believed me and thought I just had another slimy bottom feeder until that steelhead made a great big huge leap. Then the jokes stopped and the panic set in. I had already lost two and I said that I was going to hand off the next fish but my fingers just wouldn’t let go of that rod. I was determined to land this fish and I did just that :)

The water and weather was warm, the fish were hungry and fought great, and the company was good. These are the days we live for and what makes getting through a work week so worth it.


whew!!!!! That was cold!

Published February 26, 2013 | By Steelhead Girls

It’s good to laugh at yourself!

For safety reasons, I don’t wear my waders when we are on the sled and sometimes even the drift boat. If I fall in, I would rather have on pants that open at the top and bottom then waders, even with a belt. So, occasionally I take on water over my boots when launching or taking out the boats, but it’s usually just a small amount and almost always when I’m taking out so it doesn’t matter.

I have never run into the situation where I needed to take a picture with a wild fish when I’m in just my boots and rain pants, but there’s a first time for everything!

It was really quite cold outside and we only hooked one fish Saturday afternoon, so I wasn’t expecting anything Sunday morning. Of course our buddy Lloyd predicted that I would catch the first fish (and he’s always right). Sure enough, first pass in the first hole, “There’s a fish!”. I almost thought this fish was a snag because she immediately ran upstream and just peeled line off my reel. She ran both away from and straight towards me and like most fish, found it safest right underneath the boat. Why do they do that?! So we cut the motors as I try to bring her out and she goes running straight out into a few cartwheels. “Man I hate when they do that! Please stop jumping!”

After about 2 minutes (which by the way, felt like 10), I brought her to the boat near the bank. As I head out to snap a quick picture, I give my camera to our other buddy who says my internal memory is full and I only one shot. Great! I forgot to put the memory card back in. “That’s fine, just take a picture so I can release the fish”.

Right as I kneel down, I feel a huge surge of water fill my boot! “AHHHHHH! Did you get it? Okay, I don’t care, my foot’s wet”. I immediately released the fish knowing that I saw one flash and I was sure the pic was just fine. What are the odds he snapped the shot as soon as that “AHHHHHHH” came out of my mouth? Apparently very likely because this is what I ended up with :)

I spent the next hour with my socks off, sitting next to the heater while the rest of the boat fished. I played caddy and tied leaders and baited hooks, but had no idea how I would manage to get my boot dry. I decided that wasn’t going to happen and you can’t catch a fish if your line’s not in the water! I put a plastic bag over my foot and took the extra sock on my other foot and slipped right back into my boot!

A day and fish that I won’t forget and a picture to remind me in case I ever do :)


A Successful Weekend Indeed!

Published February 18, 2013 | By Steelhead Girls

Another successful weekend on the water! Typically we end up getting our fish within the first couple hours of the day and then it’s slow going. However, today, we had action all day long which was a nice change!

With the water a bit higher than normal, we were basically fishing everything. I picked up this little lady is some tall grass, frog water! She wasn’t the best fighter, but I can get quite stressed out when I’m fighting a fish so I was glad she came right in :)

Lloyd picked up this one from the back of the boat, directly behind us. It was really a strange place and I was surprised that he was able to land it. It was 30 yards away and jumped a few time before he was able to get it closer to the boat. She weighed in about 13 lbs and he was happy that he got it on his favorite egg and shrimp combo. Whenever Lloyd’s happy, we’re happy!

Jeff is never a poor sport and always is happy when others catch fish so it’s nice for him to get to hook one every once in a while! Despite running the boat (whether it’s rowing or motoring), he still manages to catch the most fish every season. He likes to make fun of me when I hold dead fish horizontally (they make better pictures!) so he thought he’d mock me with a little twist. Quite the picture!

I’m still loving winter steelhead, but man, I am ready for springers!!


Just a little fun on the water

Published February 10, 2013 | By Steelhead Girls

Off to a good day off work on the water! Jerry got his first steelhead ever and we found Lloyd’s long lost brother, TURTLE. :)

Friday was extremely slow with no fish, but we picked these up on Sunday and it was a good weekend!


The injured Willie 

Published January 30, 2013 | By Steelhead Girls

This weekend was certainly not the best weekend, but they can’t all be full of smiles and fish on the end of our hooks, can they? It started off great with the Sportsman Show Friday night, however I was hanging out at the NW Sportsman magazine booth so I didn’t get to mingle and check out all the product! Jeff did enough of that and we got all the salmon floats we’ll need this year for dirt cheap!

Saturday morning was great too! Not many people out (I assume all at the show especially because all the water is low, low, low and clear, clear, clear. Ever since we had the cold weather, the motor hasn’t been running the best but we ended up stranded on the river with no power to the main motor. Luckily, we ran into another boat who stopped to help and offered many ideas, finally coming to conclusion that someone needs to go get the truck, and the boat goes down river to the next takeout.

I was the lucky winner of being the shuttle and the very funny gentlemen in the boat certainly turned my frown upside down! Knowing it would take them a bit longer to get to the next launch than me, we fished a little bit on the way up! I finally got to the launch and the boys were nowhere to be seen. I got to take a nice, long nap!

We headed home too late to make it to the sportsman show so that I could actually walk around. Although it was not a good day at all and Sunday was spent trying to troubleshoot and find someone to fix the motor, Jeff did get a wee bit of action before the motor went; A nice 14lb wild fish on an old sack of roe.

I got to run the boat a tiny bit while he fought the fish and I did watch an 8 yr old kid drive the boat onto a trailer and that was the swift kick in the butt that I needed. Jeff has been trying to get me to learn to run the boat since we got it and more than anything, I’m afraid of going fast. The only sport I was ever good at was cheer and we luckily were stationary! You can throw me in the air, I’ll throw you in the air and I let you fall on me before you hit the ground, however going fast is not something that I do. I failed at many sports because I hate going fast, but now I have no choice. If an 8 yr old can do it, I can certainly get comfortable doing it! Next task to master: running the sled; provided it’s up and running soon! J


Check out my latest review and fishing excursion!

Published January 25, 2013 | By Steelhead Girls

Too cold for fish?

Published January 13, 2013 | By Steelhead Girls

We FINALLY were able to take an old buddy of mine fishing in hopes to teach him that fish bite more than corkie and yarn and to get him his first steelhead. He beared the FREEZING weather with us on Saturday only to watch Jeff get the only fish all day. When I say freezing, I’m sure you all know how cold it was. The motors were to cold to start up, the anchors were to frozen to bring, and the locks on the dry storage were too frozen to open so I imagine the fish were super thrilled either.

The water wasn’t in the greatest condition but we decided we can give it a try for round two on Sunday, but we’d be more prepared. The water was on the drop and clearing up, we brought the heater, hot water, and a lot more gloves! First pass through, Jeff misses a bobber down from a rookie mistake. Setting the hook with the bail open. :)

About 2 minutes later in the same stretch of water, my float SLAMS down and I hook into a great wild hen then clearly didn’t care that the water was less than 40 degrees. She fought and jumped 2 feet in the air and ran and shook her pretty head. I finally got her to the boat and sent her on her merry way. We didn’t hook another one for a few hours but the water and weather warmed up quite a bit and Jeff found himself a nice little summer run on her way back out to the salt.

Jeff hooked into a few more and when Jerry (my friend) needed a new bait, I handed him my rod that was already fishing. Once I got the new set up on his rod, I told him to fish my rod and I’ll re-cast but he insisted I take my rod back and he cast his own. “okay fine!” Sure enough, 3….2…..1-there’s a fish! I hook into another and tell Jerry he should have kept my rod!

Jerry didn’t end up getting his first steelhead but hopefully he learned all his brain could handle, had a good time, and will be out with us again. Maybe we can’t get him on a steelhead but springers are just around the corner!


Fishing with Triple “S” Guide Service!

Published January 6, 2013 | By Steelhead Girls

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: 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.



I’ll search far and wide….

Published January 2, 2013 | By Steelhead Girls

Another busy weekend FULL of fishing; my favorite kinds of weekends! We took the sled out again with Jeff’s uncle and dad hoping for a repeat of the previous weekend and boy, were we in the wrong place. Along with about half of the other steelhead anglers here in Washington. The river was PACKED and there weren’t nearly enough fish to go around. Jeff calls it a day of ‘onsies and twosies’. Every boat simply had one or two fish and with all of the pressure, it certainly wasn’t worth it to be there.

‘Uncle Wes’ hooked a BEAUTIFUL fish about 14 lbs and lost it….wah wah wah. A fairly avid fly fishermen, Wes caught on quickly baited his own hooks, and even tied his own leaders! A very cold, frosty morning and we had only made one pass and were just getting the hang of being in sync with each other. His float sunk down and he reacted perfect! Set the hook like a pro and reeled quickly as the fish started swimming towards the boat. about 3 seconds into the fight, the fish jumped a foot out of the water and spit the hooks. Needlesstosay, Wes didn’t (and won’t) live that down for a very long time. Not another fish for most of the day until about an hour before we left. With the drag almost all the way loose, this fish used all 5 of it’s lbs taking about 5 minutes to bring in. It ran at least 7 times and tended to hang out right beneath the boat. Thinking this had to be a wild fish with all the fight it had, turns out he was basically fighting 1:1 except 0 on his part :)


Another fight he won’t live down. Wes seemed to get the brunt of the trip that day, but at least we were part of the ‘onsies and twosies’ club!

Sunday we headed far away to find some solitude and I rowed my little arms off until I just couldn’t row anymore. It was just me and Jeff so we switched places and he ended up catching the only fish, a downriver summer run, while rowing. That guy! He just threw out a rod while he was rowing and sure enough, fish on!

Back to work Monday so for New Year’s we headed back out in the drift boat to the coast hoping to see if we can’t be the exception to the club and maybe get 3 fish! After playing bumber boats and being low-holed ALL DAY, we finally found some water with very few boats. We were discouraged, sleepy, cold, and ready to be off the water when my float happened to go down. I’ll take this anyday over a onsie twosie day of hatchery fish! She put up the perfect fight, not enough to get me frustrated and worried about losing, but quite enough to enjoy a few minutes of good ‘ol fashion fish fighting! The only fish to the boat and the boat as a hole wasn’t happy, but I was pretty stinkin’ pleased!

Hopefully heading down to Oregon this weekend for some new water! FISH ON


Merry Christmas to me!

Published December 23, 2012 | By Steelhead Girls

WOOHOO!!!! What an amazing weekend! And I still have 3 days off from work and 2 weeks from school!

We didn’t put our efforts in at the Cowlitz again, but we worked hard and were generously rewarded! On Saturday, it was just me and Jeff and despite my anxiety and nervousness (I’d rather Jeff ONLY run the boat, not try to fish and run the boat), Jeff had the hot rod and we hooked 5 and went home with 4 steelhead! Yes, one was a downriver summer run, but we still got our 4 fish. The first winter run to the sled, and we managed to limit the darn thing. :)

Plus, after going out 8 times this year, I finally got my first winter run of the year. Persistance pays off and it pays off gloriously. Sunday, we went with Andrew and Chellsea and managed to get quite a few fish again and I was the lucky one to have a ‘hot’ rod! I managed to lose one and release one wild fish. Andrew landed a super chrome hatchery hen with the whitest belly I had ever seen and Chellsea saved the day with an awesome buck right as we were getting ready to leave. All the fish took multiple runs, ducked and dodged the kicker numerous times, and overall put up a much better fight than Saturday’s fish.


I am so glad that I continued to put in 100% despite the discouragement and yes, jealousy of all the other fish i’ve seen so far this season. Yet again, one of the reasons that I love fishing, you never stop learning and each day is a new experience that differed from the previous day, even in the same place. Here’s to hoping that everyone else had a great weekend and has a very MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Keep your chin up!

Published December 16, 2012 | By Steelhead Girls

Along with a new boat means new fisheries, new techniques, and essentially starting over. Instead of the “Cowlitz experience” that we were so looking forward to this winter, we’re spending our weekends putting effort into a new fishery so we can really have that experience. We side drifted for the third trip so far this year only to see fish in basically every one else’s boat, and nothing for us. One little change up and I hit one first pass, but didn’t end up landing it and left the river with a stomach full of humble pie and the longing for that chrome bullet.

Knowing that not every trip will be as successful as the salmon fisheries we got to try this year, we were prepared for a few “skunks” but I certainly wasn’t expecting this many. And not just always in the boat, even bank fishing for winter runs, chum fishing the Nisqually, I’ve gone high and dry for weeks! But staying motivated and positive is what is going to make my next fish so much more special. I’m sure, a fish I won’t forget.

So when you’re new to fishing and can’t seem to catch a break, know that even experienced fishermen have bad periods and make every time you get to go out really count. Fish hard, stay positive, and remember, you can’t catch a fish if your line’s not in the water. I’m still hopeful for next weekend, but am just taking this down time with a grain of salt and learning more than I learn on a day that I catch my limit. Fishing is always about learning and improving and sometimes that means taking a few skunks, losing a few games, and going home with a long face.

It’s official, I’m going through a dry spell

Published December 9, 2012 | By Steelhead Girls
It’s been about 5 trips in a row and still no winter steelhead for me. We hit the Cowlitz for the second time in the sled on Saturday and with a boat full of more than experienced fishermen, we still managed to get nothing more than a sucker fish big enough that it broke a rod and a cutthroat smaller than most plugs we use. There were plenty of fish caught, we saw at least 30 hooked, but we must have had some bad juju in the boat or something!
We bank fished today and Jeff did get one nice buck winter run, but still nothing but a smolt for me. This has got to end soon right? Perhaps now that I’m on winter break from school, I can get a bit more serious and find my first winter run for the year. Last year, I got 3 steelhead my first trip out BEFORE THANKSGIVING and this year, we’re almost halfway into December and I can’t even hook one to at least lose!

Still waiting for my first winter run of the year…

Published November 25, 2012 | By Steelhead Girls

After such disappointment last weekend with no sign of winter steelhead around, we ventured back to Forks thinking all that rain surely sent some winter runs upriver. We headed out first thing Saturday morning with our friends Andrew and Chellsea. The boys took the high road upriver while Chellsea and I headed downriver to a hole that has produced quite a few fish in past years.Chellsea and I gave it our all trying jigs, drifting bait, pink works, spoons, you name it! Not even a hit! Neither of us had out phones on us and we were really wondering how the  boys were doing. It was over an hour and we hadn’t heard or seen them so we decided to head back upriver to see how they were doing. The river was higher than normal and we weren’t able to cross to go upriver so we decided to just fish a little more. No more than 5 minutes into fishing, the boys come down with limits………I wasn’t disappointed, I was SO MAD! I couldn’t believe they caught 4 winter runs and didn’t think to come get us.I was quite jealous, but I continued to give them a hard time about their dark fish they had to go to the hatchery to catch. Since it was only 10AM and we drove 3 hours to fish, we decided to hit the Bogi and see if we can’t get some fish of our own. We daw just one fish caught but still nothing for us. The boys weren’t quite as motivated as we were so we headed home around noon, girls leaving empty handed :(It was great to see some steelhead but it was quite strange the fish were a bit colored up. I am hoping the water will get into shape for next weekend because the gloves are out and I’ve spent my entire Sunday tying up gear. It’s time to redeem myself!

The first frost can’t come soon enough….

Published November 20, 2012 | By Steelhead Girls

This fall salmon season hasn’t quite shaped up like I was hoping, especially because last year was as close to perfect as possible.  This time last year we hit the coastal rivers near Forks in search of early steelhead and had an amazing day. So we thought we’d take a small gamble and the same river and we were quite disappointed. We joked about how “they say” winter runs aren’t really here until the first frost of the year and it wasn’t nearly cold enough for frost but simplya laughed it off. Hiking an hour just to get a nice secluded spot, we found the perfect fishing hole and fished non-stop in the pouring rain. Finally, as Jeff is reeling in he says “oh, hey! I gotta fish!”. He was drifting and the fish came out and picked it up as he was reeling up. It was only 8AM and I was fortunate for another great day of winter steelhead in early November. He lost that fish and we didn’t have a single bite for hours. We saw a lot of old kings rolling and decided to hike back out and find a different river.We went to the Satsop on the way home looking for some silvers even though we only had a bunch of winter steelhead gear and a little bit of eggs. What we found was nothing but spawned out chum. After about 2 hours of fishing the Satsop we decided to go home and call it a weekend. Knowing that there is nothing but rain forecasted in the next week, we’re hoping it will bring in some steelhead but not blow out the rivers for next weekend. Call it wishful thinking :)

Steelhead University weekend update!

Published November 11, 2012 | By Steelhead Girls

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!We decided last minute to stay close to home a fish a few Puget Sound Rivers instead of making a trip to the Humptulips and we ended up walking around more than fishing. I was complaining a bit because I was unprepared for this day, didn’t bring right stuff, brought too much of everything else, and we weren’t catching a whole lot between all 5 of us. I was just getting ready to cast a spinner and our buddy casts right behind the rock I wanted to claim. Sure enough, while I’m telling him he “stole” my hole, he sets the hook says “there’s a fish”!You have got to be kidding me? We’ve been pitching spoons and spinners all day and I wanted to do was try bait but didn’t bring my extra rod. 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 wanted 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!

Humptulips blog

Published October 22, 2012 | By Steelhead Girls

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 me just to 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.

Grays Harbor Excursion

Published October 7, 2012 | By Steelhead Girls

It was the last weekend to keep kings out in Grays Harbor and we definitely made it count! It was a “mom and dad” kind of weekend I guess with Jeff’s dad, Lloyd and his wife (not our parents but someone’s!), and my parents. After all they have gone through and continue to put up with, they couldn’t be more deserving of a wonderful day on the water.AMAZING weather, a ton of laughs, and as always amazing company and great fishing to bring it all together. I initially wasn’t going to fish at all this weekend, but was quite jealous when I found out Jeff was going with Lloyd and his wife and his dad. I had so much homework and emails to catch up on, but I just couldn’t miss the last opportunity for kings out there! So I decided, Saturday only! Work the rest of the weekend!

Fishing was great Saturday and Lloyd’s wife had on a monster king! We barely missed it with the net and it snapped the line but it was at least 20 lbs and took about 10 minutes of her life trying to reel it in. We ended up with 2 kings and 3 silvers and we decided it was homework all night for me and then another day on the water Sunday.

My parents were available (that NEVER happens) and this was the perfect fishing for them! I just had to go! And I decided, no phone, no emails, no Facebook on the boat, and I’m not thinking about my pile of homework.  Fishing is typically my escape and lately I haven’t allowed myself to truly get away with my blackberry attached to my hip and the burden of a million things to do when I get home but with my parent’s on the boat, I was going to enjoy every minute of an opportunity that is all too rare. The waters were calm, the sun was blazing, and the fishing was on fire. Everyone in the boat got a fish including my adorable mom who was too worried to grab a rod because she didn’t want to lose a fish. “Better to have loved and lost than to never have loved at all”! She swallowed her concern and landed a great hatchery Coho (which is so rare out there its way better than a wild fish!) and I am so glad that I took advantage of a good opportunity.


Fishing is not supposed to include Blackberry’s and stress. In fact, we as humans shouldn’t be consumed by technology and this fast paced world. It was truly a pleasure to be able to forget about the time of day except to follow the tide, and to just enjoy each other’s company. I always enjoy fishing no matter what the situation, but sometimes we lose site of the reason we became obsessed and let the obsession take over. It starts being about the biggest and most fish and constant action and big, bright, hens, and I forget that it is my stress relief. Not just another thing to add to a “to do list” and this weekend was a perfect and much needed eraser for my “to do list”. :)

Weekend fishing

Published September 9, 2012 | By Steelhead Girls

A little Cowlitz love from Saturday:

Clarissa and I with a little Nisqually afternoon delight from last week!

Nisqually review!

Published September 3, 2012 | By Steelhead Girls
Jeff got a brand new big, shiny boat on Friday and we definitely broke it in the right way! It’s a black 21ft by 84″ Willie Fuzion. We took it to the lake on Saturday and broke in the motors so we could hit the Nisqually Sunday to see what she’s made of. A few bumps later, we landed 4 adults, got his friend his first salmon ever, and broke the boat in the right way :)All the fish were caught on divers which was awesome because it was complete teamwork. Jeff carefully fishing the divers with the kicker, the person reeling in the fish carefully listening to one of the others walking them through it, and someone netting. Complete teamwork! We did lose 3 fish and had some “early jumpers” on the divers who just didn’t let the fish take it long enough but it was definitely an awesome day!Last weekend we fished the Nisqually out of the drift boat for a few hours and we ended up with 6 jacks and no adults so to only catch adults was a nice change and it was nice to have such constant action. The fish weren’t of the greatest size and not the brightest, but it was a blast nonetheless!


Published August 28, 2012 | By Steelhead Girls
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.