RESOURCES

Where are the Steelhead?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Power Pro Maxcuatro

Power Pro Maxcuatro

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

~Bry

One More Drano Trip

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

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 :)