bobberdoggin

1st Winter Steelhead Trip

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!

Kicking Off Steelhead Season!

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!

Loving coastal fall fish

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!

LOVING the sun!

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 :)