Chinook

Salmon Species

It’s just about time for salmon season again and with it being a humpy year, there will be many new anglers on the water this summer and fall. WDFW is the resource you need to ensure you are following all rules and regulations in Washington State. Their website is fairly intuitive and easy to access to from your cell phone if you’re on the go and unsure of something.
Below is a quick reference guide from their site to help you identify the different salmon species to ensure proper retention this salmon season.

 

 

Updates!

Steelhead University has a brand new website! The new owner of Steelhead University, Terry Wiest, is very near and dear to Steelhead Girls’ heart. In fact, he’s the inventor of Steelhead Girls! I met Terry many years ago through, believe it or not, the Steelhead University Pautzke photo contest! We stayed in touch and met again at many fishing functions before I started blogging on Steelhead University. Terry reached out to me about a year after I was blogging and thought of the idea for Steelhead Girls, which I obviously LOVED! Steelhead University not only includes fishing updates and reports from some of the most well-known guides in Washington State, but many videos, articles, and product reviews. Go check out their new website and give their Facebook page a like!

http://steelheadu.com/

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Steelhead-University/651083741685788?fref=photo

Now, for fishing! I have actually been fishing quite a bit the past few weeks, but since we’ve moved into our new house, I haven’t had internet hooked up! But I’m up and running, moved in and settled down, and………I’m graduating school this week! I couldn’t be happier about getting my life back and having time again to write more articles!

The past few weeks, we’ve been heading to Barrier Damn on the Cowlitz and I actually really struggled out there on the island because it’s so deep hip-deep on me) and you’re casting really, really far. If you don’t make the cast, you almost aren’t even fishing where the fish are. So, with the low water this spring, it’s actually been to my benefit! I’ve been finally getting springers out there again!

We went crabbing this last weekend and let me tell you, what was supposed to be an easy day, ended up being pretty torturous. We thought we would just catch the 7 AM high slack tide and crab for just a few hours, maybe 3 sets. We did our first pull and had 2 dungees and 3 rock crab. Great! If every pull was like this, we’ll be limited in no time!

So…..We set when low tide started moving out and we had about 100 extra feet of line so we figured, no big deal if the tide is moving fast, we’ll have the extra line to keep the buoys afloat…..Wrong! We watched our buoys go under and thought, well, we’ll probably see them again in an hour. Since we planned on only being on the water for a few hours, we brought no food or water for the entire day.

4 hours later, we finally see on of our buoys. We have been sitting tied up to a post for hours baking in the sun with no food or water. It took another hour for the other 3 buoys to appear and we were ready to get the heck out of there! It was 3 PM and I envisioned myself eating crab soaked in butter after a 2 hour nap by this time. It was low slack and we could see that close to the launch, there was almost no water. Good thing we have a jet! Again, WRONG!

We beached ourselves…..I waded back to the launch, ruined by favorite white chucks, got lost trying to get gas and food, and finally made it back just in time for the tide to have come in enough to take the boat out of the water. Did I mention how many crab we got though? 2 dungees and 3 rock. We should have stopped at our first pull. We are burnt to a crisp and hiding inside today. At least we have a few crab to eat! :)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Graduation and hanging out at Hood Canal next weekend! Hopefully my sunburn heals by then!!!

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!

A Little Proud

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 :)