cowlitz steelhead

Birthday trip!!!

Last weekend I hit the Columbia for the extended Saturday with our friends Kari and Derrick while Jeff worked. We survived the largest hurricane known to Washington’s coast (not really, but that’s what it felt like) and managed to get just one bite that didn’t stick. We headed home early to celebrate mine and my stepdad’s birthday with our family! With all of the crazy things going on in my family right now, it was amazing to be able to spend the afternoon just hanging out with everyone with no agenda and everyone laughing!

Sunday, we were ready for some Cowlitz springer action for a trip that we’ve had planned for a few weeks with Kiley and Hillary! We headed up to Barrier Damn and much like last year, Jeff was first to get his limit in just a few casts. Kiley wasn’t far behind with one at first light while Hillary and I struggled to make our casts count and get in the fish zone. I’ve tried several different set ups and I just am not strong enough to make the distance needed be in the fish every cast L I LOVE barrier damn fishing, just not in the areas that require me to cast that far so I might be flying solo the rest of springer season while I watch Jeff limit out across the way.

Hillary finally got a hook up and waist deep in water with 3 people telling her different things to do, her mind must have been ready to explode! She was doing awesome until…..the handle on the reel broke! Snapped right in half! Thankfully the fish was almost in so we carefully walked her back as we tried not to slip in the deep water and get that fish to the net. Of course, it wasn’t as graceful as I make it sound, but there were no more broken fishing parts the rest of the fight, no one fell in, and the fish made it in the net!


Hillary’s been hitting the Columbia lately with Brandon Glass from Team Hook Up Guide Service ( who takes right after his dad’s (Jack Glass) incredible fishing talent!

We wanted to show her something a little different than what she was used to (small river steelheading and Big C trolling) so after the morning bite died down, we headed to Blue Creek for some side-drifting action!

She was amazed at the close quarters and population of fishermen, but jumped right in and held her own! Kiley lost about 20 steelhead (I’m kidding, it was one or two) but that was all we got for the day! I didn’t get my birthday fish, but we had a great weekend and went home with 2 springers!

For anyone not on my Facebook page, we had a little more eventful week and purchased our first home! So this weekend we’ll be busy painting but will be back to the river next weekend with our good friends Kelcey and Nick!!

Cowlitz Lemonade

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 :)