jerry culver

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 :)

Pluggin’ it….

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!!!!!!

Too cold for fish?

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!