skok fishing

This one’s for the girls

First, for those here for a report on the Skok: Fishing was great at first light, not that great the rest of the day, including the evening. Not many people on the river being that it was float only, warden’s are out looking for those trying to snag with a float. Wet eggs were best, after first light, try a lot of different scents to pick through the biters.

Now for the rest of the weekend:

I met the most amazing little girl this weekend! Her name is Emerald and she is 8 years old. She is visiting Washington with her family for the summer but is originally from Texas and is growing up with almost unlimited exposure to all things outdoors. The first words she said to me were “I caught my first salmon yesterday!” and I knew that she was basically the coolest girl ever when I agreed to see it (expecting a picture) and she brought me the entire pink salmon and she told me exactly how she caught it.

Jeff met her father, Michael, this spring while shrimping in Hood Canal. He expressed his enjoyment for fishing and hunting but being that he lives in Texas, he didn’t know much about the fishing up here. Jeff has been talking to him for a few months and got him set up with a couple new rods so that he could fish the Skokomish river when it opened (this weekend).

I took Michael out and of course, he was a natural and needed very little assistance, but Emerald was devastated to find out that she couldn’t join us because we would be wading and walking all over the river. :(

The next day, Michael was the second person in our group to limit out (like I said, a natural) and I got to hang out with Emerald for a couple hours that afternoon. She watched us teach her dad how to cure eggs and then rig the rods back up. She said her dad was “all fished out” but she really wanted to go so she invited me humpy fishing at Hoodsport. I wasn’t sure that she actually had a plan, so I thought I would take her down to the river and fish from the bank where it was fairly safe.

But first, I had to get my daily archery practice in. She, of course, came over to watch and I was surprised to learn that she too was an archery shooter! Her first ever arrow and she hit the target!

We head down to the river while her parents enjoy a few hours of relaxation and fun in The Hood. She sat close to me and while I tried to keep her out of the eggs for the fear of her clothes getting too messy, she wasn’t having any of it. She helped me pick out bait, learned about sandshrimp and different scents, got to watch the salmon in the river, and even made a few casts herself!

She wanted very badly to fish my rod but it was a level line and I was a little too nervous to let her cast it on her own, so we did it together a few times. Our buddy had a spinning reel so Andrew taught her how to cast that and she did it all by herself several times. She cast, stopped when she got close to the trees and even mended perfectly.

I wish I could say that we landed her first king salmon but unfortunately, we couldn’t get the fish to bite anything and we had to get back before it got dark. She was an absolute pleasure to be around and by far one of my favorite little girls. She’s going to grow up and have so much passion and experience in the outdoors, don’t be surprised if you see her around the industry in 10 years!

Now, all the ladies will appreciate how my weekend went outside of hanging out with Emerald! I was a hormonal mess and I had an “aunt” coming to town if you know what I mean. ;)

There’s very few days that Jeff and I get to 100% fish for ourselves. We enjoy the company so we take a lot of people fishing, plus it’s always a bonus when you can share expenses and be able to put more fish in the boat. But it’s a lot of work! Before fishing, during, and even after fishing when you get home, it’s hours and hours of work! This weekend, I was excited to be fishing for myself and just helping Michael learn. He put in a lot of pre-work for this weekend and I was actually really anxious to help him learn more, but I just wanted to be a little selfish when it came to everyone else. Jeff was fishing out of Westport Saturday so it was just me until he came on Sunday.

I found out at the last minute that I would have a couple other friends meeting us out there and they might need a few things or a few tips. I was okay with that because for the most part, they had their own gear so I could just provide their bait and few pointers here and there. I found out that we had even more friends meeting us out there but they didn’t quite have their own gear, bait, and barely ever fished this technique before.

I missed the morning bite both Saturday and Sunday because I was busy helping others and making sure they were into fish. I lost a couple and landed a wild fish but by Sunday mid-morning, I had no blood on the bank and I was feeling like Lady Karma was forgetting about me. After watching almost everyone in our group land these big, beautiful fish and I was still without a single bite, I was on edge (to say the least). I have been asked for bait, pens, scissors, scents, leaders, to tie knots for people, I’ve been pushed out of the “good spots” by my own friends, skipped in the casting order, and then, the Tribal Warden decided I was the one he wanted to pick on and that was it. I was done.

I packed up all my stuff; All the stuff I prepared for others including the only pen out of 10 people, the only pre-tied leaders, all the scents, the only pair of pliers, and all the ZipLoks. I don’t care about anymore. I left the bait, the stringer, and 1 pair of scissors (there were only 3 pairs between all 10 people) because Jeff was there and half the stuff was his anyways. In tears, I went to my truck at 8:30 to wait for everyone else to finish so I could leave. I was done! I had a good crying session and then browsed Facebook; which so kindly reminded me that this wonderful morning was the 8th anniversary of the death of a very good friend of mine. Could my day get any worse?

I cried for almost 2 hours before Jeff’s wonderful mom popped up at my truck and gave me a pep talk. She brought me back down to the river where I said “F— everyone! I don’t care if you need a single thing, I am not here to help any of you and I’m fishing wherever I want.” I fished, I was happy, I was laughing, I was enjoying beer, I casted over people and stood where I wanted and I didn’t care! When my own friends tried to squeeze in, I didn’t budge. I hooked 2 more fish and lost them both, but hey, at least I was actually hooking fish now!

Then Jeff decided to get in my way. We had a little argument and that was it for me again! The tears came as well as the rain and I was done. We can just leave now……I lashed out at anyone in my path (including people I had just met) and Jeff referred to it as a “rampage”.

I was fine by the time we got back to the house (took a whole 10 minutes). Many apologies and a few more laughs and I was headed home to find out my “aunt” met me at my house. Thank God this craziness is over. Only my female friends will understand what my day was like and thank God for them, because at least someone understands that my day was far worse than anyone who suffered from my rampage.

I have a new outlook on fishing and it goes something like “I am not your guide and I’m not being considerate of you if you’re not looking out for me.” I’m done playing “guide” and I’m done enabling lazy people who want to catch fish but don’t want to do any work. I’m more than happy to help anyone that is actually willing to learn and to be considerate to anyone that can return the favor. If you want to skip me in the casting order, take my spot when I re-bait, or leave your stuff in the water when I hook a fish, you can be certain that I’ll go out of my way to be inconsiderate to you.

It is actually very difficult for me NOT to be considerate because it’s in my nature but I felt taken advantage of this weekend. I get so few opportunities to fish for myself and it was taken away this weekend by people who don’t understand how much work goes into a fishing trip and who must think I just love to watch other people catch fish all the time; I only like to see others catch fish when I can see their own hard work pay off.

Maybe when my “aunt” leaves town, I’ll feel better; BUT NOT TODAYI’m a woman, I’ll feel however the hell I want this week and I dare you to get in my way :)

Thank God Jeff understands me

~Bry

4th of July fun

Still no fishing, but plenty of FUN! We went to Jeff’s parent’s house on Hood Canal for 3 days with our friends Derrick and Kari and we did just about every activity the Canal has to offer!

·         Swimming

·         Clam and Oyster digging

·         Crabbing

·         Fireworks show

·         Tequila!!!

·         Taught Kari how to shoot a bow

·         Bon fire

·         Relaxed on the water

·         Checked out the Skok in preparation for this fall fishing season

·         AND HAD A FEAST!

 

 

 

 

 

Saturday we watched the fireworks with our friend Herb down at the Tacoma Waterfront, and Sunday we all went and put in some HARD WORK elk scouting in almost 100 degree weather.

Loving this beautiful state and having so much time to enjoy my life since I’ve finished so many obligations that I had!

 

 

Now, a little controversial conversation that came up this weekend:

We had a conversion with someone who fishes on the Skok and who openly admitted to snagging. In fact, they bragged about how good their son was. The conversation didn’t occur the way I would have liked, but it was apparent that they knew what snagging was, and that the notion of snagging in the river was unethical and they felt the need to justify themselves as soon as they found out our thoughts on snagging, especially on the Skok.

I’ve written a blog or two about my thoughts on snagging and I’ll be open and honest: When you know snagging is unethical and you do it anyways, you lose my respect and when you know it’s unethical and choose not to fish that way but don’t attempt to educate others that don’t understand fishing for salmon, you lose some credibility. I’m not saying everyone should go preach about their fishing ethics or beliefs, but everyone should respectfully be working towards making our fisheries the as ethical as possible.

While the conversation was intended to educate the “snagger” about fall salmon in the rivers and the consequences of snagging, it was presented in a disrespectful manor, and I’m ashamed of that. There’s this horrible relationship that tends to build between snaggers and bait chuckers during fall salmon where fishermen pit up against one another and become enemies that insult and abuse not only each other, but the fishery. I get it, not everyone will have the same level of respect or understand certain concepts and I’ll include myself when I say that if you blatantly disregard the regulations, my space, and my chances of fishing ethically and you know better, bait chuckers may insult and create a bigger situation than simply leaving the fishery.

However, I wish to see more education and chivalry among the anglers. We all share this passion and fire and we should have a certain level of respect for the opportunities that we are given to have hatchery salmon. We should not be feuding or putting one another down, we should be collaborating, being open-minded, and respectful to one another. As we approach fall salmon, you’ll see more posts from me and I hope everyone can be a bit more mindful about such a touchy subject. <3

Where are your fishing morals????

Fishing salmon in the river

There are several methods for fishing for salmon in the rivers that include bait, hardware, or artificial lures that are all effective and deadly for salmon. With millions of salmon returning to our Western Washington Rivers, many face a very debatable question each time they plan their trip: What’s my method(s) today?

My passion to write on this topic derives from a river that is very special to many close friends of mine and that has always been……..a snagfest. The more I fish, the greater my heart aches when I see the anglers that this type of river attracts; especially when I know the people who seem to lose their morals and ethics so they can partake in the Skok lineup. When you ask someone who “snags” why they do it, they’ll have a plethora of reasons: I need eggs; I’m not snagging, I’m flossing, salmon don’t bite in the river, they are biting my yarn, or they simply don’t know any other way. My goal is to make those excuses unjustifiable and hopefully educate just one person.

These ladies have only fished a handful of times and we managed to teach them an ethical way of fishing in one of the most unethical places and they limited out

SALMON DON’T BITE IN THE RIVER:

This statement baffles my mind. There’s plenty of science to back up the fact that salmon stop actively feeding while they make their journey to their spawning grounds.  There are many theories out there about why fish bite. Some say it’s a Darwin effect: Only the strongest survive. They are eating eggs to try to kill other potential offspring. Others say that they are simply trying to pick up the eggs to move them to the “nest”. We’ve all heard that they are purely curious fish. They pick up sticks, rocks, bait, you name it. It’s very well-known that fish are aggressive and if you bother it enough, it will attack. The science has been countered and it’s been said that the fish are eating because they are tired, hungry, and their bodies are breaking down. Whatever the reason you believe, the fact remains: FISH DO BITE.

Sure, salmon get lethargic and/or lockjaw just like any other fish. This could happen in the salt, in the river, when they’re being harassed, or being left alone. But isn’t that why we all love fishing? Sure we like to have fresh salmon for dinner and give it to our friends and family, but does anyone really hate fishing but only do it so they can eat the fish? To me, fishing is not only a hobby but a challenge. How can I get this fish to bite? It is hours of research, reading, and learning so that you can put your knowledge to the test and catch a fish or two.

Salmon can smell in parts per billion. So using chemicals and scent as an attractant will increase the chances of a bite tremendously. Sulfite cures will attract salmon because of the salt they crave from being in the freshwater. Click here for egg curing tips http://steelheadgirls.com/preparing-eggs-for-curing/

For king salmon, I lean towards heavy and stinky scents like tuna, sardine, krill, and garlic. In fact, I don’t throw out any lure or bait without an extra scent when fishing for kings. For pinks and coho, I still may use those heavier scents, but I typically reach for something lighter first like anise, shrimp, and craw.

Methods and Techniques:

Whether you’re in a boat or on the bank, there are many different ways to catch salmon in the rivers. My personal favorite is fishing eggs under a float. It’s easy to teach new people, it’s easy for several people to fish the same hole without tangling up, and it’s quick and easy to use the
same set up for several different holes along the river.

Click here for float fishing techniques: http://steelheadgirls.com/float-fishing/

Click here for drift fishing techniques: http://steelheadgirls.com/drift-fishing-for-kings/

Click here for back bouncing techniques: http://steelheadgirls.com/back-bouncing/

Fishing for pinks: http://steelheadgirls.com/articles/river-fishing-for-pinks/

There are many other techniques like plugs, divers, spinners, darts, and jigs. Always remember scent and if you don’t get a bite in a few casts, try a different bait or scent.

Remember your morals

I could write pages about how to really effectively fish for salmon in the rivers. In fact, there are books, countless articles in magazines and on the internet, you can ask almost any bait fisherman on the river and they’ll be HAPPY to show you their ways.

Remember who you are, who is watching and learning from you, and most importantly, remember why you are fishing. Respect the river and the fish. Teach your children about the sport of fishing, not the sport or snagging and getting your limit in the first two casts. Nothing upsets me more on the river than anglers who blatantly disrespect the sport of fishing and it baffles me where people’s morals go when salmon season comes around. Be the example of how to fish ethically and teach others when you can.

This is the site of a fish that I reel in all too often on the Skok. I’m not sure what kind of morals whomever originally hooked this fish had.

Skok opener!!!

The good ‘ol Skokomish opener! We wait all year for this day, prepare for weeks, stock up eggs all year, buy endless bait boxes and bait towels, start with at least 200 leaders prettied, and drink heavily the night before.

It was obviously a busy day on Saturday, but we were rewarded and were very grateful for a great day! We always bring out as many friends as we can and it’s always great to see new people learn about how kings bite eggs in the river and watch them catch big kings in a small river. There were a few holes that were obviously full of willing fish and some that weren’t so full but there were a few fish here and there in the morning. By noon, our group of about 15 people was at a ratio of about 10:25 landed fish. We left for a quick nap and headed back to get a few more fish.


Sunday was a bit slower and we didn’t kill any fish (nothing to clean woo hoo) but we lost a few and had a few missed bites. It was a great weekend and every year we see more and more bait fishermen who are friendlier than ever and just happy to us and we are to see them. I meant one of my favorite fisherladies on the skok because we both fish bait :)

It was good fishing and good to be back in the small river, but seriously, every year that I fish I get more and more passionate and the Skok hurts my heart just as much as it gives me joy and I’ll have a few choice words and hopefully some motivational ones coming up this week on an article about…………FISHING BAIT FOR FALL SALMON :)