springers

Springer article!

New article is up discussing the most important factors when fishing for springers in small rivers:

http://steelheadgirls.com/the-springers-are-here/

 

Birthday fishing!!

We really haven’t been fishing much lately so all I wanted for my birthday was to fish all weekend and not have any homework so I wasn’t worried about getting off the water at a decent time. I took last Friday off work so I could finish all my homework for the weekend and we headed down to Kalama in search of our first springer for the year. With the reports last week, we were pretty confident the odds would be in our favor, especially since it was MY BIRTHDAY!

Jeff, Andrew and I headed down to meet our buddy Kiley and start the weekend celebration! We started out Saturday anchored up with plugs dancing away. We watched as a couple boats around us hook up and wait patiently. As the tide slacked out and our plugs lost energy, we picked up and trolled herring the rest of the afternoon. Again, we watched a couple boats hook up and patiently waited our turn.

Andrew and I celebrated a bit too much and dozed off while Jeff and Kiley kept an eye on the rods. We wake up quite startled when Kiley’s rod goes off. In a complete panic, we reel all the rods up and get the fish in the boat. FINALLY!!!!! It wasn’t my birthday fish, but it was the first springer of the year in the boat and a huge relief to know we weren’t complete bad luck or something. The wind and tide made it extremely difficult to fish so we packed up and headed out with our one fish. We continued my birthday celebration and Kiley graciously gave us half of his fish! YUM!!!! lunch tomorrow!

We hit the sack early and woke up refreshed and ready for another beautiful day on the river. Again, we anchored up with our dancing plugs and again, watched as a few select boats got tagged repeatedly. Jeff, being the genius that he is, figured out where we needed to be based on a few variables and we re-anchored and put the dancers out. After just 30 minutes, a plug gets hit. “DID YOU SEE THAT?” I could hardly think. I couldn’t decide if I was happy or mad because the rod wasn’t going off. I relaxed and went back to eating that delicious fish when that same rod goes off just 5 minutes later.

Jeff picks it up and hands it over to the birthday girl. I could hardly breath. I can’t lose this fish. This is my birthday fish and my first springer of the year. It gets within sight and I swear, I see the native fin. In fact, I see it twice! I actually am a little relieved because if I lose it, it doesn’t matter! I bring it up closer and it’s not native at all. My mind is playing tricks on me! Oh my gosh, get this thing in the net ASAP!

Thank goodness, the Kwikfish completely sewed it’s mouth shut and we get it in the boat. I’m smiling a little, but I’m not jumping for joy. My knees are shaking profusely and I can’t think. Andrew and Jeff are so excited and start taking care of the fish and get the other rods out as I just stand there. Speechless. I start crying. Balling. Tears running down my face; I can’t think of a time where I felt a bigger sense of relief. They think it’s hilarious and I try to wipe my tears so I can take a pic of that plug and get it back out there dancing around.

We finish out that tide cycle and go back to trolling hoping to get the last two fish. Again, we watch boats hook up patiently waiting our turn. We didn’t end up finding anything else, but we all split the fish that we did get and made a million memories this weekend. I couldn’t be more grateful for getting to spend it with 3 awesome people and getting my first springer of the year. :)

A little catch up

I’m finally on spring break so I can do a little catching up on my fishing life! It’s been fairly nonexistent compared to normal which is very disappointing but I passed another quarter of school and still have a job :)

Since we got the sled we’ve tried several times to do the whole, Cowlitz Blue Creek boat full of cookie cutter winter runs. Last year, we went about 6 times and failed every time. We managed to hook ONE for about 2 seconds and that was it for the entire year. Jeff’s been doing some research and trying some new stuff so we hit it up a couple weeks ago when everything else was blown. We didn’t get skunked, but again, we weren’t very successful. It didn’t sound like anyone was very successful so it wasn’t a terrible day. We got one fish and it was a good thing that it was Jeff that hooked it, but it really wasn’t the “Cowlitz” that everyone hears about. This was all I was able to capture of the moment!

We took another week off and got geared up for SPRINGERS! Springers might be my favorite fish to target (and to eat!) mostly because the time of year. It’s finally getting nice out again, we fish the Columbia and Drano lake a lot which is a little more relaxing and easy to take family, and we are just so darn successful on the Cowlitz (as compared to winter run)! Plus, our birthdays are in April and May so we do birthday trips for springers :)

We spent all night Friday night switching our gear, wrapping plugs, and getting the boat ready. We headed down with a truck full of buddies and the sun in the weather forecast. I was so excited I couldn’t even sleep on the way down. And I sleep everywhere. EVERYWHERE: school, work, cars, dinner, everywhere. So for me to not be able to sleep, I had to have been REALLY excited!

We found out spot and set up. Since it’s still a little early, we were anchor fishing Kwikfish. Of course, the boldest colors with the juiciest sardine wraps and all 5 rods were out. We had a great day BBQ’ing, sharing stories, napping (I wasn’t the only one this time), and of course, trying to catch the first springer of the year! We didn’t catch anything, but we did get a pretty cool show from a couple of bored tugboat drivers! They were right across from us obviously killing time, doing donuts, racing, and even a little face off to see who could push who harder.

I even drove the boat! I don’t like driving the sled, especially not in small rivers. It’s big, expensive, and fast. I don’t like going fast in anything and in the sled, if you’re not going fast, you can’t stay on plane and you won’t get very far in a small river. I try to avoid having to drive it at all costs but Jeff insists that I learn. I don’t mind driving it in the big water because there’s really nothing to worry about except seals and logs but at least I practiced! ;)

 

One more week of spring break and a couple fun birthday trips coming up! I’m ready for springers :)

When life gives you lemons…..

In case you haven’t noticed, I haven’t been catching many fish in the past 4 months. THIS IS RARE! I had a phenomenal winter steelhead season and since we’ve switched gears to springers, I’ve been in quite the rut. A normal springer season for me means having anywhere between 15-20 springers tagged on my license and Jeff the same. This year, Jeff had about 10 and I have an unbelievable TWO! One of them was a plug fish while trolling so I really don’t count that as MINE unless I was on the motor AND I landed it.

This is really the first year that we’re targeting summer steelhead on a regular basis and it’s not proving to be any better for me than springers this year. I’ve been out a few times and still had yet to get the first summer run of the year and still am not even catching any kings! The boat as a whole is doing great and we’ve taken A LOT of new people out so I spend a lot of time tying leaders, baiting hooks, and getting out tangles, but I was still VERY discouraged that I have only caught 5 fish (3 downriver steelhead) in the past 4 months.

I had VERY high hopes for Saturday with a boat full of our oldest fishing buddies and amazing weather. I was going to get the biggest and best making all of this suffering worth it. I was sadly mistaken when I still landed nothing and our buddy Ben got his 2 kings, one being an extraordinary 15 lbs and chrome bright.

On Sunday, I had damn near given up by 9 AM. Feeling defeated and discouraged, I was contemplating taking a few weeks off fishing and finding some witch doctor to cure me of this curse. Months of my prayers and/or begging the heavens for a fish were going unanswered, the weather was dreary, and nothing sounded better than to put my rod down, drink a beer, and take a nap and beer on the bow of the boat. I continued to fish my hardest and held back my tears of frustration after 2 rods were broken within 30 minutes.

Around noon Jeff finally hooks into a little summer run! I surprisingly wasn’t angry, and was very happy for some excitement. The motors still scare the living bejesus out of me, but I jumped right on them and worked with him to get the fish netted. Unfortunately, that little native steelhead did one jump and snapped the leader (I swear I did NOT tie that one!).

We went back up to hit the slot again and to my GREAT surprise, I had a fish on!!!! All I could hear was my reel screaming and all I could see was my high vis line heading for the snags. I finally got a fish and there’s no doubt it’s one helluva fish!

After a few LONG minutes of the fish playing hide and seek under the boat and through the motor, we landed this native summer run. She thankfully only jumped once and all my friends now, I panic when fish jump. I don’t like it at all!

I’m all smiles for the rest of the day and GLADLY watch each person land a fish for the rest of the day. We ended up going 2 for 3 on summer run and 2 for 2 on kings (jack only). We fished new water and I broke the curse!

So, when life gave me lemons I prayed and begged and when that didn’t work, I held back my frustration and fished on. I didn’t quite make lemonade, but I didn’t give up and I ended up being greatly rewarded. Let’s hope I can get my groove back! :)

Here are a few more of some other fish that we caught this weekend!