Steelhead Fishing

Finally, Some Steel!

Alas! We ran into some chrome bullets!

Saturday we ended up with 2 hatchery fish and 1 beautiful native hen that we released:

We had to wait for the temps to warm up again on Sunday, but like clockwork, once the sun hit the water, it was fish on! We had 2 fresh native fish which we also failed to get pics of….because we figured we’d have plenty of hatchery fish the rest of the day! Well…..We ran into a little bit of trouble. Turns out when you hit a good size rock the boat keys are liable to fly right our of the ignition and sink to the bottom of the river. I wish we were just up the creek without a paddle, but instead we were downriver miles above the nearest take out with no main motor and only 3 hours left of daylight. While the guys tried to Jimmy-Rig some stuff, we warmed up Elk burgers!

Thankfully, our intelligent mechanic buddy also was fishing that day and he came to our rescue and got us up and running! We didn’t hook into anymore fish, but we spent a couple hours trying to figure out how we were going to get back to our truck with the boat out of the water. Those keys also happened to have the trailer keys so now, until we cut the lock, this is how we unhook the trailer so I can drive to work LOL.

I have another exam in just a few days so I’ll be studying away but hopefully can spare a few hours this weekend to get out again! I’ll be at the Sportsman show on Sunday so come say Hello at the G Loomis/Shimano booth!

Where are the Steelhead?

For those that weren’t able to make to 3 rivers on Saturday or were but noticed that I went really fast, here’s the slides from my presentation. If you were at the seminar, I truly appreciate the support and attendance from everyone! I don’t love public speaking but everyone’s encouragement and kind words made it a lot easier. I am truly appreciative for the opportunity to attend and hope this data helps you find some steelhead this year!!

Below are the 2015 smolt plants. These fish will primarily return this 2016/2017 season but you may also see 3 year returning fish from the 2014 plants. *Note: The bold items are the most relevant and highest plants:

There were a few major increases and decreases between the 2014 & 2015 plants. * ote: the Wynoochee plants are not expected to continue to decrease. This was because the return for the year they created the smolt was fairly small so they weren’t able to harvest as much to produce smolt.

Below is a little bit of an arbitrary number, but I wanted to be able to compare rivers against one another. The “return” shown below is based on 2013 smolt plants and 2015 escapement & catch records turned in. Note: There are many factors that make this arbitrary. Catch records not turned in, wild fish in escapement figures, 3 year fish in escapement figures, successful or never caught fish not counted, tribal & commercial catch not recorded, different environments from that year to this  year, etc.

The reason I generated these figures is to say that because the Bogie and Skookumchuck had good plants & historically the best returns, I expect to see good returns again this year. While the Wallace and Skykomish are low compared to the numbers presented, they were the top rivers in the Puget Sound and they also had the most plants.

A few tips to think about when looking for spots on the river to fish or rivers to fish:

Below are my suggestions if you’re looking for wild steelhead *Note Mike Z and Bad Ash Fishing are both great guides to get you into wild steelhead on the coast!

  • Humptulips
  • Satsop
  • Bogachiel
  • Hoh
  • Queets
  • Kalama
  • Calawah
  • Solduc
  • Wynoochee

Below are my top suggested place to try this season based on smolt plants, return statistics, opportunity for big limits, & time of year.

Below were the steelhead counts to the hatchery updated by WDFW as of 17th. If you want to get out for Thanksgiving, head to the Bogie, hump, or Kalama for wild fish *Note: Kalama wild fish are not recorded, but they have 24 to the hatchery so far.

I’m just ready for springers

z riI’m really kind of over steelhead and just want to fish for springers. We did manage to get one steelhead to the boat, and a bonus springer on a coon shrimp behind a diver.

Always very, very exciting and it was super nice outside! But next weekend, we’ll be on the Columbia forgetting all about steelhead! YES!!!

I did a little soul searching this weekend and realized a couple things that I’ve allowed to impact my mood while fishing. There are a few days where I’m just a cranky B**CH; typically towards targeted people.

These are people that I like very much and I enjoy their company so I’m surprised when I find myself short tempered and not as happy as I should be doing what I love.

I’ve learned a lot about myself this past year and this weekend, I reinforced something that I learned last summer: I don’t like being in a position where I’m forced to either be a pushover, or compete. I’m not a competitive person until I realize someone is trying to compete with me. Whether that means directly with me personally, or simply competing to catch fish. And even then, not competing to catch more fish than me, or better fish than me, but competing by an individual player on the boat and trying to put themselves in better situations, even that means putting someone else in a worse situation.

I’m basically a deckhand every weekend. Some weekends are easier than others, but it’s my genuine nature to make myself useful and help others. One thing that fulfills me greatly is being a part of someone else succeeding. Even if I didn’t catch the fish, if I was able to make that persons day a little easier, help them tie leaders, bait hooks, net fish, or simply be a positive attitude to help their day, I am fulfilled.

When people purposefully cast over others, cast out of turn, act lazy, stand in front of rods so it’s easier for them to grab when one goes off, or pick up a rod that’s already rigged up when they see 4 broken off rods, I start to get defensive. I emphasize purposefully because we take a lot of new friends and family and as long as you are willing to learn and grateful, I want nothing more than to go out of my way to help you. When it’s the people that know better, I feel that instead of keeping the boat (and everyone on it) operating smoothly, they prefer to ensure their opportunities to catch fish are above others and that’s when I allow negativity to seep into my mind and I start being forced to live in a dog eat dog world and that’s just not me.

So, now that I’ve identified what impacts my mood, I know that only I can change this. My new mission is to stop allowing this. I can’t change these people and being a b**ch to people doesn’t make them want to help out and my mood never changes. I don’t know quite yet how to fix this or how I’m going to do this, but I feel ready at least now that I’ve identified my problem.

So here’s to getting back to relaxation and FISH ON!

Steelhead Limits!

With my studying, I’m having a hard time getting to fish both weekend days so I get very happy when we have a good day if we’re only fishing 1 day a week.

We headed back out with our new friend Steve and old friend Jerry in hopes to get a couple nice fish like we did last weekend. Aside from an hour of freezing rain (at least it felt like it was freezing), we had a phenomenal day on Sunday!

Going 9 for 14, we ended up with 8 fish in the box and 5 of them happened to be nice, big, bright hens!

We’re definitely more skilled at bobberdoggin but we’re fishing a river with shorter, deeper pockets so it’s a little bit more work to get our gear down quickly with the bobbers on. We were pleasantly surprised this weekend to have done so well side drifting. And as with bobberdoggin, we always try to have a mix of baits and artificial lures so that we can really key in on what the fish like that day. We try to treat every week as if it’s brand new with new water conditions, boat/angler pressure, different fish, different weather, and Jeff worked hard to make it pay off this Sunday!

Let’s hope this weather holds up so we can fish at least one day this weekend too!