winter steelhead

Valentine’s Day

This weekend was definitely one for the ladies!

We headed out with an old high school friend and her boyfriend who happens to be as fishy as us and had a great day!

Not only was it great to catch up with her and get to know her boyfriend, they treated us with so much wonderful food! ahahaha. They are welcome to join us anytime and Jeff has designated Jess the official cook anytime she comes fishing :)

It was a little bit tough deciding where to go because we have recently gotten a lot of rain. Even when we got to the river, we were very skeptical about whether or not we would catch anything. After about 2 hours, Jeff finally hooks a nice little buck! 30 minutes later, Jess is hooked up! She’s only been fishing for a little over a year, but she picked up really quickly, goes often, and ended up out-fishing the boys (of course). When we have new friends join us, I always am quick to jump on the bow with them and make sure they are fighting the fish correctly so we can get their fish to the boat. I was ready to take this approach and she actually didn’t need my help! Steve has clearly taught her well and she was able to bring her fish to the boat like a pro!

She got this nice super hen shortly after Jeff’s fish

From that point on, there seemed to be a hook up every 30 minutes after that! Jess got another nice hen, although it was wild. I also got 2 fish, and unfortunately, our new friend, Steve, could only get trout to bite his hook.

Our friend Kari and Derrick also got a couple fish, but more importantly, she got this great hatchery hen on a yarnie!

There was a little joke that we had in our boat regarding a very optimistic co-worker of mine. He seems to be the most positive person on the planet, and even after just 10 minutes of conversation with him, you walk away feeling good about yourself and life. We decided to adopt his positivity and while Jess and Jeff designated themselves to his team, the whole boat ended up having a great time full of fish, laughter, and positivity.

So Jess and Steve, I hope we can fish again soon! A trip like that is exactly what I needed to take my mind off my studies and work :) Thank you guys!

Fishing Again

Well, I got some new wheels and the rain finally let up so we were able to hit the river once again!

Although it’s still fairly early in our winter steelhead season, there were a lot of dark fish and kelt. We didn’t see many native fish, but the one we did see was dime bright and in perfect condition which is always a great sign. We brought a few good keepers to the boat and definitely enjoyed the nice weather and good company! We had one guy that beat his personal best steelhead size and one guy that got his first steelhead ever!

It was awesome to be back out, and hopefully I can keep up with my studies to allow for at least 1 day a weekend fishing!

A Blessed Start To The New Year

 

It’s our tradition to fish January 1st, no matter what the water conditions are. We actually had great conditions for Friday and headed out with our friend Trenton who is still a little green to the fishing sport.

We ended up getting to be first boat down the river and in the very first hole, I hooked up. You’d swear I never fought a fish in my life. Jeff loosened all the drags the night before (because it’s bad for the reels to always have the drag tightened) and we forgot to tighten them back up. It was a big huge steelhead mess as I tried to find the right tension while fighting a fish that had free reign over my line. I ended up losing that but we got all the rest of the drags set appropriately :)

After the third hole, we found a pod a fish. It took a bit of work pulling the boat back upstream after each fish, but we managed to go 2/3 out of that hole.

The rest of the day had the same landing ratio, but we had a great time. Jeff likes to get the boat limited, even if he doesn’t want to bring home any fish so he was a little frustrated that we ended up going 4/10 when there was 3 of us and we should have had all 6 hatchery fish by 9 AM. Trenton and I had a fantastic time and got quite a few laughs in despite our “sometimes grumpy captain that let a few swear words slip.”

We were headed back to the river with our friend Andrew Saturday morning and we noticed that it was a bit foggy and icy when we left the house. The morning was full of ironies which we realized after the next thing happened…..

We were headed on I5 south near Nisqually when out of nowhere, we began sliding. Jeff was driving, Andrew was front passenger, and I was behind the driver seat. What seemed like the next 30 seconds was probably only 4 seconds. We slid across 4 lanes on the freeway, hit the guardrail, and flipped a few times eventually landing upside down in the far right lane. The boat thankfully detached sometime between hitting the guardrail and flipping and ended up in front of the truck about 50 feet.

After we stopped moving, we all gave our noises indicating we were okay and got ourselves out of the truck and off the freeway immediately. Thankfully, a few others stopped to call 911 for us and ensure that we were in relatively good condition. Jeff took an ambulance ride for some minor back discomfort and some X-Rays just to be cautious. The drift boat, rods, tackle, waders, etc were all recovered and in perfect condition to our knowledge. The truck on the other hand, isn’t going to seeing anymore boat launches.

I shared on Facebook around 11 AM and the support and concern was overwhelming. Literally, overwhelming and I ended up turning my phone off so that I could try to get some rest. We are all still doing fine other than some bruises and soreness. I’ve experienced a lot of support from our fishing community but this was by far the most. There were several people in the morning that made posts regarding the accident just sending prayers and wishes to the unknown victims. A few friends drove by and recognized our truck and stopped to check on us although we had already left the scene for the hospital. The amount of prayers we received reinforced my feeling of love and support from our amazing industry and circle of friends that share our passion. It just goes to show that fishing is so much more than a fish.

It wasn’t the way we wanted to start our New Year, but we are all feeling blessed beyond words. The Man Upstairs had his angels looking out for us and I’m a great believer that everything that happens to us, was supposed to happen. There is no doubt that we were meant to be in that accident and walk away essentially unscathed. Who knows if I’ll ever find a reason or understand why, but perhaps it’s just to keep us grateful for our lives.

1st Winter Steelhead Trip

We finally got to head back out fishing after the long closures in our state to ensure coho returned to the hatchery and to successfully spawn. The rivers were in shape, and we were anxious to hit the water!

Saturday started off pretty good as far as hook ups go, but not so great on the land ratio. We watched a few trees fall in from the dropping water (pressure against the loose banks from the high water is released as the river drops) and watched the dirt and mud follow creating almost no visibility for that bank. The lower in the river we went, the more clarity we lost and as the afternoon went on, we hooked up less and less.

Sunday was a very slow start but quite the opposite as Saturday. We went 8 for 10 so our landing ratio was great and we worked hard to stay above the falling banks and trees to keep our clarity. I think at the end of the weekend, we only hooked 2 fish on eggs! The rest were either on yarn balls, cured prawn, or sandshrimp rags.

My favorite presentation at Steelhead University this year was Cody Herman’s and this was the perfect time to put my new knowledge to use. It became a little joke because I was trying to convince the boat that the fish would hold on the opposite side of the river as the slide, even if the bank with the slide is where we would normally catch fish, inside and softer edges, maybe deeper, etc. I didn’t think the fish would want to swim/breath in the muddy river with all the silt because it gets in their gills, and their migration path would move from the bank to either the middle of the river, or the opposite side.

Jeff wanted to make fun of me, but we actually ended up catching over half of our fish on the opposite side of the muddy bank. Thank you Cody!!! It could be a variety of reasons why this happened including coincidence, but I was excited and felt that I was able to contribute to the captaining which is rare.

It was a great weekend and while I only landed 2 fish, one was this great 13lb hatchery buck. The rest of the boat landed hatchery hens so we got a few quarts of eggs to make up for what we weren’t able to get during coho season :)

Back at it next weekend and I get 3 days to fish! Then, I’m starting the last leg of my educational journey……..Starting to study for the CPA exams. Woohoo!