Sun shining, fish biting, river clear. The things a Steelheader goes to bed at night thinking about.
Today was one of those days. The fishing has slowed down a bit the last couple of days, but we are still hammering out a few here and there. I met up with a couple of my fishing partners today, and we hit the creek running. I was hooked up and landed in the first 20 minutes. Damon also hooked up, but was unable to secure the button. The next fish I hooked into, leapt from the water and promptly spit my hook out. Then as if to say, â€œScrew youâ€, it ran right at me and jumped again, spraying me with water. Then again about a minute later, he came up and rolled again in the slot, then disappeared out of site. Richard was the next to hook up, and he landed a nice bright hen. The fishing slowed to a crawl at this point. An hour or more of time passed before Damon was able to hook up and land a nice hen himself. Damon and I were able to each hook up again in the same hole, but were not able to land another. As Damon and his dad said goodbye for the day, (Because Richard fell in the river), I headed back up for another look, and a chance to tag out for the day. Well, I got lucky and landed a nice buck with just a bit of color.
As we worked our way down the creek today, we did notice the amount of fish has diminished to a certain point. I still hear of reports from the Clackamas, that eagle winters are still being caught. As of 2 days ago, the hatchery had processed 375 fish, and had approximately 200 in the trap and corresponding pool below the entrance. In this case, there should be somewhere in the vicinity of 3 to 4 hundred more fish to arrive in the next month. It does happen this time of year as, the water drops and clears, the fish slow down there movements and stop biting so willingly. A fish that may have taken 5 casts to catch last week, may take 50 now, and the bite still may never come. So if you are out there attempting to catch these grey ghosts, then patience will be the best thing to have on the end of your pole. Here are the pics and vids form today. Also I reposted 2 stories I had written in the past. I just thought maybe some of the newer viewers would enjoy these. Please leave me a comment and let me know what you think!
So it’s time to tell you how I started fishing and the things that have happened to me along the way.
It’s been along journey getting to where I am today. I would say it all started back when I was about 5 or 6 years of age. My Dad would take me and my brother out fishing for whatever we could catch, mainly cat fish along the Columbia George and in the Snake river. One of my most memorable moments of being a kid out fishing, took place one day when we were fishing in the Snake River, for cat fish. Although the memories fail me as far details go, I still remember the most important parts of the story. I am sure it was one of my first experiences with a fishing pole in my hands, so you can image I was not the caster or fisherman I am today. I remember the day being bright and sunny with just a slight breeze I believe blowing down river. We were using worms on the bottom and plunking in a way. By letting the worms lay on the bottom, the cat fish would pick up the scent, and come on over to investigate, ( I believe this is still a very effective way to catch big cats in the Snake ). As time went on throughout the day, I don’t recall catching any fish myself, although my brother had caught a nice 18″ cat, and during the time when he was catching his fish, is when the story of my first realization that fishing was a frustrating sport and that if I was going to make it as a fisherman I was going to have to learn how to deal with the rats nests, and the bail failures, and the knots, and every little thing that comes along with a lifetime of fishing. Well I can tell you, as I stood on the bank of the Snake river watching my brother catch a big cat, and realizing that I had line wrapped around my hands, arm, legs, and the reel was a complete mess of line and knots, I new I was in trouble. So as I stood there, crying and screaming for help, as my brother called me cry baby and made fun of me, I realized this was not what I was made to do. Thankfully the years following I learned to deal with these adversities, and I have overcome the challenges that all novices face, and I have come out of it a fairly good fisherman. This first encounter comes back to me time to time when I am having a bad day on the river, you know those days when every cast is a snag and you can’t even move without hooking a tree or shrub that normally you wouldn’t even notice was there, and it’s then that I reflect back and remember that you never stop learning when it comes to fishing, and even a professional can have a novice day on the river. I will sometimes just sit down when things are going bad, and regroup, and then with confidence, head back out and start fishing.
Confidence in your fishing ability and in the river or stream you are fishing is key to catching fish. If you go into it without the confidence that your fishing skills are good enough to catch fish then you will tend to give up to soon and not try everything you are capable of. In order to build this confidence you need to study the water in your river and find where the fish lay from one year to the next. Confidence comes from catching fish and also from knowing your fishing grounds and your gear. Using the correct gear may not give you the confidence to catch fish but it will make you feel more secure once you do hit that record fish that lingers in every fisherman’s future casts.
Enjoy your selves out there and don’t get to frustrated when you are having a bad day, if you need to just picture me as a 5 year boy standing on the banks of the Snake crying for help and feeling helpless in a sea of knots and line.
I thought I would repost this story. It is one of my favorite stories I have written on here. It is also all true.
Any Steelhead fisherman that has put in the time and the energy into catching these magnificent creatures, knows the perils of losing all your line to big feisty fish. There is a chill in the air as you walk through the darkness to your favorite fishing hole. You step up onto the rock and look into the spot you know should be holding a fish. As you watch the water go by, and begin to see through it like a rough diamond, you get glimpses of the purity, but the riffles on top keep your sight from being perfectly clear. Then you pick up the faint Grey line through the riffles, that can only be a Silver Bullet Steelie. It appears as though there are two Steelies laying in your slot. You get a little shaky with anticipation, you start to get ready to cast, and you have to stop and compose yourself before you screw up and spook the fish. Moments later you are ready to start casting with confidence that your nerves are in tact. The strike comes without warning, and with a thunderous bolt from the liquid cage that held the Silver Bullet in it’s chamber, a monster of the creek shows itself in all it’s glory. Straight into the air, head shaking, glimmering in the sun, and staring you down as he re-submerges his chrome sides back into his liquid home. Seeing this massive fish in the air has you shaking again, but you are a master of your domain, and you rear back on the Goliath and get ready to settle in for the fight of the day. Running down stream with the speed of a race car, the fish never even looks back to say goodbye. You lift your feet up to prepare to run after your catch, when you suddenly remember the other fish that was laying in the slot next to the one on your line. You take a quick glance back into the slot,(Thinking you can come back later and get him also), and realize that the two fish you thought you saw, was actually the one fish you are fighting. Ripping line off the reel at an incredible rate, and with no sign of slowing down, you take off after him. Like a Gazelle, you jump from rock to rock, and from tree stump to tree roots. You do everything in your power to keep the line tight , keep your balance, and to catch up to the massive fish that is taking you to school at a fast rate. Finally your arms and legs start to give out, and you are sure any strength you have left is not enough to win this battle. Just then, you realize you haven’t seen your fly line in quite awhile, and your backing is giving way to the bottom of the spool. You give it one last burst of energy in hopes of getting your fly line back into the reel, but the fish has to much space on you, and with the current in his favor, the fight has to be put to a stop. Laying back into the fish you wait for the fly to break off, but instead you nail knot breaks off and you watch your $50.00 fly line float away, and down through the riffles. Standing there you look down at your reel, that now consists of just a little frayed backing and the hopes of a lost fish. You ask your self what could you have done different, how could you have got that fish?
Well if you have ever been in this situation then you know just what I am talking about. Now this situation has happened to me on several occasions, and I have learned over time a few hints that may help the next time you lay into the BIG ONE! First of all always be sure that you have the right equipment to handle the job, (having confidence in your gear is 50% of your ability to land fish). So when you hit into one of these big fish and he decides the ocean was a lot safer place to live, there are several things you can do to slow him down and make him rethink his retreat from the river. First of all, when you first notice he’s running away, take a look down stream, and take note of the water speed, and the barriers that may be in your way. Once this is done, you can now decide where you want to stop your fish. It is important that the hook set at the beginning is done well, and the hook must be set at least 3 times to sink the barb into the hard mouths of these fish. Now you are confident in your hook set, and you know your gear is up to the challenge. So now what? Now you do the unthinkable. As you head down river after the fish you are aware of the slow places in the river where the fish will hold, if not pressured. As the fish enters one of these areas, you need to release the tension on the fish, and now you can slow down. Fish will stop almost instantly when the tension is released from their jaw, and they will hold there in this slow water, and rest from the run downstream. Meanwhile, as the fish is resting, you can retrieve your line, and catch up to him. Now that you have regained the upper hand, you need to move downstream from the fish and then put the tension back onto him. By going below the fish it will cause the fish to react against the pull of the line, and head back up river. Now this can be several times, until you have worn your fish out, and are able bank him. Now if you have a stubborn fish that just won’t co-operate with you, and it runs down river even after going below him and giving him tension. What you can do is repeat these steps in every slow spot along the way, until the fish relinquishes itself, and gives way to the bank. If you have the one that just won’t stop in any one of holes, and just keeps running away, I say to you good luck, and run your butt off, that could be your record fish.
Good luck out there!!!