This post will document my limited fishing endeavors this summer and fall. With a new addition to our family this past spring, I’ve been understandably called upon to spend more time at home. This means no BC trip this year, but more focus on beach fishing and new additions to my rod and tackle collection as I focus on landing salmon closer to home. Luckily its a pink year and I’ve had some friends pass off some knowledge they’ve gained past summers hooking coho from the beach.
Stunner wild coho from Bush Point in late July
Hazy Point No Point
High tide/evening bite makes for a winning combination
First salmon on a Dick Nite spoon, although I’ve caught a coho that had a Dick Nite and some leader hanging out of its mouth. They’re never my first choice because I’ve never felt confident rigging them.
While I haven’t been able to fish as much as I’d like lately this late winter, I have been catching up on my reading and online media that serves as a source of information and inspiration when I’m stuck in the city. Podcasts have never been something I thought I had time for. But lately on a long drive to Oregon to visit my girlfriend’s family, she suggested we listen to some podcasts that she had been listening to on her commutes. They were mostly popular comedy or investigative reporting shows. This trip led to me searching for fishing-related podcasts and other online streaming interviews and outdoors shows that I may listen to on my own commutes and even while I am at the tying bench. My searches led me to April Vokey’s Anchoredpodcast and I have been steadily getting through her casual and informative interviews with some legends of fly fishing. The interviews range from fascinating and engaging to infuriating (in a productive way) and reflective. I’ve embedded the audio for her interview with Lani Waller below, which was the first one I listened to and a captivating listen as he recalls the story of his life spent fishing and a horrifying near-death experience. His easy-going manner and the masterful storytelling of his fascinating life had me really envious for April’s opportunity to sit and spend time with him. What conveys over the audio is a truly intimate conversation, rich in that feeling you feel when sitting down and listening to an elder who you know has something to teach you about life. I also have to suggest her interview with Seattle-local Dave McCoy who owns Emerald Water Anglers and is a passionate advocate for wild steelhead preservation here in my home state of Washington.
I have a love/hate relationship with fishing in urban settings, although I concede that here in Seattle anglers are lucky to have access to excellent opportunities for catching trout, salmon, and steelhead within a half hour drive of the city or even within the city limits. Green Lake is a typical urban recreation and water sport mecca and was stocked with 40000+ trout in October. The 3 mile path around the lake is busy with joggers, strollers, and rollerbladers. The shores are lined with fishermen in their camp chairs and rod holders, and unfortunately the waters yesterday were filled with rowers competing in a regatta. I headed down yesterday afternoon with my ultra-light trout rod, a backpack full of powerbait, and a camp chair. Using my sliding cannonball set-up, I started with a fairly long leader and some rainbow trout nuggets without much success. I figured that there would be long grass on the bottom of the lake and that I needed to get my bait floating above it. In reeling in I noticed that the grass and milfoil that I was bringing in at times was short and not as abundant I I expected. Normally in adjusting my rig I like to change one variable at a time: first I change the leader length to see if that is the issue, then the bait choice, and then I’ll try casting hardware to see if the fish are hitting spoons and spinners on the surface. I changed two variables yesterday and immediately started getting bites. A shorter, 1-1.5 foot leader and sherbet trout nuggets were the key. I pulled in 3 cookie-cutter planters and lost a couple more. I’ve always used barbed, #6 or #8 red Gamakatsu bait hooks but am starting to crimp the barbs as I struggle with getting the hook out of these small fish without bloodshed. I have no interest in eating a stocker trout (or really any fish taken from fresh water) and a barbed hook makes the release difficult. These fish are nearly always hooked in the throat or tongue as they gulp the bait and a barbed hook is redundant if one plans to release them. I also worry about leaving a hook I can’t remove in a fish. The fish will likely live a shortened life with the metal in it and become dangerous food for water fowl or eagles. This worry was confirmed yesterday as I watched a bald eagle come down a hundred yards from where I was fishing and snatch a trout (one I just released?) off the surface of the water.
On Saturday I floated down the Yakima River with a friend and his brother. Katlin and I headed to Cle Elum early on Saturday morning to meet up, and to stock up on snacks and drinks. The float took close to four hours and we saw both sun and thunderstorms, and always mosquitoes. The temperature was perfect the whole time. I floated in a an inflatable kayak and I wouldn’t want to have done it in do it injust an inner tube. The Yakima has world class rainbow trout fishing and I brought my rod and reel and managed to catch a little guy on my second cast of the day. See more photos from the day here or by clicking on one of the shots below.
There will be days when the fishing is better than one's most optimistic forecast, others when it is far worse. Either is a gain over just staying home.