Winter

Discussion in 'Steelhead' started by Sean Beauchamp, Apr 19, 2014.

  1. Sean Beauchamp Hot and Heavy at yer 6

    Posts: 2,113
    Shoreline, WA, U.S.
    Ratings: +467 / 1
    Now that things have wrapped up I wanna read some good fishin stories. I'm sure some of you actually fish ;) I wanna hear what you saw out there, maybe a little about what ya learned. Did you finally get your first? What about the one that got away? I'll leave it up to you. After starting off low, clear and cold Mother Nature really turned the water on. All hail gore tex! I had a lot going on at work and at home, so I fished 1-2 times a week until puget sound closed and then made 3 short weekend trips to the coast. I was lucky to sneak in on good water each time and found a few that wanted to chase. Saw some new rivers, fished familiar haunts with good buds. Had a blast.

    My favorite moment was my cousin finding his first winter fish on the swing on a snowy feb morning. Picked my pocket hard. I deserved it after sneakin em out from behind him for two years. His first day out with a click pawl reel too, some priceless moments battling that chrome hen. I'll never forget it.

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  2. Yard Sale Active Member

    Posts: 346
    The Hood
    Ratings: +140 / 0
    First fish and on a clicker? tough to beat that.

    I found myself avoiding the big classic runs and fishing those odd little features more this year. Didn't get a lot of river days but did find some fish in those kind of spots when I got the chance. Fished with a type 3 tip and classic hooks with marabou slapped on there more and more. Of course finding a proper bunch of material behind said marabou is key...

    I think next year is going to be the winter where I downsize boats and hit all those 5-10 cast spots. Dry line too...
    Sean Beauchamp likes this.
  3. Charles Sullivan dreaming through the come down

    Posts: 2,288
    bellingham wa
    Ratings: +542 / 0
    I did not get out to fish much this winter. I had a day on the big river, 2 half days on my local river and a trip where Ifished 4 days for 3 fished hooked. I only landed one steelhead. Numerically, that's pretty weak, but I feel real well positioned going into next year with a good amount of vacation time, a wife who will no longer be in school, a better family income, and some excellent information for next winter.

    My favorite moment was a cold beverage and nip O' scotch with a fellow board member on a fishless warm day on the big river. I sure do miss her.

    The other highlight is that I did not fish the OP once this year. I sincerely, hope I never have to again. I may also get one more chance at winter steelhead and bulls kinda locally.

    My summer run season was far more impressive numbers wise. Some great dry line and dryfly action. Some real memorable fish of varying sizes, going as small as 23 inches.

    Go Sox,
    cds
    Sean Beauchamp likes this.
  4. Andrew Lawrence Active Member

    Posts: 734
    Renton, WA.
    Ratings: +100 / 0
    The hatchery winter run was rather lack luster. Got my first wild winter run of the season in mid-December, which was nice. Things started going south in my family situation, so my fishing took slowed to a halt by the end of February. However, I did have a couple of good trips before then, one which included a buck that was around 18 lbs. Other than Occupy Skagit, I didn't get out any river for the entire month of March. Finally got out last weekend for the first time since February, and had an excellent time on 2 coastal rivers, with a mix of both bright fish and others that had been in the system for a little bit.
    Sean Beauchamp likes this.
  5. dreamonafly Member

    Posts: 302
    seattle, wa
    Ratings: +26 / 0
    I hope more think like you Charles stay away from the OP.........
  6. Charles Sullivan dreaming through the come down

    Posts: 2,288
    bellingham wa
    Ratings: +542 / 0
    I fear that my absence brings joy to most that know me.

    Go Sox,

    cds
  7. Chris Johnson Member: Native Fish Society

    Posts: 1,787
    Bellingham Wa.
    Ratings: +316 / 1
    Well the one thing that stands out for me this year is my first trip to the op. The first week of Dec. on the Bogey, pulled up to the secret spot and put my rod together, oops forgot my reel. I ended up driving to Waters West and they rented me a reel and lines. Next day the bogey was low and clear @ 26', bonked a nice hatchery brat early on. Never heard of another fish in the lower end, so I skinned a bunch of gear guys which is always fun.
    Sean Beauchamp likes this.
  8. dreamonafly Member

    Posts: 302
    seattle, wa
    Ratings: +26 / 0

    Nothing worst; is when you get there, you see guides from Montana, Oregon,Idaho,Canada,wow even Alaska of all places..whats going on...
  9. Sean Beauchamp Hot and Heavy at yer 6

    Posts: 2,113
    Shoreline, WA, U.S.
    Ratings: +467 / 1
    Glad you guys got out and got a chance to tangle with these amazing fish. Here's a big buck from one of those little ten cast dungeons :)

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  10. GWJ New Member

    Posts: 8
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    Nice buck! I fished the OR coast for a total of about 4 hours over two days this year. Work and family stuff was pretty hectic this winter and the few times where I was able to go, water conditions were bad. The cool thing was I hooked and landed a great buck on my first run of the winter. I think I had fished for 20 minutes when I got the big pull. That was the only fish for me. Hopefully I can get out soon. Early summers on local rivers are pretty hot!
  11. Evan Burck Fudge Dragon

    Posts: 6,445
    Duvall, wa
    Ratings: +1,622 / 2
    For my first year since 2009, I didn't catch a wild winter run fish. Didn't really try all that hard, either. I fished the Puget Sound rivers until their closures, then focused time and energy on other aspects of my life. My desire to fish the OP has dwindled the past few years. While I've had some great memories made out there, it just hasn't been a trip I've enjoyed all that much the past few years, so I decided to sit that one out this season. I actually find I regret it very little. But with the first three months of the year being my absolute busiest for work, I enjoyed my down time at home when I had it. It also costs me a pretty penny to get out there, especially with the boat in tow.

    I did catch some awesome bull trout this winter, and even caught my first Snoqualmie steelhead last November, just a few miles from my house. I had a phenomenal fall fishing summer run steelhead and coho salmon as well. Very little to complain about in the Evan camp.
  12. Darthmonkey Active Member

    Posts: 191
    Tacoma, WA
    Ratings: +147 / 0
    This year has been one of highs and lows for me. I had the burden of a full time course load as a computer engineering student, which eats a fair amount of time with my nose planted firmly in books. I did get out a few times, and have a few good stories to tell.
    Veteran's day weekend a buddy of mine flew up from Costa Rica with one thing on his mind, to catch a pacific salmon. I am not kidding you when I say that the very first run he swung with a spey rod, the guy hooks up. He's hooked up to a late Queets Chinook that ran him a solid 200 yards downstream and jumped 7 times in the process. Unfortunately the fish came unbuttoned as my buddy Nick was about to tail him. The adventure didn't end there with a float on the Sol Duc that rewarded my buddy with his very first pacific salmon.

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    Shortly afterwards we realized that it was 3pm and we were only 2 miles in on the 6 mile float. We had to abandon ship, hike out, and walk back to the car. Next morning we hiked back in and found our boats and gear unmolested and completed the float.

    Then another friend of mine from VA flew out, a pre-emptive scouting mission as he plans to move to Portlandia fairly soon. Our first day on the Sandy had us meet up with Nick, the intrepid fish farming dude mentioned earlier. The weather had moved in earlier, and I was less than enthusiastic about fishing such high water. However nearly 70 degree weather and a beautiful run eclipsed the lack of cooperative fish that day. First day fishing for PNW winter steelhead and he's wishing he wore a T-shirt, lucky bugger.

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    The second day, not so much. We planned to float the Sandy, myself having done this float a number of times I wasn't worried, my buddy on the other hand immediately turned pale upon his first viewing of the rapids below Dodge Park. At 2,000-5,000 cfs they look rough, at nearly 8,000cfs they looked damned dangerous. My buddy claims to have rowed before, however nothing above a Class 1. Yes I am an asshole. As we were getting the gear ready we watched a couple of whitewater guys take their line, it did not help my buddy as he watched in horror. I was leaving to set up shuttle when he nervously asked if I could get him a life jacket. A smile and a quick pat on the shoulder did not reassure him. I get to the take-out and borrow a lifejacket from the whitewater guide and the shuttle drives me back to the boats. Upon arrival and display of the life jacket my buddy lets me know that he just got off the phone with his fiancee after sending her a photo of the water. She was not impressed. The whitewater dudes show back up, and the whitewater guide openly tells us that, "You guys make me nervous."
    He suggested we launch in between their boats so that if anything goes wrong, they can perform some kind of SAR operation. I shrug and go along, I launch and take my line. My buddy kind of follows me as I skirt through the meat of the rapids and he follows suit. That first 2 miles yielded a number of rapids and impossible to fish runs because of the high water. We did find some fishable water and even hooked a fish. However the impression that will last the most is my buddy's first real taste of winter steelhead in the PNW.

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    Does his fiancee, whom I've never met (and I will be a groomsman at their wedding), want to murder me? Sure. Will that stop us from ever fishing together? Not likely. He's already bought tickets back out here to fish the Deschutes and John Day later this year.

    I think that was the most important lesson for me this year, choose fishing partners wisely. Dudes that will walk up to you sitting in your boat and say something like, "There is nothing that makes me feel more patriotic than taking a dump on the banks of a river and watching a bald eagle fly over head. Murica!" Sometimes it is the guy who calls you up, just check on you and see how you're doing because he hasn't heard from you in awhile. The dude that sends you a care package of fly tying goodies that his shop was sent but doesn't need. The Jaeger drinking oaf that takes you to a seedy strip club called the Mouse's Ear as a means of celebrating your first musky on the fly, those are the kind of fishing buddies that make a trip better. Guys that make you bring your A game when it is 40 degrees out and the rain soaked through your jacket an hour ago. Sorry for the long winded response.

    Stay chilly dudes
  13. cuponoodle breakfast gritty

    Posts: 1,655
    Arlington
    Ratings: +305 / 0
    I think this was my third winter without a native. Used to bump into them locally starting in mid January and then consistently in February. Shortened seasons here and declining runs. So it's not a surprise.
    And I don't enjoy the peninsula anymore either. Too many people. My friends and I skipped our one planned trip out there due to weather and, honestly, I was glad.


    I covered a lot of water locally (with gear) and hooked half a dozen steelhead. With all the miles I put in, 4 of those fish came from the same slot.
  14. troutdopemagic Active Member

    Posts: 406
    Lake Stevens, Washington
    Ratings: +134 / 0
    I wish I had some really epic story on my winter steelhead season like catching a fish everyday during my week on the peninsula or roping gnarly chromers on the local rivers, but instead I have a tale of a terribly shameful season where I didn't have a winter fish on for more then 10 seconds the entire season, broke a rod on the Sauk and walked through a pair a semi-new Simms waders. Such is life.
    Sean Beauchamp likes this.
  15. HauntedByWaters Active Member

    Posts: 2,748
    Bellingham
    Ratings: +103 / 0
    I fished almost always by myself this year. All my fishing buddies are apparently grown up now. Anyway, fishing by myself produces, I did really really well and didn't even fish that much.

    What I learned? Gami Octopus Circle hooks work great!
    Sean Beauchamp likes this.
  16. Sean Beauchamp Hot and Heavy at yer 6

    Posts: 2,113
    Shoreline, WA, U.S.
    Ratings: +467 / 1
    What happened Jimmy? Were the boat launches not treating you well this year? :)
    Evan Burck likes this.
  17. HauntedByWaters Active Member

    Posts: 2,748
    Bellingham
    Ratings: +103 / 0
    This is the result of an ongoing effort by the fishing industry to brainwash anglers into thinking steelhead are the solution to all their shortcomings in life.
    WT and sopflyfisher like this.
  18. ChaseBallard bushwhacker

    Posts: 65
    Seatown
    Ratings: +78 / 0
    My favorite fish of the season was one I lost in late March.

    Casting waist deep in a tailout on a coastal river after swinging the whole length of a far bank pocket, finally hooked up right at the end of the swing.

    Quick headshake, then he/she took off downstream at mach 10. Hook popped out as soon as it went into the rapids right below the tailout, but there was no chance in hell I was landing that fish either way.

    Just had to reel in, wade back to shore and say "well played sir".
    David Dalan and Sean Beauchamp like this.
  19. Danielocean Steelhead Virgin

    Posts: 1,404
    Monroe
    Ratings: +582 / 0
    Since I suck at steelhead fishing harder than a hooker on nickel night. I only wound up catching a chum salmon that looked like it was dying from aids by accidently hooking it by the tail.Pretty farken sad huh?
  20. dreamonafly Member

    Posts: 302
    seattle, wa
    Ratings: +26 / 0
    Huh?? Fishing been epic for me on the coast this year, out three time hook six fish.. Biggest over 25 pounder.. That my story.. No way in hell, I showing any pictures.. I learnt lesson; I like to keep it hush hush.. Not going to say what river too.,
    sopflyfisher likes this.