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Smells like low tide.
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Went up a local estuary with another member of this site last Sunday. Hoping to find some early returning SRCs.
I was happy to turn another flyfisher on to one of my ShangriLas. We worked our way upstream with the tide and saw little activity (one nice big swirl in the lower estuary). I hooked up to a nice 12" cutt, it jumped and then ran under my canoe and I got to watch it wrap me up around a submerged branch and snap off. I was stoked just to hook up and see it clear the surface, even if it did outsmart me.
We fished our way back downstream and had some strikes but no more cutties. The other member brought to hand three small river suckers, and then had to leave. He was fishing from his kayak. As the tide got lower, the sucker bite really picked up.
In the next hour or so, I hooked up to a small sucker nearly every cast, releasing a couple dozen or so, most from 6" to 8" but a couple 10" to 11". Also released three small cutties approx. 6" 8" and 8 1/2".
I have a 6wt. rig, and these small fry were'nt a whole lot of fun after the hookup. But man, on a 3wt. or even a 4wt. it would really be a gas. These things will hit practically anything, but I was using a #10 hot orange/flashy "pillbug" wet I had improvised.
And to think that there is one of these born every minute!
I stayed until dead low tide so that I could further study the creek bottom, and ended up having to walk my canoe thru the wide but 3" deep shallows a few times on the way out. The high tide level on the muddy banks was over my head.
One disconcerting realization was that the amount of water in the creek was already as low as it was at the end of August last year. There is no snowmelt runoff on these Pacific County streams to hide the fact, and it looks to be another year when the salmon get stacked up in the lower holes waiting for rainfall to raise the stream levels. But there are plenty of larger streams to play in, and at high tide the smaller estuaries have enough water to fish in.
Anyway, I am not ashamed to be a "sucker angler" when nothing else is around. I am definitely getting a lighter weight rig.

edit: later found out these "suckers" were actually Peamouth Chubs!

Jimbo:D
 

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Formerly Tight Loops
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1,341 Posts
Don't go too light on them. I took one last fall while fly fishing the lower stilly for salmon. I seriously thought I had caught a salmon, until the fish came in.

Mine was about 18" and 3 pounds. It was quite a fight on my 7 wt.

Rob
 

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Not Quite A Luddite, But Can See One From Here
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RiverFishing

Several months ago (January, I think) someone posted a pic of a sucker that ran about 18' and had been caught in the Yak. It was titled "Yakima River Bonefish" and I though that was a pretty clever way of looking at it. I'd caught one a couple of weeks previous in the Touchet that for sure seemed to be a small steelhead until he surfaced and rolled to show that yellowish belly. When I got him to hand, he was a healthy 18" also. I was a little let down, but had to give him credit for putting up a really tough fight, so I know what Tightloops is suggesting. They CAN get some size to 'em!

Mike:thumb
 

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Nah, seriously. Suckers are the real deal.

******, Worldangler, and I were fishing for them this spring on the Yakima between Rhinehart and Ringor. It was a kick, they put you on your reel and run all over the pool. Last month I unloaded on them in Mack's Canyon on the Deschutes. It was great!

The only hang-up is they have this real funky smell that smells like a bread factory. When you handle them, that funk permeates your skin and stays with you for a day or so. Plus, they really don't have any scales, and thats kind of weird.. But anyway, nice fight..

Sparse

Streams are made for the wise man to contemplate and fools to pass by.
(Sir Izaak Walton)
 

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Sucka gotta run! No research to back this, but don't Suckers have a spawning run? Seems like sometimes they are right there, and then gone. They tug hard. I know in the great lakes tribs they fish "sucker spawn" egg patterns with great success...
 

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I fished the Yakima just below Roza Dam June 6-7 when the river was blown out-caught several large suckers on black rabbit leech pattern. Also caught a couple on the same pattern in the Beavertail area on the Deschutes June 27. Those fish are thick in some of the riffles between Beavertail and Macks Canyon.

Sparse, I'm interested in knowing what pattern worked best for you.

As for why carp, sculpin and suckers-Seems like more people fishing for different species translates into more voices for habitat conservation, preservation, and enhancement. My theory is if we take care of habitat and water quality in general without fractionalizing into species, then we can deal with improving specific species. (Yes, I know this is a cryptic message but I hope it communicates the thought) There, you dragged my agenda out into the public eye. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.
 

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Seriously here for a minute, where I grew up and learned to fish was in Colorado and I caught a number of suckers when I was a kid. They wieghed about 1 1/2 pounds each but I causght some as large as six. I don't remember them as fighting very well after the initial hookup minute or so. They had scales. They mainly bit worms, not flies.
We called them Red Horses. What I read above makes me wonder. Ours stunk, of course, but with scales and no fight, I wonder if we are all talking about the same thing?
Babby:dunno :dunno :dunno
 

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Just an Old Man
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I forgot what I was supposed to remember.

There are many kinds of suckers. I've caught at least three different kinds of the out of the S/F Stilly. Some with scales and some without and some people call whitefish suckers. Just because the mouth in on the bottom. The biggest and ugliest ones were caught out of the main Stilly in the slack water. BIG LIPS and smooooooth skin. And about a ugly as a Rat Fish. :eek

Jim
 

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Smells like low tide.
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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
The ones I caught had scales, didn't stink, and had orange pectoral and ventral fins.

Went up the North River yesterday and saw one of the same about 15" lollygaggin along the surface, as if it's momma never told it about eagles and such. I cast my fly in front of it a few times, almost hit it on the nose once and it didn't flinch.(Was using a Polar Shrimp #8, as an old river rat there told me it was a good "blueback" fly there in #8 thru #4). So i lined it to see if i could wake it up, and it shot off into the depths. Must have been sunbathing. Didn't see any sunbathing female sasquatch, though.

Didn't see any surface activity from cutties, either, as the cloud cover blew away and it got real sunny and hot. I made it to the head of tidewater and walked upstream to see what condition the river was in and the water was LOW and WARM. Back down in the estuary, it was much cooler. Saw a few boats with old-timers trolling spinner/flasher
rigs and they all said "nada" also.

When I was launching earlier at the boatramp off Hwy 105, I talked to a couple in a canoe. The dude said that he and his buddy caught and took home a nice 16"er the day before, and that some guy casting spinners from the bank at the boatramp showed them four nice ones, from 14" to 16" that he had stashed in the tall grass. Their smiles turned to frowns as I reminded them of the regs, briefly explained to them why I thought their keeping SRCs was wrong, and let them know that I wasn't going to report their vehicle licese # or their description this time as I didn't see the fish. Apparently these scofflaws are smug in their delusion that this is O.K. None of these morons have ever taken the time to learn about the life-struggle of these fine gamefish, even if they can read. I am going to call the poaching hotline and report this (as soon as I get offline), even though I didn't actually see it myself. That dude who poached four nice SRC would be getting his nourishment through a straw for the next few weeks had I caught him. I am going to request more enforcement presence.

Left the North and went to my "ShangriLa" and fished til dark. The cutties weren't biting there either. Only C&R'd one 7"er. But the suckers were still bitin' and I never tire of the awesome beauty of the place. I saw crows chasing an eagle around, a raven, a small herd of elk, a garter snake swimming across river,(saw a porcupine swim across on another recent visit), many herons, more kingfishers than I knew existed shattering the calm with their chattering scold, and the constant background symphony of birdsong .... This place looks and feels like "The Lost World." Sucker fishing will do just fine as an excuse to loiter in such a place! The "bluebacks" will be there, though, and soon!
(I have to get a decent SLR with a telephoto zoom!!! My old Canon AE-1 was dragged down by the hyenas of entropy.)

And that winds up the latest "sucker report"

Jimbo
 

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Jimbo-

Takes time to report theives (they are stealing fish from the rest of the public) and it takes time to go to court if necessary and it's a bummer to have to confront some guys. But those were four fish that should not have died. How many more will die before these guys are caught? Seems worth it to me when you think of it that way.
Bobert:reallymad :reallymad :reallymad
 

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Smells like low tide.
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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I called the "Poaching Hotline" @ 1(800)477-6224 and got a recording, left my Phone# and name, and will probably get a return call Monday morning.
Yesterday evening, I called a guy who works for NOAA fisheries that I kinda know (I do landscape maintenance at his brother's vacation property and have met him and he is well known out here so I don't want to mention his name) and asked him what he thought about the matter. He advised me to be sure to report it, said he knows quite a few WDFW people and that HE was going to mention it to them also and request that the area gets some more enforcement presence.

I also voiced my concerns that, if people reported poaching activity in an area that was difficult to patrol, that the Game Comission might decide to close the stream (or section of stream) to fishing altogether. I cited the case of the upper xxxx River, which became closed this season. I had noticed alot of evidence that snaggers had been working it when I was fishing up there this last winter for steelies and cutts, mentioned it to his brother, who in turn had told him. He reassured me that this was not the case, that the upper river was closed for "other reasons" (didn't specify), and that I needn't worry about an area being closed down because of poaching reports and to please report any incidents.

I thanked him for his time and advice.

Anybody know where I can get a kevlar fishing vest?

:dunno Jimbo
 

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Well, since Sparse gave me away, I might as well post a photo :) This is one of the smaller ones I've caught on the Yak, but the only one I took a photo of. Fish small flies in the slowest water in the pool on the bottom, or strip a streamer VERY slowly through a deep pool (a JJ works well, looks like a crayfish?). The biggest one I've seen caught was on a swung streamer, hooked right through the lip. They fight harder than 'bows!

(photo by Sparse, just before he decided to give ****** a dry fly demonstration, with ******'s rod, and managed to hit him with a fish from 30 feet away, but that's a different story)

http://www.washingtonflyfishing.com/dc/user_files/555.jpg

worldanglr
http://www.worldanglr.com/
http://www.patagonia-expedition.org/

Many men fish their entire lives without ever knowing it is not the fish they are after.

- Henry David Thoreau
 

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Hey Jim...what are you talking about??

Just been really busy my friend!!!! Have not even been fishing much lately. Trying to get the new house projects finished before this fall so I can get back into fishing!!!

So when are you gonna head over this way?? Hope all is well.

~Patrick ><>
 

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This thread is a sad reminder of how bad the fishing around here can be. People getting all lathered up about catching suckers. . . . What gives?
 
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