Goddamn this rain. With an El Nino headed our way we might see alot of this pineapple BS. The Big Mighty River is forecasted to go over 40k. While its not total death for those little baby salmon eggs that gazillions of pinks dumped in the rivers gravels this year it wont be helping their survival. I hate El Nino. Is it just me or does it seem like we're getting a bullshit winter every 3-5 years nowdays vs. the every 7 it used to be. The other bitch about these warm, wet years is the snow pack is bogus so the following summer rivers get bone low, oh and the coastal shelf where all our salmon go to grow fat and shiny is really unproductive in years like this so all those managers who are patting themselves on the back in the Columbia Basin after huge returns this year will in all likelihood be shitting their pants in about 3 years when coho and chinook returns start tanking. Such is life in the rivers of the pacific northwest. We will always have our ups and downs, as anglers we just need to have some perspective and make sure we get our asses on the water when runs are good. Sorry for the downer post but I was planning on fishing Monday...fuckineh.
The Thompson is open. For those who live in a box, free from steelhead lore, fish photos or legends of steelhead rivers past, the T was once arguably the greatest steelhead river on the face of the earth. An exceptionally large, fierce race of steelhead call the Thompson home. Fish easily avearge over 10 pounds and fish longer than 40" are relatively common. They enter in the late summer and early fall with numbers building into October and November when the fishery was historically at its best. The fish are huge, wild and responsive to floating line presentations....GASP.
As recently as the 1980s well over 5000 fish were returning to the Thompson everyyear. Today the run is close 1000 fish most years and is teetering on the precipice of no return. As a new hoser (resident of Canada) I've been intrigued by the steelhead angling options in the province. Undoubtedly the T ranks high among the rivers in our area when one considers only the lore surrounding a river. Sadly I am not sure I'll be fishing the Thompson. My question to myself and readers is this, when are wild populations too depleted to justify even careful catch and release? When does fishing become selfindulgent and reckless? Of course I would never intentionally hurt a fish, but on one occasion they have just inhaled a fly and forcing me to release a bleeding fish, facing the fact that I probably just killed a wild steelhead. If that happened on the T how would it feel? What would my impact on this precious and imperiled stock be?
I'll hold off. Its a sad day when we are forced to settle for second hand steelhead highs but the Thompson looms large in the legend of the sport and I can always reliably ask a friend about the 40plus inch fish that he caught on a greasy little blue charm on Thanksgiving many years ago. I can see it now....
either this guy is tiny or that fish is bloody massive
1. Wild Steelhead are precious, they're the finest fish swimming in freshwater. period. 2. Swing flies. that huge, electricity filled yank is why we spend hundreds of dollars on two handed rods, sleep in our trucks when night time temps dip below 20 degrees and generally live a miserable, wet, sleep deprived life all winter. 3. Bobbers are training wheels for the fly angler. Personally I stopped using training wheels around age three. 4.Hatchery Fish=meat 5. Do not run your mouth about fishing, especially spots unless you want every cheese dick and his uncle standing there next time. If you have to tell people about how great you are at fishing you're doing it for the wrong reasons. 6. Do not generally be an ass. 7. An angler is measured by his dedication to the pursuit, not by the number of fish he drags up on the bank 8. Dont drag fish on the bank. Wild fish stay in the water, they dont breathe air buddy. 9. Grip and grin photos look like shit, the fish is the thing of beauty not your ugly mug. 10. Do not shit fight.
A good buddy, fellow blogger, and an all around fishy sum bitch, Michael 'Steelie Mike' Davidchik recently caught this snake system steelie on a haig brown steelhead bee. classic amounts of sickness Michael.
There is only one reason in my book why an angler could be justified in fishing from the boat with a bobbercator. That would be a disability. As my good buddy Ryan says, "you could fish from a boat if you didn't have legs". Right now some dudes are fishing some smaller summer run rivers in Washington from a boat and hooking more than 10 fish a day in many cases, completely numbers oriented cutthroats. Do these guys really need to impact double digit numbers of listed fish? What are they making up for? Fishing from boats has got to be one of the sissyest fishing techniques ever, everyone knows big boys swing flies from the bank right.
Or maybe its just as a wise steelhead cowboy once said, "you know, there's a better rod for fishing like that"
God I love fall. If you're a fisherman and you don't get a special kind of giddy feeling at the thought of fall fishing you better check your pulse and I'm not talking about some baetis hatch on the Yakima here. Fall is when the inland rivers are choked with steelhead, water temps hover in the 50s and fish will move four feet to hammer a number 8 hairwing or skater. Fall is also when huge, prehistorically badass wild chinook salmon enter our rivers, the last of the pink snagging assclowns are off the river and the coho really start to come in in good numbers. Yes, fall is the time when most of us seriously consider quitting our jobs, leaving our women and sleeping under a bridge on our favorite steelhead river just so we can savor every last minute of it.
A sweet fall fish on the dryline, hella manly or something. Hangdown...
Of course fall is poingiant to. The leaves are changing, the river is cooling down and pretty soon those inland rivers will slumber for the winter. When the first snow falls at snoqualmie pass you know it wont be long until the water temps drop below 45 and the dryline game is done. Well, soak it up whlie you can, record numbers of fish in the Columbia ment record numbers of douchnozzles out there flailing around with bobbers but with the weather getting shitty, most of them are home watching the NFL. Me, I'll just keep fishing that floating line, hoping for one more grab to put the icing on whats already been a memorable season.
Check out the photo of Ryans river sleigh and the fall colors post photoshopage. (boat for transport only)
Welcome to the apocalypse steelhead blog. Don't know what inspired me to start this rag of "self expression" I just figure I'm sick over how much I love steelhead and there might be some other junkies out there who can relate. So thats really it, we'll see where it goes. Dont make too much of the title, I'm not some crazy bible thumping whack job moron but we might well be living in the last days of steelhead fishing. Personally I hope to god we aren't and I'm willing to fight tooth and nail to save the wild fish that we all love so much. Cause fuckin eh, wild steelhead are something else. Who doesn't remember their first. Or the first time you got your ass absolutely handed to you. Steelhead drive us to madness, alienate us from family, girlfriends and nonfishermen generally. No one who hasn't experienced the high these fish could bring would ever even consider standing ass deep in a near freezing river with snow, sleet and hail pounding down all day. But fuck, when you're tailing a three foot long sauk hen with 4,000 foot snow covered northcascades towering over you its all worth it. So, thats what I do. Yeah occasionally I work, go to school or do whatever the fuck else the rat race demands but most of the time I'm not fishing I'm daydreaming of it.
Now dont get the wrong idea, I'm not some ass clown, chest thumping lip ripper. I loath people with that mentality, I also loath bobber fishing cheesedicks (more on this later) . How could you possibly thiink of nothing but pure, overzelous, exploitation of these amazing wild fish when we're all watching them slip away. Every wild fish is a gem, and anyone who sees it that way is alright in my book. So thats it. Hope you all enjoy the blog.
Oh and I thought I better start this off with a little nod to all the chromer loving bastards out there. Here's one from the northcountry