Friday, April 20, 2012

Nicks Big Wild O.P. Hen
I'm back home for a few days after a long O.P. stint. On the overall it was a pretty good season. Seams like the rivers had a little more fishing pressure this year. Maybe the Puget Sound rivers will reopen for a catch and release season next year to help spread out the fishermen, keep eyes on the rivers and the support local business. After all catch and release single barbless fishermen are very low impact to wild fish. We could also continue to pull out those hatchery fish from the rivers.
Most of the O.P. rivers were producing a decent number of fish.The last couple weeks didn't get much rain so we had to change up some  tactics and flies a bit.

So I gotta tell you about Nicks fish in the picture at header, it was a crazy fight. I was right next to Nick when he hooked it. It was a light take and it came at him. Nick says "it's a small one". I'm thinking the same thing till it turns away and starts heading up stream and the rod starts bending harder and harder. Steelhead for sure, then a nice cart wheel jump. "Wow, decent fish too" I think. The fish is heading up stream faster and faster. I am looking a Nicks line and he is getting deep into the backing. I tell nick to start running up stream to conserve his backing. He can only go so far till it get we get to a log jam and deeper water. As he is getting to his last few yards of backing the fish turns and starts coming back down stream. Nick starts reeling like crazy to keep some tension. The fish stops out in front of us. After a minute or so I notice nothing is happening. Nick has good tension but I realize the line is hung up on a rock or stick underwater. Nick can't feel any movement from the fish.
I tell Nick to jump in the boat and we row out to get a different angle on the line. I know this is a fateful situation but as we get the different angle the line comes off the obstacle and Nick gives the rod more tension to see if there is any pull back and sure enough the fish starts running again... lucky! Nicks dad and brother are on shore watching the action. We head back to shore and back to the fight. Once on shore the fish is straight out in front of us out about a hundred feet and in some decent current. After some back and forth the fish quits fighting and is just bulldogg'n. It wont move. This time I know we are not hung up cause you can feel it sway a little in the current. After a minute or so Nick looks at me ans says "what should we do". I know we gotta keep the fish moving so it will tire out enough to land. It will also be hard to pull the fish through the current to land on our side. I decide we should jump back in the boat and head over to the fish and get closer to see if we can get it to move. We jump in the boat and I row upstream enough to get the angle to row over by the fish. As we start getting closer I tell Nick to bend the rod to the side and keep good pressure. Nicks arm is getting tired by now. It works and the fish runs to the opposite side and into slower water. I tell Nick we better land it on this side cause we can't get it back across the current. We beach on the opposite bank and proceed to land the fish. After what was probably over a half hour we finally land it. I knew it was a decent fish but hot damn! I'm not sure but I think this was nicks first steelhead. Not many around his home state of Utah. After we take a few photos Nick looks at me in bewilderment and says "So that is what steelhead are all about, wow I get it"

Lookn ahead we are booking for sea run cutts on the Stillaguamish, methow trout, kalama and skykomish steelhead. 

Mike's Wild Buck
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2012 Grande Ronde dates are: Oct 1-3rd 3-5th 6th-8th 9th - 11th or the 12th-14th inquire for single day trip availability.

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As Matt would say "pull heavy",

Mike D