Winter is near and you can just feel it in the air with sub zero overnight temps, the frost on the trees and ground and the shortened hours of daylight. I was itching to get back to the Green river, this time to give it a try with the new to me 2-man Koffler pram. Although the flows were dropping and very clear at 403 cfs, it would be a good test of her manueverability and balance for the full day drift.
One new thing I tried was using Ride Sharing services as a shuttle. It was easy and convenient to launch the boat at the Whitney bridge park and drive back to the highway 18 takeout while my Lyft driver was waiting to pick me up to shuttle me back up to meet with Ben L. and get the float started.
Here’s the view of the river this morning, as you can see how low the river is, I was concerned about the various log jams long the river below Metzeler, but we were able to portage in those cautionary zones.
A fine fall day, perfect for fishing and catching!
I noticed some rather loud splashing upstream, which I thought was a school of chums moving, but to my surprise was a young Doe. While I was sitting in the boat, I quickly picked up my phone and was able to film this footage. Pretty interesting behaviour, especially since normally wildlife don’t want to be seen and or approach humans.
We lost count of the chums that were hooked, landed and released. It wasn’t about the numbers, but about getting out, getting some sunshine, eating outside, having a cold beer and enjoying time with a friend.
One section of the river we spotted so many male bald eagles, perhaps its was close to dusk and feeding time?
The Koffler did well and although it was tight to get back to the takeout as we weren’t even halfway done with the float when it was 15:30. We only had an hour or so of daylight left, so we had to boogie it down as warp row speed. I know I left a few bits of aluminum and gluvit on the rocks.
It had been more than 7 years since I had visited this fishery. I went back through the archives to catch up on the details of this trip. What worked, what didn’t and got a little background as Jeff H. and I planned a return trip today.
Here is a link to the old report
Johns’ creek flows into Oakland Bay near Shelton. Its about 90 miles away from my home and located off highway 3 just a few miles north of Shelton. There is a little WDFW parking spot as indicated on the link from Google Maps: The Great Washington State Birding Trail
It’s been sometime since I’d picked up a fly rod apart from my recent Beaver Lake outing. I wanted to make sure I was prepped with new tipped, checking the lines, reel, and flies that worked. I had to fix the old net that I’d bought a few years back as it needed some handle and strap work, but finding some parts off some recycled crutches worked and I wanted to be best prepared.
The tide would be a flood at 12:10 with a rather large exchange of water of over 15′. Hopefully the recent rains and this big tide swing would give reason for the big Keta salmon a strong signal to return.
WDFW announced the annual brood stock planting for Beaver Lake. That means it was time to give Todd B. a call and head to his house on the lake for some fun wrangling in some big brutes on the fly rod. Timing was excellent as I rolled up to Todd’s house around 09:30 and walked down to the dock and started rowing the Clackacraft out around 9:40.
The news was out and there were about a half dozen watercraft out waiting for the arrival of the hatchery truck from the Issaquah. Their plan was to release about 800 fish in two plants through the morning.
As you can see these fish exhibit a porposing behaviour after being tossed into a new environment. Perhaps the water temp was cold or the pH was off, but they didn’t seem to be in the biting mood right off the bat. After making a dozen or so casts, I finally connected with the first fish. Nice fat, broodstock trout that put a good bend in the fly rod.
The fly of choice was a small hothead bead chartruese fly with marabou tail. This wasn’t snagged or belly hooked. The fly did slide right out of the fishes mouth when it was netted and released.
Todd enjoying a few fish while his dog Kona watches anxiously!
There have been products in the past that tackle manufacturers have made to help fisherman. This one is a simple but effective solution to the dreaded flasher fight. When a salmon fisherman connects with a fish, he or she has to ‘fight’ the drag and action of the flash and the fish. This sometimes results in a lost fish due to the cat and mouse between the angler and the fish.
Hawkens has come out with a product called the ‘Simon 360 Breakaway System’. It consists of a coastlock swivel attached to the 150# length of Nickel Titanium wire and then a barrel swivel, which is attached to a smaller stainless swivel and then a pair of magnetic clamps ending at the snap swivel.
The manufacturer recommends cutting the coastlock off the fat end of the flasher and replacing it with the snap ring. However, I want the option of removing this release and being able to re-use the flasher. I simply relocate the snap ring off the magnetic end and place it on the Hawkens stainless steel ball bearing swivel end and connect the factory coastlock swivel to the eye of the magnetic release.
This is what a final set up should look like. The only way for the magnets to release is when the weight of a fish pulls on the lure end, which will cause the ends to break their union. The Nickel wire limits the pull to prevent false releases. The action of the flasher seems a little different with this set up, but the crazier and more off the spin is, the better in my book.
Fighting the fish is much nicer since they is to drag or spin of that flash, the angler fights the fish and its alot smoother and the flasher usually floats to the surface. Give them a try, they retail for $9.99 and can be found at a variety of sporting good stores.
The reports of Sound Coho fishing have been steady and very good for many anglers. With the passing of the Everett Coho Derby, the crowds would subside and provide a good opportunity for David and I to get out to try our luck.
We met at the dock at 06:15 and assembled the gear and prepped the boat as we slid out of the slip towards the breakwater opening of the jetty wall. We could tell it was going to be a glorious morning with the colors of the sunrise already on the horizon and Mt. Rainier peeking through in the distance. You can barely see it on the very left in the photo below.
I was anxious to test out a new rod, the Okuma Salish mooching rod. A 10’6″ 15-30# medium action rod. The price was certainly right at $84.99 and the rod is super light and fitted with a carbon fiber lower handle with an X-rap upper EVA foam. The reel seat is plastic, but there was an additional aluminum locking ring to help keep the main ring from loosening over time.
I can say, I LOVE THIS ROD and its a much nicer upgrade over the Shimano Convergence and lighter than the Okuma Blue Diamond series, which was a bit heavier and bulkier. The graphite on this rod is quicker and more sensitive.
As with any new equipment, there always is a ‘jinx’ associated with it, but not today. The Salish rod did a great job handling this nice female Coho that took the pink hootchie with LED lighted Green flasher.
We grinded out the morning for a few more hours and picked up our limits of cookie cutter coho. We got off the water by 10:30 and headed out for breakfast. Coho, Chicken Fried Steak, Pancakes and Coffee, doesn’t get much better than that for a beautiful Tuesday morning on our Puget Sound.
I was able to test out the new Simon breakaway flasher linkage. Its really the best thing since sliced bread for detaching the flasher from a fighting fish. I was able to clearly fight just the fish and not the pull or drag of the flasher in the water column. I will be using this product 100% from now on with all my rigs on my boat. This beats the defunct Q-Cove system and the Gibbs pin by a landslide. I’ll have to modify those flashers or get rid of them from my inventory.
The Simon uses two strong magnets that only release when a fish hits the lure. To be sure there are no false releases, there is a 150# Nickel Titanium wire that secures the end to end of the flasher and can only be tripped when the weight of a fish is on the lure and lure only. Smart! This product retails for $9.99 and you might want to consider trying it out and seeing how your landing results are with it, as we had zero lost this morning.
Over time, I’ve really loved the performance of the Abel Mooching reels, with the ultra smooth oversized cork disc drag to the big sculpted handles, this reel is perfect for fishing and fighting salmon. I also report that using the Berkeley Big Game Solar Green mono running line is excellent for visibility and strength so far. I’ve used Maxima ultra green for years, but may be switching out to the Solar green as its easier to see as it enters the water and helps others keep away from from the mainline when fighting and or landing fish.
I’d promised to get Dov and Ben out fishing and what a better time than now to hunt for some coho. We’d been sleep deprived and running on caffeine and adrenaline. While I hadn’t heard of any local reports close to the mouth of hood canal, I decided to give it a try since the tide change was at 06:00 and that nearly coincides with official sunrise at 06:47 this morning.
I only got a little more than 2 hours of rest, I was running on fumes, but couldn’t coax myself back to sleep when I finally rolled out of bed by 05:40 to get the guys up as we headed down to the boat. It took a bit to get things set up, rods, gear, riggers, electronics, but we finally rolled out around 06:20 as we made our way around Foulweather bluff towards Point No Point.
It was a little eiry not seeing another fishermen trolling or working these waters, we were the only boat and crew. That didn’t seem to matter as we were in our own world. With the sun at our face and soft breeze we were at peace. The sound of the kicker motor buzzing and minutes later a screaming reel. The rod at 60′ down in 150′ of water went off and a nice buck chromer came to the net.
Ben was all smiles, his first salmon of the season and destined for the dinner table later that evening. Once we put the gear back down, what seemed like just minutes later the rod was once again pulsing and Dov would bring in his fish to hand. We trolled around a bit longer, but the bite seemed to have died down. We marked a bunch of bait and feeding fish, but we didn’t have any salted herring strips, and was using Mike’s scent which might have some affect on our lack of more bites.
That didn’t seem to matter to us as we were all happy and satisfied.
All the fish came on the purple haze flasher with green splatterback hootchie with no insert. The really enjoy fishing the Islander MR2LA reels, especially with the freelspool clicker. The Abel reels are nice, but without the clicker one has to turn down the drag and then crank it back tight to lock it in to place. The Islander has less movements, which makes its more friendly to the flow of how I like to run the gear on the boat.
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