Rod: Okuma Celilo 9' 6"
Reel: Shimano Stradic 2500
There's nothing quite like knowing there are some dime bright Coho and aggravated Summer Run Steelhead meandering around in your backyard, and willing to bite. Your fishing holes are nowhere near stacked to maximum capacity, yet, but there are enough fish to play around with. With the rain softening up their hardened hearts and the sun directing it's light upon brighter hillsides, I decided it was time to embark upon a short fishing adventure.
First stop was the kitchen to chop up some shrimp; Target, I tip my hat to you for providing such economically sound bait that Steelhead rarely pass up. Usually, I cube up a couple pieces of shrimp, add a dash of salt, sprinkle on some sugar and vanish out the door. It may have been my incessant appetite this morning (I accidentally skipped the grocery store) but the alluring packaging and the aroma of my Bacon Salt piqued my curiosity, so I seasoned up my cubed shrimp, hope high enough that I would actually allow the fish to taste some bait if I hadn't eaten it all by the end of the trip. Sandals slapped onto my feet and basketball shorts tied haphazardly to my waist, I bobbed out the door and down to the river. And yes, as you'd suppose, having the Skykomish River as your backyard is a dream, one from which you never desire to wake!
The first few casts with a #27 Aerojig and the marinated shrimp produced forth some bites and small trout. Heck, I would bite it too... After working around a few boulders, floating some fast water and the tail of the run, it didn't seem to produce any willing sparring partners. Though I had no desire to move -especially since it rained just enough to make the rocks as slippery as a buttered casserole pan- it was a given that movement mean life this afternoon. So, after a nice 15 minute death march weaving in and out of the boulders to access a slot upriver, to my surprise I safely arrived to my destination with fully functioning knees.
Six casts out with a tipped jig and some precision float guidance through the slot and no love was given; it was time for a color change. So on went the tipped,#7 Aerojig (seriously, I was starving by now playing with all of my bait). It was no surprise as my float hesitated near the end of the run and I felt the lightest, yet firm nibble. Upon retrieval it was apparent that we had a genuine sized "fan" of the Target surprise since the bait had been borrowed. After some fresh bait and a few adjustments of the jig, a flick of the wrist later, my offering sailed back into the slot, in search of another grab. And not a moment to soon! As if it were planned, down went the float, up went my rod tip and on went the rhythmic "zing" of my Shimano drag system.
It is a very rare event for me to feel matched when I am engaged in battle with a Steelhead, but with the lower water conditions today, limited mobility due to the lack of waders and poor choice of foot wear (slippers) and scary fighting location directly above the fast water, fear began to creep up on me. Thankfully, I chose to arm myself with #8 Maxima leader today and forego the usual #6 Maxima Fluorocarbon. Knowing that it had to pay for it's last "free meal," this buck immediately took off down stream. No Parkinson's disease head shakes, nor famous death rolls. In fact, this Steelhead didn't even jump! A few head shakes at the surface during the fight and a final valiant run towards the fast water, Mr. Bacon Salt tapped out of the cage. For being such a small, hatchery Steelhead, I respect him for his tact and skill during the fight, both which were much appreciated along my hour long fishing journey. Short, sweet and to the point.
The numbers of Silvers in the Wallace will begin to grow within this next week while the Sunset Silvers and the remainder of Summer Run Steelhead will continue to happily bite with the generous amount of rain we've been receiving this week. If you have any questions on how to pick up some Silvers, Summer Run Steelhead or both as we enter the month of October and near the Winter Run Steelhead season, don't hesitate to give me a ring.
Steelhead or Salmon Angler, I wish you many safe days out on the water and an overabundance of tight lines (though not too tight). I dare you to leave your fishing hole(s) spotless and trash free, punch out your catch card and share your fishing successes with a fellow angler of choice this season. After all, isn't that what it's all about?