On Saturday, we trekked up to Mt. Saint Helens with the intentions of fishing a beautiful little place just below north summit called Coldwater Lake. This lake was not present before the eruption in 1980, but was formed by the changed outflow of Spirit Lake. It was a beautiful drive up the mountain and we took our time and stopped at most of the turnouts and looked over the immense scoured valleys. We spotted several small herds of elk and a couple of blacktails on the valley floor.
Coldwater lake is managed as a trophy rainbow trout fishery and as such you are allowed to only keep one fish and it must be longer than 16″ Also, no bait is allowed and whatever artificial lure you are using must have a single barbless hook. The upside to all of these regulations is the fishing is incredible – on a good day you will catch 30+ fish in the 2-3 lb range with an occasional 5 pounder mixed in for good measure. Needless to say, we were excited to get up there and get down to business. However, as with all good plans, something goes astray and it never quite works out as you would like. The fly in the ointment on this trip was the wind… 40+ in your face and unrelenting. We spent a little time on Johnston Ridge
gazing up into the crater and then went down to the lake. One look at the whitecaps on the water told us all we needed to know. What a bummer, but it was a great trip nonetheless with an incredible view of the mountain. We will be coming back, I think later in the year right after the first snow flies, the tourists will be gone, and the fish will be fatter from a long summer of feeding…..
On Sunday we decided to head down to the beach. It has been unbearably hot, the beach is a great place to cool off on hot summer days, and there are fish to be caught! It’s early in the season yet for the fall run of chinook and coho salmon so we were betting we could catch some surf perch and have a tasty dinner when we got home. Boy did we guess right!
The secret to fishing for these tasty treats is to use a small hook baited with a sand shrimp or clam neck, and gear stout enough to get your offering out to the first set of breakers. Surf perch patrol the near shore looking for just about anything that looks edible. They are aggressive biters, a lot of fun to catch, and the reward to your work is a very tasty dinner! We just had a great day!!
- Penn Torque surf rod, 10 ft long
- Penn Battle spinning reel, spooled with 40 lb tuff braid
- 1/0 Gamakatsu red bait holder hooks, one tied at 10″ above the weight, another at 4″
- 4 oz pyramid weight
- small sand shrimp tied to the hook with stretchy string (ghost string)
That’s it, pretty simple rig for a tasty fish.
It was one of the best days we’ve had in a long time. Can’t wait to do it again………