Late Fall on the Columbia River

There was a break in the weather this weekend, so we decided to get the boat out of the garage and head out on the Columbia River to do some catch and release sturgeon fishing.   Two wonderful friends, Justin and Bob, met me at the house on Saturday morning and off we went.  Once the boat was in the water, I headed north (down river), about 3 miles, got anchored up, and the lines in the water.

Justin's first sturgeon

Justin’s first sturgeon

It wasn’t long until we started getting bites and Justin got hooked into a nice size fish.  If you have never had one on the line, it can be quite an experience as they pull really hard and can take a lot of line in a hurry.  After a good fight, we were able to get it into the boat and took a few pictures then back in the water.  There were a lot of high fives and smiles to go around.  I got the lines back in the water and we waited.  After a good hour or so with not even a sniff, I decided we needed to move to a different location.  We pulled the anchor and moved upriver about a half mile and got the lines back in the water.  Almost immediately the bites began to come again and Bob was able to hook into another great fish…

Look at the smile!

Look at the smile!

As Bob was fighting his fish, I picked up one of the other rods to get it into the boat, and hooked another fish! It was chaos for 10 minutes or so as we danced around each other trying to keep the lines from tangling.  I got my fish to the boat first and released so I could concentrate on helping Bob get his in.  The picture above says it all!  It wasn’t 15 minutes later, and the rain starting coming in, so we pulled the anchor and headed back to the house.  My beautiful wife had a big pot of soup ready for us when we got home.  A great day for sure.

Evening colors on the river

Evening colors on the river

 

Sunday morning, Diane and I got up, had a nice breakfast and decided that the weather was still too nice not to go fishing.  We loaded up the boat and Abby and headed out to the same place as I had gone yesterday.  As we traveled down river,  Abby ran from one end of the boat to the other in excitement and Diane and I looked at each other with a big smile on our faces- it was going to be a good day even if we didn’t catch any fish.  Twenty minutes later, I got the boat into position, the anchor down, and our lines in the water.  There wasn’t even time to get a beer opened before Diane had a heavy fish on the end of her line…..

bending the rod

bending the rod

keeping the line tight!  Great job!

keeping the line tight! Great job!

 

Fifteen minutes later, the fish was in the boat and a big smile on her face…

beautiful fish and day

beautiful fish and day

 

I hooked up just a little later…

my sturgeon

my sturgeon

 

We spent another couple hours on the water watching the river go by and decided to call it a day.  There is nothing like two great fall days spent with wonderful friends and family on the river…..

 

Tight Lines..

 

 

 

 

Spring and Summer Fun- 2013

Diane and I have had a busy spring/summer this year, and as we move into the monsoon season in the Northwest, we thought we would recap what we’ve been up to.  We continued fishing for kokanee during the months of April and into May with good success.. We are still learning this fishery, next spring will be better…

Kokanee- Lake Merwin

Kokanee- Lake Merwin

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In the cooler it went!

We also did a little sturgeon fishing, this was the last year for keeping sturgeon, so we made the best of it…

Abby waiting for the bite

Abby waiting for the bite

It didn't take long!

It didn’t take long!

Let's get another one Mama!

Let’s get another one Mama!

A great fish for Diane

A great fish for Diane

Wow!

Wow!

And another!

And another!

Annalysa gets in the game

Annalysa gets in the game

Tannyr's first sturgeon.  This was a proud moment for us!

Tannyr’s first sturgeon. This was a proud moment for us!

Even got Darrin in the game!  His first sturgeon as well

Darin with his very first sturgeon

Thanks Mama for taking me fishing today!

Thanks Mama for taking me fishing today!

I'll guard the fish!

I’ll guard the fish!

Next up, a great trip to the San Juan’s with our best friends Darin and Karin for ling cod and shrimp… Some of the best times of our lives are spent here.

Home away from home

Home away from home

Like no place on earth

Like no place on earth

Diane's first ling

Diane’s first ling

one for the grill

one for the grill

teeth anyone?

teeth anyone?

Darin gets in the act

Darin with his best ever ling

nothing like a little Jack to get the day going

nothing like a little Jack to get the day going

keep your hands away from that mouth..

keep your hands away from that mouth..

great eats!

best eating fish bar none!

a fish of a lifetime!

a fish of a lifetime!

where's Waldo?

my best Kilroy imitation

setting the shrimp pots

setting the shrimp pots

pulling the pots- there's 600 foot of line to coil

pulling the pots- there’s 600 foot of line to coil

a full pot, time to grade them out

a full pot, time to grade them out

they're everywhere!

they’re everywhere!

what a great smile

what a great smile and a job well done!

nice fish, Erik!

nice fish, Erik!

let's go already

let’s go already

at the top of Henry

at the top of Henry

best friends, best of times..

best friends, best of times..

a great day

a great day

Wescott Bay

Wescott Bay

spring flowers on Henry Island

spring flowers on Henry Island

shrimp and ling cod- nothing finer!shrimp and ling cod- nothing finer!

And of course, we caught a LOT of salmon!

early March in the San Juan's

early March in the San Juan’s

Jay got us started with this nice blackmouth

Jay got us started with this nice blackmouth

fish scales are always a sign fishing is good

fish scales are always a sign fishing is good

fish on!

fish on!

one for the table

one for the table

Darin with a really nice blackmouth

Darin with a really nice blackmouth

day's catch

day’s catch

stack em up Jay!

stack em up Jay!

we love silvers!

we love silvers!

another silver for the cooler

another silver for the cooler

let's have some kings too..

let’s have some kings too..

plugging the boat

plugging the boat

A great day's fishing!

A great day’s fishing!

As we move into the fall and winter season, there are always more to do and catch.  Winter kings, steelhead, and silvers to name a few.  It has been a wonderful year so far, filled with love, adventure, and great times fishing. ….

Tight Lines!

Kokanee

Trolling for Kokanee

Trolling for Kokanee

Last Sunday, Diane and I took our little boat up to Lake Merwin to try our hand at kokanee fishing.  We had never fished for them before, but after reading a couple of blog posts and watching a fishing show on Saturday night, we decided to give it a try.  I put the boat on the hitch and we enjoyed the scenery on the 30 minute drive up the Lewis River on the way to our destination.  Once there, we got the boat in the water and headed out across the smooth surface.

calm day on the water

calm day on the water

I got the poles rigged and into the depths. To both of our surprise,  it was only about 10 minutes till we had the first one on and into the boat.  Great start to a great day!  From there however, not another nibble was seen and I spent a lot of time untangling lines.

Our first and only kokanee today...

Our first and only kokanee today…

We are new to this kind of fishing, and after further reading,  discovered that we need to purchase some different types of gear to become more effective catching fish and less effective getting tangled.  Even though we didn’t catch a lot of fish, it was an awesome day spent with  just the two of us on the water, fishing and laughing together!

lots of fish in the water

lots of fish in the water

 

reflections on a great day

reflections on a great day

 

 

 

Tight Lines………

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  

Our little run about….

A little before the New Year, Diane and I found a cute little 13′ Bluewater runabout on Craig’s List and decided to pull the trigger.  For $500, the boat was really clean and had a nice running 18hp Mercury 2-stroke engine on it.  We had to do a small amount of fixing, but it has turned out to be quite a nice addition to our family for use in our local lakes.  It’s pretty crowded for any more than two when you want to fish, and certainly our pup Abby can’t come along, but other than that, it’s perfect for our intended use.  Our son Ryan made this video to celebrate the first launch and short run around the small lake near our home.  Please ignore the “no wake” buoy we fly by… 🙂

 

 

Tight Lines………

An Astoria adventure

peaceful morning

peaceful morning

Early Saturday morning Abby and I headed off to Astoria in search for an early season sturgeon.  It was raining when we left, but the sun broke through the clouds after we got over the coast range and it looked to be a good day in the making.  We arrived at the boat basin around 9,  parked the rig and looked around for a few minutes before getting started.  The air was crisp and full of the sweet, salty smell of the ocean, and the stress of the last week fell around my feet.  Abby was excited, she chased a few sea gulls around the dock and stuck her nose in all that she could find.  As I stood looking out over the water, she ran back and sat beside me, looking up with her large brown eyes as if to say “what are you waiting for? Quit daydreaming and let’s get down to business, the fish won’t catch themselves you know!”  I had to laugh a little, then proceeded to get everything rigged and baited.  For this trip I brought my big casting rod, the extra length provides enough leverage to get the bait out far enough to where I know the sturgeon run with the tide.  I carefully half hitched an 8″ smelt to the hook, attached the 12 oz weight to the slider and let it fly.  The bait settled to the sandy bottom and I brought enough tension on the line to place a slight bow in the top of the rod.  Now the waiting game began.  The tide was due to be full at 12:32, so I had a couple hours to go for prime time.

 

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the wait begins

The sun worked it’s way through the clouds, one minute bright and clear, the next covered and gray.  Abby kept herself busy, stalking the seagulls and ducks that lit on the dock.  I chewed through half a bag of sunflower seeds, the pile of shells a sundial on the deck marking time.  A few large ships made their way up and down the Columbia in front of us, and time continued to slip away with no signs of fish anywhere.  I reeled up my line a couple of times to check and recheck the bait, adding a little scent attractant each time before it went back into the depths.  Finally Abby jumped up into the truck and sat, watching the end of the pole with interest for a while.

 

Watching for a bite

Watching for a bite

 

When she had had enough, she just layed down on the seat and fell asleep.  HIgh tide was almost on us, and I certainly expected at least a bite or two before then.  We fished through the tide change and another hour of excruciating nothingness and decided to call it a day.  I was hungry for something substantial and a change of scenery.  A quick stop at the local burger joint filled the hole in our stomachs and we turned the truck towards home.  Abby laid in the back seat sleeping, her legs kicking while dreaming of seagulls and ducks, and I was filled with the blessings of a great day on the water, my nose full of the sweet smell of the ocean.

 

Tight Lines……

 

 

Blackmouth in the San Juans

038This last weekend, Darin and I went up to Scout Patch to see if we could put some fresh salmon in the boat.  We left early Saturday morning and took the ferry from Anacortes over to Friday Harbor.  An hour later,  we  jumped in the Hewescraft moored there,  motored over to Scout Patch to pick up the downriggers, poles, and tackle box, and got busy.  After rigging up, we headed to Rocky Bay and put the poles in.  Fishing for blackmouth in  winter is a hot or cold proposition, one day can be fantastic, the next very difficult to scratch even one up to the boat.  The key is finding long stretches of fairly deep water with a sandy bottom,  and fish the area with scaled down replica’s of needlefish as lures.  The salmon seem to hang in these areas feeding on what is remaining of the prodigious amounts of baitfish left over from the summer.  We fished for a couple of hours around high tide and were only able to put one of these tasty fish in the boat for our efforts.

Beautiful end to a beautiful day...

Beautiful end to a beautiful day…

The next morning, we got up early and headed out to the Speiden channel to fish a local hotspot.  We found the sandbar, set the GPS waypoints, and got the lures into the depths.  Back and forth and back and forth we went.  We were marking some fish, but just couldn’t seem to get one on the line.

Paradise

Paradise

Monday morning found us again out on the water looking for at least one more fish before we caught the ferry back home.  This time, we stacked the odds and enlisted one of the locals to help us out.  Gene drove the boat over to Eureka Bay and put us on the sandbar immediately and started trolling.  It wasn’t long before we started marking some small bait balls on the bottom.  This is what we were looking for.  We were eight or nine passes through when Darin’s pole lit up and we put a 7-8 pound chinook in the boat.  Expectations ran high, but alas, this was the only fish caught.

Great eats!!

Great eats!!

We loaded up and caught the ferry back to Anacortes.  The ocean was glass and the sun was shining on a cold winter day.  As the ferry made it’s way across the water, I reflected back on what a great weekend it was and how much I love this beautiful place…….

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Tight lines!