Monthly Archives: October 2009

Flaming Rooster Report: 10/28/09

After Gil C’s. report of many many many Coho from the previous day, we decided to but out to hit the river once again for another day. Today we were joined by Shawn Y. a fellow I’d met recently at Orvis days, and had conversed with on a popular fly fishing internet forum.

We left Bellevue at 7:30 am to make the long drive up north, weather forecast looked ok, with no rain, but there was a little bite to the air temp. It was good however to see the leaves and smell the mountain air, really brings me alive. When we got to our launch site, I noticed the river was up a bit from my previous outing with dad from last week. It made for a couple of faster heart beat crossings, but we all managed out ok.

The spot where I was seeing alot of Coho was completely devoid of them however, and searching for them was the name of the game that morning. Gil found a pod and quickly hooked into one, I also found another pod and brought a nice male to hand. However, we were looking for some fresher fish and a place to get Shawn into some Coho as he’d never caught an ocean returning fish, only small residents from the beach.

When we did find fish, it was a big black mass of Coho backs and fins as evidenced by the video of Andy W. putting on a clinic for us. Andy fishes both gear and fly, he started with fly in the a.m. but his desire to fish this rip rap hole that most no fisherman in their right mind woud fish due to the extreme river crossing and the angle of approach that one has to make to land these Coho. It is a sweet soft backwater that holds many many fish. You can see just how many fish there were in there by seeing the black mass, and then once he lands the fish, the mass moves out, but then re-appears. I can estimate that those Coho numbered into the 100’s in that back eddy.

Gil proceeded to put on a clinic himself amongst four gear guys that were determined to grab a piece of his action. Once I’d pointed out the black mass at Andy fishing spot, Gil notice that along a faster moving riffle, he also noticed a black band that seemed to change in size. This would only be Coho and alot of Coho must have been stacked in this waiting water. This river is the oddest river in that the Coho will hold in the typical slack water, but they also like the faster moving water that looks more like classic trout water. The day prior, Gil was intimidated with the gear guys to fish this run, but today he took charge. He stood on his rock perch and proceeded to make a cast into the mass with his purple ESL and then wham… hooks a fish! Upon seeing this 4 gear guys descend on the run and surrond him fighting for position. Once he released it, he got back into position and hooks another one! This action happened several other times with him hooking into fish with the gear guys and nothing to hand. I guess this was the rare case of fly vs. gear, fly wins!

We were also joined by Chaz W. and his fried Mark who was visiting from Texas, both fly fisherman. I’d focused more attention on fishing around an island where I could see several Coho sitting in faster moving water. They were hunkered down, and I was determined to get to them. I hooked three but could tell that they were fouled. I guess I should have paid more attention to what Gil was doing and my hook ups would have been greatly improved.

Towards the afternoon, I did some more exploring and found a side channel of about 20 yards wide that was loaded with Coho. Not fast moving water, but swift and of about 3.5′ deep. I noted tht when I tried to intercept the fish from a side position they’d hold tight into the log jams on the bank, but if I was directly behind them, they’d spread out into the river and hold in the swift water. I proceed to lace up my line and sink tip and fly and throw a long cast into their holding water. Wham! Fish on! I’d landed three fish from this spot and told Shawn to come over. Shawn doesn’t have much experience with fishing sink tips as he was using varying lengths of T-14 to achieve the desired depth. After a few fruitless casts, I gave him my set up and told him what to do. Within minutes the line stops and I tell him to set and he is onto a nice buck male. Woo hoo! His eyes were as big as silver dollars and the rod was pulsing with the pull of that nice male Coho. We landed the fish, snapped off a couple of shots before that fish decided that he’d had enough of the photo shoot and flopped back into the stream.

I was really surprised at the number of people that were fishing and that were keeping fish. Most of the fish that were keep were dark and red, with carcasses lying on the banks of some very red Coho. I don’t care what anyone says, but I won’t keep a dark fish no matter how much you smoke it. It takes me alot of effort to process and smoke up fish and I believe the quality of the product is dependant on the quality of the fish. Although it wasn’t big numbers of fish caught today, I landed 7 the whole day, but fouled just as many, I did learn about some Coho behaivour that I’ll stash in my pocket for next year.

With this trip, it will end my 2009 Coho journey and my sights will move onto Ocean returning bright Chum. I’ve heard that bright Chum are good smoker fare. I guess I’ll have to find out using my ‘new’ smoker and proven dry brine recipe that has been well received amongst the recipients of my smoked fish. Until next week… tight lines!

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I caught this new fish, a Pumpkin Seed Salmonid!

While its not exactly a fishing report, you can tell whats on my mind. The Mrs. and I met up with her sister and BF for dinner, drinks and an evening of pumpkin carving. This was aided with the use of one Harbor Freight jig saw that absolutely tore up that Jack O Lantern. I managed to have a blast with it by doing a freeform carve of a salmon. I’d wanted the cutout to look more like the mouth of the Jack O, but it turned out too big for the mouth. It was nice to pop the salmonid back in and proceed to carve a more traditional Jack O on the flip side. We spent the evening with a walk down to a private beach near three three point… definitely going to have to use that access card and fish it next time! Had a nice dinner of King salmon and Sierra Nevadas. I’d never owned a Michael Jackson CD before, so we got our carving groove on with all his oldies and songs from BAD.

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Cojo Moho, nothing made sense today: 10/22/09

I’ve been wrapped up with work the past three weeks its been tough to find a day to get a hall pass to wet a line. Even though today was tight, I had to get out. I’d received a great report from Andy W. and he said that he’d landed 17, hooked 25 on various methods as he gear fishes as well as pursue em on the fly. That was enough motivation for me to bust on out. I’d been up for the past 21 hours, with only 3 hours of sleep but I had to fish today as there wasn’t another option for the rest of the week.

I called my regular fishing buddies: Gil… working, Thao… working, Sun… working, Chuck… working, and that crazy guy Dov ended up busting out to Lone lake for some eager trout. Oh well… Dad was even busy, but he called me back a few minutes later and said that he’d be on his way. Dad likes the opportunity to get out whenever we go fishing, as he enjoys the experience, the fresh air and the opportunity to see something new.

It wasn’t so easy trying to bust out of town, as my truck was giving me some problems in the last couple of days. I’d puttered on up I-5, making it to Everett and I finally pulled off and had to figure what the heck was going on. It felt like one cylinder was missing or the fuel filter was clogged. In the back of my mind I was thinking that there was some water in the fuel tank as the last couple of fill ups I used some STP additive to rid the lines of moisture.

Got to Autozone, located a fuel filter, was going to put it on in the parking lot, but the darn thing was wedged in there so tight, it required removing the starter. Darn… Think this was a bad sign. I asked the clerk if there was a local shop that was good and could replace the filter. Yup, he said, go down to AJ’s. The mechanic had confirmed my suspicion and said that it looked like the plugs were fouled due to ARCO gas. Yes, it cheap, but I guess there is a reason for that… I’d replaced the plugs just 6K miles ago with NGK R’s and one of the plugs was boinked. The insulator was cracked and it was misfiring, thus the rough idle and the lack of power. All the other plugs were running a brownish rust tinge to them, definitely a sign of moisture in the fuel. 40 minutes later, we were back on the road with a new set of plugs and running like a top again, but determined to fish.

All my stress seemed to melt away as dad and I took a scenic drive into hills admiring the presence of fall and the vivid colors of all the deciduous trees. I don’t think I’ve ever seen such a beautiful fall, but the two hour drive really was what the doctor ordered. Getting on the road is a great attitude adjustment for me, and I know when Im cranky, the only prescription is time on the water and some fresh air.

As we pulled up to the river, one fisherman was already packed up and leaving, not a good sign. We saw some spawning Pinks in the system and also saw a nice size Dolly behind some redds. Dad and I quickly suited up as it was already 4:30 pm and daylight was precious. As we proceeded to cross the river, which was running lower than usual, the location we crossed was a bit harrowing for Dad. I stayed close, just in case, and then he went down. He panicked and lost his footing, and orientation and was reaching around. I grabbed his wading belt and hoisted him up, but it was too late, he’d gone under and the water was into the tops of the chest waders and he was soaking wet.

Strike two… God definitely didn’t want us to be fishing today. Dad said, he’d take a few to dry off and told me to go ahead and scout out some Coho. I rounded the corner and to my amazement saw a heard of fish just hanging out in 3-4 feet of water. They were mostly darker with a few just starting to change to the deep cherry hues that Coho are known for exhibiting once they hit the fresh water. I set up my rod with a floating line, ESL in black with red head, and a glue egg dropper and indicator, casted it into the pod and within the first few passes, the indicator paused, I set and she was on. Man, it felt good to connect again and feel the deep bend in the rod as the tip pulsed and the mad hen danced on the river surface. Brought her in and was amazed to see how relatively bright she was compared to her neighbors. She was promptly bonked and put on the shore. Just as Dad rounded the corner, my rod was in bend with a hot Buck on. Something about the males, when they get hooked, they just go bezerk, doing cartwheels and slapping the water. Damn, I love fishing for Coho!

It was getting dark and I decided that we should bust on back before we couldn’t see the river bottom. Dad was a bit apprehensive, but I reminded him of some pointers: don’t look down as the flowing water can make you lose track and balance, look straight ahead, pick a reference point, take small confident steps, and if you get pushed, don’t fight the current, but go diagonally downriver. This time, I had him in front of me, held the back of his coat with my right hand, and coached him. We made it back safely, he was happy about that and ready to defrost in the truck for the drive back.

We stopped off at What the Pho in Bothell, nice hot Pho always warms the body and soul. Even though we spent more time in the car than in the water fishing, it was worth it. To see the colors, get some clean air, and also hook into a few fish. I hooked 10, landed 8, but kept the best 2, which ended up being hens.

Im not sure if I’ll make it back anytime soon, but I like to make that trip at least once a season. I don’t think I’ve closed the door completely for Coho as there are some rivers that I still need to get to this season. Based on the reports, they still seem to be pouring in, so hopefully I’ll have a few more posts on the blog.

Rod: GLX 9’6″ 8 wt.
Reel: Orvis Mach 4 LA
Line: Rio Versatip 8 wt.
Flies: ESL (black), Hot Glue Eggs, White rabbit fur leech, Chartreuse Chum Candy (Coho like it too!)

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Well, I guess it had to come to a end sooner or later. I’ve been blasted with work lately and haven’t had the time to shove off and wet a line. Its killin’ me… I’ve heard of some good reports from the Gray’s River, Humptulips, Cowlitz, Skokomish, Stillaguamish, but haven’t been out! Maybe there will be a small window tomorrow morning to get into some chrome steel.

In the meantime, a good friend sent me this amazing link of Kuroshio, the 2nd largest aquarium in Okinawa Japan. Put it on full screen mode and watch it like a screen saver. How awesome are all the beasts of the seas.

Kuroshio Sea – 2nd largest aquarium tank in the world – (song is Please don’t go by Barcelona) from Jon Rawlinson on Vimeo.

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Two week of searching, zippola on the Coho… 10/1/09

We’ve been looking for new water and have hit several watersheds in search of chrome Silvers. However, its been tough. Jeff H. and I hit the Skykomish and the Wallace two weeks ago, no Coho, but some Pinks. Thao T. and I hit the Nisqually last week, nothing. Went to the Skokomish, saw a school of 18 Coho, but the nets were in and we weren’t seeing more to put the waders on and beat the water. We decided to take a peek at Hoodsport, wind was rippin’ and the tide was in, zippola. At this point we weren’t especially motivated, so we packed up and hit the Wholesale Sport in Federal Way.

Last Wednesday, I invited Dad to take a visit Bob Heirman Park on the Snohomish and fished Thomas Eddy. The jet boats were zippin’ the Pinks were spawning, and the Coho were rollin’. Cast, drift, swing, strip…. zippola. I guess all the success I had on the Oly Penn and with the Pinks got me spoiled.

Gil C. and I also hit Elliot Bay and Marine area 10 with his boat on the troll for Coho, but no Coho. We did hook a rockfish with an Ace Hi Fly. and Picked up a couple shakers, small blackmouth and another legal Blackie. According to the fish checker, we’d been the 8th boat back and the only boat that’d brought anything to sameple. Boy, its been a tough couple of weeks. Hopefully the rain last week is a good indication of some incoming Coho. Tomorrow, we’ll try another S river in search of chrome.

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