Had some rogue reports of chums in the Nisqually, so Jeff and Phil decided to do some exploring and try drifting this river. The Nisqually is a freestone river that is a product of Mt. Rainier, which makes it run cloudy with the glacial minerals in the runoff.
Our trip down was a cold drive as the morning temps hovered in the low 30s and sheets of black ice were covered down my hill. Once we got onto the freeways it was smooth driving and we made it to Mounts road in an hour. Our plan was to launch from the Centralia Power plant, a hydro electric plant off power house road and the 510 Yelm highway to the Riverbend campground. This float appeared to be over 10 miles, with the flows hovering under 1000 Cfs, it would be a relatively moderate float with little froggy water but lots of obstacles.
The fishing isn’t opened until downstream of the military tank crossing bridge. We did see a soldier on the Lewis side playing a darker chum and thought to ourselves that it was going to be a good day. As we scanned the water for chum activity and actively fishing under a float or stopping and swinging a fly there was no evidence of fish activity. Despite the fact that it was a netting day for the natives, we would have thought that at least a few fish made it past and hanging out at some very likely runs.
Jeff did momentarily have one fish on as did I, but it wasn’t enough to call it a good catching day. A nice day to be cold, enjoy some scenery, view a couple dozen eagles along the drift and experience a new launch.
Since Phil is taking a day off next week so we can fish the Nisqually, I thought it would be nice to make a dry run with some more practice time on the sticks. I want him feel comfortable rowing the drift boat as the Nisqually is a smaller river in places and there are more log jams and hazards that require some amount of rowing skills.
I had the day off an decided that it would be nice to float the Skykomish from Sultan to Ben Howard. The flows were running pretty low with about 3′ of visibility. While I launched the boat I thought we’d have a little more time on the water and decided to take out at Lewis street instead, but that would add another mile and half to the float.
We pulled off at the first nice looking beach and practiced with the switch rod and swinging flies in search of steel. While We didn’t find any there an old chum somehow took my steelhead fly. While the water looked fantastic and the conditions were ideal the river seemed devoid of fish and we fished many ideal bucket waters hoping to find a willing contender.
Halfway through the float my indicator took a b-line upstream and I had a nice sized Bull trout in the egg pattern. While we never got it to hand, I could see it was a very large fish of 25″+ just size of it’s mouth could probably hold my fist. A few runs later I drifted my rig through a likely slot and in the first drift my indicator went down and a native steelhead was hooked all 9″ of it! I guess I can say that it was a good trip as I didn’t expect to hook anything and ended up with a few willing players.the reports of bright chum are showing up on the reports and hope that were able to luck out with a few players.
I’ve heard about this place and from the photos and description, didn’t sound like fun unless you’re ok with combat fishing in a mud hole. Tom E. did well the day before and invited me to join him for a few hours, so I joined him to give it a try and to know about a new fishery to me.
Although we did catch chums the majority of them were darker fish and or snagged. I do like fishing under an indicator as I find that it’s a better method when fishing in close quarters when the fish are stacked up.
I was using my Redington 9’8″ 8 wt and pink sparkle flies under a float with no shot and 15lb Maxima tippet. I didn’t take any photos as it will likely be the first and last trip to Minter.
Jeff and I wanted to get out and give the Snake a try despite the cold weather we’ve been having this December. The air temp was hovering in the mid 30s so we dressed appropriately as fishing Stillwater is tough to do when you’re cold. We met on the water around 11 and proceeded to row out to 40′ of water where fij activity was noted at the bottom of the 44 degree water. Imagine that?!? The water was actually warmer than the air.
Jeff rigged up his usual double set up with Amber Ted butt chironomid with top chromie and I slipped on a black micro rabbit fur leech. It was fun reading the humminbird 120 fishin buddies when a fish would appear we would call out and usually Jeff would have the fish on his fly!
Jeff ended up with 6-7 fish and I had 3 the coloration of these winter fish was strikingly beautiful. Although we only could stand being out there for 3 hours it was a nice way to spend a few hours catching some pretty rainbow trout.
Jeff and I wanted to scope out some local chum in the Green but wasnt too successful. I did foul hook one near Whitney Park. We did see a feeder creek just chock full of chums but no signs of fresh fish. We decided to head out to Hoodsport the next day to give our try for some fresher fish.
We arrived at high tide, which was 10 am. There was one fisherman and he was barking out that the fish were lock jawed. Upon my first cast, I connected with a hen that was SDR’d. Haha!
A bad sign was no presence of schooling fish in the bay and just some dark fish milling in the receding waters as they were staging to enter the hatchery creek. We hung around for a couple hours and caught, foul hooked, and released a few chums. This got pretty boring after awhile so decided it wasn’t going to happen and packed up after noon. I don’t think it would’ve improved with the low tide. Perhaps the netting wiped it out last night? We noticed upon our arrival that there was a commercial opp in the hatchery craning out the excess fish from the hatchery creek. In speaking with the operators they collected 2600 fish from the creek and up river near the intake. The neighbors complain about the rotting salmon as there have been up to 5000 fish in the creek and you can imagine the chumaroma that comes off in the town of Hoodsport. Probably not very welcoming for visitors.
It was a cold day, foggy in the morning but it became sunny once the marine layer burned off. I don’t know how many more days I can manage before my wife is due but will try to get out at least a couple more times. I can still appreciate getting out to fish even if I don’t catch what I’ve intended. The tug is the drug!