After a hectic week filled with work, recovering from being sick, and having to care for my 11 month old son as we had no daycare I was ready to hit the water. Since we had a poor outing the week prior at Hoodsport I told Jeff Hi. that we should consider a trip out to Chico as the reports had been positive from my sources with ‘many fish’ and ‘easy hookups’.
They must’ve put the word out to the chum as it was pretty devoid of fish upon our arrival which wasn’t the ideal time right at the peak high tide at 07:11. A few fish were jumping in both bays but the creek was also barren with maybe a few fish holding in the riffles. When it’s on that area is stuffed full of chum so not sure why it was different versus the reports.
On the water, met up with a regular who has been doing very well and said the last 10 days have been excellent with him hooking and releasing many nice chum. He was perplexed as well as to why the schooling fish were all together absent. We decided to wait it out for the outgoing tide to see if it would bring in more fish which it did but I maybe saw 5 fish total swim in as a result. We casted to those fish very methodically as did the other 3 fly fishermen, 2 gear guys and the group of 6 other gear guys that were waiting upstream. The fish were classic Chico lockjawed chum and I would have liked to stay but with the lack of numbers it was time to waive the white flag and call it quits.
The trip wasnt a full bust as I had a rod to be picked up at Sage and took the opportunity to take a tour of the factory. What a great operation and the tour reminded me why I love this company and it’s great products. Of note was the piles of warranty rods received from around the world as warranty repairs. I guessed around 700-800 rods that are processed with a turn around of 2 months. If you don’t want to wait and have the chance to drop off a rod for warrant my repair I would highly recommend asking for a tour.
Had the opportunity to hunt some mushrooms with Koji, we would head out to Rainier and try our luck for some Matsutake since the rains last week would hopefully bring some of these tasty species up from their dormant states.
Although we weren’t able to find any Matsutake this time, we did get some nice Chantrelles and some Shimiji mushrooms which Koji said are the female variant or queen version of the Matsutake. Now that I know what to look for I’ll be better prepared for the harvest that is hopefully coming…
With the rain in the forecast and ideal tides I wanted to test my theory out on these B run unclipped fish that we’ve been seeing on our marine estuary X. According to the WdFW they released 40,000 coho that we’re not marked for the purpose to study if clipping the adipose fin makes a difference in return rates. About 3 weeks prior I had noticed a marked increase in the adipose finned fish which caused concern. Even with a system and hatchery that’s been in operation for over a 100 years was there a run of ‘wild’ fish? I didn’t think so but good to check with the wdfw to make sure as we didn’t wan to disturb the wild fish even though the regs allow for retention of either clipped or unclipped fish.
It was slower but I was able to find a few players. I landed 7 fish from 16″ jacks to the largest 28″ chrome buck. I had enough fish in my freezer and gave my friends a combo of 5 fish and kept two for the smoker and the barbeque. This was truly our last run, I want to leave it on a good note. I’ll be counting down the time until next year but have other fish to fry, or rather Chum, winter crab and steelhead, resident Blackmouth and Matsutake mushrooms to complete the tour. I am glad that I’m not a hunter as I’d really be in a dizzy chasing ducks, deer and elk as well.
Tuesday the weather cleared enough to go on a road trip to explore historic downtown Poulsbo and drop off a wounded 8 wt. rod at Sage another casualty of the season, and take the ferry ride back home. Don’t miss Sluys bakery on front street especially the date and coconut macaroons which are gluten free but loaded with taste and especially wonderful. Man cannot live on fish alone, gotta have the veggies, fruit and local confectionaries as well.
Event though this post isn’t about fishing it is somewhat related. I’d recently met a neighbor whom I consider a friend. Even though Koji is the same age as my dad I consider him a friend. Although we have an age gap there is a mutual respect and love for all things fishing. I’ve helped him come along with salmon fishing as he’d never focused on the salmon until our paths crossed. I shared some sacred fishing ground with him with the explicit promise that he’d never divulge the spots and techniques and in return he was willing to share his secret Matsutake Pine mushroom locations with me.
I’ve tried to do some mushroom hunting in years past without any success. Without the knowledge of someone you can trust and or the specifics on what to look for and where it’s like finding a needle in a haystack. We left this morning around 10 am, the weather was cloudy and cool in Seattle but things would improve as the sun poked out and burned off the low clouds. The colors of the trees were so vibrant and I can’t recall ever really enjoying the changing of the leaves as did today. Scrub oak, maple and other trees which I can’t describe all with their reds, oranges, and yellows dotted the landscape and shimmered in all the glory. I thought that even if we didn’t get any Matsutake that it was still going to be a wonderful day.
I was a little skeptical since it’s been incredibly dry and we’ve had no measurable rain fall in almost 3 months. Once we parked the car and got out the ground was bone dry, no signs of rain or evidence of moisture anywhere. Lots of young fern shoots turning yellow and dried Elk droppings around. Koji pokes around and within minutes exclaimed that he found one. Quickly I went to go see and he showed me what to look for and how they grow. He said that we were lucky to find one as it was going to be tough. After about 30 minutes of rooting around we decided to do a loop and head back to the car. I did find some other suspect mushrooms but Koji described that they were not Matsutake due to the shape, color, smell and location they were growing.
I figured we drove all that way for 1 mushroom, but I was optimistic and kept searching. Another 15 minutes I spotted a pair and then a third. I confirmed with the criteria and indeed they were Matsutake. We decided to call it quits and head back home. What could we do with 4 medium sized mushrooms? I got some ideas from Koji and decided to make Ramen with a Matsutake broth along with defrosting some Westport Albacore to serve alongside.
We stopped at the local Asian market and Koji showed me his favorite ramen: Myojo Chukazanmai variety which is made in Japan but excellent in taste and noodle quality. I marinates the Albacore with some rock salt and seasonings and fired up the blow torch to surface sear the Albie. Atop the Ramen there were medium slices of Matsutake and a dollop of some freshly made Coho Ikura.
What an honor it is to have been able to locate these mushrooms with the expert help of my neighbor.
With the crisp fall air and the coming of winter, the 2012 season comes to an end as we had a great run on the Olympic Peninsula. I had a total of 143 Coho that I punched on the cards and was a great almost two months of Coho fishing. While my thoughts are still on salmon, I’d like to try out some new things this fall/winter, among them: Masutake Pine Mushroom picking, Crabbing in area 13, SRC fishing in the south sound, winter blackmouth fishing, fall Kings and Coho on the centerpin, and perhaps some squid jigging.
There doesn’t end up being a shortage of available things to do here in Washington and all I can say is that its been a great year and summer, can’t wait to get back on the water next!
This weekends full harvest moon brought some luck for my friends and I would pull the trigger on getting out to try our luck once again. I was skeptical but optimistic that I would pick up a big male Coho to use for Gravlax. I did get one nice fish of 29″ that weighed in at 11.7 lbs earlier in the run but wanted another shot as later in the run the fish tend to get larger as they spend more time in the salt feeding and fattening up.
In years past the run would be done by the end of September. Due to the lack of rain and good ocean conditions I believe that we still might have some decent fish returning in the next week or two if the rains stay away the fish should play. The short of the report was it was lights out fishing. I picked up a fish with a first cast, and was able to get a limit within 30 minutes. Fish steadily kept pushing through the tide change and we left fish with our limits in hand. The largest was 28″ which I’ve got curing along with a gallon of separated roe for Shoyu style Ikura which I recently discovered my son loves. I’ll be keeping all my roe from now on: partly to use as bait and partly for Ikura preparation.
One of my favorite places growing up was the Blue River which is a tailwater fishery just below Dillon reservoir in Slverthorne Colorado. Trout gorge on the Mysis shrimp in the constantly regulated flows of dam which creates a wonderful habitat for large fish.
Here in Washington our blue medal waters is supposed to be the Yakima river, which I laugh at with the average size of the rainbows at a WDFW size of 9″. The Blue river puts out some fine specimens with bows in the 20″+ category and pushing 8-9 lbs not uncommon.
Even though I had my fly gear with me I opted not to fish as I found severe drought had affected the river to the point of poor habitat and limited space for the fish to hold in a run. Back in the day a run would hold numerous sized hogs but after viewing run to run, pool to slots, I only saw 1 fish. There was a guide on the water with his two clients casting without success for hours as I observed.
I hope this fishery comes back someday so that we can return and wet a line with my boys.
Had the opportunity to head out on Koji’s boat for a morning on the sound in search of Coho. Tom E. and Ching W. would also join as well. We would launch from Shilshole and motor up towards Browns Bay while pulling 4 rods rigged to cover the depths in hopes of finding some willing players.
The short of the report was we didn’t get any fish on, not even a shaker. Later we found that the fish were all at Westpoint just 10 minutes to the south, go figure! I need redemption!
Not much to report other than it was nice to get outside and get some vitamin D for my youngest son and myself. Even though we didn’t catch anything I was able to snap a few interesting shots in and around the point. I love the crisp air of fall in Seattle, pretty soon I’m sure we’ll be missing the sunshine, I want to make sure we got plenty of time outside.
Many readers have asked about my bead chain clouser and have included a photo for reference.
Size 4 or 6 Orvis saltwater hook
Sparsely tied with calf tail
Body is Crystal ribbing
Eyes are bead chain tied and then cut in place.
This is a killer pattern for Coho, and staging chum. The small size reduces fouling and irritates the salmon into a biting mood. Can’t wait to get into some of the Chums next month with this in variations of chartreuse over tam, white, and black.