Pretty much the sum of the day:
I hooked 3 lings and a nice sized rockfish. 1st Ling came unbuttoned after a short battle, second chewed thru the 40lb Maxima leader, it was brand new btw…. 3rd was a small throwback. Rob picked up two with his purple pattern and his dad picked up two rock fish, no lings.
We met the fish creek checker and only one other boat had a fish to show. Otherwise it was pretty slow. At least I had a strike and played a few of them which is often the highlight of Ling fishing on the fly.
Ron invited me out on his Bayliner which was very fast and comfortable on the water as it cuts threw the chop very nicely. However with its higher profile and stance it’s not as ideal to get close to rocks. I tried Orange and Olive while Rob used Purple and his father black.
Even though I didn’t land a keeper fish it was nice to get out and enjoy a day targeting Lings on the fly
Had a chance to fish a few hours and invited Rob D. To join. We took his Smokercraft out and anchored up on the west side and proceeded to have some fun with various baitfish patterns stripped on sink tip lines.
Rob however a schooled me in terms of numbers. He was using a Rio Versatip with type 6 15′ tip and a 6′ 8# leader while I was using my integrated 20′ tip with short leader. He was out fishing about 3 to 1 on me but it wasn’t all about quantity. We had a blast as we caught and released a few willing biters as they were fooled time and time again with our green and red baitfish patterns. I don’t even know the name of the fly as I’d purchased them from a discount fly outlet as they looked pretty ‘fishy’.
After the hour long journey back to the launch at Sammamish my thirst had not been quenched. Luckily, my plan B would be to fish Pine Lake. I had packed the oars, 5 wt rod, along with my sounder and anchors in the morning.
My pram is stored nearby on the trailer so I swung by to grab it and off I went up to Pine. After the un-successful outing on opening day with my family in tow I needed some redemption. I rigged up and rowed out from the launch and within 100 yards the rod with the sinking line starts bouncing and my first trout of the lowland season comes to hand.
In years past the better fishing was the far west end of the lake so I proceed to row over while trolling the integrated sink tip line. I found a black woolly bigger on the launch and tied it on figuring it would be a good searching pattern. While trolling I picked up a few more fish until my sounder started picking up more fish so I dropped anchor and set up my floating line with bobber.
I threw on a hares ear nymph under the bobber. As soon as it hit the water and the fly started sinking the line went tight and another feisty trout came to hand. Throat samples revealed daphnia and size 18 red ribbed chromers. While I had the floating line with chironomids suspended I started throwing my other rod with integrated tip. The fish were going nuts with the stripped fly. I was in the zone pulling 8 trout on 8 consecutive casts.
After the 20th or so fish the tippet have way and the woolly surrendered to the trout. I threw on another baitfish pattern similar to a Mickey Finn but with a red body and wire wrap abdomen. The trout went nuts over this and it resulted in many sore lips and broken hopes. What a day! I lost count as I was just having fun catching and releasing, hopefully giving these recent planters a little education to grow bigger and stronger for another day.
Just when I thought it couldn’t get better, a WDFW truck pulls up as I’m wrapping up for the day and drops another 1000 fish into the lake. Greedily I drop anchor and make a dozen or so casts without any luck. I think once they adjust to their new surroundings the folks fishing the docks will be pulling them in left and right. It was a good day to be on Pine lake and a bad day for the trout.
Wind, cocky park ranger, and jet boat with no forward gear is not a recipe for a fun day. With the weather looking great the day before I wanted to spend some time on the water fishing. I suggested to Jeff that we try Lingcod or trout but he wanted to get his sled on Sammamish to make sure everything was ok for a run later his month to Hells Canyon.
We met at the launch a little after it opened and was greeted by Ranger Rick who proceeded to give us the 50 questionnaire and the type of park pass we had, after the interrogation we fired up the 115 Yamaha jet on the first turn of the key and launched. After running about 10 minutes at a fairly good pace the motor cuts out. Ok, we fire it back up and go back into gear and motor some more until we get to our destination towards the north end of the lake.
After being blown around and making a few dozen casts with only 1 small fish to show for the efforts. When Jeff got his line tangled in the trolling motor he asked me to fire up the big motor and put it into gear, uh oh…. Something must have slipped and the gear selector wasn’t engaging, so we had to make our way back in reverse all the way to the launch.
I’ll be grabbing my pram and heading up to Pine Lake to finding out the day…
After a successful opener I wanted to invite my friend Ching for a try at Lings on the fly. After a very unsuccessful last year fishing with him on my boat I told him that if we didn’t land a keeper sized fish that it would be it for him being a deckhand on the SS Hewes.
We didn’t leave Bellevue until 8 am as we both had to drop off our kids to school and or daycare. I had left the boat hitched up and ready to go and all we needed was food and drinks. I always check the marine forecast prior to fishing and there was a small advisory for the afternoon as the winds would pick up to 15-20 knots with 2-4′ wind waves. Not conducive to good Ling fishing at all. Lings like calmer water without a big tidal exchange and the weather could have been a slight factor.
We fished my usual haunts and a couple of known spots but we came up empty handed and scratching our heads. Luckily my friends were fishing location and already had 3 keeper sized fish aboard for 4 guys and had lost 5 others. Around 11 I decided to motor over to that spot which is new to me and I’ve not spent any time fishing. The move proved to be a good one as we were able to get 2 fish to cooperate and then we called it quits shortly thereafter.
At the launch we met WDFW enforcement and he had no reports of seeing anyone or himself having any luck. When we showed him out our cooler and licenses, he asked of we were using sand dab. I explained that we caught them on the fly and showed him my Cliffs Barn Bugger filled with my creations. He shook his head and was in disbelief and said ‘no, you gotta be BS’ing me’ and I said ‘no sir… I wouldn’t be caught fishing with bait when I can have this much fun on the fly. It was confirmation that my improved rod, line system, and flies are proven ling cod producers.
By the time I got home and the boat and gear cleaned up I was too beat to process the fish. I bled it out and packed it on ice to worry about the next day. Tonite we’ll enjoy Baja style Ling cod tacos with all the trimmings, looking forward to eating and living well in the pacific northwest! I’ve had many inquire about locations and details which I don’t like to divulge as more and more folks seem to be out there chasing after these tasty and toothy creatures.
This is one of my favorite times of year as it symbolizes that we’re getting closer to the salmon runs. The month of May symbolizes chasing Lings on the fly, which is one of my favorite pursuits. I’ve learned my lessons over the course of the years after breaking several 8 wt rods that this is not meant for the salmon sticks but the 2×4’s.
11 and 12 wt Sage RPL and Rplx are my hardware of choice with big salt water reels and stout tippet. When I first started fishing for lings I thought a wire leader was needed but not so. 40 lb maxima is adequate, more concerning is keeping a big ling from holing up once it’s hooked.
The tide was an 8:50 am high and we got on the water by 5:30. The best action was from 7 am until 10. We landed 8 keeper sized fish and kept the last 3 for the dinner table. While I have to admit that I didn’t prepare Ling cod correctly and was disappointed in past years. I did elect to keep one to try this time around and I can attest with many other afficiandos that it is a great fish for the table. The white flaky mild tasting and non fishy meat is wonderful when deep fried, stir fried, poached, and baked.
A favorite Chinese restaurant of ours prepared it 5 ways:
1. Ling Cod Head soup with bitter melon
2. Deep fried with salt and pepper and jalapeño peppers
3. White garlic sauce with snow peas and mushrooms
4. Stir fried with ginger and green onions
5. Black bean sauce with peppers.
Our household eats very well from the bounty of the sea!