Just because I’ve been offline for a few days doesn’t mean I’ve not been fishing. It’s been a great week for a few of us as we fished the OP for returning Coho on the fly. Sad to say this but I’m so tired of Coho it’s hard to keep any more fish. It’s great eating, but a lot of work, processing and preparing for the dinner table. I’ve made a lot of friends however and they’ve enjoyed all the fish that I’ve been giving away. One thing that I cannot stop is all the fun I’ve been having finding and fishing for these fall Silvers.
After an all evening outing and back for a few hour nap my son was up at his normal hour so off to school he went and then I had a wild hair to rig up the boat and head out. I called my neighbor Koji with whom I’d invited out fishing and he was thrilled with the possibility of heading out since he recently got some Scotty electric downriggers and needed some help and tips with the operation and general handling of Salmon. When he suggested we take his boat I grabbed my flasher bag and lure board and made a B-line to his house. I’d invite dad to join as he always enjoys the salt air and the scenery of the sound.
We found many boats working the outgoing tide change at Westpoint and after a couple of laps I abandoned the conventional thought and wanted to troll towards Edmonds since the fish would be following the bait. ‘Find the bait and you’ll find fish’… Around Richmond beach we picked up a nice reel screamer at 500′ of water with 90’ of cable on the green dragon flasher and white lightening Coho killer. I hadn’t even tied down with shorter leader or use dodgers. I feel that keeping the right angle and tide makes a bigger difference with these fish. This was the first fish for Koji’s new boat and even though he didn’t land it, he got some valuable lessons and tips which should help him with future outings. Koji missed a couple of other take downs as he was putting too much slack in the hook set, one rarely needs to set a properly trolled flasher lures. Most times the fish will set itself, so never jerk or lift too hard, this will cause some fish to de-hook.
The marine fog layer never really burned off and we definitely appreciated having GPS on our way back from Edmonds. I’d say we did we compared to the lack of flying nets we saw and especially having made it out so late, fished from 10 am until 2 pm. We did make it up to the oil docks and then trolled back with the incoming tide but needed to get back and process more fish and pick up my son from school.
Having just returned from a family vacation and catching up with work and unpacking it was time to hit the Skokomish river to fuel up on some Hood Canal King salmon. When this river comes up thoughts of anglers lined up shoulder to shoulder come to mind with chuck, duck, and ripping corkies and yarn with copious amounts of pencil lead conjure disgust, head shaken no-no’s and frustration. I fish this river because I like the tidal flats, plenty of back casting room, fantastic scenery with the Olympic range to the west and of course Chinook salmon on the fly.
I invited Ching W. to join me as our last 4 outings had proved to be a bust and I had to redeem myself for the sake of showing him that King salmon can be caught on the fly. We arrived at the Skok a little after 9 am with heavy parked cars along both the Purdy cutoff road and lined along the 106 near most of the gear and traditional access points. Upon our access to the river saw a school of 4-6 fish that were making their way up but was greeted with gear guys tossing every sort of lead and yarn in front of the Chinook faces. I found a spot that looked like it might hold fish and within my third cast connected with a nice hen which for me was relief, having broken the skunk of not being able to bonk a legal fish with Ching. I was telling him on the drive down that perhaps he was the reason why we didn’t get any fish, joking of course.
I hit another smaller fish of about 6-7 pounds, decided to release her in favor of the cookie cutter teens fish that were swimming around. There was a nice pod of 5 fish that ran up but for some reason I couldn’t get any to coax until I checked my hook, or rather lack of hook! I was using a purple peril I tied specifically for steelhead and replaced the smaller hooks with 3/0 sickle hooks. Somehow the junction of the eyelet between my last fish I release came apart with the hook eye and I had been ghost casting for those fish.
I was able to punch out another legal fish and ended the morning with a pair of nice Kings for the barbeque. Ching wasn’t so successful on his first Skok outing but he definitely got the hang of this fishery and will hope to get another stab at getting a fish on his own another day.
Our next port was Sitka, and I’ve been told that if there was a town to fall in love with in SE Alaska it would be Sitka. Steve Y. travels up there regularly to Sitka to help his friend run the fishing lodge and has been doing so for years. He would send some amazing photos of Kings, Halibut, Black Cod, and Bottomfish that would come from its rich waters. I would salivate over the photos but you never can quite picture a place until you can see for yourself the beauty, landscape and charm of the surroundings.
Today wasn’t a fishing day for me but wished I’d brought a fly rod along as I found an inlet stream to a Salmon hatchery Science center that appeared to be privately run. Near that inlet were pink said that we’re leaping and prepping for the incoming tide. There were two fisherman, rather one fisher woman and one guy that had a snagging treble. He said that it was legal in the salt to take up to 6 fish with this harsh method. I thought to myself how amazing it would be to be able to throw a fly just minutes from the cruise ship in downtown Sitka for these guys. They aren’t respected amongst the locals and frowned upon, but we fly fishermen love them regardless.
We did have a great time exploring the downtown area, some notable sights: Russian Orthodox Church (St. Michaels Cathedral), Bishops house, Sitka Totem pole park with visitors center, SSC (salmon science center), my son enjoyed the playground and the grassy lawns near the marinas as he was able to stretch his legs out and run to his hearts content. I snapped off a few shots to remember the time and location and if I ever plan a revisit will bring along my rod next time.