Slow realization…

The following post, like so many, has languished as I became distracted and busy with something else.  I can’t remember the date of this fishing trip, but it had to be early November (2015) because I mention salmon season had just ended on this stretch of the Columbia River.  Anyway, decided to add the picture of Nate rigging up on that cold day and post it. Enjoy…

Nate and I spent the better part of this Friday bank fishing for steelhead on the Columbia River at the Ringold Access.  It was cold overnight so I didn’t pick Nate up in Pasco before 10:00.  We pulled my truck up at the river’s edge around 10:30.  Nate chose to focus his approach to fishing “gear” (spinning outfit w/ bobber and jig) and I stubbornly insisted on fly fishing.  I chose my 10-foot 7 weight thinking that this was the right match for the size of steelhead likely to be caught.  However, I started nymph fishing under a strike indicator (i.e., bobber) with a two nymph rig and split shot.  This outfit was a casting nightmare and immediately started aggravating the arthritis creeping into my right thumb.

Winter steelhead w_Nate Nate gearing up and yes, it was as cold as it looks…

The salmon season on the Columbia is now closed but there are still a lot of chinook still in the river.  The closure of the salmon season has reduced the boat traffic considerably.  As I mentioned above, I started fishing a two fly rig with an egg pattern above a Pat’s stonefly nymph.  This set up included a couple of split shot which made it less than a dream to cast – maybe a better leader construction would help.  I don’t remember how many casts I had made but it was less than 10, I lifted the rod when the indicator went down and all hell broke loose.  Whatever it was immediately headed downriver at a speed that was concerning.  First I needed to make sure the slack line cleared smoothly – no problem – and then in less than 5 seconds all my fly line was down river and I was looking at my backing disappear at an alarming rate.  I was actually concerned about putting my bare palm on the spool to slow it down for fear of causing a burn.  I was just about to clamp down on the reel to attempt avoiding being “spooled” when everything went slack.  By this time Nate was jogging down river to me, having heard my 30-year-old reel screaming as the fish dashed off.

Turns out my improved clinch knot was faulty on the Pat’s stonefly nymph.  Pretty sure I had hooked a chinook (king) salmon.  He either grabbed that fly or was foul hooked.  Either way, this few seconds connected to such a fish was a wake-up call that maybe I need to upgrade my equipment.  There was no way I was going to control that fish with the gear I had.

But what that fish did was start a slow burn in my brain that I want to do this some more.  So now I’m perusing more appropriate salmon gear.  This has also opened my eyes…

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