I spent some time on the Skagit Saturday morning. I launched at Gardener and fished a variety of spots more as an exploratory trip than anything. Exploratory yes, but I did have a plan, my plan was to fish sturgeon for awhile, then beach the boat somewhere and fish dollies off the beach. My plan went well, but the exploratory nature of the trip went even better. Come on September first!!! My first stop was on a sturgeon spot, basically across from the soccer fields. In an hour on the hook I had one good takedown but came up empty handed. I decided to move upstream and fish the eddy at the very top of the Gardner drift. The river was running too high to fish it effectively but there were a ton of fish on the meter so I metered around for awhile and was able to define the boundaries of the school. The school of fish was probably 200 yards long, 25 yards wide and with the occasional jumper I was able to confirm that they were silvers. Again come on September 1st!
Again on the move, heading downstream I metered around at the mouth of the Nookachamps and nobody was home. I continued downstream to the general spot I was fishing earlier in the morning and while metering around and trying to figure out where to drop the hook I found another large school of what I thought were salmon (more on that in a bit). Anyway, anchor set glob of sand shrimp over the side and book in hand the waiting game was on. Not for long though, with in a few minutes, maybe two pages of reading and ½ of a flat meat sandwich the clicker on the sturgeon rod starts to slowly click. I reach over and turn the clicker off but leave the rod in the holder. Maybe another 30 seconds go but and it is rod down and fish on. I fought the fish for 30 or 40 minutes and ended up releasing it because it was clearly longer than my sturgeon measuring stick.
Ok decision time, my plan included fishing for dollies. But…maybe I could catch another sturgeon. Figuring that I had used up my sturgeon karma for the day I opt for fishing the dollies. Boat on the beach and up to my ankles (at one point my knee) in quicksand I trudge up the beach to a likely looking dolly haunt. First cast, drift fishing a chrome and green Dick Night I hook a 16-18” dolly. A couple casts later I hook fish number two and I think that it was the same fish previously released. I wander back to the boat and finish my sandwich, return some text messages and return to drift fishing the Dick Night. On the 2nd or 3rd cast solid wham-O! It is fish on and after a reel smoking first run and some aerial displays I settle in to fighting a sizeable salmon. Initially I thought that I had a Chinook but after a few jumps it was clearly a silver. I got the fish up into shallow water and ended up cutting the line so I could release the fish without harming it. After the salmon was safely on her way I got back in the boat and metered around again. I found that the school of fish that I had seen earlier was still hanging around and I now knew that they were silvers. It was interesting, I don’t think that I have ever seen silvers school like that, I think that come September 1st the Skagit could be on fire. Anyway back on the water I set up for Sturgeon again (still had more sand shrimp) but didn’t have any more action. So an hour or so later I pulled the hook and headed back to the ramp and home.
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