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 906 items in 91 pages
 
Name: kevin14 Date: February 14, 2015 Rating:
 
Time: Afternoon Bait: Login to view! Tackle: Login to view!
Color: Login to view! Species: Steelhead  Method: Login to view!
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What a day! First fish was an absolute tank of a wild steelhead. I hooked him on a yarnie and he started thrashing on the surface and jumped a few times before taking off down river where he took about 100 yards of line in seconds and I had the drag pretty tight. He jumped one last time about 100 yards away while I was chasing him downriver so I wouldn't get spooled but that last jump proved to be exactly that and he spit the hook. It was easily in the upper teens if not bigger and chrome bright. I couldn't stop shaking from that thrilling encounter. Then about an hour later I started drift fishing a pink warm and my first cast resulted in a beautiful chrome bright native steelhead that fought much differently from the first. She would take off then just hang deep and I could barely move her but patience paid off and I got this one to the bank for a quick picture before releasing her back to go do her thing.

I couldn't have asked for a more epic day to close the season on this river. I'm glad I decided to drive back from wsu to get one last day in. I will never forget this day because they were the first wild steelhead I have encountered from this river and they fought incredibly hard. I wish we had a spring season on the sky and skagit so we all can have days like this with 60 degree weather and all kinds of wildlife and chrome bright wild steelhead.
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4
Name: Ian Horning Date: January 30, 2015 Rating:
 
Time: Morning Bait: Login to view! Tackle: Login to view!
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Decided to chase some steel today. The hatchery side of Reiter wasn't crowded at all, and the highway wasn't busy either, and it soon appeared why this was the case.
To say the fishing was slow was an understatement; from 7:30-12:30 there was only one small fish caught between 15-20 people. Other than that, the river was gorgeous and more in-line with normality in terms of height and clarity, and the day was just as wonderful.
Due to lack of positive fishing, I switched to hunting for a suitable alternative to steelhead. It turns out, there was a fresh run of jigs and floats strewn amongst the wood and rocks along the entirety of the bank, and I came away with 5 jigs and three floats. Doesn't really make up for steelhead, but served to occupy my wandering mind amidst the skunkfest. Time on the river is never for naught, and it was an enjoyable time despite the lack of bent rods.
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Name: spoonman Date: January 29, 2015 Rating:
 
Time: Morning Bait: Login to view! Tackle: Login to view!
Color: Login to view! Species: Steelhead  Method: Login to view!
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So today was my first time out since breaking my wrist, and suffering a pretty savage ankle sprain. And having only one fully functional arm, i decided to stick to float fishing so there wouldn't be as much tying to do. I also cannot consistently cast my baitcast rods. So had to bust out my old lamiglass spinning rod, this thing maybe sees daylight once or twice a year when my wife goes fishing. And I realized today that that is quite a shame. Its a great rod! I forgot have nimble it was comfortable in the hand. So here I am, perched on a rock at rieter, decent crowd for a Thursday morning. The river is a beautiful steelhead green. Only thing missing is the fish. Kept hearing people mumble the O word. As in, its over. While im sure there are some stragglers coming up, the fish are getting few and far between. After standing on a boulder for a couple hours my ankle starts bothering me. So i call it quits and decide to do something different. Cracker bar is a spot i used to fish alot with moderate success. Of course, that was back when wdfw would release smolts in the sultan river. Hell ,i figured, why not? It was a nice change of scenery from the crowds at rieter, but is there any fish around. I i spent the next couple of hours messing around trying to get a feel for rhis bobber dogging stuff. Wondering how you can tell is something is hitting it , when suddenly my bobber darted down! The rod started pumping and the fight was on! For about 10 seconds. .. So it goes. Spent a little longer on the bar, just me and a couple juvenile eagles, and great scenery. Im giving it a 2 simply because its my first trip out in a while, rediscovered an old rod, and had a little action with a new technique.
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Name: Banksidedrifter Date: January 29, 2015 Rating:
 
Time: Morning Bait: Login to view! Tackle: Login to view!
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After many trips to the sky this season I decided to take a day off work and go up again. The weather had broke and it was shaping up to be a nice day. My Son and I started out at Big Eddy. While I fished my Son picked up trash along the shore. After a couple hours and nothing but garbage to show for our day we moved up river. We drove up the 2 a short distance and pulled into a turn out I had never been able to get to all season and proceeded to prepare a last ditch effort to catch a Steelhead.

I decided to try a float set-up first but could not get the right drift and I ended up hanging up and losing my gear. I switched to a #3 Blue fox , purple , and aimed for the back of a large boulder in the middle of the stream. Bam! I have to admit at first I thought I had hung up again. That was until that sound from the distant past of spooling line hit me. I managed to get the words out "fish-on" to my Son and we both enjoyed the fight. This was a strong fish and he breached the water twice before I brought him in. This fish did its best to survive its plight. After my son had him in the net and had the fish on the beach we stared in amazement at this beautiful fish. Just then he flipped out of the net shakining the lure and heading back to the water. I dove on him and with both hands threw him back up high on the shore . Although I was soaked it didn't matter.

6lb 29" Hatchery Buck.

It was well worth the day off and I can,t wait til next season
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Name: TahoeFisherman Date: January 27, 2015 Rating:
 
Time: Noon Bait: Login to view! Tackle: Login to view!
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It is looking nice on the Sky. The river is just falling back into shape and there are fish around to be caught. About third cast and bobber down fish on! Went 1 for 2 on the day, had another probably about 10 lbs. pop off right at the bank but still landed this nice wild hen.
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9
Name: tframe Date: January 21, 2015 Rating:
 
Time: All Day Bait: Login to view! Tackle: Login to view!
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Got to highway side of reiter this morning with only one other car there. Not many people out which was nice. Just one other guy fishing highway side and probably a dozen or so on the hatchery side. Wind was blowing so made it a little tough but thankfully it died down mid morning a little. Caught one on a silver 2/5 oz little cleo spoon and another on an orange worm later in the day. Both were darker bucks with a lot of color and on the smaller side. First was probably around 4, maybe 5lbs. Second I estimate to be slightly over 3lbs. Not very big but still fun to catch. Saw about half dozen caught all near the big rock on the hatchery side. Sorry no pics today.
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Name: TahoeFisherman Date: January 21, 2015 Rating:
 
Time: Afternoon Bait: Login to view! Tackle: Login to view!
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Went 2 for 2 on the afternoon. One chromer about 5 or 6 lbs. and one spawned out about the same size. Fished random hole between gold bar and the hatchery from about 2pm until 5:30. Lots of Chrome fish moving around in the river.
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Name: tframe Date: January 16, 2015 Rating:
 
Time: All Day Bait: Login to view! Tackle: Login to view!
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Wow what a day. Got to highway side of reiter with only 2 other vehicles in the pullout. Hiked down and starting fishing. About 20 minutes in, let my float and nightmare jig drift down right next to the bank and watched the float take a dive. Set the hook and boom, fish on. Didn't really put up to much of a fight with no jumps or big runs but still took a couple minutes to get him in. Got him to the bank and realized it was a nice wild buck so off he went.

Fished my way down to the cable hole with no other hits so decided to take a little break. Noticed my float was a little damaged so switched it out for a clear one and tied on a pink/white aero jig. Finished lunch and tossed my line out about 15 feet out in a nice slot. All of a sudden it submerged, set the hook and boom fish on. This is where it got interesting. As soon as I set the hook it felt like a whale. I have caught a lot of steelhead and never have I felt a take like this. She took off peeling line like crazy than she jumped and I knew this was a doozy. She jumped 3 times and made a half dozen runs or so and finally got her to cooperate. Got her close enough to get a good look and it turned out to be a massive wild hen. By far the biggest steelhead I have ever seen let alone caught on any Puget sound river. She had a nightmare jig in her mouth that she must have broken off so I tried to get it out, but before I could she had enough and shook her head and out popped my jig and off she went. Feel bad I wasn't able to remove the other jig but she didn't seem to mind by the fight and power she showcased. Still shocked I was able to land her on 8lb maxima ultra green leader but luckily had my drag fairly lose. I estimate she was 18 lbs. She was as big around as a volleyball and 40+ inches easy. Made my whole fishing year.

Sorry no pics, my iPhone was in my backpack and since they were both wild, wanted to stress them as little as possible. Several people were catching fish on both sides of the hatchery. One hell of a day.
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2
Name: Reel Priorities Date: January 15, 2015 Rating:
 
Time: Morning Bait: Login to view! Tackle: Login to view!
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Starting Time: 7:00 AM
Location: Skykomish River
Method of Persuasion: Jigs
Setup: Okuma Celilo 9'6" 4-8 Pound Test Rod, Shimano Stradic Reel, 10 Pound Test Hydrofloat

Life has a way of interminably piquing my curiosity. From the simplicity evoked from watching a dime sized ember transform a lifeless pile of logs into a living, raging entity, to the mystery of a float slipping beneath the surface, coercing the most ornery of Steelhead. Though small in physical size and seemingly insignificant, the ember and 1/32nd ounce jig are very much alike, each harnessing the capacity to positively impact this world.

Three things come to my mind each morning I have the privilege of waking: gratitude for another day in my wading boots, curiosity regarding the current location of my Simms waders and the puzzling thought of how I'm going to tuck my better half back under the covers (without waking her) with one foot haphazardly hanging 2 feet off the bed. After achieving victory for the latter, I threw my yellow jig box in my left jacket pocket, synched tight the cables of my boots and groped the darkness for my fishing rod. It was my day off and the time to resynchronize with the rhythms of nature, further ponder Steelhead holding water and probe the depths for spotted olive backs.

Though the conditions were not ideal -the wind was raging and the water was off color- gratitude did not evade me, knowing how the river is a constantly shifting puzzle, never content with it's current course nor depth. Glacial runoff stimulated by the rise in air temperature had caused the resurfacing the entire river bottom; once known fishing haunts had become distant and cold to the touch. I accepted the fresh challenge presented before me, relinquishing all desire to control the conditions, redirection my approach of angling, like water flowing around the rocks. After all, nature is the most concise and candid instructor for the "Academy of Life," never faltering nor wavering during instruction.

A half mile into my walk, favorable water finally presented itself. Out flicked my 27th cast like a trick kite in Long Beach, slicing through the force of the assailing Northern wind. With laser guided precision, my Asian eyes traced the faint fluorescent top of my 20 gram DNE float (we're well known for our astounding peripheral vision). As it glided parallel to the far side of the bank -the river had etched a small pocket into the hillside- my float was no more. I saluted my opponent with 9' 6" of graphite, with the speed of a hand raised during a "volunteer call" from the Reptile Man at an elementary school. I was met with a solid "thump" on the end of my Okuma Celilo. Five ferocious head shakes and a barreling sprint down and across the river send a shock of fear through my spine. Would my Hydrofloat hold up? Only time will tell... He assailed the upper water column and darted to and fro, slapping his speckled, silver-striped tail against the water surface, like a boxer rattling a speed bag. I took a knee down on the grapefruit sized stones of the bank, being forced to play this Steelhead low, and leveraging the rod sideways. Three more attempts to sprint in the shallow water left this Steelhead panting for the now distant oxygenated water, churned by the rapids below his tranquil pool.

If you're reading this from your desk, you have my compassion; the weekend will return and so will you to your true residence. If you're reading this clothed in ACU or NWU, illuminated by infrared light on foreign soil, you have my deepest thanks for your commitment and for your life's service. The river, she beckons, and so echo the pages of history, as an answer to her call has never disappointed. As we near the season's close for the rivers of the Puget Sound, we enter the time of return for behemoth-like hatchery Steelhead, and the preface of the native stock. Like thumbing through the pages of your favorite novel, the river begins to reveal her favorite chapters. I dare you to take a day off from work, and push the envelope to pursue your "fish of a lifetime." Wait not another year, for truthfully, you have this day alone in your possession. When all is said and done, we but scrape the surface of angling, understanding how the art contrasts with the sole pursuit of winching silver-plated silhouettes to the bank. May your rods stay flexed and your creels overflow. Reel Priorities, out.

Rock to rock. Cast by cast.

"Specializing in the Instruction of Systematic Bank Fishing for Steelhead"

Official Digital Anglers Sponsor

ReelPriorities.com
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6
Name: Reel Priorities Date: January 14, 2015 Rating:
 
Time: Morning Bait: Login to view! Tackle: Login to view!
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Starting Time: 7:00 AM
Location: Skykomish River
Method of Persuasion: Jigs
Setup: Okuma Celilo 9'6" 4-8 Pound Test Rod, Shimano Stradic Reel, 10 Pound Test Hydrofloat

For a gardener, I imagine there are few things more satisfying than finding good soil to work with. Soil that not only has the ability to retain vital nutrients, but the potential to provide a future residence for a worthy plant. I'm thankful Brian decided to call me, for Brian and his son, Mason, were just the type of "soil" I was looking for. The Saturday prior to our excursion, we trained in the classroom, hand crafting jigs, weaving yarn balls, and studying the key elements of Steelhead holding water, in preparation for the instruction to come.

You know those days when you beat your alarm clock one minute to the punch? The type of morning when your eye lids pop right open like an oven roasted popcorn kernel, and caffeine becomes a memory of the past? Yes, It was one of those. After the crank of the key and the subsequent awakening my slumbering, red plated "beast" of a Civic, I was off like a Steelhead hooked on 6 pound fluorocarbon leader. And no, I do not endorse the use of fluorocarbon; that Izorline allows me to keep a few nickels lining the bottom of my pockets, while gracing me many Steelhead to the bank. From the eyes of a Steelhead guide, it distills down to the following, over immaculate line clarity: float speed, color and depth.

The first 20 minutes of our instruction consisted of blank casting (no live ammunition), until Brian and Mason, were casting like Bass Pro's and mending line like the practiced hands of a seamstress. How a great dividend was paid, following their diligent practice. After dialing in to the water, off we shot down the river, identifying seams, pockets of holding water and deftly placing casts to the opposing bank. Mason's first cast landed in the "belly of the run;" his float slipped underneath the water, but slack prevented a proper hook set. 5 minutes later, the water engulfed Brian's float, his rod loaded a light head shake, and then straightened back out. Hands weary from tying and having run out of patterns to stimulate the now "stale" bunch of Steelhead, it was time to "run from this slot" and "gun" to the next.

A wise angler once shared with me the importance of "creating a circuit of three to six well known slots." On any given day, it is highly likely one of your 6 slots will hold a willing biter. Not only has this led to my personal success as an angler, but how it has forever changed the way I approach water and the style of angling that I teach to my students. So, after a short refresher, we parked our frozen wading soles in the second slot. Brian sailed out his first cast. Two tastefully placed Hydrofloat mends, a carefully selected color and the proper feeding of line later, his float took a dive. Two seconds prior to the "sinking" portion of the run, Brian diverted his gaze as Mason and I redirected ours, watching Brian's float sink faster than a speeding bullet; I'll let you fill in the dialogue, facial expressions and banter you'd imagine after this scene... So it goes, Steelhead: 4, Anglers: 0. Moving on, Brian whipped out his second cast. And yet another. Just as his float was about to exit the slot on his fourth attempt, it shuddered, hesitated and began to inch beneath the surface; it was like spectating a descending escalator at Bellevue Square. He waited patiently for the float to disappear and subsequently executed a picture perfect hook set. "Fish on!" Brian chirped. Finally, he was rewarded with a bending rod and four adrenaline pumping head shakes, two ingredients exclusively manufactured by the Winter Run Steelhead.

For the appetizer, this intelligible fish immediately finned it's way to the tip of his rod, faking exhaustion. Responding quickly, we loosened the drag and sent a few shocks down the line to stimulate a run. With no response, I attempted water landing procedure; after a failed landing attempt, he shot off like a lever action Winchester 94 Carbine. One line stripping run upriver, two surface attempts and numerous underwater head shakes were in store with this young buck. Watching Brian play this Steelhead was like watching a locksmith precision cut a worn key; it was a treat indeed. The back and forth style of fighting from this particular contestant was reminiscent of the swaying motion of the conifers during a winter wind storm. As cortisol and fatigue set in, our Winter Buck lifted his dorsal fin, and opted for a trade. In exchange for his two fillets and a trophy picture of father and son, we provided him an intimate gander at my GoPro 3 Black Edition, and a blue penned catch code and date on Brian's catch card.

Though it would be desirable, not every outing ends with tangible success, manifesting in the form of a Steelhead. These wild creatures, reverent and defiant in nature, have gambled the odds and come out on top in the salt and glacial fed waters. Hatchery Steelhead or Native, both have been inducted in the 1% club; they demand a great deal of respect. The pursuit of Steelhead is an art, one that cannot be described through digital ink, nor conceptualized through the simplicity of a photograph nor YouTube video. For those of you who have yet to cast a line, I'd like to introduce you to the sport. Others who have filled their creel in seasons past, I challenge you to walk the river bank with me, in pursuit of your trophy fish. Fly or gear, the pursuit of meat or of the art, we all pursue the vitality and electricity only the pursuit of Steelhead fishing can bring. Keep those line mends succinct, my friends. Reel Priorities, out.

Rock to rock. Cast by cast.

"Specializing in the Instruction of Systematic Bank Fishing for Steelhead"

Official Digital Anglers Sponsor

ReelPriorities.com
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