First, keep the fish in the net and in the water. Rubber mesh helps protect the fish. Wait for the fish to settle down so you can quickly get your hands under it. Wait until the photo is ready to be taken and quick lift holding the trout over the net and over the water so if it wriggles and is dropped, it lands in the net or in the water and not knocking itself out on rocks. Do not grab it by the gill plates or stick your fingers in the gills for an extra hold. Do not hold it out of the water for an extended time. If it is not working out, just let it go and practice more on the next one. These steelhead are always to be released and should be treated so.
The smelt ran thick this past week. Thick enough we were able to net well over 1,000 pounds.
This net was bulging with smelt.
Joe, Mitch, and Phil pause for a photo after hauling in two nets filled with smelt.
What 600lbs of smelt looks like.
And another 600-700lbs
Arriving at river X, I took a look around studying all of the lower stretches for signs of fish. Nothing. It looked bleak. Slowly wading my way upstream, I stopped at a couple of deeper runs and let my line drift through a dozen times but nothing seemed to be around. I continued upstream and met another fisherman coming down.
“Should have been here yesterday.” He said. “Fish were all over the place! Today I haven’t seen a single one!”
Hmmm…I thought to myself. I continued upstream to a deep pool, put an indicator on and let my single egg imitation swirl around in some of the side eddies. I wasn’t long before I hooked and landed a nice hen steelhead.
After slipping her out of rubber net, she decided to pause right in front of me for a few moments and pose for another, more natural picture.
After checking my line to make sure everything was straightened out and ready to fish, I proceeded to hook two more and landed a nice buck.
I was anxious to make my way up to the next hole so I only made a few more drifts and headed upstream. I entered the hole and got myself in position. First drift and hooked a fish right away. It was in the fast water and went a little nuts, popping the hook off with ease.
Drew was on his way and arrived about then. The sun was up and the water was warming slightly, and then the fish just starting snapping up everything we dropped in. As I was tying up, Drew landed four in a row. Several different times we had doubles on, hooking well over 30 fish. We managed to land 13 that afternoon. Some of them were absolute pigs.
Drew holds up his first of six steelhead for the day.
Releasing another hog buck steely, Drew was nearing euphoria.
And then this happened.
It was time for some celebratory cigars.
Or maybe they were good luck cigars.
After spending a solid week fishing a couple of rivers and out in the lake, the lake was the way to go. There were only a couple rivers that were running low and cold with very few fish. Most of the rivers and smaller streams were still locked in with ice or not even flowing into the lake. Fishing was so slow in the rivers that we caught the same fish twice.
Drew was the first to hook into this kamloop rainbow trout and released it.
After a while of fishing the same stretch of water, I caught the same fish. A bit of a letdown.
We did find one smaller steelhead in there.
Drew had one good day shore fishing in the lake catching 3 or 4 rainbows on his fly rod.
But the best fishing took place out in the boat jigging over deep water. There were a couple of very calm, warm and sunny days so we hopped in a boat with our jigging gear and had some really good success lake trout fishing.
Mitch watches the depth finder for fish marks coming off the bottom as Drew and Joe wait anxiously to drop their lines down onto the fish.
Odin had a good day in the boat too.
At nine months old, Odin has been doing very well accompanying me on fishing outings. He loves just being outside let alone interacting with other dogs and people. A little young yet last fall, he never really fully experienced deeper water and swimming in it. But now he appears to be quite ready – it’s just that the water is really cold and I don’t want him dumping in quite yet.
Odin really wanted to explore deeper, but I reined him back before he went for it.
Other dogs walking a ways off, and ducks landing nearby seemed to really get his attention. But when reeling in a fish and landing it, he didn’t seem too enthused. Odin is going to make a great bird dog.
A fat healthy hen full of eggs. Odin looks on.
I would let him explore some, as long as he stayed close. From the other dock he appeared quite poised for a picture.
The fishing was pretty good too. Drew and I were having some decent action on the fly rods fishing flies under an indicator.
Drew holding a bright buck.
Another male rainbow (released).
A very fat, beautiful hen loaded with eggs.
Odin wasn’t the only one looking to take a nap.
It was a good day, once in the car – Odin crashed and was out like a light.