Year in Review, What a Great Year!

One of my favorite hours of the the show since we began almost two years ago was last Saturday.  We began by just telling a few fishing stories, sharing our favorite moments from 2010.  Some were of a big fish, some were stories of checking off a bucket list fish, and some were of special moments shared with family and friends.  As I drove home after the show I kept thinking of story after story that I wish I could have shared, many great memories, some of which I will share with you now as I look back on 2010 and forward to 2011. 

   

Starting off the year fishing in Panama and checking off this bucket list 48lb Cuberra Snapper will always be remembered as a great start to a great year spent fishing.

 

Catching acrobatic sails in Costa Rica is guaranteed to be a highlight to anybody's year.  Join us for the 2011 Outdoor Line Billfish Bonanza and find out for yourself.

 

Ryan Bennett of Reel Deal Guide Service put us on a limit of Columbia River Spring Chinook, the tastiest salmon swimming.

One of the things that we really looked forward to last year was bass fishing on Lake Washington as the water warmed up in the spring.  Even the fishing from shore is incredible this time of year and on any given evening you'll find us casting away as we catch and release one bass after another. 

It was this little bass that Madden caught on his last cast of the night to beat dad in an impromtu bass tourney.

San Juan opener was well worth the effort.

Fishing with Robbo up in Craig, Alaska was a definite highlight to the year.  Robbo didn't disappoint either, he put me in this 30lber and gave me bragging rights over my business partner Paul by half a pound.

Fishing the Ilwaco leg of the OTC was a great time and being on the water with my boys makes it even that much better!

Going on a Hawg Quest aboard Nick Kester's boat was a productive day of fishing.  Hanging with Glen Hall wasn't bad either.

Who better to learn the Grays Harbor fishery with than John Keizer of Salt Patrol?

Check this one off the bucket list, 13lb Hawaiian bonefish!

Madden caught the biggest salmon of any Tobeck this year.

Not to be outdone, Mason had the biggest Halibut.

Although there are many more memories from 2010, these are just some of my favorite.  Looking back over the last year just get's me excited about all of the great opportunities ahead in 2011.

The Miracle Deer of Stephens Passage

A foursome of young bucks fell upon some good luck earlier this year as they were pulled from the icy waters
and swift currents of Stephens Passage by a group of locals out to enjoy the last few days of recent sunshine. The deer were found far from shore, presumably fleeing one of the many black bears in the area.

These good Samaritans describe their experience as "one of those defining moments in life."


A group of four juvenile Sitka black-tailed deer swam right toward the boat.  

 

Once they reached the vessel, skipper Tom Satre said they began to circle the boat and looked obviously distressed.  The typically skittish and absolutely wild animals
came willingly and once pulled onto the boat, collapsed with exhaustion.They were shivering but obviously content to be out of the frigid Alaskan waters!


Four Sitka black-tailed bucks pulled from the waters of Stephens Passage recover on the back of Tom Satre's 62-foot charter vessel, the Alaska Quest.

 

The "Miracle deer" were transported to Taku Harbor and witnesses reported they all recovered from
what appeared to be exhaustion and a bit of hypothermia.  Once the group reached the dock,
the first to be pulled from the water hopped onto the dock, looked back, then leapt into the
waters of the harbor and swam to shore. He quickly disappeared into the forest. 
Two others followed suit, after a bit of prodding and assistance from the group.

One of the four Sitka black-tailed bucks pulled from the waters of Stephens Passage is seen being transported via wheelbarrow by Tom Satre after reaching
Taku Harbor.  Witnesses reported all the deer recovered fully from what appeared to be exhaustion and a bit of hypothermia.
 

 

From left: Tom, Anna and Tim Satre help one of the "button" bucks to its feet after they rescued it from Stephens Passage.

Seven Last Casts

BY JEFF LUND

I’m a seven last-casts type of guy.

I set certain conditions that hopefully will qualify as excuses to stay riverside, or contrastingly provide reasonable closure. Sometimes the criteria is demanding, last cast unless I hook one or get a bite’. Others, less optimistic, ‘okay, last cast unless I see a fish’. Either way usually works out to roughly seven casts.

Some would think the perfect end to a day on the water would be netting a fish, but that could also indicate the bite is back on, so why leave when things are heating up?

Though at times, waiting until you catch a fish can be an unbearable endeavor.

Saturday afternoon was one of those days you catch a good amount of fish but the one that sticks out is the two footer that you didn’t catch. Since you have caught plenty, there is no Ahab-ian response to that big smart fish so you can leave it be, and allow feeding your own stomach to supersede lying to fish about feeding theirs.

I was working the narrowing inlet back toward my truck when a tree branch with a tail chased my lure. I had no intention of doing anything more than cast as I walked back, but that huge rainbow made me stop. I figured, after seven casts, that if I wasn’t stupid by then, it wasn’t going to be stupid just to mix it up, plus I was tired and hungry, so I left.

I cleaned up a bit back at the room, accidentally using the scented shampoo which made my hair smell like flower bed extract – a sharp contrast to the fish slime and body odor offered by my jacket, then walked a mile to dinner.

Bothered only by the low calls of birds I peered west in the dying sunlight, past the remains of a chimney built in 1862 by a man that never expected me to be there one day reading about what he built while my phone lets me know someone sent me an email.

“Sorry” I said, just in case.

Not that he’d be offended by the vibration in my pocket more than the fact that what’s left of his ranch is now surrounded by houses that are only semi-discrete in hiding the income bracket of the owners. His place is now an after thought for most, a pillar of the past worn by generations and witness to the death of the frontier.

Much like the structure itself, maple and oak leaves clung out of sheer loyalty to the tips of twigs so small and delicate the foliage appeared to hover tortuously close to being lost.

After an afternoon of hiking up and down the steep incline of the shore at New Melones, I was void of the energy to feel much but relaxed. There did seem to be some gravity in the moment, but I decided not to get too emotional over a stack of rectangular rocks, because that’s all they are – a reminder of a past we can access only through stories, books and imagination.

They were the times of fee-less tree chopping for Christmas and before sections of the foothills were flooded by the damming of every river up and down the Sierra Nevada. I can’t pretend to know what it was like to endure the murderous intensity of winter nature before the comforts of today and nice little kastmasters that catch trout in bunches.

So rather than soak myself in the inconsequential as I chewed on roasted duck I thought about the trout I caught and what would have happened if I had stayed for one more cast.


Jeff Lund
Teacher/Freelance Writer
Manteca, CA

"Its the coming back, the return which gives meaning to the going forth. We really don't know where we've been until we've come back to where we were. Only, where we were may not be as it was, because of whom we've become. Which, after all, is why we left." – Bernard Stevens  Northern Exposure

MarDon Migration!

At Mar Don Resort the concept of an "Off Season" is unknown.

Potholes Reservoir is open year-round and even if it freezes solid, there is always something to hunt and fish for. In fact, we visited MarDon the second week of December and the "dead of winter" was anything but dead!

The walk down to the dock is a bit on the icy side but the prospect of fishing next to the "Walleye decoy" net pen is enough to warm the heart of any angler!

 

Robbo joins the netpen faithful and the walleye fishing begins! Mar Don Resort raises rainbow trout and lunker walleyes lurk around the pen waiting to inhale escapees!

 

Just how big are the rainbow fed walleyes? Check out this 13.8 pound trophy! This fish is headed for the dinner table but I would have been running for the taxidermist!

 

The next morning dawns to find us hiding in layout blinds in a snow covered wheat field awaiting flights of Canadian honkers.

 

When the doors of the Final Approach layout blinds are closed, you are nothing but a lump in the snow!

 

Doug Spady of Dougs Boats & Outdoor with a fine pair of Canadians. It looks like it will be Christmas goose at the Spady house this year!!

 

Day two of our waterfowl hunt will be a boat blind drill out of the MarDon Duck Taxi! …Talk about a dedicated mallard buster,,this boat is it!!!!

 

Robbo starts us off with a fine greenhead and the "Mallard Buster" is open for business!!!

 

The highlight of any MarDon Duck Taxi adventure is the duck kabobs! Once a few puddlers hit the deck it's time to start building the kabobs..

 

The charcoal bucket doubles as a duck blind heater but when the kabobs hit the heat… it's hard to concentrate on the ducks!

 

Levi Meseburg is a master hunter, a championship caller and one helluva duck blind chef!

 

MarDon resort is a short, scenic drive from Seattle but a world away. The pace of life in the Potholes is a refreshing change from the hectic pace of the I-5 corridor. To have a chance to hunt and fish with the professionals from Mardon who live in this sportsmans paradise is an opportunity that has to be experienced to be fully appreciated! Check out the MarDon Resort website for your shot at a Potholes adventure!

Giant Burgers on French Bread

"You couldn't get Tobeck to come?", asked Mike Meseberg of Mar Don Resort as we shivered out of our skin in our layout blinds/coffins in the midst of four dozen full-body Canada goose decoys on Wednesday.

My reply, "Nope, he's a lot smarter than we are." 

I was trying to convince myself that I'd much rather be in a warm office, which is exactly where Tobeck was, but I knew my skewed-priorities-bad-self better than that. I'd take a box of shells, half a can of mixed nuts, a 3/4 pound bag of beef jerky, some rot-gut coffee, and a frozen-stiff layout blind any day of the week. 

Day one of our recent adventure to Mar Don Resort on Washington's Pothole's Reservoir had Outdoor Line partner Tom Nelson and I doing just that, laying on the frozen ground in layout blinds scanning the sky for geese.

One our last hunt with Mar Don we absolutely obliterated the geese and this day appeared to be starting out in the same fashion. Just as legal shooting light came and went a flock of fourty to fifty honkers came cruising in from the North. Our guides for the day, Nick Anderson and Mike Meseberg, decided to let the first six geese land in the dekes (and nearly on top of us) as the rest of the flock circled, trying to make up their pea-brain minds if they wanted to sit down in our spread or not. One of the geese tried to land on my blind…insane! 

The flock circled three times within range and with live geese in the dekes we all figured the rest would throw down the landing gear and commit. Huh? They flew off and left their buddies hangin'. Nick gave us the go-ahead to "Take'em guys!" and two of the geese that jumped out of the dekes hit the snow quickly, while the other four flew off unscathed. I got one shot out of my borrowed Charles Daly 12 guage autoloader before it jammed up and for one reason or another the rest of the guys punched a bunch of holes in the sky. Shooting from layout blinds definitely takes some getting used to.

When Nelson and I drove in on Tuesday this particular field was full of geese. Today, however, they were on a different schedule entirely and they simply weren't moving at all, or at least not yet. We had a few more flocks buzz around us all morning and by 1:00 p.m. we decided to call it a day and head back to Mar Don to warm up our frozen club feet. 

At exactly 2:00 p.m. the geese, well, they started flying and as luck would have it our field was loaded with honkers by 2:30 p.m.. Levi Meseberg was on his way home from his guided duck hunt near Othello and called his dad to freshen his day up with the "good news". Goose hunting…gotta love it! 

Eastern Washington just went through a deep, deep freeze after Thanksgiving that pushed many of the ducks and geese south to Tri-Cities where it's warmer and there's more eats. We were over there for the end of the frosty conditions and encountered some tough hunting, but on our second day the air temperature hit 40 degrees and rain started to fall. Great hunting is close, very close.

As the Potholes area thaws out you can bet all those birds are going to move back north again and this weekend and next week could be, in the words of Mike Meseberg, "Some of the best waterfowl hunting folks around here have seen for a long, long time."  

The waiting game! Nick Kester stretches his legs as the rest of us hunker down in our blinds.     

Tom Nelson…now you see him… 

…Now you don't! But you can still hear him, as Tom fell into a deep slumber and began sawing logs in his blind. A large snoring mound of snow…sweet!


Nick Kester from All Star Charters busted this big honker first thing in the morning.

Check out how lifelike these decoys are. Fully-flocked full body honker dekes are impossible to beat. Nothing like the old rags we used two decades ago.

Day two found us on the other side of Potholes Reservoir in the Duck Taxi with Levi Meseberg and Mar Don guide Nick Anderson. These guys are a pleasure to spend a day with and I'd hunt with either one of them anywhere. It was also a treat to watch Levi's dog Calvin work after we downed birds. We had plenty of shooting and downed just about every species of quacker in the Pacific flyway except a pintail…and hunting was slow. By next week I'd expect full-tilt-boogy hunting again in the Potholes region.

Nelson eyeballing the Zip Loc bag full of marinated venison back strap. Like any good guide Levi was quick to improvise a thawing mechanism for the partially frozen precious meat. Lunch couldn't come soon enough!

Doug Spady from Doug's Boats and Outdoor in Woodinville, Washington enjoying a duck and venison back strap kabob lunch in the Duck Taxi. These things are to die for!

One things for sure, Nelly and I will never go hungry. Oh, yeah baby…GIANT BURGERS ON FRENCH BREAD! Nelson says, "That might be the best burger I've ever eaten." We spotted this jewel in Cle Elum on the drive home and hit the place like a pack of hungry mutts. The only thing we didn't try were the deep fried mushrooms. Next time, and there will be a next time soon. Hunt at Potholes this weekend just so you can hit this joint on the way home. Get the double deluxe on french bread and add bacon. Your heart may resent you, but you'll be a happy hunter for at least one more afternoon.  


 

I'm always shuffling activities around to make room for hunting and fishing jaunts and you can bet I'm looking at next week thinking, "Man, if I could just haul ass back over to Potholes for a couple more days." It's really never enough.

If you're heading over there be sure to look up Mar Don Resort on the shores of Potholes Reservoir. Do-it-yourselfers can stay in one of their nice cottages or park the camper or RV on the resort grounds and launch in their marina. Mar Don is one-stop-shopping for fisherman and hunters on Potholes Reservoir.    

Check out a minute long video of some of our duck hunting on Thursday and most importantly…the duck kabobs:

Duck Taxi Video

Rob Endsley
The Outdoor Line
710 ESPN Seattle
www.theoutdoorline.com

Commision Meeting Report

This past weekends Department of Fish and Wildlife Commission meetings yielded some positive results and well, some things that aren't so good. There was also some comic relief from the commercial fishing industry as one bottom dragger claimed that bottom "destroyers" are actually heroes because they "clean" the bottom of Puget Sound.  There was also some whining from the commercial crab industry  as they tried to make the case that an extra 5% or so of allocation to Puget Sound recreational crabbers is somehow wrong.  I guess they haven't looked at the economic analysis and social benefits of recreational crabbing in Puget Sound. 

One of the big topics that came up was the proposed MPA in Marine Area 4b.  Bear Holmes representing CCA spoke and opposed any closure making the point that new rules and limits that just took affect this year haven't been given a chance and that any talk of a closure should be scrapped.  Mike Jamboritz of Jambo's Sportfishing spoke as well, mentioning the economic hardship that a closure could have on an already economically depressed area.  Members from PSA, including Ron Garner, also testified and spoke about small boat access as well as touching on many other issues. In favor of the closure were the typical groups like Wild Fish Conservancy and People for Puget Sound.  Jamie Glasgow from WFC and Doug Meyers from PFPS both spoke and said that a Marine area 4b closure was not good enough and that what we need is a network of MPA's.  As I have said before, these well funded groups are not friends to recreational anglers and want to close off access for all future generations.  WE already have rockfish
protection in all of Puget Sound with a complete closure essentially creating an enormous rockfish recovery area.  There is also a study that shows that lingcod predation could stop rockfish recovery in closed areas. On-going funding for enforcement and study, the fact that any MPA would not apply to tribal harvest, the fact that we have many juvenile rockfish, cod and other species already showing signs of recovery, and the fact that we already have many reserves and protected areas that aren't being studied for effectiveness make the idea of any additional MPA's hard to swallow.  Whatever happened to seasons, size, and limits?  They are proven management tools that work.

Mandatory net marking and reporting was also a hot topic of discussion.  I have been advocating for awhile now the mandatory marking and reporting of gillnets.  Bear Holmes also commented on the mandatory marking of nets and was met with resistance from commissioner Orr who chastised both him and Ron Garner for bringing up the issue.  It seems quite a simple idea and one that would do more for rockfish recovery than any.  From the reports that I have received, Director Anderson stepped up big time and defended the idea. Director Anderson stated that marking and reporting should in fact be be in the rules and regulations but funding for removal should be funded by the legislature.  The fix would be quite easy with a simple change to RCW 77.12.870.  In section two of this RCW if states that a person who loses or abandons commercial gear is encouraged to report the location and type of gear lost.  The problem with this is that since 2003, only two nets have been reported.  According to a recent study done, an estimated 25 to 45 nets are lost each year. When you consider that one single net recovered by Northwest Straits Initiative had 162 seabirds, 14 salmon, 42 dogfish, 1,400 dungeness crab, and 1 harbor seal, it is no wonder we are at a crises stage with recovery of so many of our fisheries.  Even with all of the great work that Northwest Straits has done removing nets, I fear that if we continue to repeat the same mistakes of the past then we will have the same results of the past. Let's change the RCW to make it mandatory to mark and report lost nets and if someone is not in compliance then lets prosecute. 

The most disappointing vote by the commission was the vote on the lead ban.  I can't believe that our department supported and our commission voted in favor of the lead ban on 12 lakes in Washington.  This study was done using junk science that even the EPA rejected on a national level.  I fear that this vote was purely political and our commission was wrong for abondoning the recreational angler in this state, all to appease environmental groups.  The commission should be ashamed of themselves.  The study used  by the environmental groups showed that only 9 loons died in 13 years of lead.  When asked for toxocology reports to prove, they couldn't provide them.  An alternative study, that wasn't agenda driven, on loons was published in 2010.  This study showed that shoreline development, predation, disease, inadequate forage, trauma, global warming, and even kayaking were responsible for stress on the loon population. All that being said, the overall loon population continues to increase.

It is also disappointing that recreational anglers didn't get more involved in fighting this proposal.  Whether you fish in one of these lakes or not, this decision can and will be used as leverage by the environmentals and whackos that don't want you to fish anymore.  If they can get lead banned, then why can't they use the same arguments to get hooks, fishing line or anything else banned. These are scary times for recreational anglers.  If your one of the guys that is involved and active at some level in fighting these radical agendas then thank you.  If not, then you better wake up before it is too late.  In the year 2010 and beyond we can't just be weekend anglers, we have to be involved in the political process. Groups like PFPS, PEW, and WFC are involved, well heeled, and active.  Do you want to put your future as a recreational angler in their hands?  

 Below is a press release from ASA concerning the lead ban.

 For Immediate Release Contact:ASA, Mary Jane Williamson, 703-519-9691 x 227BASS, Mark ByrneTBF, Robert Cartlidge, 580-765-9031Cascade Musky Association, Mark WellsNSIA, Liz Hamilton, 503-631-8859 

 Washington State Fish and Wildlife Commission Imposes Lead Fishing Tackle Bans

Recreational fishing community’s efforts dismissed by adoption of unwarranted fishing tackle regulations

 Washington, D.C. – December 8, 2010 – Twelve of Washington state’s most popular fishing spots that generate much-needed income for fisheries conservation and habitat restoration through fishing license fees and tackle sales, are now subject to a new regulation that prohibits the use of lead fishing weights and jigs that measure 1.5” or less. On December 4, the Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission adopted that regulation, along with a ban on fishing flies containing lead at Long Lake in Ferry County. The commission rejected an alternate proposal submitted by five national and regional recreational fishing organizations that incorporated a comprehensive community-based, scientific study of loon and waterfowl mortality and an education program for fishing and boating enthusiasts to minimize disturbances and threats to loons and other water birds. 

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, whose income, in part, is derived from fishing license fees, argued in favor of the measure that the Commission ultimately adopted, even though their arguments were inconsistent with the Department’s own findings of healthy loon populations and increased nesting sites in the state. Freshwater fishing in Washington contributes over $1 billion annually to the state’s economy and supports over 9,500 jobs.

“Though these regulations have been imposed with the aim of conserving loon populations, the commission overlooked the much more eminent threats to the birds in Washington, such as shoreline development and disease,” said American Sportfishing Association Vice President Gordon Robertson. “Over the past 13 years, advocates of these new regulations have only been able to identify nine loon mortalities from lead fishing tackle ingestion.”

“We are disappointed that the commission did not accept the recreational fishing community’s proposal to assist with the further understanding of loons in Washington,” said Mark Byrne with the Washington Chapter of B.A.S.S. “Our proposal provided a measured and studied approach to a decision that should not have been made until adequate data was available.” 

“The decision to ban lead sinkers and jigs in these lakes will have no positive effect on the loon population in Washington,” said Gary Morris of the The Bass Federation (TBF). “A win-win decision would have been a cooperative program between anglers, boaters and the Department of Fish and Wildlife to bolster the understanding of interactions between people who enjoy time on the lake, especially anglers, and loons. We believe our proposal would have added to the body of evidence that is necessary for the commission to make an informed and balanced decision, a decision which we had hoped would be only made once the issue of lead fishing tackle and loons was better understood.”

“The issue of lead-containing fishing tackle and loons tends to be based on emotion, and not on sound scientific data,” said Robertson. “In reality, only a small number of loons die each year from ingesting a lead sinker or jig. Other mortality factors – shoreline development, pollutants such as sewage and run-off – account for the vast majority of loon and other waterfowl deaths.”  

The recreational fishing community notes that the commission’s new regulation disregards Washington Governor Gregoire’s Executive Order 10-06, which states that all government agencies, including commissions, are to “suspend rule making that is not immediately necessary.” The Executive Order was issued to help small businesses and communities during Washington’s economic recovery. This newly adopted regulation will negatively impact the state’s economy, job force and fishery conservation funds. 

Robertson said, “The arguments presented in Washington were emotionally driven and not based on scientific fact. Unfortunately, the commissioners rejected our proposal, which would have significantly advanced the knowledge base of loons and other waterfowl by bringing anglers and other outdoor enthusiasts into loon conservation projects. It’s difficult to understand why such a proposal was not considered, especially when it came from anglers, the very constituents that pay for fishery conservation in Washington.”

 “Despite the lack of data to back up the assertion, the recreational fishing community was offered up as the source of loon mortality,” said Mark Wells with the Cascade Musky Association. “Nothing is further from the truth.”

Wells further said, “The recreational fishing community offered a logical and common-sense, community-based plan that included a high degree of recreational community participation and ultimately provided for a better overall understanding of loon populations. Who better to offer help than people who spend time on the water with these birds?”  

Bogachiel River Brat Festivus

  Forks, Washington Guide
Mike Zavadlov with a chrome Bogachiel River winter steelhead

I've been watching all the coastal steelhead reports lately like a cat staring at a bird. Reports of hammer-time steelhead action were pouring in with regularity. By last weekend my tail was switching back and forth in anticipation of batting some steelhead around on the Bogachiel River, but a gully washer roared in from the Pacific on Sunday night and toasted the coastal rivers for at least a few days. The waiting would continue for this cat.

The phone finally rang on Wednesday night and it was Forks area steelhead guide Bill Myer from Anglers Guide Service (206-697-2055) with a water report. "Tomorrow's going to be purrrrrr-fect," the words rolled slowly out of Bill's mouth. Or maybe that was me slipping off into a hynotic state of steelhead narcosis. Bill mentioned that his next door neighbor, Mike Zavadlov of Mike Z's Guide Service (360-640-8109), would be joinging us for the day. Did they have a premonition or what?

I left our home in Gig Harbor at 4:30 a.m. for the three hour drive to the Dazzled-By-Twilight town of Forks. There are certain things that I will drive for three hours in the pre-dawn darkness for. This was one of them. 

When I rolled into the launch at 7:30 a.m. Bill and Mike were busy loading up Bill's Hyde driftboat with all the necessary items for the day. I was pleasently suprised to see Mike setting a couple of center pin rods into the boat. Ray Gombiski wrote a great blog on Center Pinning on the TheOutdoorLine.com a few weeks back and it would be nice to see these two ultra-experienced guides using them here on the Bogey.

Since it was their day off I opted to row for the day and it was a good chance for me to jump back in the rowers seat again. Fishing out of, and rowing, a driftboat is one of my all time favorite things to do.

I started out quickly by plucking a nice hen out of a small pocket on a jig and then lost a second fish ten minutes later driftfishing with a yarnie just above that same spot. Boy, was I off to a hot start. My bite da-dyed shortly after my second hookup and I'd be cold for at last three more hours.

Mike was in the back seat of the boat, which is considered second water and typically gets less action than the front most of the time. It wasn't long before he was putting on a clinic though, hooking fish in damn near every spot we stopped in. I'd just get the anchor set and Mike would be hard into another chromey hatchery brat.

Here's some video from one of Mike's many steelhead: 

Mike Z's Center Pin Steelhead Video

Mike finally cooled down after hooking something like seven or eight steelhead and then layed into a really nice fish. It took him 25 long minutes to wrangle the fish in on the 11'4" center pin rod and when he did we were surprised to see that it was a plump hatchery brat of around 13 pounds. Bonk!

Here's some video from Bill's big center pin steelhead: 

Bill Myer Center Pin Steelhead Video

Bill describes the yarnie setup he's using in this video:

Center Pin Fishing For Steelhead with a Yarnie

I managed to hook up with two more hatchery brats using a small piece of eggs under a float on the way down to the ramp. There's really not that much need for first water here, as at least a dozen boats had already worked over both spots where I hooked my fish.

Two more videos of my two steelhead: 

Endsley's Bogachiel River Steelhead

Bogachiel Brat-Festivus 

By the crack of noon we had landed our limit of nine steelhead and lost many more. What a blast with two of the finest gentleman you ever want to meet. All indications are that the great fishing is going to continue on the Bogachiel into early January. I'd get ahold of either Bill or Mike right away to book a trip before their calendars fill up. It's not too often that we see steelhead fishing like this and when it's as good as it is right now you'd best not wait to get in on the action. 

 
Bill and Mike with the days limit of chrome 
 
I jumped in for a quick photo with Bill Myer

San Juan Winter Chinook Opener!

The summer chinook season in Marine Area 7 closed at the end of October and with it, one of the best kept hot fishing secrets in recent memory. In other words, it was just smokin' for hatchery chinook and the locals kept it quiet! Nevermind that some of us had deer and elk on the brain as the leaves were turning, with fishing that good, hunting can wait!!!

With the Resurrection Derby scheduled for the first weekend of December, Jay Field of Dash One Charters had some serious pre-fishing to do and a open spot in the boat on opening day. He didn't have to ask twice!

As I walk down the ramp, Jay has the Dash One warmed up and ready to roll and we can't leave the slip fast enough!

 

The Reverend Captain at work in his "office" with a killer view of Rosario Strait

December's first sunrise dawns flat calm as we get a bend in the Fetha Styx at our first stop: Lopez Flats.

 

One of the most fascinating things about getting to fish in someone else's boat is getting to see how they do business. Aboard the Dash One, ship shape and organized is the mode of operation!

 

As we move farther north up Rosario, we start seeing more boats including this one: The 2010 Northwest Salmon Derby Series Grand Prize Stabicraft!

 

The bite is on at Eagle Bluff and we get the camera out just in time to see this dandy chinook coming over the rail!

 

It doesn't take Jay long to get on the board as this chunky 12 pounder hits the deck!

 

We no sooner get the gear down and the port rigger goes off again! This time it's a slab, sporting an adipose fin, so it stays in the water…

 

…..and swims away to eat another herring that doesn't have a hook in it!!!

 

Catching fish or not, the San Juans are about the most scenic, fascinating areas to fish in the state. You could spend your life here unlocking the tides, times and places and it would be a life well spent!!!

The San Juans are open well into April. Don't suffer cabin fever or swollen rivers this winter. Pull the tarp off of the boat, put on a warm coat and lets go fishing!!!