The 2012 Salmon Forecasts!!!

I know, I've got issues..I await the salmon forecast numbers like a kid waiting for Christmas morning. Hello, my name is Tom and I am a "salmon sicko".

After watching the numbers for a number of years (never mind how many…) I've found that you can "call some shots" by digging into the forecast numbers. The PFMC (Pacific Fisheries Management Council)  chinook and coho abundance estimates take some pouring through to find the real "meat" but don't worry, I've done all the leg work for you right here!
 

2012 Preseason adult Chinook Forecasts (in thousands)

Stock                                  2009                    2010                    2011_    _2012
Willapa fall                            34.8                     31.1                    36.8             45.2
Hoh fall                                  2.6                       3.3                      2.9              2.7
Nooksack/Sam                       23.0                    30.3                     37.5             44.0
Skagit summer                       23.4                    13.0                     15.9              9.6
Stillaguamish                           1.0                     1.4                      1.9               0.9
Snohomish Wild                       8.4                     9.9                      7.4               2.8
Snohomish Hatch                     4.9                     5.6                      5.1               3.9
Tulalip Bay                             4.0                     3.4                       3.5               5.9
S Puget Wild                         17.2                     12.7                     8.9               8.9
S. Puget Hatch                     93.0                      97.4                   118.6            95.8
Hood Canal Wild                      2.5                    2.4                       2.1               2.9
Hood Canal Hatch                  40.1                    42.6                    38.3              43.9
Key Stock totals                255,600            253,100               278,900       266,500


From the above numbers, We can take a guess that chinook seasons may be similar to last year. The total number of these selected stocks are down overall, most notably in the Skagit, Snohomish and south Sound. However, on the coast Willapa is up sharply and the Nooksack/Samish checks in with a strong forecast as well.
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The Silver Story!
2012 Preseason Adult Coho Forecasts (in thousands of fish)

Stock                                 2009               2010               2011__ __2012
Straits Wild                            20.5                8.5               12.3             12.3
Straits Hatch                         7.0                 7.8                12.7              18.6
Nook/Sam W                          7.0               9.6                  29.5              25.2
Nook/Sam  H                          25.5              36.0                45.7             62.8
Skagit Wild                             33.4                95.9             138.1            48.3
Skagit Hatch                           11.7                9.5               16.2            14.9
Stilly Wild                               13.4               25.9               66.5             45.5
Stilly hatch                            0.0                5.4                  0.6               4.1
Snohomish W                          67.0              99.4               180.0           109.0
Snohomish H                          53.6               24.5                8.4             8.5
S Sound W                             53.6                 25.3              98.9          43.1
S Sound H                            188.8               186.4              173.3         162.9
Hood Wild                              48.6                 33.2               77.5          73.4
Hood Hatch                           52.0              51.2                  72.1             62.6
Key stocks Total                 338,600        320,800         916,000       628,600

While down overall, we should still see a solid coho opportunity in the Sound. The drop in Skagit stocks is troubling and look at the Snohomish numbers have me thinking that 2012 will not make many anglers forget the banner coho year that was 2011.

Keep in mind that these numbers are but the "raw material" that the co-managers will use to craft our local seasons and only by attending the North of Falcon meetings can you have an impact on the process. We will keep you posted here but I sincerely look forward to meeting some of you….at the meetings!!! 

Tom Nelson
The Outdoor Line
710 ESPN Seattle
www.theoutdoorline.com

Gear Review: Swivellock Oar Locks

I ran into Ron Reed at the Washington Sportsmans Show in Puyallup back in January and he was kind enough to hand me a set of his spiffy new oar locks to try out. Ron is the maker of Swivellock Oar Locks, an innovative driftboat oar lock that pivots, swivels, and has an oar-right built right into the lock.

The oar locks have been on my driftboat in the driveway for three weeks now waiting for the opportune time to test them out and that day came yesterday on one of the Southwest Washington rivers. 

Having spent god-only-knows how many days in a driftboat it doesn't take me long to determine if something is going to work, or not. Three oar strokes into yesterdays river trip and I was immediately sold on these oar locks. 

Swivellocks fit up and over the rope wraps on the oars and when you have to pull the oars in to miss something in the river they then easily slide right back into place on the rope again.  I thought the transition between the rope and the shaft of the oar might hang up a bit, but I was wrong. The oar locks operated flawlessly. 

The pivot option makes Swivellock's absolutely dead quiet on the river. No more clunking and banging on the oar locks as you're trying to sneak into a steelhead run in low and clear water. This option also makes it easy to stand up and row, which I like to do when I'm trying to get a better view down river or I'm stretching the ol' back out.

The open top on these oar locks is perfectly spaced to allow a standard Oar Right to slide into place and keep the oars in the upright position when on anchor. Again, there's no slop between the Oar Right and the oar lock. It's a perfect fit!

The only drawback I can find with the Swivellocks is that they don't give like a brass oar lock. If you hang up an oar in some timber or in some boulders on an uber-technical river like the Sol Duc brass oar locks will expand just enough to allow the oar to come free before there's a serious problem. 

Here's a few photos of the Swivellocks to give you a better idear of what I'm talkin' bout:  

The only time I may take Ron's Swivellocks off my driftboat is if I'm fishing the Sol Duc or perhaps one of Washington's other gnarly rivers, but the rest of the time these babies are staying on my boat. They make a noticeable difference when I'm rowing the driftboat and I think he's definitely produced a winner here.

Even though Ron designed them for the driftboat crowd I think these oar locks could find their way into the yachting crowd, as well. They would sure look nice on a dingy or shore launch.

To pick up a set of Swivellocks for your driftboat you can get ahold of Ron at "ronjreed1@hotmail.com" or call him at 971-400-0828. Ron can also be found on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1577644824.

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

 

Fishing the 2012 “Iron Man” Derby!

On Presidents Day Weekend, we got to see… firsthand… why the Olympic Peninsula Salmon Derby was nicknamed “The Iron Man”.

Personally, until this year, I had never competed in this event, I simply admired the guys who worked the water for those days in February when the winds can whip the Straits of Juan de Fuca into an unholy froth. These conditions  test the mettle of derby anglers in a day. Two days? That's tough. Three days? well, now you're talkin' true "Iron Man" status.

"Tough" is a relative term and when you're talking about the accommodations we experienced in Port Townsend, "posh" is a better description!

Here's a shot of the Harborside Inn which is adjacent to the Port of Port Townsend. It's a short walk from your slip to your room at the Harborside Inn and makes Midchannel Bank a small boat accessable fishery!

The Harborside Inn served as our broadcast location last Saturday and we had a chance to visit with those angling teams up to the challenge of Small Craft Advisory winds threatening to build to Gale force. After we got off the air, I was really looking forward to getting some gear down despite the winds!

My fishing pards for the weekend were Tommy Donlin of Defiance Boats and John Hansen of the soon to open Tulalip Cabela's. Both experienced, passionate anglers with lots of derby experience!

 

It did not take Penninsula ace John Hansen long to get on the board! Here he is with our first derby entry of the weekend. Not huge, but it's always great to break the ice and get on the board!

 

The winds never really relented and with the scale closing at noon on Monday, Team Outdoor Line had some serious ground to make up. Luckily, we did find some fish in the last hours of the event. John slips the net under this blackmouth…

 

…which turned out to be our largest fish we landed for the weekend. It weighed 9.50 on the certified scale (it looked like a ten pounder to me…) Chalk up another chinook to the QCove flasher!

 

I say it was our largest fish "landed" because yours truly managed to lose a BIG FISH, right as the last minutes of the 2012 Olympic Peninsula Salmon Derby ticked away. Whatever you do, don't let Tommy Donlin near your chartplotter when you lose a fish… he has a talent for "naming" waypoints in a hurtful manner…

 

As we pulled into the Derby award ceremony the crowd was gathering to claim their prizes and grab a burger courtesy of the Derby committee!

 

After the numbers are compiled, Derby Chairman Dan Tatum addresses the crowd of nearly 500 derby competitors!

Despite marine weather advisories and challenging conditions, fishing results were good. 217 winter blackmouth chinook salmon were submitted, with an average weight of 8.44 pounds. Anglers were in competition for a tremendous prize list worth $25,089 – including a $10,000 first prize. The final prize ladder had 52 winning fish; the smallest prize-winner was 10.25 pounds, and the winners had an average prize-winning weight of 12.32 pounds. Approximately 700 derby tickets were sold for this event


The first prize of $10,000 went to John Otness of Tacoma, for a 17.60 pound chinook that looked way more like a springer than a feeder blackmouth!

 

The $5,000 second place winner was Steven Sevilla of Discovery Bay with a 15.50 pound fish. In third place, for $1,500, was David Hansen of Port Angeles with a 15.30 pound salmon. Fourth place ($500, donated by 7 Cedars Casino of Blyn) went to John Calkins of Shelton with a 15.0 pound fish. All prizes except the large cash prizes were donated by area residents and businesses. The large prizes are funded through ticket sales. Net proceeds from each annual derby support local emergency services and other important community needs, in accordance with the charter of Gardiner Salmon Derby Association, the 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation that runs this ongoing annual event.

It's great to see the fishing community coming out to support this event and we had a top notch experience in this derby! I'm looking forward to hitting this event next year…and every year!!! 

 

Tom Nelson
The Outdoor Line
710 ESPN Seattle
www.theoutdoorline.com

How to Cure Shrimp

Fishing coon shrimp for salmon and steelhead isn't a new technique. Pacific Northwest Anglers have been employing the procedure for decades. Nonetheless, in the last few years the application has seen an influx in interest, likely a reflection of modern formulas that make brining the shrimp easier and more efficient than in the past.

There have been many recipes out there, but most of them that have been written about are on a massive scale literally requiring a guy to brine a five-gallon bucket of shrimp and your everyday angler doesn't need to brine that many shrimp. The recipe I use makes it easy for the average angler, whether one at guide's level or a newbie, to add shrimp to their arsenal. Now I don't want people to think that I've discovered something incredible here, because I haven't, but I've refined some older formulas that work for me and I know they are going to work for others.

An alternative to fishing eggs, sand shrimp or store bought tiger prawns, a well-brined coon shrimp gives anglers an edge by showing the fish something different and also appeals their senses. My formula is quick, easy to follow and creates durable, colorful and well-scented shrimp.

When fishing salmon or steelhead in the Pacific Northwest, you can run bait divers with eggs on them and you end up with a bait that's pecked apart by cutthroat, whitefish and smolts or, you can fish a tiger prawn with a Spin-N-Glo and catch steelhead. For some reason, we've found that a fish responds to a coon shrimp on a diver because it looks like a shrimp naturally drifting downriver. The nice thing about a coon shrimp is you don't hit as many small fish.

Coon shrimp have gained popularly throughout  Washington, Oregon, Idaho and into British Columbia. The trend is likely here to stay.

It's become popular because it works. There's a lot of people that fish Ray's Baits, but there's also a lot of people that want to do it themselves because if everyone is using Ray's Baits there's a saturation of scent in these systems. You need to do things to your shrimp that will make them different from what everyone else is using. The brine I use can be used for any shrimp. Basically, we are trying to add color, scent and durability to the coon shrimp so that they fish well.

Unlike some shrimp species, a coon shrimp requires care and needs preparation prior to being fished. How well each angler performs these duties tends to reflect in their catch rates.

A coon shrimp is somewhat fragile, especially where the body and head are connected. Ideally, you'd like to find shrimp that are pre-cooked or flash boiled because it toughens the meat, ultimately producing a shrimp that's more durable. The process I use with Pautzke’s Nectar makes sure the bait is going to last the length of any drift when fishing them on a bait diver. The last thing you want to do is go through a drift, pull your lines and find out your bait is gone. The shrimp can have really good color and good scent, but if you put it in the water and it falls apart you are wasting your time. Color and scent don't mean anything if your bait falls apart just from dropping them down the river. Toughening them up is the key.

How To Brine Shrimp Properly

First and foremost, locating quality shrimp is imperative. Even when curing or brining them, if you start with poor quality shrimp you'll have bad results. Unfortunately, finding quality shrimp can be a chore. I recommend ordering from wholesale distributors or online. Another option is Asian fish markets, which normally sell various sizes of prawn with heads on. Most tackle shops don't sell uncured shrimp.

What To Buy: Look for head on shrimp 1.5-3 inches in length for steelhead and 3-4 inches for springers. As a parameter, in the recommended quart jar the recipe will cure roughly 60 shrimp.

Keep in mind, if you purchase one-pound of shrimp, you'll likely end up with a couple hundred shrimp. Consider 60 fitting in each quart jar, you could create five colors with Nectar and use about 300 shrimp. If you don't cure all the shrimp you purchased don't throw them away. Instead, freeze them in distilled water. I suggests not freezing them in tap water because of the chemicals/additives put in by water companies during the purification process. To freeze; place excess shrimp in a Tupperware container with a snap tight lid and pour in the distilled water, leaving enough room for expansion. Upon freezing they'll last several years.

Supplies for Brining Shrimp:
A Quart Jar
One Gallon of Distilled Water
Fine Granular White Sugar
Raw Sugar
Non-Iodized Sea Salt
Rock Salt
Pautzke Fire Power
Pautzke Nectar
Pautzke BoraX O Fire
Any Added Scents (Anise, Vanilla, Crawdad Juice, Sand Shrimp Oil)

Step 1

Mix the following contents into a one-quart glass mason jar:
1 full bottle of Pautzke Nectar (whichever color you choose)
1/4 cup BorX O Fire (match your color)
1/4 cup fine white granular sugar
1/4 cup of raw sugar
1/4 cup of non iodized sea salt
1/4 cup rock salt
1/2 to 1 teaspoon of Fire Power
Top off with distilled water

I suggest that anglers choose to use glass rather than plastic. Glass mason jars are far more effective, I believe, because with plastic you can potentially leech some of the plastic components into the brine, which can infuse a non-natural odor into the shrimp. We may not be able to detect that, but fish potentially can.

After placing the above-mentioned contents in the jar, I often add more scent.
There's already krill in the jar, yet I usually introduce one more scent into the brine.

You don't want to add three or four scents, but adding one more to the krill can be beneficial. For example, krill and anise, krill and crawdad, krill and vanilla can be good, but adding krill, crawdad and vanilla is too much. To sum it up, too much scent makes no sense.  

Tip 1:

If you want to create a bolder bait, skip the distilled water and use two bottles of Pautzke’s Nectar. This is only for your red, orange or yellow. Purple and blue are dark enough.

Tip 2:

When placing contents in the jar, add the Fire Power after the water. It dissolves more fluently this way. When adding Fire Power last, it can be tough to mix. The Fire Power floats, clumps up and can be a chore to mix.

Step 2:

Sorting Shrimp

Not all shrimp are created equal. Picking out the finest shrimp from the batch will improve their effectiveness.

Any that are in fragile state, as in the head is soft or appears hollow, or if the head is separating from the body, it does no good to cure those shrimp. They won't fish well."  "As you sort, look for firm, shrimp that are in tact.

Once you've sorted the shrimp in piles of 50 or 60, they are ready to be placed in the brine. Prior to adding the shrimp, use a long spoon and mix the contents well. Then, add up to 60 shrimp into the jar. Put the lid on. Seal it.

Step 3

Gently tumble jar, lightly shaking it to get all the contents off the bottom. Practice this for five minutes or less, simply to ensure proper mixing.

Tip 3: Once shrimp are placed in the brine, don't use a long spoon to try to mix contents further. Doing so has the potential to crush, damage and break them.

Step 4

Storage

For the first several weeks, store the jars on their side, rather than standing tall. Store it in a refrigerator on it's side, not at room temperature. These do better cold.

This is where you take ownership in it to ensure you are making a good product. A couple times a day, for the first two weeks, you have to pull your jar of shrimp out of your bait fridge, rotating it end to end and side to side to aid your brine in its' mixing process, ensuring that all the shrimp are being cured together.  

There's reasons why I have different sizes of the granular product in the brine. The fine granular sugar and sea salt begin to break down early because of their size. They break down easier and are absorbed into the shrimp early on, initiating their curing process. The larger granular raw sugar and rock salt take more time to dissolve, or break down, thus sustaining the ability of the cure over time. As the salts and sugars break down and mix your brine it becomes thicker, almost like, but not as thick as a syrup. Seeing this is a good indicator that the brine is working.

Tip 4: One good indicator is after two to three weeks the shrimp will take on the color of the Nectar you used in your brine.

Step 5

Patience

This isn't a do-and-use process. A perfect shrimp isn't made overnight. Maturing can take several weeks. After two to three weeks they are ready to fish.

Fine shrimp takes time. This is like making wine. The longer it sits in the jar the better it works. The salts and sugars need time to break down and be absorbed by the meat of the shrimp.

Tip 5: When the shrimp have turned the color you choose based on the color of Nectar you used, they are ready to fish.

Tip 6: Alter for springers: The above specified brine is designed for steelhead. If you opt to cure shrimp for springers, remove 1/4 cup of sugar from the recipe and add 1/4 cup of salt. You can also add one teaspoon of sodium sulfite.



 

Whether you are in pursuit of Salmon or Steelhead, with just a few modifications to this recipe you can create one of the best bates around. Design it specific to the species of fish you are targeting and you will enjoy the results.

Good Fishing….

Duane Inglin
The Outdoor Line
710 ESPN Seattle
www.theoutdoorline.com

It’s Oyster:30 in G-Town!

It didn't take long to polish off 6 dozen oysters at my good buddy Geoff's going away party last night here in Gig Harbor. Geoff just got called up for 400 days of active duty in Afghanistan and what better way to send him off than with a bunch of fresh Hood Canal oysters cooked up Endsley-style on the barbecue. Oh, and a little 15 year Glenlevit scotch didn't hurt either!

My aunt and uncle have a waterfront cabin on the Hood Canal with a beach that is literally polluted with oysters. When the tide goes out the filter feeders are 18 inches think and it's nothing to pluck a couple of 5 gallon bucket-fulls for a feast. And before you accuse me of poaching oysters it's perfectly legal to take them shell-and-all from a private beach. On public beaches, however, you must shuck your limit of 18 oysters and leaves the shells on the beach to reseed the area. Not to worry, these shells will also end up back on the Endsley oyster beach where they belong.

I rustled up all the ingredients for a killer batch'a barbecued oysters before heading off to Smyth's house last night. I posted the Endsley family oyster recipe here on my Outdoor Line blog a couple of years ago and it's to die for. If you're looking for a new way to barbecue oysters…this is da bomb!  

Geoff got first dibs on the tastey oysters as soon as batch numero uno was finished. Uncle Pete called to tell Geoff thanks for his service to our country as we were gorging our bad selves on his oysters. That goes for all of us Geoff…thanks man!

These oysters usually don't make it off the barbecue. Just grab a fork and put the hammer down! If you cue up a bunch'o oysters on your barbecue make a big aluminum tray like you see in the photo below to cook them on, as the oysters juice will destroy the barbecue in a short amount of time. Oyster juice is 14,000 times more salty then reg'lur old saltwater, or so it seems.  

Montana transplant Justin and his girlfriend Bob diggin' in. Halfway thru the feast I ran out of Tillamook butter and we switched over to olive oil, which is ten times more healthy and just as tastey.

A couple of rounds of oysters actually made it past all of us vultures and into the house where the other party-goers could enjoy them.  

This is the absolute best time of year to eat oysters from the Hood Canal, as they are firm, cold, and clean during the winter months. With this recipe in your cooking quiver you can grab a cheapo portable barbecue and some local micro brews and impress your friends or family with one heckuva cookout at one of the public beaches on the Hood Canal.

And to my friend Geoff who is heading to the middle east as we speak…godspeed my friend! We'll have some oysters waiting for you when you get home safe and sound.

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

One Day in February

It's no secret that I get the steelhead bug bad, real bad in February. This is the time of year when those big bruiser wild steelhead enter the rivers in Washington and for some reason I absolutely geek out when that happens.

It could be that they have a reputation as being the hardest fighting fish in North America, or maybe I'm just a geek. Probably the latter. Whatever the reason…I geek in the spring for wild steelhead. I guided for 15 years on the Skagit river system, known for it's run of brawny wild steelhead, and no matter how big or small the run forecast was for the Skagit system folks knew where to find me every spring. Right there where I wanted to be…geeking out on wild steelhead!

So, when my buddy Darin called on February 1st to invite me for a day of steelheading with guide Bret Ferris of Ferris Northwest Guide Service on one of the Southwest Washington rivers, well, I geeked.

There was only one problem though. My wife was a week overdue with our baby girl and she was headed for a much-needed ultrasound the next day. 

And now for one of the many reasons why I married this Alaskan woman. When I axed her about fishing the next day she completely, wholeheartedly thought I should get out on the river with the guys. She had her mom in town and going to the doctor without me for what would probably be her last ultrasound didn't even turn up on her feminine radar, if she possesses such a thing. I didn't hesitate to whisk the hall pass from her hand and 7:00 a.m. the next morning I was racing up a river with Greg Ashton from Contour cameras, Darin Koob from Outer Escape, and guide Bret Ferris. 

It was the first nice day we had seen in over a week, the river was on the drop and greening up nicely, and the sun was just starting to glimmer over the trees to the east. The perfect conditions for a day of terminal schwackocity! 

As we cruised up river I got to chat with Greg about Contour cameras, their features, and some of the different mounts you could get for these awesome point-of-view video cameras. Contour is one of the fastest growing companies in America right now because their cameras kick ass.  

Sho'nuf…we get to our first stop and Greg hooks up within ten seconds of his bait hitting the water. The dime bright chromey hatchery steelhead raced all over the river before succombing to Bret's Folbe net, destined for Ashton's smoker. 

A short while later I slapped the hook into another dimer of about 8 pounds, but this time it was a wild steelhead and we quickly kicked it back to spawn and produce even more steelhead for my daughter to catch. Greg happened to have his Contour camera rolling for the hookset and the fight on this particular steelie and you can check it our HERE on the Contour website. I'm looking forward to strapping a couple of these puppies onto my Alaskan charter boat this summer for some truly epic Alaskan fishing, wildlife, and scenery footage. 

Another innovative product that's hit the scene here in the Pacific Northwest is the KAST Steelheader's glove. I've brought these gloves along on multiple trips this winter and they've never let me down. They are fully waterproof, they have a thin but warm and fuzzy liner, a rubber palm area that's great for tailing fish, and a totally awesome soft nose wipe zone on the index fingers for those frigid days when your schnauz just won't quit running. These gloves pass the Robbo test with flying colors!

After a solid morning of steelheading Ferris pulled us into a back channel to take a break and grab some lunch. I quickly passed out some Punch cigars and made a pre-emptive strike by lighting up my own cigar rather quickly. A few puffs into this tastey lunch stogey my cell phone rings and it's my wife, "Honey, the doctor says we have to go to the hospital today. Don't worry…it's not until 9:00 p.m. tonight and you can finish your day of fishing. I really think it's important you fish all day with the guys." Reason #2 why I married this woman. She knows how important fishing is to me and after all, it's my job! 

Ten minutes later my Droid buzzes with a new text from my wife and it reads:

I'm so excited honey. We're going to be great parents and our daughter is
going to be beautiful. What an amazing day! Please don't rush home
though. You need to finish up your day on the river. 9:00 will come soon enough and I'm doing great. I love you!

Unless this was a trick of some sort I understood that I should keep fishing, or at least I'm pretty sure that's what she wanted me to do. You never know with these sort of things and after all I am a big dumb animal. I read the text to the guys and we did just that…we went back to fishing! 

Before long 4:00 p.m. came and we were at the launch cleaning the hatchery brats that we had kept after an amazing day of fishing. If you're looking for a great guide on any of the Southwest Washington rivers I wouldn't hesitate to give Bret Ferris a call. He's an all around good guy, he's funny, and he catches fish.

I raced home, washed off as much of the cured egg goo and cigar smoke as I could, and off we raced for the hospital.

On Saturday morning at 11:50 a.m. my wonderful wife brought little Ava Marie Endsley into the world and our lives would change forever for the better. She weighed 7 pounds, 3 ounces and was as cute as a bug. 

One of the great nurses at Harrison Hospital in Silverdale set us up with an incredible bassinet called the Momma Roo, which seemed to be about the only thing that would keep little Ava from fussing. That's the 6 foot long couch I parked my 6'6" frame on for four nights in the hospital. Very, very worth it I would say! 

I quickly poured thru the motion menu on the electric kiddo buggy until I found the "Ocean Wave" setting. Might as well begin the brainwashing in the first 24 hours. Wouldn't want her getting seasick on daddy's boat or anything.

My wife Nicole and I with Ava Marie before leaving Harrison to head back to the Endsley chateau. We were cleared for take off and excited to head home to start our family. The staff at Harrison were second to none!

It's been a great couple of weeks since this momentous day and guess what? I geeked out yesterday and went steelheading again with Darin Koob and Bret Ferris and we found some more chrome steelhead to make our reels scream. Baby Endsley is doing great and I'm looking forward to introducing her to steelhead fishing when she's of the age. I've got some Contour cameras on order for the spring and summer fishing seasons too, but don't worry I won't wear one for any diaper changings. Lets just keep this to steelhead fishing shall we. Life is good!

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

Of Phones and Facebook

BY JEFF LUND.

To understand fully the quandary I faced Saturday, I’ll have to volunteer that the first time I remember my cell phone ringing while fishing was in 2007. I was trout fishing on the Klawock River back home, where reception is spotty at best. But the call made it through and lit up my pocket. Though I was fishing and I risked setting a precedent, I answered. After all, it was my mom and it was about dinner.

From this has stemmed a habit I am not particularly proud of, but not especially worried about. I send river-side text messages of fish to friends that aren’t fishing. It’s cruel, yes, but it’s reciprocated and accepted among my angling friends.

Saturday afternoon the phone wasn’t already out to take a picture of a trout and the ring wasn’t from mom, but I answered anyway. The business was a solid seven out of 10 on the urgency scale. It could have waited I guess, but the fish weren’t biting.

I kept fishing.

With one hand I drifted my nymph in the current then tossed it back up river with sedate enthusiasm now that I was distracted by speaking into my hand.

A fish took.

I had too much slack in my line, so I lifted the rod and arched backward nearly dropping my phone. The fish jumped and I stumbled, nearly dropping my rod. “Man I have to go. It’s a huge fish.”

I was pressing the fly-line to the rod with my finger to keep tension, but with an active fish early in the fight unforgiving tension is an ultimatum. I ended the call, knelt down and put my phone on the rock behind me, then reeled up the slack, backed off the fish a bit and started playing.

The trout wasn’t as big as I initially thought. I released it then went to work on the vicious knot created by the slack between the first nymph and the trailing midge.

Once all that was done, I finished the conversation.

To assume that all lovers of wild things are immune to the temptations of the sometimes sickening availability of technological advancement is absurd.

Though the cry of solitude is what is most commonly cited as the reason for getting out, technology has infiltrated the experience but hasn’t ruined it. Guide buddies of mine send updates from the water. Location is always a secret, but for potential clients watching from home, it whets the appetite and greases the credit card. Others utilize mobile social media just because it’s there.

Since I had no real reason to answer civilization and I did, I wondered, what had I become?

I decided to enlist professional, fail-proof help — Facebook.

Facebook is great because it reduces everything; faith, politics, philosophy and culture into manageable cartoons so you don’t have to actually read or understand anything anymore. You can make voting, spiritual and relational decisions based on how many other people “shared” and “liked” things and keep the brain free of pesky things like critical thinking.

So I decided to post the abstract of my phone answering/fishing ordeal and let others tell me what I should think.

Some were almost offended, as if I was the type of guy that would eat a tuna fish sandwich, drink a pot of coffee then take a nap before going to the dentist. Others friendly chided.

I’m still not clear on the issue, and I will probably still bury my phone and wallet in my gear rather than lock it in my truck, but one thing is certain, it would take a lot more than a phone to ruin a day on the water.


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

Forecasting the salmon forecasts!

Football nuts have their NFL Combine and Draft, while us “salmon sickos” have the salmon run projections and the season setting process.

If you’re a football fan fisherman…you’ve got a whole lot of “pre-seasoning” to do.

So, in an effort to apply some “salmonid salve” to your off-season itch lets take a peek at the process of forecasting the runs and setting the salmon seasons that we all look forward to. 
C’mon in, take a seat and welcome to Aquatic Resource Management 101! 

Robbie Tobeck with a great reason to pay close attention to the salmon season setting process!

 

Before salmon seasons can be set, we must know approximately how many salmon are returning to each management area.

This is where the inexact science of run modeling comes into play. Each stock and species of salmon requires its own unique algebraic equation or “run model”. The variables that are plugged in to the run model include but are not limited to: parent stock abundance, numbers of fish in catches, natural spawner escapement, hatchery production, coded wire tag recovery data and carcass recovery numbers counted by biologists who walk or fly over spawning areas.

For additional insight, check out the Pacific Marine Fisheries Council website. or, my Alma Mater, the University of Washington’s School of Fisheries.
Feeding conditions on the vast oceanic pastures have a direct bearing on the numbers and health of the highly migratory salmon. Recently, these conditions are beginning to creep in to the salmon run assessment process. NOAA’s Northwest Fisheries Science Center  (this past season's La Nina notwithstanding) has the handle on the tremendously positive changes in the north Pacific.

Nelly and longtime fishin' buddy Clay Griffith with a fine example of a "north Pacific" chinook

In Washington State there are two managers or “Co-managers”: the State and the Treaty Tribes of Washington. The State and tribes both have biologists that must agree on the forecast numbers before negotiations can begin on how to slice the “salmon pie”. In other words, once the forecast is accepted by both parties, allocating the amount of salmon available to each of the user groups is the next step. By name the three user groups are: Sport Fishermen, Tribal commercial and non-Tribal commercial fishermen, and the process is called the North of Falcon (NOF) season setting process.

The term “North of Falcon” is a reference to Cape Falcon on the Oregon coast. Cape Falcon roughly bisects the state of Oregon and salmon management south of this landmark is yes, you guessed it, known as South of Falcon.

This year NOF begins February 28 with a presentation of 2012 Salmon Forecasts and Fishing Opportunities from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. in the General Administration Building Auditorium, 11th Ave. & Columbia Street on the Capitol Campus in Olympia, Washington. Those attending the meeting will have an opportunity to talk to fishery managers about the pre-season forecasts and participate in work sessions focusing on key salmon-management issues in the region.

Final adoption of the 2012 salmon fisheries is scheduled for April 1-6 at the PFMC meeting in Seattle. Here's the complete WDFW news release 

My favorite NOF line: "If you’re not at the table, you’re on the table!" While it’s been said that the truest words are uttered in jest, nothing could be closer to the truth. Only by attending these meetings can you have an influence on the process.

NOF can be frustrating but it’s a great education in fisheries management and a wonderful way to get involved. And who knows: possibly, just possibly you could end up with a few more days to fish in your neck of the woods!

Tom Nelson
The Outdoor Line
710 ESPN Seattle
www.theoutdoorline.com