Northwest Outdoor Report

300,000 Anglers Expected for Trout Opener
If you’ve noticed a few more boats scurrying around Western Washington early this morning it’s because today is the lowland lake opener in Washington. With over 300,000 anglers hitting the water today it’s the single largest opener in Washington. WDFW responded to requests to plant bigger fish this year by increasing the size of the stocked trout from around 8 to 9 inches to 11 to 12 inches. They planted approximately 2.4 million of these bigger, thicker, and chunkier trout for the opener. In addition, they also planted 110,000 jumbo rainbows averaging between 13 and 16 inches and another 52,000 triploid trout averaging around one and a half pounds. Temperatures are expected to reach around 60 degrees over the weekend and outside of a few afternoon showers the forecast is excellent for the biggest fishing opener of the year.

Martinis’s Top Lake Picks on the North End
John Martinis at John’s Sporting Goods in Everett likes Lake Kye in Snohomish County, Martha Lake near Alderwood, and both Heart and Erie Lakes near Anacortes for the trout opener. Martinis says the state plants a lot of fish in all of those lakes and they produce excellent fishing every year. His go-to setup for catching a limit of stocker trout is orange Berkley Power Eggs fished on a long 3 to 6 feet leader of 4 pound test monofilament. He says the extra long leader allows the bait to float up off the bottom above the weeds where the trout are cruising.

Pollock’s Top Lake Picks on the South End
Tom Pollock at Sportco in Fife says his top pick in the Tacoma area would be Lake Spanaway which recently received a plant of over 18,000 trout. He also likes Mineral Lake, Wilderness Lake, and Bay Lake on the Key Peninsula for great opening weekend fishing. Bay Lake recently received a plant of over 7,500 rainbows in preparation for the opener.  Pollock says the fish are usually in the top three to five feet of the water column and he’ll target those shallow fish by trolling Wedding Ring spinners, Dick Nite spoons, or small Flatfish. Pollock says another fun way to catch opening day trout is to fish a small piece of cocktail shrimp on a #6 hook below a bobber. He calls it a “delicacy” for these stocked trout and says the holdover trout will also hit this bait, as well.

Dam Counts Reach 1,000 Springers  on the Columbia This Week
1,000 springers passed over Bonneville Dam on Tuesday of this past week. It’s the first time over 1,000 spring Chinook have passed over the dam all season and it seemed to encourage more springers to charge upriver. 2227 passed over the dam on Wednesday and 2541 went over Bonneville on Thursday. Reports from Drano Lake and the Wind River upstream of Bonneville are that a few springers are being caught already. These areas typically fish best for spring Chinook during the month of May. We’ll have more reports from both of these areas in the coming weeks.

Saltwater Openers up Next
Saltwater anglers are eagerly awaiting the May 1st ling cod opener in the Puget Sound. The ling opener is followed by the spot prawn opener on May 4th and a slew of areas open up for halibut the first week of May also. Recreational shrimpers will see a 70% increase in shrimp quota this year which means anywhere from an extra day or two of shrimping in some areas to an extra month of shrimping in the San Juan Islands. Anglers are urged to visit the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife website for a full run down of the upcoming ling cod, shrimp, and halibut seasons.

Fly Fishing Fair in Ellensburg
Don’t miss the 7th Annual Fly Fishing Fair at the Ellensburg Fairgrounds on May 3rd and 4th. Over 100 fly tiers will be on hand to share their fly tying skills and there will be numerous fly casting instructors at the fair all weekend to teach both beginning and expert fly casting techniques. The Fair boasts 18 flyfishing workshops over two days featuring names like Jack Mitchell from the Evening Hatch Guide Service, Steve Worley from Worley Bugger Flies, and Jim Teeny of Teeny Fly Lines.  For more information about the Fly Fishing Fair log onto Washingtoncouncilfff.org.

Yosemite Ranks Highest for Drug Busts
Associated Press – California’s Yosemite National Park lead the way in drug busts amongst all the national parks for the last three years. Park Rangers at Yosemite arrested 2,393 people for illegal drugs over the last three years compared to just 500 at Yellowstone and 365 at Grand Canyon National Park. One park visitor said they see a lot more happy faces at Yosemite than they do at Disneyland. The drug problem has been a boone to local mini-marts, however, who can’t seem to keep Dorito’s and frozen pizza’s in stock.

Rob Endsley
The Outdoor Line
710 ESPN Seattle
Washington Fishing Forums and Reports

Fly Fishing Bears

By Dennis Dickson

Fly fishing BC steelhead rivers is so magical. Sure, we have had our rain outs, wash-outs, busted boats, and broken vehicles. Somehow, these memories all jumble up in a warm and fuzzy place, and I can enjoy them time and time again. As I get older, I find myself pulling out these drawers of memories, for a taste of the good old days.

It would be easy if not tempting, to reduce these fishing stories to, “how many, how big” but that would simply never reveal the whole experience. In the many years of being out in a marvelous land, would you like to know what I most often reflect back on? The people. It simply wouldn’t have been the intriguing experience without the people, and for that, I am forever grateful.

I remember an invitation I accepted to fly fish the fabled waters of the North. Mick was heading North every year now. Frank was going up, too. I became  fishing buddies with both and subsequently jumped at the invitation.

It was there I met Plutonius. His  name was actually Pluto, but Frank dubbed him Plutonius, and somehow the name had stuck.
Plutonius was an artist by trade, and a full blown philanthropist at heart. His life was reduced to generating just enough money painting to spend the remainder of the year fly fishing for steelhead. A true fly fishing bum. A badge which he wore proudly.

Pluto wasn’t what you might call a great fisherman. Mick could cast farther, and Frank consistently brought more steelhead to hand, but Pluto loved his sport and loved the one Bulkley River pool he was successful in. We dubbed this drift the Maple Tree pool and it consistently held steelhead for Pluto each fall.

Instinctively, the other boys in camp seemed to know this. The rest of us fly fishers might jockey with each other to get first water on pools like “Blow Down,” or “Easy Money”, but nobody fished through “Maple Tree.” That was Pluto’s.

Maple Tree was an interesting piece of water. It was actually made up of two pools. Upper Maple had a good head, where the water would enter the pool strong enough that migrating steelhead would often hold before negotiating up through the rapids. The river currents spread beautifully, then scurried into a deep hole that was tucked in delicately close to the river bank.

A wading angler was left with no choice at the deep water but to leave the river and hike around to the downstream side of an ancient maple tree before he could wade back into the stream to fish the lower run. Hence, the Maple Tree pool. On a good day, Pluto could catch steelhead in both the upper and lower pools.

For all his many days in the wilderness, Pluto had his phobia: bears. For some reason, Pluto was deathly afraid of bears.
He bought and carried a magnum .45 pistol. Every day that he was out on the water, this gun came with him. I shudder to think what would have happened if he had ever had to use it. I almost witnessed it once.

Mick and Frank would often engage in drinking games at the end of a long day of fly fishing steelhead. These guys could get pretty soused on occasion before stumbling off to bed, of which I didn’t particularly mind. These both were expert anglers in my opinion, and a hard night of drinking meant a late morning to the water. I never drink so if I happened to fish down the river first, I naturally swam more fish. Pragmatic really. I liked it when they drank.

So this one night Mick and Frank got to drinking and playing. They came up with an idea! They should pretend they have a bear in camp! Now Frank was a big guy and stronger than a bull. Pluto was camped out in the back of his little Ford Courier pickup. Drunken Frank staggered over to Pluto’s truck and leaned his shoulder into it’s canopy.

Drunker than drunk, Frank starts rocking Pluto’s truck back and forth, while growling the most unearthly guttural bear sounds. Awakened by the noise, Pluto launches out of his bed, still in his skivvies, (not a pretty sight) and onto the cold hard ground. It took tipsy Frank all of a New York second to realize ……Pluto is not alone! He has his gun out and, though still half asleep, waving it around, ready to kill anything that moved! Right now that anything was Frank.

Do you know how long it takes to go from sloppy drunk to stone cold sober? I had no idea the human metabolic processes could move so quickly, but one look at that long barrel .45, and Frank fairly dove out into the pitch black Canadian wilderness, with un-clad, gun-waving Pluto in hot pursuit.

All we could hear was, “Don’t shoot, don’t shoot! It’s me, Plutonius! It’s me!” Somewhere before dawn, Frank wandered back into camp, and, Pluto went back to bed. Eventually Mick and I stopped laughing, but that might have taken a couple days.

Somewhere in all of this, Frank came up with the idea that the whole thing must have been Pluto’s fault. He must be taught a lesson.
A couple of days later, Mick, Frank, and I spent the day fishing together. I so much enjoyed our time. Somewhere in the course of the day, the subject of Pluto and bears came up.

Now we all knew that in the daily report of who caught what, Plutonius would always innocuously ask, “So, did anybody see any bears?”  Today we thought we would be ready.

The day on the river finished up in fine fashion. I think Mick swam the most steelhead (which was very common), Frank caught the largest, and I had a good time with my friends.

Plutonius always joined in the fishing report ritual, and sure enough he piped in, “So’d, anybody see a bear today?”
Frank in his most straight-faced way answered, ”Yeah, actually Mick ran into one.”

Mick just nodded.

Although we just went on in the conversation as if nothing had happened, Pluto’s mind was smoking.

“So tell me about the bear,” he asked simply.

Mick turned to him and said, “Wow, I am not sure if you are going to believe this but you know how we saw those bear prints down at Home Run Pool the other day?”

Everyone in camp knew Pluto wouldn’t fish any pool that had had any bear activity. It’s just the way it was.

“Yeah…” Pluto hesitates.

“Well this time I stopped in to fish it, and there on the shore was a great big pile of bear pucky and it was like this!” (He is holding his hands out the size of an elephant swat). Frank and I almost lose it right there.

Pluto eyes get big and he says, “NO WAY!”
Heck, he is hooked into this story, already.

“Yup,” Mick continues, “ and guess what? It was still steaming!”

“NO WAY!” Pluto exclaims.

Now Mick is really getting into this. He leans forward as he lies.
He says emphatically, “TOTALLY WAY.”

Plutonius urges, “So what did you do?”

“I did what I came to do,” Mick answered, “I got out and fished.”

“So then what happened?” begged Plutonius.

“At first, I am thinking nothing, and then I hear something in the brush behind me!” Mick says.

“NO WAY!” Pluto yelled. You didn’t stay!”

I swear I thought this poor man was going to have a heart attack right there in camp!

Mick continues, “Absolutely. I see this really big steelhead just roll, right out in front of me. I mean, how could I pass that up? Right?”

“So what did you do?” Pluto kind of whimpered.

“I did what I always do,” Mick stated matter-of-factly, “I went back to fishing, until…..”

“I thought I hung up my fly on the brush in my backcast.” He continued.  “I turn to look, and I hear a huge ‘Woof!’” “Suddenly my fly line is peeling off my reel! Next thing I know, all my fly line, all my backing, is gone….!” Mick leaned back, sucking on his teeth.

“So did you get back in your boat?” Plutonius asks weakly. He is about spent just listening to this tale.

“Heck no. That’s an expensive fly line!” Mick proclaims.  “I went back into that brush to find my fly line, by darn!”

I interrupted, “Did you find it?”  Okay, even I was getting into the fabrication by this time, but it was a great story!

Mick turns from Pluto to me, and says “Yes. I did!  But guess what?”

Everyone in the group says, “What!?”

Mark leans closer to his audience and says really quietly, “When I bent over to pick up the line… it moved.”

Pluto all but screams, “NO WAY!”

Mick can’t hold it anymore, he busts up laughing! Pretty soon everyone is howling with laughter…..everyone but Plutonius. He is still wondering how much of the story is true. We all head off to bed.

Now Pluto was never known as an early riser, partly because he knew that nobody was going to fish Maple Tree before he got there. I really don’t think Pluto’s  gun slinging had anything to do with it, but I may be wrong.

Anyway, so next morning Frank heads his little pontoon raft off down the river like it is just another Bulkley River fishing day. What Plutonius doesn’t realize is that Frank is headed straight for the Maple Tree pool.

Knowing he is at least ten minutes ahead of Pluto, Frank rows his little boat into the shore at the lower end of the pool, pulls in, and stows his little boat and gear in the brush. He hides behind the Maple Tree. It isn’t long before he can see Pluto rowing his own little craft downstream. Pluto is headed directly for Maple Tree.

When you fish a piece of water, day after day, you kind of get it down to a routine. Pluto’s ritual was to park his craft at the head of the pool, wade and fish his way downstream, wade out and around the maple tree, then wade back into the river and fish through to the lower end of the pool. He wouldn’t hike back up to his boat until he finished. He went through this same drill, day after day.

The wading here could get a little deep, especially as one neared the water adjacent to the maple tree, so this was the one and only pool Pluto would unbuckle his gun and holster and leave them on the seat of his raft.

After fishing his way down through the upper run, Pluto did what he always did. He hiked out around the big tree and back into the water. Unbeknownst to him, he had walked within ten feet of the hiding Frank, lurking in the bushes.

Plutonius was still cursing his fishing luck. Although he had had a good grab in the upper pool, the steelhead hadn’t stuck. He recalled that he was contemplating fishing through the pool again.

As the events unfolded, Plutonius began reeling in, and walking back up along the shoreline as he finished the pool. He was about to enter back into the woods near the tree on his way to his raft.

Within his hiding place, Frank held a tree branch in his hands. He waited until Pluto got close. Frank broke it with a loud “snap!” Plutonius, not 20 feet away, froze in his tracks. He looked around. Instinctively, he reached for his gun. It was not there! He realized it was still lying on the seat of his raft…

Plutonius took a tentative step forward. Frank let out a low growl. Pluto had to get to his gun! Safety was only and all about getting back to the raft and his gun! He stepped forward again.

The woods rang louder, “Grrrowl”. Pluto simply could not go back through the woods, and the water here was too deep to wade. Poor Plutonius had another secret that only he and he alone knew…. he couldn’t swim.

Plutonius never made a big deal of this. Ever since Cabela’sTM came out with their water activated SOS CO2 Inflatable Life Jacket, he felt he could take on his worse-than-bear fear – – water!  As rivers may be the epitome of water, with his Cabela vest on, he felt he had conquered life in it’s most rudimentary form; rivers actually made him feel alive.

So how did life take such a cruel twist of fate? Bears and water at the same time?!  Plutonius looked around checking his options. He began cursing his late start. As all the other anglers from camp were already fishing downstream, there was simply no one left to rescue him in his predicament. Plutonius took a small feeble step towards the sound in the woods. Frank immediately let out his loudest growl, and rattled the brush, to boot.

Pluto later confessed he was ready to wet himself. Was he to die from drowning, or simply become B.C. bear fodder?  Which would be the least painful? With the despair of complete hopelessness, he waded back into the river.

Frank later confessed he didn’t actually make Plutonius swim. Starting with a snicker, he exploded into laughter so hard he couldn’t stand it.

It took Pluto a moment to realize what had just happened. To be honest, his first thought was his good friend Frank had somehow magically appeared, scaring away the monster bear in the process. He was saved!

When he realized he was nothing more than the butt of a most sadistically practical joke, Pluto became incensed.

“You are really sick,” he muttered.  Casting his eyes in the distance, he headed towards his boat.

Frank caught up with me while I was fishing the home run pool later that afternoon. He told me everything. We ran into some fish that kept us busy until evening. Neither noticed that Pluto had floated on down to the take-out. As we arrived at the boat launch, Pluto’s little truck was gone. He had left.

“Jeez,” Frank said, What happens if Pluto takes the prank poorly?” “A guys B.C. experience is kind of a sacred thing.

We shouldn’t have worried.

As we rolled into camp there was quite a gathering of anglers huddled around Plutonius. As we neared the group we could hear him say, “Yup, it was all I could do to make it back to my raft and gun, before that bear was all over me!” Frank and I decided, all is well. Pluto is just fine.

Such is life in the Canadian wilderness.

Dennis Dickson
Dickson’s Flyfishing
www.flyfishsteelhead.com

Try Micro Hots Shots for Opening Day Trout

As we quickly approach the lowland lake opener here in Washington I’m reminded of how much fun I’ve had over the years trolling for rainbows with small plugs. In case you’re not sure when the opener is…it’s this Saturday.

The second I lift the lid on my old trout box every year a lifetime of trout fishing memories flashes across the ol’ mental movie player. There’s stuff in this box that dates clear back to the mid-70’s when I was just a pup.

In one small compartment is a pile of small spoons, another contains a bunch of Mepp’s spinners, there’s a box of trout flies I tied in the 4th grade, some old red and white bobbers, and in yet another compartment is a little pile of Hot Shot plugs. Some are new and some are old.

The memories of hooking opening day trout on these small plugs are some of my most vivid because the strikes were vicious and the trout would jump for the sky the second they were hooked.

Dad would run the 15 horsepower Evinrude that vomited noxious exhaust fumes and my brother and I would sit at attention in our huge orange life jackets waiting for a strike. We had a twelve foot Smokercraft, which seemed plenty big at the time. Mom would be there too, stuffing food in our faces and keeping us warm.

I didn’t talk much. I would stare at my rod intently as dad meandered around the lake looking for a concentration of trout. When a trout would pound one of the plugs I still remember that moment of pandemonium when the rod would slam down and a chunky rainbow would launch itself into the sky trying to shake the hook.

It worked out best when they did spit the hook so we could fish a little longer. Regardless, I would get a big charge out of how hard a trout would slam these little plugs.

When I think back to the trout openers of my youth those are the first memories that come to the forefront, of trout smashing small plugs.

Trout-sized Hot Shots come in size 50, 60, and 70. If you choose just one size, however, I’d go with a size 60. They’ll dive a few feet down and if you need to go deeper simply add some split shot up the line three or four feet.

All of the colors above work great, but it seems like I always drift towards the froggy pattern and the flame orange Hot Shot. That’s what we used when we were kids and they still spank the trout to this day.

If you’re running an electric trolling motor you can let the plugs out around 30 feet and still get strikes. When using a gas-powered engine I recommend letting them out at least 50 feet or more. Be sure to troll slowly and when you get a few strikes in a certain area of the lake be sure to whip back around and make a few laps thru that area. Chances are there are more willing biters in the area.

A friend down near Portland, Oregon suggested running these small Hot Shot’s behind a Ford Fender. He catches some huge trout on some of the larger lakes in Oregon on this rig and says they absolutely paste the plugs when they hit them. That’s something I’ve got to try!

My wife and I will be taking our one year old daughter out on the boat this Sunday for her first trout fishing experience and I plan on trolling plugs. I’m pretty sure she won’t remember it when she’s older. We’ll remember it though and that’s what counts!

Rob Endsley
The Outdoor Line
710 ESPN Seattle

Northwest Outdoor Report

Sea Run Cutties Smashing Chum Fry on South Sound Beaches
Anil Sravastava at Puget Sound Fly Company in Tacoma says it’s the best spring searun cutthroat fishing he’s seen in at least a half a dozen years in the south Puget Sound. Anil says the searun cutties are keying in on chum salmon fry dumping out of the creeks in the south sound and really anywhere south of the Narrows has been fishing good. He pointed to both Carr Inlet and Colvos Passage as areas to hit, however, and he recommends fishing small baitfish patterns in the one and a half to two inch range that mimic the chum fry for the best results.

Alger Likes Cottage and Margaret Lakes on Trout Opener
Kent Alger at Three Rivers Marine in Woodinville gave a nod towards Cottage Lake and Lake Margaret near Woodinville as his top picks for trout on the opener next Saturday. Kent’s favorite setup is a white micro jig under a pencil float and he says to run 4 pound test leader to get more bites. He says to set the float anywhere from 3 to as much as ten feet deep and twitch the jig occasionally to give it some action. Alger says the large holdover trout are particularly fond of this setup and expect freshly stocked trout to hit the jigs too. Three Rivers Marine will be opening the store at 6:00 a.m. for the opener next Saturday and they are offering 20% off on all of their trout gear including Daiwa D Shock and D Turbo trout combos.

Bill’s Boathouse to Release 6,000 Trout
If you’re looking to get a jump on opening day of trout season Bill’s Boathouse on American Lake will be releasing six thousand rainbow trout today. The trout all weigh nearly one pound and they will be released at 8:00 a.m. today. Mike Barr at Bill’s Boathouse says the fishing is outstanding off the dock at the boathouse this weekend and for several more weeks to come. Bill’s Boathouse is located near the community of Tillicum in Tacoma and they have a private fishing dock that costs between $3 and $5 per day to fish off of.

Razor Clam Dig Approved for Washington Coast
WDFW shellfish managers just approved a morning razor clam dig that will run April 24th thru the 30th at Twin Harbors beach. Two beaches, Long Beach and Mocrocks, will be open to morning digging for four days and Copalis will be open for three of the seven days. Full details of the beach openings for this razor clam dig are posted on the WDFW website.

Spring Days at Defiance Marine
April 27th is the Defiance Marine annual Spring Event featuring halibut and albacore seminars with familiar names like Todd Schwartz, Tommy Donlin, and Rob Endsley. Rob Endsley will be on hand in the afternoon to demonstrate rigging techniques for fishing both cut plug and whole herring. Defiance will have tackle on sale and a free hamburger and hot dog barbecue for lunch. There’s also a fishing gear swap meet at the event, so bring your old fishing gear and unload it at Defiance Marine on April 27th.

Wolf Attacks Deer on the Edge of Wenatchee City Limits
Northwest Sportsman – Wolves are making their presence known near Wenatchee, as a wolf took down a wounded deer just a mile out of town near the Wenatchee Rifle and Revolver Club earlier this week. The wolf was attacking a wounded deer near a residence in the Number 2 Canyon when the homeowner called authorities to let them know what was going on. While the sight might have been somewhat shocking, authorities say the wolf was just doing “what wolves do” by removing a sick or wounded animal from the herd. Wolves have been seen in the same general area on two elk kills in the last month. The wolves have been hunting deer and elk that are on their winter range in the lowlands, which also happens to be where the most houses are located.

Hybrid Rattlesnake Seized from Olympia Apartment
Thurston County animal control officers seized an illegal hybrid diamondback rattlesnake from an apartment in Olympia last Sunday. The hybrid rattler was a cross between a diamondback rattlesnake and some other kind of pit viper. A neighbor tipped off authorities that the man had the snake after he told the neighbor that he had been bitten by one of his other pet rattlesnakes years earlier and had to be airlifted to Harborview. The shelter that was holding the snake said it was repeated snapping it’s head in its glass cage and squirting vemon from its teeth. It was not a happy snake. The man faces a fine of up to $2,000 for harboring a dangerous wild animal.

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

Opening Day 2013 “Top Ten Tips”

If there is a more popular fishing “rite of passage” than the lowland lakes trout opener, I sure don’t know what it is!

The Nelson Clan at Perrygin Lake in Okanogan County a few seasons ago…

I would venture to guess that more “first fish” are caught on this final weekend of April than at any other time of year. Fathers and sons, mothers and daughters all descend on the lakes of Washington, three-hundred thousand strong. In preparation of this massive effort, the State of Washington plants these lake with literally millions of rainbow and cutthroat trout which are ready, willing and more than able to provide action as well as dinner or a smoker full of a tasty treat!

To aid in their quest this weekend, I would like to offer the following ten tips for an enjoyable opening day experience!

1. Get legal!

The WDFW licensing cycle for the year runs from April 1 to March 31. In other words, if you are not sure if your license is current… it’s probably not. Which, brings us to the second item on our list:

2. Bring your crew to the store!

If you have a young bunch (and even if you don’t) it’s always worthwhile to bring the crew along to get their licenses, get a copy of the fishing regulations and do a little shopping. “There’s that new Snoopy rod Dad, Can we try this?” Let your fishing gang get a little fired up about their new gear and in all likelihood, your opening day will get a lot easier!

3. Know your fishermen!

What size raingear do they wear? Boots? Warm coats? Can they cast? What’s their favorite snack food? The correct answers to these questions are best found out well in advance of “O” day!

4. Know your gear.

Seriously now, when is the last time you opened your trout box? How old is the line on your reel? If the answer to either of those questions is “I don’t know”… You know what to do!

5. Float your boat

While a boat adds to the complexity of any fishing trip is also adds productivity, mobility, comfort and convenience. In my opinion, more than a fair trade. However, the early dawn of opening morning is a poor time to find out that the batteries are dead, the drain plug is missing, the trailer lights are burned out and the tabs are expired. Just don’t ask me how I found that out…

6. Rig all the rods

Another way to dodge Murphy’s Law is to rig all the rods in the garage the night before…or the night before that! Trust me, it’s a lot easier to tie up under a fluorescent light than a dome light.

7. Scout your location

One of my favorite opening day memories is taking my young son to our chosen opening day lake the day before the opener. The lake was stuffed to the lilly pads with rainbows that were literally jockeying for position to eat the next bug to hit the surface. Watching the surface activity was secondary to scouting out the ramp and available parking. A word to the wise: It’s time well spent!

8. Friday night load up!

Get it all in the rig the night before. If its missing, you still have time to find it or replace it… ’nuff said!

9. Get ’em up easy…

Set the alarm a little early and let the gang go through a little of their morning routine. Rushing your charges out of the house so they can sit with you in a ramp line is not going to score you any points.

10. Make it fun!

Quick limits are great and are huge braggin’ rights fodder… on the Columbia for springers!…. Nobody is going to stop the presses and roll evening news tape for your stringer full of six inchers. The goal on opening day is to provide your friends and family with an introduction to a sport, a way of life that they will enjoy for the rest of their lives! Let the kids handle the rods and play every one of the fish! Let another kid handle the net, sit back and enjoy the mayhem that ensues!

Opening day is like a fishy Christmas. The more you give, the more you get and what you get from a successful opener you’ll never forget!

Tom Nelson

The Outdoor Line

710 ESPN Seattle

www.theoutdoorline.com

The Best Salmon Chips EVER…

Every once in awhile, through trial and error, you come up with something pretty good. That would be the case with my Salmon Chips. Only this time, I came up with something Damn Good….

I started making’em for the guys at work a couple years ago and kept refining it until I had a recipe that has the ability to turn fish-eating nay-sayers into “Salmon Lovers”.

It’s really nothing new, I mean “Fish & Chips” have been around forever. For some folks, Salmon Chips are a pretty recognizable staple in their diet. For others, “Salmon Chips” generate a far off stare as if I am the biggest idiot ever. ” You can’t make Salmon into Fish & Chips”, is usually the response. I simply reply, just keep an open mind and give it a try. The eye opening experience with the first bite, is just that… an eye opening experience.

OK, so how do we make’em….

I think it is important to serve any fish, cooked as a chip, absolutely boneless. This takes a little time but is well worth the effort. After you have your salmon fillets, you need to take the time to remove the pin-bones. A small pair of flat-nose or needle-nose pliers work well.If you are not sure exactly how to remove the pin-bones, here is a helpful quick video. “Remove Pin Bones”  Next you’ll want to remove the skin off the back side of the fillet and be sure to remove the excess brown fatty meat.

With the bones and skin removed, you simply cut your clean salmon fillett into large chip size pieces.

I will generally do this in the morning so that when I am done seasoning the pieces, I can put it in the refrigerator for the better part of the day. This allows for enough time to ensure that your seasonings absorb into the meat. This in turn makes for a much more favorable chip.

Here is were the rubber meats the road. For me, this makes all the difference in how your Salmon Chip will turn out flavorful, lightly breaded and with very little to no oil in the fish.

My choice of seasonings are pretty simple, Pepper, Garlic Salt and “Tony Chachere’s original Creole Seasoning”. If I want to make my Salmon Chips with a little extra bite, I’ll also add Tony’s Cajun seasoning as well. Season your chunks of fish generously, as you want the flavor to wake up your taste-buds…

I like to use McCormick’s Fish & Chips batter. The key here is that you need to make sure you mix it thin. Extra water in the batter, is a good thing. I like a very thin layer of batter coating my fish. We have all had those pieces of fish, heavily caked in dough, soaked with oil and lets face it, they taste nasty.

A light coating of batter means that you won’t have a ton of extra oil soaked into your chip. I also use a very light oil. I like the end product I get when using a light blend of Canola Oil and Light Olive Oil, made by “Smart Balance omega”.

I heat my oil in a large sauce pan, on the stove top. A medium high heat usually gets the job done. I’m not trying to flash-cook my fish, I want it a bit slower and controlled so I end up with golden brown pieces of fish.

I cook the pieces of fish, until they turn that light golden brown texture I’m looking for. Then I remove each piece and place them on stacked paper towels. This helps to draw any extra oil, out of the fish.

With paper towels underneath, I’ll continue to place more paper towels on top and continue to stack on more fish. I keep adding layers until all my fish is cooked. Stacking the fish on paper towels and covering the top with a piece of foil actually keeps the fish warm until they are ready to be served.

Spicy Salmon Chips with some Sweet Potato Fires and Cole-Slaw…. It doesn’t get much healthier then that for “Fish & Chips”. More importantly, the flavor will make you think twice about ever going back to Cod, when it comes to choosing what type of fish to consider to make your chips….

Bone Appetit ….

Dickson to Offer Float Trip for Wounded Vets

Wounded Warriors Grande Ronde River 4 day Wilderness Float Trip
Grand Ronde River, Washington
July 29-August 3 2013

The purpose of this special adventure is to raise awareness for the  Wounded Warriors program.

As a full time river outfitter I have spent the last 23 years rafting guests down many western rivers. My all-time favorite is the wilderness section of the Grande Ronde River in southeast Washington.

I am so thrilled to bring some brave young soldiers to my chosen waters.

I am asked almost daily. “Why are you doing this?”

My response: “These young men and women make the ultimate sacrifice for me, my family and our country. I could not be prouder to live in a country where brave young men and women risk their lives so we can all be a free nation. This small gesture is my way of saying THANK YOU!”

Check out our Grand Ronde Wilderness Float Trips when you get a chance and feel free to drop us a line if you’re interested in helping out with this awesome trip. These young men and women certainly deserve a great experience in the outdoors after all they’ve been thru!

Best of rafting,
Dennis Dickson
www.flyfishsteelhead.com
E-mail Dennis at DDDicksons@aol.com or phone at (425) 238-3537

 

Northwest Outdoor Report

Washington Sets Salmon Seasons
Fishery managers at the Washington Department of Fish and Wildife just released the 2013 salmon season package this past week. The Columbia River, coastal waters, and the Puget Sound will all see similar seasons to last year. Bouy 10 will open up for salmon fishing on August 1st with a one king limit thru September 1st. The coastal Chinook quota is down to 48,000 fish from a quota of 51,500 king salmon last year and the coastal silver salmon quota is up slightly this year to 74,760 fish. The coastal salmon seasons are somewhat complicated and anglers are urged to visit the WDFW website for the full details on coastal openings and closures this summer. The popular hatchery chinook fishery in northern and central Puget Sound from July 16th through August 31st will happen again this summer. That area could close sooner if the chinook catch guideline is achieved. After that those areas of Puget Sound revert to coho and pinks only from September 1st through October 31st. With over 6 million pink salmon returning to the Puget Sound this year the state is planning to have “bonus limits” for pinks in several areas of the sound excluding the Hood Canal. A comprehensive list of the salmon seasons throughout Washington is posted on the WDFW website.

Queets Should be Strong this Weekend
Flyfishing guide Mike Dickson from Dickson’s Flyfishing said they’ve been catching a few nice steelhead a day on the upper Queets when it’s been in shape. He says there a little rain rain in the forecast for this weekend but the flows should hold up until it closes. Mike says to fish anything big and bright and he’s been having quite a bit of success using a marabou tied fly in a light peach color lately. He says that fly seems to stand out really well in the glacial waters of the Queets. The Queets closes to steelhead fishing on April 16th and then Mike will finish out his season fishing the Bogachiel and Sol Duc rivers near Forks which close the end of April.

Lake Roesiger Kicking Out Koke’s
John Martinis from John’s Sporting Goods in Everett says the kokanee bite on the southern end of Lake Roesiger in Snohomish County has been heating up this past week. He’s heard of anglers pulling limits of kokanee out of the lake trolling dodgers and small pink hoochies tipped with either shoe peg corn or Pautzke Firecorn. Martinis says Roesiger is usually the first lake to heat up for Kokanee because of its smaller size. On nearby Lake Stevens the kokanee bite has still been quite slow.

Kokanee are on the Surface at Lake Merwin
Cameron Black from Gone Catchin’ Guide Service says the kokanee fishing is starting to heat up down on Lake Merwin near Woodland. Black had ten fish to the boat on Friday and said they’ve been really nice so far this season averaging around 13 to 14 inches long. He’s been running a silver Sling Blade on the surface with either an orange or chartreuse hoochie behind it tipped with shoe peg corn. Black has been running the gear 140 to 150 feet behind the boat to get bites and he said the bite has been better on stormy days than calm days because the fish tend to be a bit spooky. Black says the water temperature is 48.5 degrees right now and the bite should get better as the lake continues to warm up.
 
Hit the Yakima Canyon for Redsides
The report from Mike Canady at Red’s Fly Shop in the Yakima River canyon is that the river has dropped back into shape after last week’s high water and fishing should be good the next few days. Canady says there’s been a few March browns and blue winged olive hatches coming off recently and the yearly Mother’s Day caddis hatch should start happening soon also. Red’s will be conducting the 4th annual Red’s Rendezvous event on April 20th with free casting classes, on the water tutorials, beer and wine tasting, and a ton of giveaways. Reds is also hosting the popular IF4 flyfishing film tour the same day. The event is free and tickets for the film tour are $15.

If a Tree Falls in the Woods, Sue the USFS
Associated Press – An Idaho family is suing the U.S. Forest Service for over $1 million after a dead tree fell and injured their son in Boise National Forest back in 2010. Richard and Melinda Armstrong claimed their family was camping at a remote, unimproved camping site in September of 2010 when a gust of wind blew a dead tree onto their son. The 6 year old boy sustained a large laceration, a compound fracture, and a puncture wound on his back that made it difficult to breathe. Even though the campsite was unimproved and in a remote location the family’s attorney is stating that the USFS should have known about the dead tree and had it removed. The Forest Service has not commented on the recent lawsuit.

WDFW Officers Nab Poachers with 242 Trout
Lake Lenore will have quite a few less Lahontan cutthroat trout in it this spring. WDFW game wardens Will Smith and Chris Buschings busted four men last week with 242 of the big cutthroat trout. The men apparently netted the trout out of a fish trap in the dark and were loading them in a plastic fish tote when the wardens rolled up. One of the men jumped in the Toyota Tundra they were driving but was blocked by the warden’s rig and ordered to surrender at gun point. Another one of them gave up quickly and the two other men jumped in the lake and swam for it. One of them was caught holding onto a log to blend in with the surroundings and the fourth individual swam across the lake and disappeared. The water temperature in Lake Lenore this time of year is  40 degrees and the wardens first thought he might have drowned. Several hours later, however, a Soap Lake police officer spotted him walking thru a park 10 miles away with no shoes on and he had his socks full of newspaper to keep his feet warm. The four men have received multiple citations and the trout, weighing over 600 pounds, were donated to the Moses Lake Food Bank.

The Outdoor Line
710 ESPN Seattle
www.theoutdoorline.com

Dirty Downrigger Trick: Silver Horde’s Rudder Flasher!

Now that “seminar season” is begrudgingly giving way to fishing season, I’m looking back on the most frequently asked questions I’ve heard after my  “Dirty Downrigger Tricks” PowerPoint presentations.

I’m always looking for some new and interesting blog ideas and I believe a series of blogs answering these questions regarding controlled-depth trolling techniques may just be what the “downrigger Doctor” ordered!

One of the relatively recent additions to the downrigger fisherman’s attraction repertoire is the Silver Horde Rudder Flasher!

“We originally marketed it as a halibut spreader back in the mid 1970’s and by the late ’80’s some guys out of Edmonds started using them as rudders on their downriggers” said Silver Horde’s Kelly Morrison. Indeed, it is the “spreader effect” that is one of the most endearing qualities of the Rudder Flasher. As soon as it’s placed in the water, it immediately “weather vanes” or points behind the boat which allows you to easily reach your release -without untangling it- and quickly get your gear back to the fishes’ depth.

There are two ways to rig the Silver Horde Rudder Flasher: One, simply run your release directly off the back of the rudder…

…and two, running a “Dummy” or remote flasher off of the Rudder Flasher and then stacking your release a few feet up from the flasher!

By far the biggest advantage of the Silver Horde Rudder Flasher is it’s fish attraction characteristics. The Rudder Flasher affords your downrigger presentation a consistent horizontal profile which allows salmon to find your gear more easily. Simply stated, a rotating flasher makes noise and vibration in the water column but it’s continually moving, rolling aspect can often be a challenge for a salmon on the far reaches of the attraction threshhold to locate. The combination of a rotating flasher and a Rudder Flasher is a one, two salmon attracting “punch” that will result in more fish in your box!

Next time you’re out on your favorite trolling drag and you see someone land a fish, take a close look at what is running just on top of their cannon ball… The Silver Horde Rudder Flasher used to be the trollers secret handshake. Now, it’s more like the mark of the highliner fishermen.

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

 

“Salmon for Soldiers” Fishing Event

1st Annual Salmon for Soldiers Fishing Event
August 10th, 2013
Port of Everett, Washington
Event Headquarters – Bayside Marine

The Outdoor Line on 710 ESPN Seattle and the Take a Warrior Fishing foundation are presenting the 1st Annual “Salmon for Soldiers” fishing event in Everett, Washington on Saturday, August 10th. What better way to say THANK YOU to our young wounded veterans than to spend a great day fishing with them on the Puget Sound.

The forecast calls for a record run of pink salmon to the Puget Sound this summer and August is also a great time to hook into a king salmon or perhaps an early silver salmon. Fish will be caught, these young soldiers will smile, and you’ll get to meet some of America’s genuine war hero’s. Everyone wins at an event like this!

We expect as many as 100 wounded veterans from Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom to participate in the event and we need boats, boats, and more boats to help the cause. You can be responsible for putting a smile on these young soldiers faces, many of whom have been wounded in combat and are now trying to put their lives back together here at home.

Here’s the “Salmon for Soldiers” schedule for August 10th, 2013:

6:00 a.m. – 7:00 a.m. – Check in and Boat Assignments
6:30 a.m. – 173rd Airborne Association presents the American Flag, Pledge of Allegiance
7:00 a.m. – FISH ON!
3:00 p.m. – Check in, BBQ, and Raffle

Where – Everett Marina 10th Street Boat Launch and Bayside Marine

In association and cooperation with Project Healing Waters, The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, Take a Warrior Fishing,  and The Outdoor Line on 710 ESPN Seattle

Sponsors
Griffin Maclean Insurance
Lamiglas Fishing Rods
Daiwa Reels
Bayside Marine
John’s Sporting Goods
Bargreen Ellison Restaurant Supply
Sportco/Outdoor Emporium
Prince of Wales Sportfishing
Kvinsland Dentistry
The Outdoor Line
Beau Mac Enterprises
Truck Vault
Mays Archery
Grizzly Coolers
Rapala
Salmon and Steelhead Journal
Silver Horde Tackle
Mar Don Resort
X Rodz
Adaptive Fishing Systems

Participating Organizations
Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, Project Healing Waters, Warrior Transition Battalion, Washington State Veteran’s Centers, Chapter #16 of the 173rd Airborne Association

As many as 100 O.E.F. and O.I.F. wounded veterans and their caretakers will be participating in this event and boats are needed. To volunteer your boat, time and fishing gear to this great cause, or if you know a wounded warrior that would like to go out, please contact Randy Shelton at 425-330-0415 or by email at cabincreekadventures@yahoo.com.

This is going to be a great event and the crew at Salmon for Soldiers appreciates any help you can provide. Contact either Randy Shelton or Rob Endsley to see how you can get involved.

Salmon for Soldiers Contact Info:

Coordinator
Randy Shelton
425-330-0415

Sponsors and Raffle Prizes
Rob Endsley
360-961-2116

To Assist with Food and Beverages
Bayside Marine
(425) 252-3088