Seven Ways To Get Your Salmon Season Off to a Swift Start!

By Tom Nelson

Well, “show season” aka “winter” is fast fading in the rear view mirror and after several full days of seeing the latest and greatest the fishing industry 2017 has to offer, I’ve boiled down the vast array of choices to these top of the line items that will get you off on the right fishy foot this season!

Daiwa Four-Carrier J Braid: A whole lot of anglers who’s opinions I sincerely respect are moving toward a spool of 65lb braid with a 20-foot top shot of 25 lb test mono for their mooching and trolling reels. The Daiwa J Braid in particular has less flexibility and stretch than most braids and more abrasion resistance making it a great choice for salt or river salmon fisheries!

Silver Horde’s Two Face Spoons: Kelly Morrison of SIlver Horde noticed that most of the “hot spoons” that anglers had the pleasure of fishing have had one thing in common: some type of paint finish on the “back” or concave side. Silver Horde has capitalized on this trend by finishing both sides of the very popular -and effective- Kingfisher Lite and Coho Killer series of lightweight trolling spoons.

CANNON Terminator Kit: Are you still carrying around a box of crimps and a pair of specialty pliers that you rarely use for anything else? Here’s the thing: as soon as you crimp your cable, you’ve damaged it and the clock is ticking. Here come the wire frays and then “POP” another expensive ball, release and rigging has just become habitat. With Cannon’s nylon Terminator, the wire is cushioned in the channel of the loom and you’ll enjoy significantly longer wire life, saving you money and fishing time!

Pro-Cure Downrigger Dynamite: There’s little question of the deadly effectiveness of Phil Pirone’s proprietary blend of amino acid bite stimulants which is the backbone of the industry’s leading Brine-n-Bite herring brine. Realizing that artificial trolling lures could benefit from the same chemistry, a mixure of herring, anchovie and sardine was spiked with amino acids and BOOM! You’ve got Downrigger Dynamite. Give it a drag. It will get you bit…

Daiwa LEXA 300 Linecounter: It’s simply about time that someone came up with a line counter that’s out of the way, easy to see and palms like a genuine low-profile reel. Introducing the Daiwa LEXA 300 LC. High speed slick with a butter smooth drag, don’t underestimate the power of it’s oversize gears and 21-pound drag system. As great as this reel is, I can’t wait to see the LEXA 400 LC ’cause it will be the best reel at Buoy Ten this August!

Gamakatsu Big River Open-Eye Siwash Hooks: Now available in a wider variety of sizes, you’ll be able to find these replacement hooks to fit any size spoon, plug or lure you care to rig. Benefitting from Gamakatsu’s magnificent curvature and shape of their popular Octopus hooks, these Big River Siwash are a definite upgrade for the questionable “original equipment” hooks that are all to often furnished with our favorite lures.

SIMRAD NSS 16 evo 3: All I could say was “Wow” when I saw the speed and layout of this behemoth! Processor speed is no longer an issue, nor is screen space as custom splits are a fingertip selection away. In addition to the Simrad DNA of a fully integrated Auto-Pilot, there’s a “Hot Key” that you can program to your favorite function. The screen is the brand new SolarMAX™ HD display technology that delivers exceptional clarity and ultra-wide viewing angles, combined with an all-weather touchscreen and expanded keypad for total control in all conditions.

There’s lots to get your attention this season and there’s no reason to wait! Try out some of this gear now so it will be familiar to you come our busy summer seasons and we’ll see you on the water!

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

Brooks Top Three Winter Steelhead Scents

By Jason Brooks

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Winter steelhead is one of the most popular fisheries in the northwest, mostly because we start catching them around Thanksgiving and continue clear into springtime. It is the longest run timing of any or our anadromous fisheries and gives anglers the most opportunity at catching fish. With just about every type of technique available from pulling plugs, throwing spinners and spoons, drifting yarnies, and float fishing jigs, eggs, sand shrimp, pink worms, and let’s not forget the “old school” technique of driftfishing they all have one thing in common in that you can add scents to make them more effective. I apply scents to every technique I use, and here are my top three producing scents for winter steelhead.

#1. Anise/Krill

The combination of sweet anise and the baseline food source for steelhead in the ocean, krill, is a killer combo. Steelhead love sugar and have a “sweet tooth” just ask any die hard steelheader what their “secret” egg cure ingredient is and you will learn it’s a sugar based cure. In fact, before Bad Azz bait dyes came along the standby was raspberry or strawberry Jell-O, again a sweetened color dye. Then adding krill into the mix only makes this one even more productive.

Pro Cure Steelhead and Salmon Scents

#2 Sand Shrimp

This is almost a “no brainer” with little need for explanation. Sand shrimp are a popular steelhead bait and of course a scent that uses real sand shrimp, like Pro-Cure’s Super Gel, can turn your spoon, plug, or jig into a fish killer. Steelhead love sand shrimp, plain and simple. And don’t forget Pro-Cure makes a water soluble oil with sand shrimp. When I cure my eggs I heavily drench them before I add my powdered egg cure, let them sit for a few hours and then cure up my eggs. It creates yet another perfect combo bait.

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#3 Anise Bloody Tuna

Fairly new to the market is a scent that you would think only a salmon would love, but steelhead love it too. I can’t fathom why they like this one but I can tell you it flat out works. Again, the anise just plain catches steelhead and the bloody tuna is a potent oil that triggers the predator instinct in fish.This is a great scent for yarnies as it slowly dissipates into the water and when a fish grabs hold of it they don’t let go.

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Jason Brooks, Northwest Outdoor Writer

Luhr Jensen Releases New Kwikfish Colors

The rivers are nothing more than a trickle here in Western Washington right now so why would I be blabbing about three new Kwikfish colors from Luhr Jensen? Because one of these days the skies will open up and the rivers they will rise. And when they do you’ll wish you had these plugs in your quiver of Kwiky’s.

These are very simple color patterns that have already been proven salmon crushers over the years. The cerise/chartreuse combo is a take on the old famous “Chicken Little” plug that’s caught bazillions of salmon, the green/chartreuse combo is an anytime-anywhere winner, and I’m particularly fond of the blue/chartreuse combo for the coastal rivers. Kings and coho annihilate this plug in steelhead green water on the coast!

2015 Luhr Jensen Kwikfish colors 2015_kwikfish2Once a tackle shop is out of a particular Kwikfish it may take weeks to get it re-stocked. Right now is when you want to pick up plugs that are on your wish list because when the rains come, well, the rush is on and most of the pegs holding the schwanky fish-killing colors are gone. Pick’em up now and thank me later!

Rob Endsley
The Outdoor Line
710 ESPN Seattle

CohOctober!

It's been a while since we've seen a coho season around here with "legs" like this one.

What am I talking about? Well, when a spawning run of salmon in these parts provides action and opportunity for three solid months… it has "legs" or the ability to run a long distance.

I guess after 2010's "coho no-show" we had a good run coming but just think about the 2011 silver season for a second: it started almost un-noticed in August due to the swarms of pink salmon, provided excellent, boat-limit fishing in September for the final two events of the Northwest Salmon Derby Series and is still providing solid action even as we speak!

To get a good idea how the action has been, I jumped aboard Nick Kester of All Star Charters boat to see for myself! 

Once we arrived at the "Shipwreck" north of Edmonds, it wasn't long before we were into a hot coho! Nick mans the net and coaches up his client!

 

No sooner did we get the first fish in the box and Boom! fish number two is on and it's a dandy!

 

Nick slides the twine under the chunky coho and he is all ours!

 

A very proud angler holding one very big, chrome reason to keep fishing this fall!

Catching saltwater coho when it's closer to Halloween than Labor Day is an unusual opportunity for Puget Sound anglers and when you add our new winter crab seasons to the mix, well… it's going to be very hard to pull the tarp over the boat for the winter!

Heck with the tarp! Let's get out on the sound!

Fall Salmon Finale in Forks

Fishing buddy Steve Maris and I hit the Olympic Peninsula bright and squirrely on Tuesday morning in search of an elk. We drove for three hours in the dark, launched the driftboat on river "X" at sunup in a what-the-hell-are-we-doing-here rain storm and then floated downstream, poking our way into alder bottoms and potential elk safe houses in the brush choked river valley. Like a true outdoor professional I forgot my Grunden's rain pants and while I could drape a Hefty garbage bag over my legs in the boat to shield ma'sef from some of the torrential rain, beating the brush was a different story.

We hit it hard until mid-afternoon and outside of jumping a few blacktails and hooking and losing a chromasome king and a dime bright silver the elk were nowhere to be found. Ya gotta get out in the woods to figure these things out, however, and we were able to find at least a few pieces to the puzzle for the next time we go.

Before we got sidetracked with the elk the original plan was to fish with Forks area guide Bill Myer of Anglers West Guide Service (206-697-2055) on Wednesday for silver salmon on one the local rivers. Steve and I grabbed a room at the Forks Motel and hunkered down for the night, awaiting the next days fishing trip.

As usual, Bill met us with a smile the next morning at breakfast and before long we were heading south to the Bogachiel River. The silver run on the Sol Duc was starting to wane and both the Calawah and Bogey had at least a few bright fish in them. Nothing hot and heavy, but neither Steve and I gave a rip and with little pressure on the Bogey we decided to go that way.

Bill rigged us up with marabou jigs and we were off to the races. While I was busy breaking Bill's jigs off on the bottom Steve quietly picked up his limit of silvers, boating hulky ten and twelve pounders.

I had been twitching my arms off with a jig for about two and a half hours while Steve hucked his favorite spinner repeatedly into the wood piles along the bank. The spinner had accounted for one nice silver early on and outside of that nothing had really payed much attention to the metal. Soooo, he picks up a jig and throws into a hole that I had just thoroughly worked over and WHAMO…fish on! He's limited out and I'm a clearly a loser, at least for now. 

Click on the image below to check out the video of Steve's second fish:

And check out Bill's special technique for bleeding out his salmon. He make's a handle in the fishes tail and then hangs the fish over the side before cutting the gills. The blood is out of the salmon pronto doing it this way. Just make sure the salmon doesn't jump off the handle. 

By lunch time I had hooked a cutthroat, two small silver jacks, a boot king salmon, and a chum that I lost. Things were not good in my camp, but they were about to get better. A salmon had just rolled on the far bank of a productive run and when my jig hit the water close by it was game on immediately. After landing the first silver I nailed another one a few casts later to finally, finally get my limit and hopefully stave off too much more well-deserved abuse.

Bill netting one of my silvers:

Click on the image below to jump over to the video page and check out my second silver of the day.

Bill and Steve wondering just how long it would take for "Corky" to catch a fish.  

Thankfully things got a little better for me in the afternoon and as we cruised downstream I caught and released two more chrome silvers twitching jigs. Even though the salmon run is winding down in Forks there is still some opportunity for bright fish out there, as we saw yesterday, and there's already been word of a few hatchery steelhead showing up.

It was already a great day and things were about to get a lot better. Just below Goodman Mainline Steve and I chucked our jigs into some deep water and I got slammed by a king salmon immediately. The video below tells most of the story:


A great haul of bright silvers for both Steve and I from one of my favorite areas. If you're into the outdoors you need to put Forks, Washington on your bucket list.

Another great day on the water with two friends who don't take themselves too seriously. Don't think these guys can't bring it though, as both of them are accomplished anglers adept at just about any salmon and steelhead technique you can throw at them.

Give Bill a shout for a great guide trip on the Olympic Peninsula and I'm sure you'll see Steve again here soon. Can't wait to get back out to Forks for some steelhead fishing!