Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Steelhead/Sturgeon Fishing at Bonneville

Sorry for the late post, been busy all weekend. I had the pleasure of fishing with Gary (Imnaha), for some steelhead on Friday. We got up to the fishery around 7am and were suprised by the lack of trailors.
...Either that was a GOOD thing, or a BAD thing... yet to be determined...

We decided to head upriver past some recognizable landmarks, such as Beacon Rock,

and made our way to a secret locale we clever named the 'shad rack'

We anchored in 15' of water, put back a U20, and some spin-n-glos/shrimp combos.

first bite was on Gary's rode. The thing starts fighting more like a summer nook than a steelhead. larger with the long, pulling headshakes. Didn't fight like a sturgeon...but it was. Nice sized fish too, almost keeper size. Safely released and back to the deep depths of 15'.

Around 9 or so, my rod buries. safe to say this fish is hooked good. The fish rockets straight out of the water with three or four great acrobatic jumps. After her show was over, I grinded her up to the boat, to notice no extra fins.

BONK BONK! (Didn't take much for a 6 lb fish)

"Hey, look at the holdover trout I caught up here at the lake!" is what I felt like saying holding it up.

...just seemed so tiny compared to salmon/tuna/halibut as of recently. But still great fun, don't get me wrong!~ Sometimes its good to scale down.. Its like tying on a #18 caddis to a 4wt and hittin a small creek the day after bloodying the boat with tuna 35 miles out on the Big Blue.
....Brings things into check.

Meanwhile, absorbing the rays of the sun, Gary is brought to his feet by another good bite later that we KNEW was a sturgeon the minute it started poking at his rod.

Another good healthy legal-sized fish.

Again, popped the hook out and let it swim on back to scavenge on something dead.
We made sure to keep the prawn rig up further off the bottom but with their good sniffers, they still seemed to find it.
One random thing I thought was kinda ironic is that the sturgeon both came on the inside rod, and on the bait that was higher up in the water column.. and the steelhead came on the outside rod, deeper water.

Turned out to be a great day on the water.. We ended up keeping one steelhead, and letting two 'incidental bi-catch' (trying my gillnet terminology) sturgeon back to grow larger and maybe keep, another day.

Hope to get up there again.. Just watching the osprey dive for fish, the herons fight for fishing grounds, even the other fishermen attempting to anchor, made for some great entertainment!

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Happy Bloody 4th of July!!

First of all,
Happy Bloody 4th of July to all!

Got the call to leave first thing in the morning. Dylan and I made our way to across the hill to Little Italy to meet up with Bud for a tuna run.
4:30 came early, especially after a few drinks, Friday night!~
But knowing we were on a quest to find warm blue water and longfins, we seemed to wake up pretty quickly. CD joined us for the hunt.
We headed out past the jaws into a weak fog bank. It wasn't 'pea-soup' thick, but enough to keep you on Extra alert for crab pots. With a little slop out there, we made our way WSW at 20-23kts. The clouds began to part radiating sun against a clear blue/green propwash.
With some information passed on by Secret Island (thanks Tron), we put in lines around the 125.13 line and within 20 mins the first rod went off. The first 2009 Garibaldi sport-caught tuna was now landed!

We had a few doubles and a triple for a moment, until one came unbuttoned. All were caught on zuchini clones. A couple came behind birds. Water temps were up to 61.9 by the afternoon. Some of that was probably the sun warming the surface.
We had a little down time between the action ...and of course, when we bring out the camera for a quick pic....ZZZZZZ! the rod behind me starts going off (as you can see in the background)!

Made for a good photo opp... but back in the bag went the camera, and the fun began again! We kept putting fish in the box, but just not in great numbers yet.

We stopped fishing once we ended up with more fish than ice. The fish we caught ranged from about 15-25 lbs. We noticed Dick came in with nice-sized fish. Could've run 35'ish? The fish are there, but just not in the numbers yet. Hopefully they'll keep moving in closer!

Once we were back in, and cleaning the fish box, we saw a bait that one of the fish coughed up. This thing was about 10 inches long, hard-pointed nose, somewhat mackerel-looking. Anyway, found it interesting. Must've eaten it that morning, by the way it looked.

The ocean laid down as the day went on which made for a comfortable ride in around 30kts..Ended up with great weather, good fishing, and even better friends to kick off the 2009 Albacore Season!

Let the bodies hit the floor...
Let the bodies hit the floor...