Thursday, March 25, 2010
Willamette Springers, Steelhead, and Sea Lions
Went out on the Willamette yesterday with a buddy to try for springers. We headed up at first light with a great shot of Mt. Hood on the way up.
Once we dropped the boat in, we decided to sit on anchor for a while, since there were a few fish caught in the area. We rigged up some prawn spinners, and other ideas and got to it. If you look closely, you can see the guy right above us has a nice fish on.
Not more than an hour in, Gary gets a nice springer. An hour later, my rod goes off. I leap up, get ready to set the hook and......its off!...still hasn't committed yet.. i wait....and wait..hands just an inch from the rod and reel, just waiting to snag it and set the hook. the rod tip throbs down and back up again... 2 more tugs later he has it and running. I grab my rod, set the hook and its on. Felt small, but then realized it was only a steelhead. However, it was missing a fin so we netted and bonked it.
There was one BIG drawback fishing up there.. Okay, maybe about 5 - 10 big drawbacks.. SEA LIONS! Those bastardly lions were at it. Once they saw you stand up in the boat, or saw a net being waved around, they'd cruise toward the ruckus and eventually nab people's fish as they were fighting them. Luckily we never encountered them during our 'hauls of bounty' But I KNOW there were others that had their catch swiped away.
This lion was floating downstream, tossing a BRIGHT CHROME salmon around and taunting the fishermen.
Talk about heartbreaking!?! I've lost a fish to a lion before and it really sucks! If you can get them in as fast as possible, you can usually beat the lions.
One thing I couldn't believe is how many boats out there had slingshots, and 50-cal shot, and rocks.. Each time a lion would surface you'd see a couple holes puncture the water right near it. I saw one good shot a guy took, hit the lion and that thing didn't surface again til 200yds downstream.. Guess he hit it! good for him!! But for the record, its a federal offense to harass them (which is rediculous), so I do not condone the activity.. BUT I DO APPLAUD IT!!
Earlier in the day it was
Lions: 4 fish
Fisherman: 1 fish
but by the end of the afternoon, the lion must've been full, because the odds definitely jumped back into the fishermens' favor. We probably saw 20-30 fish caught around us.. The warming water and sunny temps really helped. We packed it up later that afternoon and headed back to Salem.
Not a bad 45 min. run to the river! Hoping to get out again soon!