Friday, April 9, 2010

Spring Break Steelhead

Cole hooked and landed this one on his own! His first steelhead, 25 inches of fish!

Okay, the fishing is too hot to not go back, so we did. This time I hooked up my 7 year old son, Cole, to fish with us. Last year he stood on the bank for 10 hours while we fished, I figured if he could do that without complaint, he could try fishing. He casts okay, but not well. But he tried and tried and by the end of the trip was casting like a pro, and catching steelhead like one too. He did so well I gave him my rod for keeps; he earned it and I figured he deserved it more than me. Besides, now he has his own rod for next year so we can go again, again, and again.

We fished Wednesday night for a few hours. We headed over to see how the river was holding up since we had some storms moving through. The water was up a little from our trip in mid March, but still green and beautiful! I started us off with a 28 inch native hen, that my son Jared ended up landing. It was fun to help him fight in the fish and sad to have to throw it back; he really wanted a keeper.

Jared landing his steelhead

Corey hooked another right away and lost it at the bank. Tyler went fishless and wasn't too happy about it. But Cole surprised me the most that night. I cast one out for him and told him what to do. I turned around to do something, I think rerig a rod for Corey, and when I turned around Cole had a fish on. He landed it (see the video below) by himself. I knew he was in for a great weekend after that!

This is Cole landing his first steelhead. He shows about as much emotion as my Grandpa did, but just so you know, he is JUST AS EXCITED AS TYLER IS in this video!

Another great picture of a great kid with a nice fish! He is standing above the run where he caught it.
Thursday dawned bright and beautiful. We started the 2 mile walk down river, a half hour before daylight. I was carrying three sets of wader, boots, coats, food, water, all the gear for fishing, and Cole's and my rods. We fished Polecat all morning and hooked a few fish, but never landed any (dull hooks or dull fisherman are to blame). Cole hooked 2 and so did I. Tyler landed a nice keeper (buck of 26 inches) and Corey and Grandpa went without. My dad did hook a fish in Red Rock, but lost it. Cole was asked if he wanted to land a fish with a kids fly rod, so he did and tagged it. So we had a few fish to show for our efforts, but not much. Especially for how many fish were being caught around us.

That afternoon we headed down river past Red Rock to the Big Eddy hole and beyond. We fished a nice run without a bite and we were pretty frustrated. The kids started throwing rocks and we just laid on them eating sardines and sandwiches. Two kids came along and asked if they could fish the run; we didn't care, nothing was in there. But they hooked two right away on troutbeads. We were a little dismayed. So we set out down river to find a new area and redeem ourselves.

We found a nice run, with lots of boulders, submerged and sticking out of the flow, and Cole hooked a nice fish right off. Probably his first cast. It was a bruiser and I wasn't sure who would win the fight. Cole is a scrappy 50 pounds, but the steelhead was all he could handle with that 8.5 foot rod! After landing the fish he hooked 3 or 4 more in succession. Tyler, Grandpa, and Corey all got into fish too. I didn't fish for a good 25 minutes because I was landing fish, helping tag fish, and getting something pink on the poles that weren't in use. It was crazy fun!

This is Cole's first fish in this run. I love watching the battle of 7-year old boy and 3 or 4 year old fish!

This is Cole's 2nd fish from this run in as many minutes. He was on fire for the first 10 casts!

My dad hooked this fish while Cole landed his second one. A really nice female.

Tyler hooked up right after Grandpa with this nice native we let go.

I finally got a pink egg on Corey's rod and he got one a few minutes later. I couldn't keep up with all the fish hooked and landed, so I didn't get video of all of them. After watching me tail fish in this video it is obvious that I REALLY NEED TO GET A NET!

I finally got my fly rod put together and ended up hooking 6 more steelhead, landing two of them. My little 9 foot, 6 weight, and I really took a beating, but it was well worth the perma-grin! I wore myself out casting and fighting fish. While I was down river fishing a different run, the kids and their grandpa were nailing the fish. Cole landed 3 fish on his own that day and hooked that many more. Tyler landed 3, my dad landed 4, I landed 2, and Corey landed 2. But we hooked a lot more than we landed! We took home 12 steelhead that afternoon. My dad carried at least 65 pounds of fish, four miles to the car! It was like packing out a deer!

Friday was cold, snowy and windy. We slept in and had a nice morning eating, talking and waiting for the afternoon bite (if there is such a thing). I took the boys over to fish the run where we did so well on Wednesday. It was full of people so we fished another run I have done well on in the past. We went fishless for an hour and a half, so we headed back down river and found the run we wanted earlier devoid of fisherman. So, we scrambled down the banks and got after it.

I hooked the first fish, a huge female, and Jared helped me land it. It was his first keeper and a beauty of a fish, almost 30 inches long. Cole didn't get one that night, but Tyler and Corey both hooked up. Tyler landed his, a nice 26-27 inch buck.

Jared's HUGE hen! He was so happy to get a keeper. He was even happier that is was the BIGGEST of everyone's fish!

This just shows the fish's size relative to Jared better than the other video.

Jared's 30 inch hen
Tyler's buck

This is Tyler landing his buck. Jared was a LITTLE concerned it may be bigger than his. It wasn't and so Jared knows that he is KING.

Saturday morning found us hoofing down the river again, 4 miles one way. We hit the river an hour or two after daylight. It was cold and stormy day before didn't help the water temperature much. It was a slow start. But my dad got us going with a native hen. Cole landed it, it was his only fish of the day.

I fished the same run below where the kids were fishing and hooked 3 steelhead and two whitefish. I landed one of the steelhead and whitefish. When I got back up to the family they had 5 fish dead on the bank. My brother-in-law, Matt, showed up right after I got back and we put 10 more fish on the bank before we left. My dad brought his packframe so he could pack fish out easier. It was another great day of fishing! Tyler lost a HUGE buck at the bank; grandpa couldn't get a hold of it and the hook straightened out on him. Mori, my niece landed two and Matt limited out. My dad would have limited out, but he let grandkids reel in some of his fish.

We brought 27 steelhead home that weekend and hooked half again as many that didn't get landed or were native fish we had to let go. It was a wonderful time with my boys and my dad!