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Family outdoor adventures
  We live in the outdoor playground of north central Washington.  This has to be one the best places to have a family if you are going to take advantage of all the outdoor opportunities that this region has to offer.  It is hard to believe that people can live in this region their whole life and never get into what this region has to offer.  People of north central Washington work hard, and play hard.  If I'm not at work or at home, we are either in the woods or on the water.  
  Fishing has been a incredible way for my family to pull together and find some common ground.  We have 2 happy healthy boys ages 7, and 11 (Oct. 2016) that have become avid outdoors men.   We spend time doing other outdoors activities like camping, rock hounding, picking huckleberries, and morel mushrooms.  Our boys understand that nature can provide things that are not typically available  to purchase in the department stores, and that natures bounty can better than any thing you can buy in the store.
  These family outdoor adventures give our family valuable skills, which is a huge reason we always go on these adventures as a family.  Solo trips are not a option in our house.  We are happy that our boys are gaining the skill sets necessary to target specific species.  Including various presentations, techniques, locations, and when to target specific species.
  This summer has been incredible.  We have encountered a  tremendous amount of wild life diversity this summer.  We got to fish for Kokanee with a black bear hanging out within throwing distance of our boat on Conconully lake.  We had the once in a lifetime opportunity to see a large mountain lion that jumped out in the road up Twisp river!  Our boys have seen deer, pelicans, eagles, osprey, snakes, bull frogs, Mormon  crickets, coyotes, raccoons, hawks, and many more critters.  It is the opportunity to see such diverse wildlife that will create these incredible memories that will stick with them for life.  
  We go on these outdoor adventures as a family to build life long bonds, give our boys the skill sets necessary to be safe in the wild, and share their knowledge with their family when the time comes.  Fishing teaches patients, staying power, problem solving, knot tying, aquatic species knowledge, importance of conservation, confidence, how to prepare and clean fish, and how to stay in the moment.  Another great aspect of taking our boys fishing is it teaches them that no matter how good you are at doing something you will not always succeed at the task you set out to do, and that is okay.
  The bond that fishing has created between my wife, our kids and myself has grown tremendously through the summer.  We have had some incredible moments.  For example, we had a moment where I had just lost a dandy Kokanee and was busy getting that pole ready to go again, and all heck breaks loose and the down rigger pole goes off!  Our boys spring to action.  Our 7 year old frees the pole from the holder and down rigger, sets the hook and with some expert net work from his big brother lands the largest Kokanee of the year for the old Bent Hook Pontoon.  What a moment to watch... speechless!  Another favorite moment was watching our 11 year old land his first walleye ever.  We had the bottom bouncers going with slow death rig heading down stream near the mouth of the Okanogan river and WAMO!  Tyler was all over it. A hefty hook set on the Ugly Stick and the fight was on with a absolute dandy 18" walleye.  What a great first walleye, so proud of him. 
  It wasn't all buttercups, and limits this year.  We still had our ruff patches and they make the good moments even better.  We decided to step up our game this year and purchased a 24 foot pontoon boat that we have named Bent Hook Pontoon.  Our first fishing trip of the year was to Palmer lake and it did not go so well.  We had the boat out the week before on lake Pateros just to test it out for about a 30 minute run.  Well I learned a valued lesson that day to remember to turn off the fish finder.  Our first fishing trip never happend due to a dead battery.  So we ordered a jump pack that we still have not needed to use but now we have it just in case.  We made our first trip to Banks lake on fathers day and got skunked.  That is okay.  You can not expect to catch them every time.  However that was not what made this trip a ruff one.  At the boat launch I went to hop from the boat on to the tailgate and slipped.  I went face first over the side rail of the truck and KAPOWIE!!!  You just knocked your self out at the boat launch in front of a bunch of people!  That was the beginning of the curse.  Next three fishing trip produced nada, zilch, nothing.  Oh the curse of Steamboat, and how it plagued us.  So you got bucked off.  Now what?  Lets take our vacation at Banks lake and break the curse.  So we did, and it was awesome.  We persevered and learned another valuable lesson that you will not always have a successful fishing trip but you need to keep at it and it will pay off.
  Now that it is fall, and our season is coming to a close.  We can look back at all the photos of our summer together and remember all the good times, and the lessons we have learned.  Not to mention having a freezer fully stocked with walleye filets, and smoked kokanee.  What a great year.
Thank you
Milo Marcille
Bent Hook Pontoon
Tight Lines!
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Posted: 10-07-2016, 05:54 PM
beaver lake

so i was going to go fishing at beaver lake last night and i decided to go i was using an ultra light fishing rod for first time at first thought it would snap but it worked well i was using green power bait doe it was so big it was

17 inches people 17 inches 


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Posted by: fishing9315
Posted: 11-04-2015, 01:41 PM
Lost Lake and the Sea Run Cutts
Fishing for lil' 'Bows on chironomids and then to the salt for some beautiful sea run Cutthroats!! Hope you enjoy! Tight Lines

LOST LAKE 2015 from d3vilfish on Vimeo.

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Posted by: Devilfish88
Posted: 04-11-2015, 10:25 AM
Swimbaiting Western Washington 2013.
Hello everyone!
         I hope everyone had a great year of fishing. I made a short compilation of some swimbait largie's I caught over the last year. Please excuse my language in the opening scene. I hooked up a possible double digit so my adrenalin was floored! Enjoy and happy holidays!

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Posted by: dresscode5
Posted: 11-19-2013, 03:00 PM
Low Water Steelheading
 photo reiter-low-and-clear_zpse43a31dc.jpg Well, if you've taken a look at our rivers lately, you'll notice that they are crystal clear. That means nearly unlimited visibility, bright sunny days and spooky steelhead. In spite of these unfavorable condition, you can still catch steelhead. And a lot of them. I decided it's time to let the cat out of the bag, so to speak, and give you all some advice to help catching steelhead. Because if you take my advice, not only will you be more likely to catch fish, you'll be helping out the rest of us as well, as I will explain. I will preface with a warning, don't everyone go out at once, I don't want to blow up the river, but for those of you wishing to avoid the crowds of pink anglers, steelhead can be a good alternative right now. <br /> <br /> The above photo is taken at Reiter ponds. You can see the bottom all the way out. If you look closely, you can see a giant school of fish out there as well. Now, not every day is there a giant school of fish at the hatchery, but right now there are going to be some good days where there will be fish stacked up, some days they will scatter. <br /> <br /> The same is true for a lot of our hatcheries right now. The Stilliguamish at Fortson has a good number of large steelhead hanging out, the Duwamish hatcheries also have fish sitting in front, waiting for rain. Blue Creek on the Cowlitz has a bunch of fishing waiting for you, and these techniques all apply to catching these fish. <br /> <br /> Now on the day that that photo was taken, we had the hole to ourselves. We didn't show up until about 130 pm. Steelhead in the afternoon, you ask? Yep. We hooked probably about 8 fish that day, and limited out two guys. In the bright afternoon sun, with flighty fish.<br /> <br /> The number one thing to know about these fish is that they are people shy! If you can see them, odds are that they're looking at you. Don't let that happen! They are people shy. Not so much line shy, tackle shy, they are people shy. Below is a photo of the guy that you don't want to be. We came up on the hole, and there were to guys standing right on the rocks by the creek. We didn't fish, we just watched and waited. As they stood there, I would point out to my client every time they re-tied how the fish would shoot straight in and sit right at their feet. When they were done putting a new jig on, the fish would fly out and scatter, running up and down the river.
 photo censored-reiter-photo_zpsc39ff30c.jpg Don't be these guys!

The same thing is true about every hatchery hole. There is a place where the fish want to lay, where they feel safe. And they will keep coming back to it, no matter how much gear gets thrown in their faces, or how many people decide to go swimming through, or floating their over sized bobbers right over the fish.

That particular day, we waited for the early riser to leave to go to their respective jobs, it was a weekday after all. And then we sat and had a drink. We set up shop about 20 feet back from the river, and watched as the fish poured in from all over the hole. Every single fish in the river wanted to be right there, and they couldn't be there because we had two 6 foot guys basically standing on there heads.

When they had settled down into their hidey holes, we very carefully crept up to the river, almost at a crawl, from downstream of the fish and cast our presentation upstream of the fish, and on our first drift we hooked into a hawg. After walking it downstream, we waited another five minutes and repeated the catch. Two casts, two fish.

And to prove a point that day, we were drifting with 15 pound leaders. Trilene big game, which, as you may know, is not known for it's invisibility. We drifted a bright orange size 12 corky, with a two foot leader, maybe a 1/4 ounce of weight, right through the hoard of fish, and we had no problem enticing a bite. Because we were stealthy!

The main reason you should read and follow my advice, is so that you are not that guy. That guy stands in the fish and turns off the bite, ruining it for everyone that wants to catch a fish! The guy fishing the boundary at blue creek, wading out 10 feet and casting to the middle of the river. When asked, he'll tell you that's where the fish are! I have to cast to them! Of course that's where the fish are, but it's not where they want to be. Because they aren't where they want to be, they don't feel safe, and they are spooked. For all they know, you could be a bear just waiting to eat them. When they get to lay where they want to be, they start to feel safe, and resume their steelheady business of protecting their territory from wandering fish, or intrusive eggs or nyomhs floating downstream. That's what they WANT to do. Standing on top of them makes them pissy and they shut down.

Summer run are extremely aggressive fish. They will take just about anything when it is presented in a reasonable manner. It's a well kept secret by those of us that fish every day.

As for gear, you probably don't want to run fifteen pound line, just because these fish are going to be over pressured, and not everyone will stand back. A good 10 pound fluorocarbon will be a very acceptable stealth line, while still giving you a semblance of control over a hot 10 pounder. Lately, these fish have been float shy as well. First thing in the AM they will take a bait under a float, but as the day goes on, they respond more too a naturally drifted corky or bead. Corkies in orange and beads in peach to red have been what I'm throwing and cleaning up with. Small size 6 flies in natural tones have also been enticing strikes. The key is getting the most natural drift possible, unhindered by the twitches and jerks that accompany keeping an over-weighted presentation off the bottom. [i]Light Light Light [/i]weights, even if it's a single split shot are key. If you experiment, you will find the right size weight that will allow you to cast, and not spook the fish. I have been running the corky on my mainline, and crimping small split shot up from the hook in intervals, allowing for enough weight to get down, but not a big clump that will turn off the bite. Think of it like you would a super thin sink tip on a fly rod, spread out the weight and you have a smaller profile, and you can easily adjust your leader length simply by sliding the weight forward or backward.

If you must use a float, the best option will be a steelhead stalker balsa float. They are made to work with super light tackle, and have a very low profile. You can fish a bead and split shot under it and still have a decent presentation. One of the reasons that I've been staying away from a float, is because they are not hitting hard at all. If you're watching them bite, even if you have a clear view, you may not even see the take. With a float, they have rarely even been taking it under, just nipping and spitting. The steelhead stalker floats have the super long tips that show even the slightest twitch in the line, a strike may simply be a sudden tip of the float downstream. A drifted presentation with a sensitive rod will allow you to feel the bite faster, give you the opportunity to set the hook before it spits it out.

The tricky part is that you only want to set the hook on a legitimate bite. It can be super tempting to feel the rock on the bottom, knowing full well that you're drifting through a mess of fish and rip back hard. I too find myself having to hold back the impulse to set. Because if you're doing everything right, there is a good chance that you'll end up foul hooking fish, which is no bueno, or ripping your line and disturbing the run so much that it turns off the bite for a good while.

Even if you're fishing the lower river section below hatcheries, these are the techniques to remember. There may not be the large concentrations of fish that there are in the terminal areas, but that makes it even more important to not stand on top of the fish. Coming up on the Wallace Flats the other day, we saw a pod of three fish from 50 feet back, sitting behind a group of boulders. As we started sneaking, another angler came lumbering through with his spey rod and waders between us and the river, and we never saw those fish again. They are people shy, but they want SO much to bite your gear as long as they don't know that you're on the other end! So much!

A light rod, delicate presentation with small gear will catch your a ton of summer run steelhead, whether it's on the SKy, Green, Cowlitz, Calawah or Kalama, and right now these fish have had the time to stack up and hunker down, so it's the best time to have a captive audience for your gear. If you remember the three principles, you'll increase your success 300%.

Stay back, stay low and throw stealth.

Here's a little bit of what I'm talking about:

 photo Sky-Steelhead_zps0bb2f2ca.jpg
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Posted by: natetreat
Posted: 08-16-2013, 05:09 PM
How I caught my P.B. in Washington this fall.
Hey guys,
     I just wanted to share my first attempt at video editing and some short footage I got of my Biggest bass out of Washington State. The cold weather is making me stir crazy already. Happy Holidays!!!

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Posted by: dresscode5
Posted: 11-28-2012, 12:32 AM
How to Get That Fish You Just Hooked on the String

So you’ve put in your hours on the river, bought all the tackle, fished a float, drift fished, filled your tackle box up and now you’ve finally hooked your first fish!  That’s the moment when you see that float down, and you feel the hard tug of a big fish. Your adrenaline is pumping. You’re drag starts singing. You rod’s doubled over and you’re knee deep in the water and just holding on. Now what?

Hooking a fish is hard enough, but when you get it on you are only half way there. Lots of anglers will find that once they hook the fish, they can have a hard time getting it to shore. Let’s talk about some of the techniques that will help you get that fish on the stringer, rather than swimming around in the river 30 seconds later with a sore jaw. Nothing is more disappointing than feeling that tug and losing that fish.

Keep your Cool –

You’re first instinct when you hook a fish is to reel and reel until he gets in. You’re going to have to suppress that instinct. When you get that hook lodged deeply in the fishes jaw, yell “FISH ON!!!!” really loud. This lets the other anglers around you know to reel up and let you play out your fish. After that, take a moment before you start reeling to see what that fish is going to do. It may make a line peeling run, or it may just try to sit on the bottom, and what it does is going to dictate what you do next.

With the tackle that we’re using to hook fish, we’re probably going to be fishing with light line and a lighter rod than you’d think would be capable of bringing in such a big fish. This is when playing out the fish is going to be important, because if you just try to yank it in, you’re looking at broken leaders and bent hooks. Let the rod do the work.

Let the Drag and your Rod do the Work

It’s important that you set your drag for about half the breaking strength of your leader. This is going to keep you from breaking off. When that fish runs, your drag is your defense against a broken line. You’re going to use the flexibility if your rod as a cushion against the violent headshakes, taking the force of a powerful fish and spreading it out to your rod likes a spring. Every time the fish pulls against the rod, he’s using up a little bite more of the energy that he has, and the length and taper of the rod is going to help you tire him out. A tired fish is a docile fish and much easier to net.

Your rod is going to have the most power when it’s kept at a 45 degree angle to the water. If you hold your rod straight up, you’re putting all of the pressure of the fish on the tip of your rod rather than pulling against the entirety of the rod. The main strength of your rod is going to be in the butt or lower section of your rod. Keeping your rod at 45 is going to use all of that power to your advantage.

Directing Traffic

You’re going to look at the river and get the lay of the land. Across the way there may be some stumps in the water. You don’t want the fish to head that way. Downstream from you, you have the tail out, which includes a large riffle with swift current and large rapids that will drag that big fish downstream and spool you in seconds flat. At your feet Are some large boulders, upstream you have fellow anglers with their floats still out. You need to take control of that fish and direct him into the one place he doesn’t want to go: your net!

When that fish starts to run downstream, the first thing you want to do is bring your rod down and lay it against the water upstream. That will pull its head around and send him towards you and turn him upstream. You’re going to want to pull against the direction that the fish wants to go. When he heads back upstream, turn your rod and pull in the opposite direction. Putting pressure against the fish parallel to the surface of the water is going to encourage that fish to stay in the water, rather than jumping up and out.  

Try to avoid pulling straight up on the fish, because this is going to pull his head up and out of the water. As cool as it is to see that fish tail walk across the top of the water, there is a reason why they’re jumping. It’s the best way for them to gain slack in the line to shake that hook. Tension on the line is the most important part of the fight. If you lose the connection between you and the fish, that split second is when the fish is going to have the leverage to get the hook out of its mouth.  Jumping is the best way for it to get that leverage. A good technique for subduing a jumping fish is to lower your rod tip and pull down on the fish, sending him back down into the water.

Pump the Rod and Keep Tension

You’re going to want to bring that fish closer to you. That can be hard if you’re just reeling him in, he’s pulling too hard against the drag and you’re still losing line. The way that you’re going to gain line on the fish is by pumping him in. Raise your rod up to the 45, and as you bring is back down, reel up fast on it ensuring that you don’t lose tension on the fish. As you’re pumping him in, you’re going to continue directing the fish with your rod angle. When the fish makes a run, you’re going to have to let it run. Reeling against a running fish is going to twist your line up, and isn’t going to do much to gain any ground on it.

Palming or Thumbing the Spool

There will be circumstances where that fish is going to make a run towards the sticks that you just can’t stop with the drag alone. This is when the knowledge of the breaking strength of your line and rod are going to be the key. To slow the fish you’re going to have to palm the spool, gently pushing on it to add that additional drag on the fish to slow him down. A lot of times that additional and sudden force on the fish can stop it dead in its tracks and send him in the opposite direction. The danger here is that that additional drag is going to have the ability to break your line. Knowing how much pressure you can put on a fish before the line breaks is something that you’re going to have to be able to feel out, and with a little time you’re going to have a feel for your gear and know that lines breaking strength. Of course this is going to be your last resort when trying to stop the fish, because the risk of breaking off is going to be pretty high.

Take your Time and Tire Him Out

The object is to tire that fish out so that you can bring him to shore and get him in the net. Don’t try and net the fish until its good and tired out, because as soon as it sees the net, it’s going to run again, and often that first glimpse of shore is going to summon the strength to escape that the fish didn’t even know he had. You’ll often times get the most exciting runs out of the fish the moment that he sees the gravel, and you’ll have to hold on. Take your time and tire him out so that the fish is not going to be thrashing around when that net comes for him.

Banking and Netting

When netting the fish, net it head first, and don’t net until you know you’re going to get it. Missed lunges are going to knock that leader free, and fish lost at the net are the worst type of fish. Have your netter ready with the net halfway in the water, direct the fishes head towards the net and use a fluid swift stroke to engulf the entire fish in the bag. When the fish is in the bag, you’re going to pull it straight back and up, folding the net around the fish, making sure that he can’t escape. Get the net and fish up on dry land before you unhook him, and if you’re going to keep the fish, give him a quick whack on the head to calm that flopping. When you’re looking at nets, make sure that you get one that is bigger than you think you need, because if you’ve got a bag that is too short and you have the fish only half way in, he’s going to slide right out and break your leader.

With these techniques, you’re going to be able to bring that fish to shore quick, and you’ll have more fish on the card than in the water. Playing a fish is simple: keep tension, take your time, direct its movements and pump him in.


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Posted by: natetreat
Posted: 10-28-2012, 12:32 AM
Delivering on the Dream of Washington
I am a lucky guy-- a native Washingtonian. I was born here and I will die here. Warts and all I consider Washington paradise… with strings. However, I am a realist, and typically know what to expect here. Folks that haven’t spent a lot of time in the great Pacific Northwest often don’t know what to expect.    


A life-long friend of mine just moved from Reno to Renton. He spent summers here as a kid—and has a pretty good idea what to expect. His coworker moved with him who is brand new to the state. He doesn’t know what to expect. But unfortunately, he thinks he knows what to expect. What he moved here for: Alaska Junior. Streams packed with kings, coho, and steelhead (all of which he has never fished for) and a pristine Puget Sound with year-round open seasons on all variety of tasty fish.


Yesterday evening I met my friend's coworker on the shoreline of one of Commencement Bay’s more contaminated fingers. The conversation went like this:


Him: What fish can we catch from shore near here?


Me: Well, I know an area that can hold pile perch and striped perch right around here. Catch and release though—I would not recommend eating anything from this channel.


Awkward silence.


Him: What about salmon?


Me: Well, the Puyallup River is about two miles that way—it has a couple of decent runs for the area. A lot of people who fish it affectionately call it “The Puke.”


Him: What’s a puke-salmon?


We were speaking two different languages. Eventually, we adjusted our dialects and started making sense to each other. My duty as a Washingtonian was to manage his expectations, without popping his balloon. He has never fished for, or caught, a salmon. He would like to do so from the bank somewhere close to his work in King County.


We narrowed it down to the Green. I explained how runs, seasons, closures, gear restrictions, and netting would affect his fishing. I gave him a summary of the various methods of salmon fishing. He was blown away by the concept of corkies—that a mighty king will strike at a green plastic pebble. He wasn’t too familiar with combat fishing, but didn’t like the sound of it.


Someone told him Cohos are the finest eating fish in Washington waters, so he’d really like to catch one. My buddy or I should be able to get him on one this fall. But hopefully it doesn’t come too quick. Beginners’ luck is truly curse. And paradise, to be truly apprecaited, must be earned.

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Posted by: Fish-or-man?
Posted: 08-22-2012, 12:30 AM
Crappie & Bass!
I hit a small local lake.  Anyone who has fished there will know just from looking at the video.

I ended up catching 3 black crappie and 2 largemouth in a couple hours.
1 crappie and 1 bass on a drop shot
2 crappie on a small hair jig
1 bass on my koppers live target bluegill wakebait!

Got video of the 2 bass and 1 crappie!

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Posted: 07-15-2012, 12:52 AM
Shore Bound Sockeye? Drop a Line in the Skagit!
Sockeye fishing in the Skagit? Yup and it is a pretty darn good fishery at that.  I apologize that I didn’t put something together sooner but I had a dilemma to work out. Early in the season a fellow fishermen mentioned that he recognized me as Rseas, was familiar with my WashingtonLakes activity and then suggested the fishery was already too crowded so I should not post anything about the fishery. He further said that posting something “WOULD NOT” be a good idea and that it would upset a lot of people. I mulled this over for some time and with the fishery being so close to home decided to sit on it for a while. Now with two weeks left to the season and many of the diehard fishermen up to their eyeballs in sockeye fillets I figure it is time to share my experiences and insight into the fishery.

        56603716_IMAG0457070212t.jpg                                                               64994039_IMAG0478070212t.jpg

The fishery opened Saturday June 16th. I was out of town and didn’t get to fish the opener but was on the water a few days later. In preparation for the fishery I did a lot of research. An item in particular, the feeding and migration habits of sockeye caught my interest. One of the things that surprised me was that just prior to entering fresh water sockeye will put the feed bag on and eat everything in sight. They may eat shrimp, small forage fish, out migrating smolts and especially chum salmon smolts, small clams and sand shrimp. The research also suggested that once sockeye enter freshwater, sockeye make a b-line for their holding areas (usually a lake) in whatever watershed that hosts the given run of sockeye. Once there they will mill around waiting for late August through October before entering the feeder stream or river to spawn. Interesting, but how can we use that to increase our chances of catching one?

First remember that the open fishery is in the lower Skagit River. That means these fish will be bright and just in from the salt and with the feedbag still on! To capitalize on the munch fest your offering will need to include some form of bait and or scent. If the river was lower and in better condition (the gauge in Mount Vernon has been running between 22' and 25’ since the opener with moderate flood stage being 28’) I believe that bait alone would catch the fish. Unfortunately with the high glacial silt stained water the visibility is poor and some form of attractor is required. I have seen many different attractors being used but # 4 or # 6 spin-n-glows are proving to be extremely effective.  

The general rigging is as follows (they are many variations possible but this is my preferred rig)

1)    21-17 pound main line (40# Power-Pro)
2)    A sinker slide
3)    Bead
4)    Swivel
5)    3’ of 20# fluorocarbon with a 1/0 hook secured with a egg-loop.
6)    Spin-n-glow (Almost any color, color preference seems to change daily) and beads
7)    4-6 ounce pyramid sinker
8)    Bait; sand shrimp, cured shrimp, yarn with scent or some combination of the three.
9)    Sand spike type of rod holder

Slide the sinker slide on your main line, add the stopper bead and tie on a swivel. Slide 3 or 4 small beads down the fluorocarbon leader to the hook then the spin-n-glow and tie the rigged leader to the swivel. Ask what your next door neighbor is using for lead and fish what everyone else is fishing, if everyone is using 6 ounces use a 6 ounce weight. As a note; with the high water I believe that the fish will be migrating right next to the bottom and I don’t use a dropper, attaching the weight directly to the sinker slide. Next pin your bait on the hook and if using sand shrimp, ½ hitch the tail a couple times to assure it stays on the hook and add some scent (I am having very good luck with the anise/krill scents). Again watch your fellow fisherman and see where he is casting. When casting, try to place your rig about the same distance from shore as everyone else.  With every one doing the same thing you are much less likely to tangle. Although that said; again the high-water thing, the fish will be taking the path of least resistance. This means shallow close to shore travel lanes, taking the inside path and sticking close to the bottom. Once your offering is in the water insert your pole into a sturdy pole holder/sand spike and pour a cup of coffee while you wait for a bite.



A bite, hmmm what does the bite look like? Some fish absolutely hammer your offering, jumping free of the river before you even realize the fish is on your setup. While with other fish the bite is very subtle, the bite barely being a nibble. Either way when you get a bite remove your rod from the holder, hold it with some tension on the line for a moment or two then when you feel the fish gently set the hook. You will know immediately whether or not you have a fish on. These fish are fresh from the salt and full of piss-n-vinegar. An occasional fish will swim right to the net but most will give you an admirable battle before you slide the net under them.

Unfortunately with the high water shore access is some what limited and the boats are struggling a bit. If running a boat be considerate of the shore fisherman, both in where you set up and when traveling. With the high water most of the shore access is limited to Young’s Bar in Mount Vernon, the Trestle area and the soccer fields in Burlington and a number of less accessible areas in the Sedro Wolley area and upstream to Gilligan Creek.

To date I have fished the lower Skagit River Sockeye fishery a number of times. I have connected with fish every trip. I have hooked many more fish than went home with me, either because I released them (man did that raise some eyebrows) or flat out lost them. Thus far my biggest fish was just over 10 pounds and a beautiful fish. I have fished at various times throughout the day and although the fish seem to bite best right after daybreak I have caught fish during all daylight hours. If considering a trip to fish the Skagit for sockeye, don’t worry about the time of the day and just go fishing when you can. As an additional little teaser, Friday evening while fishing a local saltwater beach I caught and released (sort of released) a sockeye on a very sparsely tied chartreuse fry pattern fly. I was casting to the smooth side of some inshore rips when a few strips into one of the casts I went bendo. After a noble battle the fish rolled in the shallow water and knocked the hook out then swam away before posing for a picture and officially being released.  


This fishery is an awesome gift form the WDFW so be sure to get out there and see what it as all about. Make a point to read the regulations and remember that there is a night closure and anti-snagging rules are in place. These are the cream of the crop as far as salmon go so be sure to bleed and ice down your catch as soon as possible after catching it. I have made a point to fillet the fish so that I preserve the integrity of the belly slab for smoking. It is some of the best tasting smoked fish you will ever eat!
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Posted by: rseas
Posted: 07-02-2012, 03:19 PM
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