Well NWFR, another great day of Lake Sammamish fishing.
Late start to the day with my good friend and WDFW fisheries biologist Danny Garrett with lines in just before 11. got bites right away, but somehow went 0/6 on fish... crazy. restarted the troll pattern, switched to some larger hooks and kept the lures closer to the boat, and finally got the fish to stick. although it took 90 mins to get the first keeper into the boat, we went 10/11 on the rest of the day. all the fish came from about 25-30 feet on the Downrigger, think the storm blowing thru drove the fish deep since the water was rough and the Midge hatch therefore didn't happen. great day on the water and am looking forward to a delicious new years dinner!
Man, what a fantastic day on the lake. It was pouring down rain at 6:00 this morning, so i was worried it would be a soaking wet day on the lake. thankfully the day turned to beautiful around 7:45 and fishing was on! I met up with Danny around 9 but due to some heavy chit-chatting and other distractions we didn't get our lines in the water until close to 11:00.
Rod1: blade style attractant flatlining with a wedding ring and crawler (back 175 ft)
Rod2: dodger and wedding ring/crawler 22ft on the rigger
our troll today was in about 75-80 FOW, stretching the entire center section of the lake. we were only trolling for about 5 mins when we had a huge takedown on rod 1, but he didn't stick. 5 minutes later, same thing. then, 2 hits on rod 2, but still no fish sticking... incredible. We ran up to the start of the troll and fished back down, missing two more on the rigger. are you serious? ridiculous stuff guys, so i have an idea for our next go around.
meanwhile, i check my phone in between trolls to find a text from Rmrauscher asking me how i was faring. After explaining i was having the worst time getting fish to stick, he said to speed up the troll, shorten the length of the lines out, and use less worm to make them commit. Since i was using an electric motor, i didn't want to speed up much to conserve battery. i was already using just enough worm to cover the hook and leave the barb showing, but shortening the length my lines were out sounded like a great idea!
We arrive at the start of the troll again, this time with new gear out on rod 2: a les davis kokanee pro and a new wedding ring with my bright idea: bigger hooks! i also switched my topwater rig to bigger hooks as well, but it had been silent for a long while, confidence was definitely lacking in rod 1... no more than 5 mins into the troll, fish on Rod 2, he sticks, fish in the boat...great 17" cutthroat FINALLY FINALLY FINALLY FINALLY! I'm not a total failure today! oh man. i can breathe. fantastic.
we circle around again hoping for seconds, same spot, fish on rod 2 again! another great fish right around the same size. well, good stuff. we have a couple of fish in 10 mins. Having 2 fish coming from 22-27 feet from the rigger, I switched rod 1 to a fast-limit kokanee dodger and a red wedding ring and set it down 14'. right away, another one! we were hot! after a good fight, we landed the fish and were feeling much better about the day now having 3 keepers. yessir! doing ok.
We continued the troll down the lake now, and 20 minutes later picked up another nice cutt from rod 2 who managed to tangle up all of my gear, swimming erratically around my other line out, so i had to cut and retie. 10 minutes after that, rod 1 picked up another beautiful silver cutthroat. after a terrible start, we were finally having some good success. when i take people out in my boat, the first limit, if we reach it, is theirs. I was hoping get started on my limit now because i was supposed to bring home some fresh fish for New Years Eve Dinner that would impress the people we were hosting.
15 minutes go by when suddenly Rod 2 doubles over, and the fish pops the clip. whenever a trout pops the clip, i get excited... this fish was big. he fought hard, jumped, pulled line, barrel rolled, fantastic fight. when he saw the boat, he had a huge jump, than dove, pulled line, swam faster than i could reel at the boat, jumped, and got off. it was a great fight though, so no hard feelings fish and thank you for a good time.
after getting both rods set back up, we trolled for about 5 minutes when Danny grabs a fish off rod 2, and excellently lands him like a pro, as danny was netting his fish, ( i was in the front of the boat looking for pliers) i see rod 1 get smashed. danny, with his hands already holding a net, fish, rod, and lure, grabs the pole and hands it off all while facing the wrong way! it was indeed an incredible athletic feat and quite the sight. we landed both fish, and now we were at 7. we planned to release these fish because they were smaller, but one was hooked in the gill and Danny's had been out of the water for too long to safely release (we tried, decided to eat the fish instead of watch it float away barely breathing and probably not surviving much longer). so 7 fish, and a double. great day.
we had been on the water for about 3.5 hours at this point, so we decided to just troll towards the launch and see if there were any more fish for us. sure enough, there they were. 3 big and healthy fish in 20 minutes to finish two limits. another unbeatable day of fishing on lake Sammamish and two fisherman going home with a delicious New years entree. for me, pan seared trout in butter with some filets having a citrus accent.
thank you to Rmrauscher for the help on the water today! i owe a fish or two to ya!
The lake has just been red-hot lately and it was great to get out with Danny again and talk about lake health and fish populations (danny and his colleagues manages many western washington waters including Lake Sammamish). Danny, who has frequented the lake for multiple years said the fish are looking bigger, chunkier, and on average larger than ever before. We also talked about the kokanee, he said they have been returning in larger numbers, which hopefully means an eventual fishing opportunity for silver-bullets on the lake again. keeping some cutthroat may help create this fishery. PLEASE HAVE A PURPOSE TO WHAT YOU KEEP.
MORE IMPORTANT INFOMATION
STARTING JANUARY 1 AND LASTING INTO APRIL, LAKE SAMMAMISH WAS A BARBLESS FISHERY UNTIL THIS YEAR. Yes folks Danny and i were talking, and he said the regulation was lifted as it was proven to be not helpful in saving accidentally hooked kokanee. so, no need to pinch the barbs at the start of the new year
I sadly do not get to keep fishing this lake for much longer as college beckons (dang it) but it has certainly been a blast. i am hoping make it out once or twice more, but we will see... it has certainly been a blast.
until next time, tight lines and good fishing to all in 2017!
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