The Troutist - 10/10/2012
Every year for the past ten years there has been an event called Fish Camp that is held in the Bonneville pool area. Peach Tree Campground in Maryhill is the base camp. This is an event where Publishers, Editors, Writers, Guides, Manufacturing Reps, Presidents & CEO’s of the different outdoor and fishing gear companies all get together and try out new gear coming onto the market. This is an invite type of affair and I was once again given the opportunity to attend.
Companies that were represented this year were Alps/Browning, Bassin Assassin, Cabela’s, Camp Chef, Coast, Columbia Sportswear, Darex, Eagle Claw, EZ Marine Products, Folbe Products, Hevi-Beads, Izorline, Lamiglas Rods, US Reel, and TTI. I want you to make note of the companies listed because in my November columns I will be giving you my reviews on the new products I have been putting through the Uncle Wes torture test and possibly give you some ideas for some Christmas gifts for that outdoorsman in your family. I am sure all of you have that person in your family that is hard to shop for.
Now let’s get into the angling experience I had on the water with some of the best anglers in the NW. I spent my three days on the water working the mouth of the White Salmon River for up-river bright’s (Chinook salmon). Last October the dam on the river was blown up and tons and tons of silt and debris were washed down river. My first questions were how much did this affect the fishery and what was the condition of the pool outside of the mouth. Sadly to say the fishable area that could once handle up to fifty boats was now cut in half. The second thing I noticed was the trees sticking up out of the water with the other end buried in silt. After working the pool for three days I also discovered several new snags that laid claim to several of my leaders over a three day span.
For those anglers trolling plugs that is usually an early morning tactic and that lasts until about 10am and then they all seem to disappear. Hover fishing is the number one producer here and for the most part the tactic of choice. Hover fishing is a controlled drift with your eggs suspended a few feet off of the bottom. How do you know if you are doing it right? My answer is if you are hooking Sturgeon your fishing to close to the bottom. The salmon bite is very subtle; it is a slight tug on your rod. Paying attention is the key here if you expect to be successful, holding your rod tip just six-inches off of the water and watching it very closely for that ever so slight pull that you will receive from these up-river bright Chinook salmon. Now if you getting a quick tap-tap-tap like a trout bite then chances are it is a squaw fish sucking the eggs off of your hook.
My first day out I was paired up with Doug Allen a Walleye Tournament Champion who is very familiar with this fishery and has been very successful at it. It was a tough day for us as we worked the drift for six hours only to get two hits all day. The sad part of this was we each had a hook-up for just a few seconds, just enough time to let you know what you were missing out on. It wasn’t just us that had a tough day we noticed only a handful of adult salmon being caught but the majority of salmon retained were jacks. The tactic that was bringing these juvenile salmon to the net was trolling plugs. Yes we were totally rejected and disappointed and I had to use the phrase that I hate the most and it also indicates my lack of success. “It was a nice day on the water”, this phrase drives me nuts. My total catch for the day was two squaw fish.
My second day I found myself on Skipper “Dub” Burnum’s boat. Dub is an expert on this style of fishery spending 3 to 4 days a week and sometimes more. Dub has worked this stretch of water for years and it definitely shows. He was tutored on this style by the master himself legendary guide Herb Good. If anyone working this stretch of water is going to put fish in the boat it is these two characters. Two nicer and skilled anglers you will never meet and I am happy to call both of them good friends. The knowledge and skill I have learned from these two is priceless.
Dubs choice of gear is a G-Loomis Rod, the GLX series. 7’4” SAHR-883-C, 10-20lb test extra fast rod. For a reel he uses a Shimano Cardlift spooled with #40lb Spectra from Izorline. His leaders are #25lb fluorocarbon also from Izorline, hooks are a 1/0 VMC. These rods are no longer made so you can only imagine how much these are cherished.
My boat mates on this day were Wes Remmer from Cabela’s, Doug Aeckelkamp and Zach Scheidegger from Alps/Browning. This day turned out to be a complete opposite from the day before with everyone putting fish in the boat. Doug ended up with the big boy of the day coming in around 18lbs or maybe just a smidge bigger. This was Doug’s first salmon in his life and his smile definitely showed it. I put one in the net that was somewhere around the 15lb mark. I would like to tell you it was bigger but I know these guys will be reading this column. At the end of the day we boated 7 total, 3 adults and 4 jacks. This is pretty decent considering it was Wes and Doug’s first attempt at this style of angling, also taking into consideration that Zach and I definitely don’t do this style of fishing on a daily basis. Yes I considered it a very successful outing as did the others.
By luck of the draw on the third day I once again found myself heading out on Dubs boat. My crewmates on this day were some old friends, Steve Ichinokuchi, Jim Duntley from Izorline, and Hank O’Dougherty from Work Sharp. This was another good day for fish. Jim seemed to have the hot hand landing the biggest of the day, I’d say close to 18lbs. Hank and Steve also landed some decent fish, I believe Hanks was somewhere in the 15lb class. Me, well I put a nice sized jack in the boat, in fact it was the first salmon of the day breaking the ice. We had some great conversation and laughs and if I’m given the opportunity next year you can bet I will be there. So until next time may your next trout be your trophy mount.
Join me on my facebook page Uncle Wes. So until next time may your next trout be your trophy mount. The Troutist-“Uncle Wes” Malmberg.