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Bridgeport Steelhead

Dave Graybill - 11/5/2012
I couldn’t have timed my fishing trip better last week. It was the only day that it didn’t pour down rain in the area. My wife and I had clear, sunny skies and no wind when we traveled to Bridgeport for a day of steelhead fishing. It was the last trip that we could make in the Jetcraft that I have been using, thanks to the folks at Kingfisher Boats and Bob Feil Boats and Motors. It was a perfect day to say goodbye to this great boat, a 1925 Discovery.

Before I give everyone the blow by blow of how our steelhead trip went, I want to share with you a big announcement that has to do with the Fishing and Cooking TV shows. For years these shows have been broadcast on local cable networks, and judging by the comments I get from folks that I meet, there is a big following of the shows. I have been very pleased by the number of people that tuned in to see the programs starting at 7 a.m. on the weekends. I was actually surprised to learn how many people were watching the shows via streaming on their computers. I was getting thousands of views by those that took the time to log onto the streaming feature, knowing that they had to do so this when the shows were being broadcast.

It has been a longer road than I thought I had to travel to provide better access to the shows, but I am happy to announce that as of today the shows for both the Fishing and Cooking TV shows for the month can be viewed at any time during that month. People can now just log onto my web site,, click on Fishing TV or Cooking TV on the Home Page, and then choose the show they want to watch from the list. Four new shows will be posted each month and you can simply click your way to the show you want to see and play it whenever you want. The convenience of “on demand” viewing should greatly increase the number of folks that get to watch these entertaining and informative programs.

Now, let me share how we did steelhead fishing at Bridgeport last week. We put in at the city marina, where they have a new dock if you haven’t been there yet. We saw a boat upriver, so decided to run down river to fish the outlet of the Colville Tribal Hatchery, at what I have always called the “blow hole”. I was surprised to see that there was nothing coming out of the outflow pipe here, but we chose to give it a try anyway. I should mention that when we launched I found that I neglected to put my jig box in the boat. I had three rods on board and two of them had my favorite Maxi-Jigs already tied on, and I just hoped the fish would like the bright pink color. If they didn’t it could be a tough day.

We hadn’t been casting long when my bobber disappeared and I had a good fish on. When I got it close enough to the boat to see what I had I discovered that a small king had taken the jig. I released it and went back to work. We were seeing fish roll above us, below us and at the edges of the sweet spot in the blow hole, and I thought we were probably seeing kings and triploids. When my bobber went down the next time I was very pleased to see that I had a nice hatchery steelhead.

We decided to rest this hole for a while and ran up river to fish the area just below the bridge. This one can be tricky. There is often a lot of current here and there are some big boulders all through the drift. It can be “sticky” and I have lost a few jigs drifting through this spot. We made three passes without any bites and I was about to give up. I extended the drift and continued down well below where I am used to hooking fish. I had seen some fish rolling in the seam down here, but assumed they were kings. Well, there was a least one steelhead down there and I hooked it. I thought I had a king on at first because it went straight down and stayed there. When I got it up to the boat I could see the adipose fin on the fish. It was quite a bit bigger than the one we landed earlier and put up a great fight. I was happy to release it.

We fished a couple of other spots and returned to the blow hole for a few more casts, but only got more kings and a triploid. It was a beautiful day at Bridgeport with enough action to make it a good one for the last trip in that boat. This was sure a great boat. I am glad a good friend of mine bought it. My new Kingfisher is already on the way from the factory in Vernon, B.C., thanks to the folks at Bob Feil Boats and Motors.

I want to remind everyone that the plan for the steelhead season this year is to close it at the end of November and then reopen it around mid-February. I am headed down to the Grande Ronde to do a float with guide Brian Nielson and my buddy Eric Granstrom. It could be wet but it won’t matter. Floating this river is something special.

Better get out and get some steelhead before the break. I sure will!

By Dave Graybill