Summer Run Steelhead - is the fishing slow everywhere?

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After giving up this summer after several trips to the Wynoochee and Humptulips Rivers, I have been following the post's others are making on other forums about both rivers.

The news ain't good. Both rivers should have fish in them but I am hearing that both are in the single digits for fish taken. The Nooch in particular should be pretty hot right now but reports from reliable fishermen are of one or two fish taken last week and about the same amount seen laying in the holes throughout the river.

I've heard lots of explanations - the fish are late (sorry not buying), the river is low (it's been hot fishing with lower water before), smolt mortality, or "ocean conditions". I'm getting the sinking feeling that some of the runs in rivers in WA are in big trouble this year.

I've heard that the rivers on the upper Peninsula are also slow. I haven't heard much about the Cowlitz and other SW rivers, can someone give a quick report? What about the Oregon rivers?


Keep in mind I am not looking to have people swarm to your favorite river or hole so don't be afraid to be vague, just say hot or cold. You can even pm me if you don't want to post here.
 

Mikej

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After giving up this summer after several trips to the Wynoochee and Humptulips Rivers, I have been following the post's others are making on other forums about both rivers.

The news ain't good. Both rivers should have fish in them but I am hearing that both are in the single digits for fish taken. The Nooch in particular should be pretty hot right now but reports from reliable fishermen are of one or two fish taken last week and about the same amount seen laying in the holes throughout the river.

I've heard lots of explanations - the fish are late (sorry not buying), the river is low (it's been hot fishing with lower water before), smolt mortality, or "ocean conditions". I'm getting the sinking feeling that some of the runs in rivers in WA are in big trouble this year.

I've heard that the rivers on the upper Peninsula are also slow. I haven't heard much about the Cowlitz and other SW rivers, can someone give a quick report? What about the Oregon rivers?


Keep in mind I am not looking to have people swarm to your favorite river or hole so don't be afraid to be vague, just say hot or cold. You can even pm me if you don't want to post here.
From Aberdeen? From what I know that's pretty close to some of the best steelheading in the world isn't it? Summer and/or winter.
Do you fish tarnished or black spinners for hot weather/low water summers? I ask because years ago when ODFW planted summers in the Clack and let them run all the way up I fished for them with Black#3 and 4 Blue Foxes. This was way back when they first started float fishing for steel head...Damned if can remember the name of those big heavy yellow floats that started the whole thing in the mid eighties. I used to find those things and their packaging on the bank......Any way, most of the books and locals said "Once the sun hits the water, go home". Somebody had written an article is STS about using dull colored spinners after the sun had hit the water.

I used to be way up on the upper Clack in the dark, waiting for legal fishing. I'd start with glow-in-the-dark corkies charged with a strobe. It wasn't uncommon to get bit on a first cast. It also wasn't uncommon to turn a second fish loose at 7:30am because I wanted to fish longer.

After the sun got high I'd switch up to cut offs and hip waders. I take a little box with no more than four or five black Blue fox spinners, some ball bearing swivels and a few thin strips of green prism tape too,(for the back of the blades, maybe). I didn't fish holes. I fished "bubblie" (sp?) water. Water where you didn't necessarily need to reel to make the spinner work. It only needed to be two feet deep, maybe less? Those fish would move way up into that Bubblie water because it was cooler, most likely though because it had more oxygen in it. Cast that spinner way across the river, give it a little jerk to get it working and hold the rod tip up. Just keep it throbbing, and ticking rocks a bit. Make three cast or so to any little pockets, or deeper slots you could see between you and the far bank. You couldn't see a black spinner, even in bright sun light and shallow water, but you would sure see that flash when a summer steelhead hit and turned in that shallow water! Quite a few fish were lost, you hook up way on the other side with a bunch of water and rocks between you and the fish, there was hell to pay getting that summer through all that. It was crazy trying to get a fish in that you hooked straight below you too. Those summers are some crazy fighting fish, for sure.

The best part about it was there was practically no one up there, and most would be fishing long deep holes with bait or jigs, and those new fangle float things. Problem was, the active biters were in the shallow fast water!
Those were some mighty good times, for sure...

Good luck up there. I fish the Columbia now from my boat for summer steelhead, and I believe that is some of the best eatin' fish there is. I almost prefer it to upriver bright, and it's certainly better than mid or lower river fall chinook IMO.

Mike
 
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Been slow on the Kalama River as well. In past years you usually couldn't keep the steelhead off your line this time if year. Went out on Monday and didn't even have a bite. It's depressing. I heard from my step dad they are trying to turn the Kalama into a "wild" run only river. Not sure how much truth is on that but it wouldn't surprise me for then to harm the ecosystem even more.
 
OP
coastal steelheader
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Some of this might be weather related but I'm getting the sinking feeling that something is very wrong in the ocean, or the river system.
I get the feeling a lot of people will be voicing the same concern if this fall salmon season is worse than last years.
 
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I think there is definitely something wrong in the ecosystem. Salmon season was just terrible for me this year. Not sure about others. My uncle only caught one this year and he is very good and knows his stuff when it comes to catching them.
 
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I'm not real sure what to think right now??? My old commercial fishing buddies out of Pacific city are flat hammering the Silvers and Chinook, one report tonight was 400 Albacore tuna on a 62 footer today! Not sure it's the ocean conditions, perhaps the DF&W bowing to the pressures of the "wild only" crowd and the results of their efforts coming to light? The Steelhead is a hard one to explain though as its very seldom we would get one among the numbers in a days catch.
 

Mikej

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Was out steelhead fishing last weekend on the upper clackamas. Not a damn bite. Just stood there watching a school of 150ish Chinooks circling my bait but not biting.
Those old boots were never good biters. I always saw that as a good thing though.

On a good note, the summers on the Columbia seem to be right on schedule! Now, if the water won't get so warm the fish won't bite.
 

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