Thanksgiving season means one thing to anglers in Grays Harbor. It is the time steelheaders start watching for winter steelhead (our prize game fish) to arrive in local rivers. That is, of course, if anyone can get close to them, in the near future, after the deluge we reviewed this past week.
The river levels will definitely encourage their migration before it will discourage it. The bigger question is when will the rivers drop into shape and become fishable.
In the recent past, anglers have continued to pursue salmon. The rivers have been in fairly good shape, but my assessment of the fishing is that it has been “spotty.” Fresh fish have definitely occupied the rivers.
Yet, in my opinion, the numbers have not been there. When the volume of fish is down, the hook up ration goes down as well. So, anglers, like myself, have been working hard and putting in the time with less than ideal results to show for their effort.
Recently, I made the decision to see if I could connect with a fresh silver by getting to one of my favorite fishing spots for the evening bite. As I arrived, another vehicle also came and four people piled out. Three were armed with a rod of their own and the fourth with a net.
As I walked by their rig, it was apparent this group had been drinking and were already feeling the effects. They announced they had just come from another location where they reportedly hooked but lost a number of fish.
I got to the river first and found the place where I knew there were fish, but getting them to bite has been a bit of a challenge. As the group made their way to another location about 75 to 100 yards away, I could not help but keep an eye on them.
Their loud boisterous mannerisms echoed along the quiet river. They made their way to the water’s edge with more than the average amount of slipping and sliding. As they made their casts, their tackle ended up in the strangest of places such as the neighboring trees, adjacent rocks and and nearby logs. I honestly believed that one of these characters was going to fall into the river. I thought to myself in that moment, if these people actually catch a fish and I do not, I would have to seriously consider giving up this activity for good.
After all, I was working the water so well and these folk were so random, it made no sense that they could ever connect with these finicky fish.
As the sun set and their frustration level increased, they resorted to the unthinkable. Snagging salmon is not only unsportsmanlike, but, it is illegal as well. They were able to hook one in the dorsal but thankfully for the fish, it got away. I heard one guy say he was sure he could catch a fish, but by now he had lost all his line and had to quit. Fortunately darkness closed in and the fish were safe once more from this unscrupulous invasion of so-called fishermen.
I don’t know what it will take to get some people on the right page. When it happens, this world becomes a much safer and happier place. Happy Thanksgiving and good luck fishing!