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Gear Fishing

Skagit Silvers elude us but Chums and Bull Trout save the day

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Saturday, November 6th 2010.

Silver salmon were the target for the day as we launched at first light on the mighty Skagit River. We’re nearing the end of the Coho season, but based on some good recent reports we were hoping to find some fresh fish still in the river. Luck was not on our side this day for our search for Silver salmon, but we did get lucky in another way.

Skagit river anglers

Skagit river anglers

This was to be another day of side-drifting cured salmon eggs, casting spinners and twitching jigs. As we progressed down river we pulled into a section of slack water where a small stream flows into the main river. After probing the water with spinners and spoons for a few minutes we couldn’t help but notice the large amount of chum salmon rising along the main current seam. I had brought my float rod along with me in the boat so after stringing up and tying on a pink and purple steelhead jig it wasn’t long until my first chum of the day was head shaking and thumping the end of my 11 foot float rod. I like to use a long rod for float fishing to help with managing the floating braided line on the surface. Also, the long rod I use has a sturdy backbone so lets me handle strong fish like the chum salmon. I was glad that I brought my float rod along with me for the day, as I had considered leaving it behind since it generally wouldn’t be used when fishing for silver salmon. We didn’t even see a coho salmon during the entire float (we may have seen one jump but it’s hard to say for sure), but instead ended up catching quite a few chum.

The highlight of the day for me was a large bull trout that came out of hiding to pound the green bodied spinner I was casting. We were drifting down, slightly less than current speed as I cast upstream at a slight angle. My friend on the oars was rowing just enough to slow our drift and give my lure the correct presentation.  I let the spinner slack-line and sink for a few seconds before beginning my slow retrieve. After a few turns of the reel the hit was vicious and the fight was on. A few minutes later a nicely colored Bull trout, or Dolly Varden as they are also called, was resting in the soft net. After carefully removing the hook I held him up for a quick photo and then gently slipped the sleek fish back into the water.

Chum Salmon

Chumdog Millionaire

We floated 12 miles for about 8 hours of river time. We stopped a few times to stretch our legs and fish from shore but for the most part kept our stops brief so we could continue to cover fresh water. Even though we didn’t get any Silvers it was a great day on the water.

Playing chum salmon

Playing chum salmon

chum jig

Gnarly teeth. Maybe one reason why they call it a dog salmon.

Chum Salmon

Chum Salmon

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Discussion

2 Responses to “Skagit Silvers elude us but Chums and Bull Trout save the day”

  1. Thanks for the post

    Posted by Ron Tedwater | 11/17/2010, 9:08 pm
  2. I found your blog on google and read a few of your other posts. I just added you to my Google News Reader. Keep up the good work Look forward to reading more from you in the future.

    Posted by Rosaline Mckechnie | 11/17/2010, 9:14 pm

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