A fantasy comes true: two spring salmon on two herring in three hours

Spring Chinook are nearly as mythical as steelhead. Persistence, skill, tools and a really lucky day are key to success. My recent trip to the Willamette River was heavily weighted on the last one.

Work had consumed me for the past month and I needed a day in the kayak. I woke up Sunday morning torn between fishing for trout or salmon. Based on my previous salmon trips, I was leaning more towards trout. But, I also wasn't interested in driving two hours in hopes of catching a couple large trout that had recently been stocked in Timothy Lake. Besides, it was cold on the mountain.

I spent an hour getting ready and as I pulled out of the driveway with the trailer and kayaks I decided I would mull it over on my way to get coffee. I had two fly rods, a sturgeon rod and a salmon rod and gear so no matter what choice I made, I was prepared.

I walked into Safeway, grabbed three nearly expired yogurts that were 50 percent off, and stepped up to the Starbucks coffee stand. I ordered a large coffee, paid the barista and headed out the door. I pulled out the parking lot and headed north to Swan Island boat ramp. As I pulled in, I was pleased to see a nearly full lot of bass boat trailers. OK, I thought, salmon it is, with sturgeon a strong second.

Since I had no bait, I drove to the nearby Fred Meyer, bought a tray of green label herring and another coffee and headed back to the ramp. Within the hour I was trolling herring in the Hobie Pro Angler and marking several fish on the fish finder. I trolled downriver with no luck and headed back. Soon the rod bent once, twice, and then started dancing. I grabbed the rod, felt the fish and immediately started fumbling with the remote video switch. This is usually when things go wrong. In the next minute, I had to extend my net, turn on the cameras and keep tension on the fish. Somehow I did all three. Then I realized how bad my kayak netting skills were as I missed the fish about five times and had to one-hand the rod as I turned the kayak so I didn't run ashore. Somehow through all this, the fish stayed on the hook, which was barbless, and I finally landed it.

It must have been my day because within 30 minutes of landing the first fish, I was hooked up with a second Chinook which I landed quickly after a short fight. I had just caught two spring Chinook on two herring in less than 3 hours.

There was no way to top that and as the guy on the dock said "I would go home now." So I did.

Check out the video. And Go Farther. Catch More.

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