Looking towards 2021 while glancing in the mirror.
A limit of springers caught in July!
Starting with a pandemic, the year seemed like it was forged in strife with racial injustice protests, political conspiracies, hazardous air quality, massive hurricanes, melting glaciers, financial disasters, and finally an election where unproven accusations and lies caused the first breach of our nation's Capitol in more than 200 years. Yep, 2020 was certainly a year we got a clear view of our country's past, present, and future.
Through most of the chaos, I enjoyed many days on my home waters fishing for salmon with my buddy Mark. The kayaks proved a great way to social distance and the Willamette and Columbia Rivers offered opportunities for salmon, steelhead, bass, sturgeon, and shad close to home.
The first half of the salmon season was tough and it wasn't until May that I finally landed my first springer. In June, we abandoned the water around Swan Island and started fishing the powerlines. It was a good move and through June and July, we were getting takedowns or boating fish on nearly every trip. Considering we fished at least twice a week, and often four times a week, our success rate was phenomenal. Mark took lead and was the first to catch a limit of spring salmon before breakfast. That was mid-June, when the run would normally be waning. Instead, we continued hooking, and sometimes landing, springers for the next month. By July, the season was finally ending and the few fish being caught were wild and were carefully released to spawn.
In late July, we started fishing the Columbia, and our first trip was rewarded with a hatchery steelhead and a wild salmon, which we kept since wild kings were legal if they were caught in the Columbia. Late July was early in the season and we didn't get into many more fish until well into August. The fall season was not nearly a productive as the spring but certainly more adventurous. We fished during several days where we needed respirators or masks to breathe the smokey air. One morning was particularly bad as the fog mixed with the smoke to create an apocalyptic haze that made it rather dangerous to be on the water. By October, Mark and I were doing more fishing than catching and we called it quits.
Most of our fish were caught trolling Superbaits with canned tuna behind ProTroll flashers. We did enjoy a few surprises on spinners and Mark even caught a beautiful king on a 1950's Les Davis lure soaked in tuna oil. It was quite the talk on the river.
It was a great season and fishing with Mark created a reprieve from the craziness of 2020 and helped further forge our friendship. Check out the season's videos on my KayakFlyAngler Youtube channel and look for more updates in 2021. Hopefully, I will post more often.
Go Farther. Catch More.