Welcome 2014 (A Quack’n Good Time)

Tule Lake

Its isn’t about how many bagged, caught or released-Fire sky reflections

Hopefully you all had a chance to get together with family and friends for some down time and enjoy the holidays. Always good to come together, chill and recharge the batteries.

Duck Dynasty

Mason-full chatter

Our grandson, Mason, got a duck call for Christmas, so our holiday down time was filled with melodies of quacks and cackles. He was so excited, the night he got it, he went straight outside and started calling. “But I don’t see any ducks Grandpa.” I laughed and asked, “how do you see ducks or most anything in the dark? Tomorrow we’ll go to Lewiston Lake and you can give it a try.” Jazzed, Mason fine-tuned his calls and chattered all the way to the lake. The second we arrived, Mason jumped out, ran to the water’s edge and gave it his best. “Mason, you can’t just jump out of the rig, totally visible, and call ducks” I cautioned. Like fish, they too, are wily and spook easily; we need to kick in the sneak approach. We camo-up, strap on the binoculars and quietly worked our way through the marshlands. We found a nice vantage, took cover and huddled amongst the cattails that surrounded the small cove. I had Mason take a peek through the binos. “See anything swimming, resting or flying?” Nope” he responded.” Give’em some light chatter,” I advised; no response. “Give them a series of loud quacks;” a quick peek through the binos and surprisingly still no winged visitors. “Ok, Mason lay on the horn!” He sounded off, the quacks and chatter echoed off the high banks across the entire lower lake. As Mason continued to call, surprisingly out of nowhere, a small boat eased its way around the point of the cove. A black lab was perched on the bow and on full point and totally zoned in on Mason’s calling talents. “What” we both blurted aloud. We stood up and acknowledged ourselves. As the boat came into full view we could see it was occupied by what appeared to be the full Duck Dynasty Crew. Three hunters, dressed in full camo/paint, shotguns in hand and ready for action, had been lured to Mason’s calls. Startled, disappointed and possibly just a little embarrassed, no words were exchanged or needed, we all simply laughed. As they motored away, we could still hear their laughter as they all turned and gave Mason a Thumbs-up. I smiled at Mason and said “it doesn’t get any better than that; even Uncle Si would be proud!”

Surf

2014 Brings cold icy tubes; well worth ice-cream headaches

Welcome 2014 and make it a good one! It arrived with a punch, bringing a booming swell (8-10ft.) along the north coast, dropped fresh powder on the slopes and a brief surge of juice to warm and briefly sweeten most steelhead rivers (Smith jumped to over 3,000cfs and re-opened to fishing; unfortunately most coastal rivers were not reopened. (Coastal rivers closure info: 707-822-3164). Sure the low pressure was short lived but every little bit helps. In the heat of the driest fall-winter on record (2013), it was a blessing that sheds a glimmer of hope, low pressure systems still exist and able to attack.

Locally, Trinity waters warmed and runoff inspired a decent rotation of fish up- out of the North Fork canyon. Spotty best describes fish movements throughout the system. Late fall steelhead seem to be moving throughout the upper river, Junction City to Lewiston, in small pods with little in-between. Find waters delivering success, good chance others are willing. Most anglers are scoring with a few reports of multiple opportunities. The lower river, Hoopa-Willow Creek, jacked from 600cfs. to 1200cfs and is currently dropping back down to 700cfs.. The surge along with coastal high tides should be enough to attract traditional winter steelhead into the system. Looking for the real deal?

With the dry winter and demanding conditions we have received numerous inquiries, what is the best time to go steelheading or is it worth going steelheading? Best advice we can offer is by asking the question, what does steelheading mean to you? Is it tallying numbers; how many caught kept, released? Is it unwilling to accept the possibility of not experiencing success? Is it pleasures, enjoyment and blind faith methodically searching out waters for the grab? Is it observing the slight hesitation or take-down of the indicator? Is it the passion and devotion you feel and share with other steelheaders? Is it enjoying the beauty and wonderment of a steelhead’s world? Those in question need to do some soul searching and ask yourself are you willing to chance missing out the thrill and rare opportunity for sinking an iron into the ultimate challenge? No brainer—Go Get Your Groove On and Get Hooked up in 2014!!!

Steelhead Fishing

Smith River winter steel respects

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