Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Local spots by my house + San Diego trip

Willamette River between home and work.
Enter the Realm of true fishing Nerdom. 

Of Pikeminnow, Bass, Shad and Corvina

Western Red Cedar log made into a Canoe!
Bass on Popping Plug.
 June has been very good to me. I have had an opportunity to get down to the Willamette River near my house several times early in the morning. The warmer water of the last few days of June has the   Smallmouth really active - crushing jigs and jumping into the air.  I had my first really good Willamette session with lots of bass hitting a white curl tail at a shallow water spot that I usually overlook. (For about an hour this spot on the Willamette acted like the Jon Day River.) Went back the next morning and got one on a small Hula Popper! (The river had risen about a full foot overnight.) I was more than thrilled. Also caught a White Crappie which is a first for the NW for me.

3 people were taking this canoe from Bonneville to St. Helens
  I have also had a short session on the Cowlitz River in Washington on the way back from a conference, and had the privilege of fishing  few places in and around San Diego where we went for a wedding.

Northern Pikeminnow in Cowlitz
Naomi and Binga at Elk Rock
 On the way back from a work related event near Seattle we stopped a random spot where the Cowlitz River runs under I5. It is a sluggish slow slough like river here except for one spot where a smaller slough runs in and I could finally see current and rocks and weeds in the main stem. Being crazy ignorant about Sea-Run Cutthroat I thought I might actually have a chance at a trout.  I was using a green/gold #2 spinner. (thanks Jed Davis)  Within a few casts I hooked a fish that ran a bit… but turned out to be a Pikeminnow.  I stayed a bit too long and ended up landing 2 more. I love this fish.  Don’t expect topwater strikes or sightfishing but they hit lures and run a bit.
Ideas for a new name for this fish includes:  Goldies, Gold Bullets, Willamette Ladyfish, Fish-the-color-of-Pancake.

Chinook Salmon caught while Shadfishing
Female American Shad
dudes who taught me Shad
  Mid-June I decided to hit a spot a few miles further south on the river that looks good for bass - visible current and rocks. It resulted in finding a spot where the American Shad run stacks up a big school of fish that are accessible to the shore angler. This is a fish that has been introduced from the East Coast and has done very well here. (Some would say too well).  I had never caught American Shad before and this is a really fun fish.  I used a 1/16 oz. chartreuse curl tail with a full 3’ of fluorocarbon leader and a ½ oz slip sinker above the leader. (pink jigs also worked, white ¼ jigs did not work, shorter leader did not work)  They are suspended in 10’ of water or more --- so you won’t get topwater strikes but they do hit hard and often and run well.  (One day that week alone 212,000 shad passed through Bonneville Dam Ladder - the next day it was 175K fish and so on... you get the idea. )This is the fish of the future. This is the fish of the Apocalypse. 

Mission Bay Corvina
Mom and Me and Naomi

San Diego
  Kurt Vonnegut said “Peculiar travel suggestions are dancing lessons from God.” We never would have chose San Diego but my awesome cousin was getting married there and it was a chance to hang out with family so…

Naomi at Mission Bay
  Highlight of the month was this new SoCal new fishing experience. I have never fished San Diego and had no real information to go on. But had this goal in mind of catching a Corvina.  I had little nuggets of time to explore whatever water I could near the hotel in San Diego we stayed at for a wedding.  Fortunately for me Naomi loves to walk and the solitude at good fishing spots makes for good yoga as well.   I first got to fish a bit of Mission Bay during the middle of the day.  Mission Bay looks terrible – flat bottom, sandy, no current to speak of, tons of people. The water in one area was off-color and tons of tangly filamentous algae on the muck  bottom – so I fished a 1/16 oz. chartreuse jig about 2’ under a hookless  Hi-Roller popping plug to stay just above the algae. (This is a really fun rig to fish in the right conditions)  After a few casts I landed a small Corvina. My first one so I was thrilled. This was really the fish I wanted to catch here.  Hooked and lost another shortly after that.  

   I also got to fish in the surf near Torrey Pines where a trickle of freshwater flows across the beach into the ocean.  I ended up hooking a nice Spotfin Croaker here and losing it. (this fish looks a lot like the Redfish we have on the east coast !) The only other guy fishing there told me at dusk the night before the Spotfins were blitzing on sand crabs and racing up into the creek with their dorsal fins sticking out. This spot looked great on incoming tide and I had some kind of long  Sand Bass? chase my lure. I also saw a 4’ Guitarfish which was quite a thrill. Wish I could have fished the Incoming at dusk.

Balboa Park Koi
Surf Fishing at Torrey Pines
  We then did a 4.7 mile walk each way from Hotel to San Diego River Delta – which is not much of a delta because of the general lack of rain -  but it does have some mud flats with patches of grass. This spot looks awesome even at low tide which is what I got to fish. Again I hooked and lost a nice fish on a 6”green Mann’s Hardnose Jerk Bait.  Saw lots of people fishing bait from the opposite bank and 3 guys casting soft plastics when I was leaving. Following the rising tide up into the “river”and the falling tide back out in a kayak would be a great way to fish here if that is legal? I did not see anyone doing this. This spot made me realize SoCal actually has a decent shallow saltwater fishery… to my surprise. Yee haw Go San Diego!
Back Home with Jeff

Back Home in Garden

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