by Andy Schneider
While most folks were getting ready for the Big Game on Sunday, a couple friends and myself decided we would have enough time to sneak down to the coast and get a drift in and still make it back home before the kickoff. From recent reports, the crowds were pretty much unbearable on Friday and only slightly better on Saturday. We were still hoping that there might be some fish left in the system when we got down there Sunday. We started up high on the river and found the only company we had was another friend that wanted to learn the drift. Our plan was to side drift most of the day, only plugging our most productive "Plug" holes.
Our first hole we came to has always produced fish for us on plugs, especially in a very specific spot. But knowing that these fish have been heavily fished the last few days, we started plugging much higher than we normally do. So high in the hole, that the oars were bumping bottom on each stroke. And not long after getting the plugs out, Pat Bauer was into a nice bright native. With a fish hooked up within the first 15-minutes of the day, we thought it was going to be an extraordinary day of fishing. But after hitting lots of promising water with no results, we all agreed that there was just not a lot of fish in the system.
Pat seamed to have picked the right side of the boat (actually the port side) that day and all the action came on his plug rod and side drifting rod. Pat hooked up another fish on a plug, but the fish quickly threw the hooks after taking to the air. And while Tom and I were side drifting the side of the river that has always produced for us, Pat casted to some slower water and hooked up with his first ever side drifted fish. Pat with his Keeper
The Coast only produced 3 bites for us, resulting in one native and one hatchery and while I made it home shortly after kickoff, I caught the best part of the game; definitely the second half!Our Coastal trip highlights
[ ame ] www.youtube.com/watch?v=dN2WvdnLIbQ [ /ame ]
The next day I reconnected with a friend, Dwight, that just bought a new boat and was looking at exploring some local rivers around the metro area. Since Dwight's new boat is a prop boat, I decided to take him for a Jet Boat ride and show him some local scenery. Another good friend, Brian, joined us before he had to go into work and with only another few months before retirement, Brian was definitely "Pre-Scouting" his retirement.
While Side Drifting is by far the most popular technique on the Clackamas, I have found decent success plug fishing. While the numbers of fish I put in the boat are usually around two-thirds that of a Side Drifter, I burn a lot less fuel, eggs and stay a lot warmer. While some may think I'm taking the "lazy" way to catching a fish, to be a successful plug fisherman in such a large river, like the Clackamas, you really have to work the water and remember where you got fish before at the same water heights. One thing I've learned from fishing the Clackamas, is that the river level effects where the fish are holding more so than any other factor on this river.
Monday proved to be fairly productive for us, myself getting a nice Hatchery Steelhead and Dwight getting a nice Hatchery fish as well. Though Brian didn't get a fish, he didn't mind too much, since he had to head to work....but I notice him paying special attention to where he was going to spend part of his retirement!Our Clackamas trip highlightshttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QYjrXuIVvlI
Clackamas Winter Steelhead Dwight's Winter Steelhead