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I spent this evening on the North Santiam at John Neal Park. It had been a week since I fished there last. Since that time, there have been a number of really dark chinook soreheads present. But, there are also a lot of okay looking chinook jumping around in the evening too. I didn't notice any steelhead this time, but I'm sure they're in there, as I hooked two last week. I managed to hook one chinook on a silver and blue wiggle wart, steelhead sized, but it threw the hook after a about ten seconds and one thrashing on the surface, where I could see that it was indeed a chinook, and it would have probably gone about fifteen pounds. That's three fish lost in a week. :blush:

As I was leaving, I noticed a chinook near the bank on my walk out, so I cast to it with a spinner. It didn't take, but on one cast, as I worked the spinner closer and closer to the fish seeing if I could get it to bite, I inadvertently foul hooked it in the pectoral fin, and got it off with a quick shake of the rod. However, in the moment I had it snagged, it failed to react at all. It looked fairly bright, but it had no fight in it. It just sat there, and moved maybe two inches. So I let it be after that. I'm curious. Does anyone know the mortality rate of springers in the river prior to spawning? Obviously, this fish was tired. It may have moved up from the rapids below as the sky got dark, and this may have worn it out, but it did have a small sore on its head, about dime sized, but otherwise looked bright. Do a lot of fish get killed by the journey up from the ocean? The first springer I ever caught was while steelhead fishing the day after the North Santiam closed to springers mid August, and it was a big bronze buck that took me 20 minutes to bring in, and there wasn't a sore on it. It was a strong fish, with a lot of life and vitality left in it. Yet this apparently bright fish couldn't even get up the energy to take off when it got stung by my hook, and had a small sore on its head. I've sight fished steelhead and coho with success, but I'm thinking that if you can see a chinook, it's not a fish worth the effort. Anybody have thoughts on this?


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