Outdoor Writers Association of America
This Week's View

by Deanna Lee Birkholm

October 9th, 2000


Monday is about our only day off here at Fly Anglers OnLine. It isn't really a day off since we check the web site for errors first, then download the entire web site, and burn a CD of it. Email is answered, and maybe by lunch time we can take a little time off. Since the web site is changed over to the new week about nine P.M. Pacific Standard Time Sunday, we don't have a 'normal' weekend. Quite often there are last-minute items to be handled. Late articles, missing photos - all part of producing a weekly issue.

All that is by choice of course, we picked the day for the next weeks issue, Monday seemed to be the logical day. (You might be interested to know you aren't the only one who reads FAOL from the job on Monday.)

The neat part is whatever we do decide to do on our day off, especially if it's fishing, we find fewer people on the water. Fewer folks seems to shop on Monday afternoon too. An unexpected bonus. Since I hate to shop (except for groceries) in and out fast is great!

Fall in the Pacific Northwest means salmon. Certainly not the numbers we first found when we moved here twelve years ago. Some salmon are on the endangered or threatened lists - greatly reducing the opportunities. But we do have some salmon fishing opportunities and on our last couple of Monday afternoons (well evening to be exact) we headed to a favorite chum salmon stream. This is estuary fishing, and whether the fish come into the stream depends on the tide, speed of the tide, height of the incoming tide, how much sunshine there is, (overcast or rainy is best) and if the run is just starting or is well into the run. Stragglers show up for another two weeks after the major run has gone upstream. On this particular run in the South Puget Sound, there is also a 'summer run' which can start in July with stragglers still showing up in late September. So if there is only an occasional fish it's difficult to know if you are late or early!

We had a couple of phone calls this week from our friend 'searun' reporting on a large run of Silver salmon locally. My husband Castwell made a run to scout it out on Saturday. Sure enough there are some fish.

I should add fall is the probably the best time to catch searun cutthroat trout as well. These are available throughout the Pacific Northwest, along rocky beaches, anywhere there is a freshwater inlet (or around oyster or mussel beds). We have searun cutts quite close to our home on Hood Canal.

We do have choices. Sometimes we aren't that fortunate.

What do we plan on doing on our Monday afternoon off?

I'm hoping for rain, I'll settle for overcast. But which salmon? The silvers are closer, a 15 minute drive. The place is not a particularly good casting place, high banks and usually crowded. Spin fishers don't much like the space a fly fisher takes up, and there just isn't that much room. Some go up above the bridge where there is more room, but it is illegal to fish there. (As some found out the hard way on Saturday - they also had too many fish, and their vehicle was being towed. Some of the fishermen where in handcuffs. Love it!)

The chum stream is farther, about an hour away. That has it's advantages. A little more time to unplug from the work week. A nice ride (with an open air produce market on the way) and once at the place, it's a pretty good walk to where we fish. It also will be dark when we come back. There is a good restaurant on the way back which has good homemade pie, and ice cream too, warmed if you wish. There is lots of room, a long spit and hardly ever many folks on a weekday.

The gear is pretty much the same for both, 8 weight rods, weight-forward lines (maybe medium sink-tip depending on the depth of the tide) flies size 2 and 4. Both large and wet. Long-line casting for both.

How do we choose?

It's between the salmon.

A couple of reasons, the salmon are a very seasonal thing here now, with very limited opportunites to fish them. Now the choice is which one? A couple of facts, the silver salmon run up to about 12 pounds. When hooked the usual tactic of the silver is to roll and then run at you. The chum run up to 25 pounds (occasionally larger) and when hooked run for open water. Fast. A chum is probably the most under-estimated salmon for its fighting ability. Silvers are better eating, not a factor as we will release whatever we catch.

Which would you chose? Give it some thought - I'll let you know how it worked out next week. ~ LadyFisher

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