Lighter Side

What is life if there is not laughter? Welcome to the lighter side of flyfishing! We welcome your stories here!
December 23rd, 2002

How To Build A Steelhead Fort

I got this brilliant idea while fishing the Skeena River a few years back. The place was the Remo Bar which is where the Kitsukalum River joins the mighty Skeena. There is a giant hole here at the junction and the huge Kings, Cohoes and later Steelhead all pile up thick as leaves on the water in a fall wind. The place has since been declared a no fishing zone, thanks in part to what I am about to recount to you, my dearest and only readers.

No fly scene, this is a plunking bar and you rig up as follows: attach an 8 oz. pyramid sinker to the bottom - yes, that's right, a full half pound of lead. Connect the sinker with 18" of at least 30 lb. test. monofilament to a three way swivel. To the other eye of the swivel, attach another 18" mono piece (also 30 lb.) to a 1/0 spin and glow. . . Then attach your main line (at least 40 lb. but 50 or 60 lb. would be better) to the remaining eye and you are rigged up. A bit heavy? Hey, we are not talking little fish here! I have personally never seen a king caught from this hole that weighed less than 35 lb. Most go between there and 50 lb. I have seen a 60 and a 70 pounder caught by the same dude during the same day.

Momentarily, we shall discuss this individual.

There is a vicious rapid right below the hole and the King will surely take you there. Even with your heavy tackle (I used to use a Fennwick tuna rod and a Penn Squidder), you will not be able to turn the fish. So you jump in your boat; your buddy turns on the motor, and then you race off after the fish. If lucky and almost always after at least one hour, you motor back up and show off your fifty or plus giant. I did see a fish that weighed only 26 pounds once but it was a Coho. Damnedest Coho I've ever seen anywhere! A perfect, mint bright male.

Well, there was this guy, a Realtor from Seattle, who had a jet boat. He had his son with him so they were entitled to eight salmon. But the possession limit was double that - so he could catch (and he did) 16 fish total. He had two enormous freezers in his truck powered by a gas generator and he filled the things up. Then he would go home to the states and cook each fish whole and invite a huge bunch of real-estate dudes for free lunch.

In case you are not hip to the real estate scene, houses are not really sold to customers directly. For example, you want a house and you tell an agent. He does not have what you want but he knows a "buddy" who was just telling him last week (at the salmon feed) about a house that sounds exactly like something you might like. Wham! The deal is closed. And it was at the free lunch that your man learned from his man (the jet boat guy, aka the "buddy," aka the salmon hog) about the house. Called smoozing. $$$$$ All caught with a giant fish. Can you imagine serving a whole 70 lb. salmon to a big crowd and they eat the whole thing? Can you hear the kudos in your ears? Can you see the beautiful women who would be throwing themselves at you or at least at the salmon? Can feel the money rolling in? The commission would be split. Half of a $60,000 dollar commission would be 30K to you. Does that buy gas? Make payments on the jet boat? Buy first malt whiskey? I'm sure you understand this, my dearest and only readers.

Let me just say that this American fish hog was not very popular with our Canadian neighbors. One rotten, old dude even threatened to kill him. So he buddies up to me and my friend and asks for help, like we are some sort of contingent of the American Army. . .A race war on the Remo Bar? An international incident? And, again, my friend and I, who were we, the American Army? There's three of us (don't count the kid but I could be wrong) and about 16 or so Maple Leaf boys. They were all p#@&*ed and I didn't blame them. We are talking mayhem here.

Anyway, using the best of my diplomatic skills, we were able to escape unharmed. The jet boy drug off his eight hogs and my partner and I each had two fifties. This was about 1972.

Because of this incident, I got the idea of building a salmon fort on a river bar on some river in Washington at some time in the near future.

In my next installment, I will discuss the particulars of construction and the advantages that such a fort would bring to bear on this troubled, overcrowded, hostile environment in which we must fish. Don't miss this; it could save your life. ~ BL

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