Jigging River Salmon


Olympic Peninsula silver salmon — Bob Kratzer's jig.

    Oct. 28, 2011:

Matt Carufel, promotions manager for Lindy Fishing Tackle, joined me on guide Bob Kratzer's drift boat today. We slipped through the rain forest, pop-jigging our way through every eddy, slot, boulder field, and pool we passed on the famous Hoh River with Kratzer's homemade jigs.

The half-ounce  jig is made with a Do-It mold, Eagle Claw jig hook and adorned with marabou. Make mine purple. "We make them in every color, but it's amazing how often silvers go for purple on Olympic Peninsula rivers," Kratzer says. The technique is simple. Using fast, medium power spinning rods, 15-pound PowerPro braided line, and a 15-pound Maxima Ultragreen, we pitched Kratzer's jigs across or slightly downstream, allowed them to sink through the current anywhere from 2 to 8 seconds and started popping them back to the boat with sharp, 2-foot lifts of the rod. We reeled while popping through shallow runs and pools, and just kept popping in deeper holes. Surprisingly, the bite felt a lot like a bass picking up a football head most of the time. (Right in my wheelhouse after jigging for bass in the Mississippi for the past few weeks.)

I've spent about 10 days of my life on the Olympic Peninsula. Maybe someday I'll get to see it. Rains here a lot. What should you expect in a rain forest? We had two inches dumped on us in about 6 hours and the Hoh began to cloud up, so we knocked off a little early. It stopped raining twice for all of 5 minutes and we were able to snap off a few shots, but no video.

But pop-jigging brought 7 fish into the boat — including 2 kings, a Dolly Varden, 3 gorgeous silvers and one immature — before the rising, cloudy water turned the fish off. Always fun learning new techniques. Especially when they work so well. Near the ramp we watched a chunk of clay the size of three pick-up trucks calve away from a high bank and fall 30 feet into the river. Time to go!

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