Silver Salmon Paradise

Mining silver from rain-forest rivers.

Oct. 29, 2011

Three rivers in two days. Yesterday, the Hoh. Today the Calawah and Bogachiel. Kings, Dolly Varden, cutthroats, and our intended targets, silver salmon. Some pretty sporty units rolling through, crushing Bob Kratzer's 1/2-ounce, homemade marabou jigs, which cover water in a fast and efficient manner. As described in the last post, the jig is worked with a vertical 2-foot pop of the rod tip. The jig then drops about 2 feet while the rod tip is dropped, and it's quickly popped again. The jig moves up-and-down within a 2-foot vertical band while being carried dowstream and brought slowly crossstream by reeling all through the process. The faster the current, or the deeper the pool, the slower we reel. The shallower it is, the faster we reel.

"This isn't halibut fishing," Kratzer deadpans. "You don't need to hit bottom. Salmon are looking up all the time."

The unit in the photo hit warp factor 6 running right at the drift boat, taking the bend almost entirely out of the rod. Then it wrapped on the anchor rope. Luckily the anchor was up. I reached down and freed the PowerPro before he could snap the Maxima leader. Not an easy thing to do. Maxima can take a bullet or two.

A herd of elk crossed the Hoh ahead of us yesterday, but today we saw this place.  A sunny day in the rain forest is a rare and spectacular thing. Every angler owes himself at least one visit to this magic place, where moss hangs dripping from giant Douglas firs, and huge maples stand in defiance of time. The multi-layered canopies of the largest old-growth forest in the Pacific Northwest hover over gorgeous rivers — waters that steelhead and salmon fishermen can't help but fall in love with. I experienced better numbers in Alaska, but the Olympic Peninsula has giant silvers and lots of them. Paradise indeed.

Angler's Guide Service: 360/374-3148. Say hi to Bob for me.

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