Well, Darren and I drove to Port Alberni on Friday evening and came back to Kelowna on Saturday evening. We had one great day of fishing on the Stamp/Somass River on Saturday. This trip was a ‘make-up’ trip from last March when we didn’t fish for steelhead because there was no steelhead. :'( Our awesome Guide, Nick, owner of westcoastrivercharters.ca met us at the Port Alberni Marina at 6:24 a.m. We were supposed to be there at 6:00 but my antics at the gas station across the street left us a little confused. I purchased a coffee, two subs, a bag of chips and a large bottle of water, but shortly after leaving the station noticed that I had left all of it on the counter. Nice move. No lunch or wtare for the entire day. :wallbash: I guess I was in a hurry to meet up with Nick seeing as though we were already late. And in retrospect, I know why he was so eager to get out on the river early. After a short jet boat trip upriver, we were met with a picket fence of anglers right in the tail-out of a beautiful run that was known for migrating coho. After some negotiating, we slid into our spot and made our first cast and waited. The water was crystal clear and pretty warm. We were anchored up in about 2 feet of water and then we just waited. Ten minutes later we spot a school of about 6-8 chrome bright coho moving up midstream. We cast to the school and one lucky doe it my offering and it was fish on! I managed to farm the fish quickly when it shot upstream quickly and then turned around and bolted for the boat. Oh well, no big deal. Then Darren had one on seconds later and it streaked across the river in every direction. After a couple spectacular leaps, it tired and we managed to land it. Skunk out of the boat at 8:00 a.m. Yes! Sight fishing for coho and the odd spring kept us busy for the next 2 hours. We hooked at least a dozen fish, and were fortunate to play all of them only to lose half of them to rapids, trees, other anglers who were fishing right next to us, and to bad technique. By noon we had three cohos, all between 10-12 pounds, in the cooler. Not a very good hookup to landing ratio but hey that’s not what it’s all about! Then, we headed downstream to the ‘Miracle Mile’ stretch of river and managed to hammer Chinooks all afternoon long. They were in deeper water and we could not see them as well as the coho in the mid river, but that didn’t matter. We hooked another 8 fish, all springs, and landed 4 for the cooler. Nicke lost a monster of about 40 pounds when it spooled him and took off down river after jumping clear out of the water like a dolphin. After that, we decided to chase them. I landed one about 25 pounds. Darren’s two were 19 and 22 pounds. We let one go because we only had room left on our tags for a fish under 77 cm. The weather was absolutely stunning! Unless I get a free ride, I don’t think I’m going back to an salmon fishing ocean charter after fishing a river. There are so many more variables when playing a fish in a river that make a river trip so much more enjoyable! Plus, bringing a cooler of fish home for the smoker is just cake. Here’s some pictures of our day:
Yes, when we landed the springs, they were bronze colored, like they always are when they hit the river. I just filleted them and the meat was orange and very firm. I decided that, instead of smoking the whole lot, I would keep a couple for the BBQ. Don't let the color of the skin fool you. Of course the cohos are dime bright but the springs were a surprise. We'll eat a couple of fillets tomorrow and let you know how they stand up to the heat.
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