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Posts Tagged ‘driftboat steelhead fishing’

Last year my oldest son came home from school upset that his classmates had been off for take your kid to work day. We explained to him that kids aren’t allowed into the aluminum factory that my wife and I work in. Then it dawned on me that he could come to “fish work” as he calls my guide business. He was so excited that could come to fish work with me next year.

Well next year came and I had it all set up. Customers to take that understood the plan and how our trip could be cut short as Gunnar would be with us. Then the Corona virus shutdown school and guiding. This left me with one very disappointed 6 year old. It was time to come up with a new plan.

Plan B was to “guide” my father and wife for crappie and/or rainbow trout. Gunnar was very concerned that we would get in trouble for guiding when it was shut down. I told him mom and grandpa would just pay us at home where no one would see as he made sure they both knew they were going to have to pay him.

That morning Gunnar helped me get the gear and boat ready. Then he packed snacks while I went and bought subs for us for lunch. When we arrived at the reservoir he helped to launch the boat.

Unfortunately we tried about everything we had and couldn’t get anything going on the reservoir. We decided we would head back home and try fishing in the creek that separates our property from my parents. In the truck on the way home my dad gave Gunnar $4 which made his day.

Back at my parents house Gunnar wanted to ride his bike before fishing. I headed down to the creek with his fishing rod and a container of worms. As I made my way across the lawn I saw a fish splash on the surface. It was a good size steelhead. I called to Gunnar, who had just put on his bike helmet, telling him there was a steelhead in the creek. He came running down very excited to try to catch it. I explained we needed to be very careful not to spook it. I took the bobber off and hooked a whole night crawler on. I told him I would cast it for him becuase it needed to be a precise cast. Not sure if the spin cast rod would even make the cast I made a test cast in the yard.

We then snuck down the bank into position. After multiple bad casts I landed one the drifted perfectly to the fish. I was shocked to see it grab the worm. I set the hook as I handed the rod to Gunnar. The fish turned downstream splashing in the surface. Gunnar struggled to fight the fish as he laughed at the way it took line and splashed. After a couple minutes he managed to get it to the shoreline. I ran down the bank and grabbed it for him. He was ecstatic to have caught the biggest fish of his life and be the first person in our family to catch a steelhead from the creek.

He ran up to the house to get his mom so she could take our picture. After a quick picture we returned it to the water and watched it swim away.

We then returned the bobber to the line and proceeded to catch multiple shinners and horned dace. After all they were our target species when we headed to the creek. Gunnar later told me he had a great day at “fish work” and wanted to do it again next year. Given the circumstances take your kid to work day couldn’t have gone better.

Gunnar’s first steelhead and the rod he caught it on.
Gunnar even let Beckett catch a couple

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A couple of weeks ago I had the pleasure of flying to Oregon for two days of steelhead fishing on the Siletz River. Fishing on the west coast is something I have wanted to do for a long time so when a friend called and asked me to go I had to jump on the offer. He told me we would be fishing with an awesome guide and he wasn’t lying. Originally I was going to write a story about my trip. As I tried to write it I realized I needed it to be two parts. Part one a review of our guide. Part two, which will come at a later date, the entire story of the trip. Our guide was Nolan Davis who owns and operates Northwest Connection Sportfishing.Day one we had high but fishable beautiful green water. The night before Nolan had told us the water was dropping but still on the high side but would have great color. We arrived at the boat launch to see he was spot on. We rigged our rods and launched the boat. As soon as we left the launch Nolan was telling us where to cast and how to run our drifts. We weren’t on the water 20 minutes and Craig was hooked up with a gorgeous hatchery fish which ended up in the net.As we drifted down stream and motored around some of the pools Nolan would tell us to cast to this spot, move the float over to this spot, reel in and recast. The entire time he is talking about slots, buckets, and troughs. I am listening and doing my best to hit the spots he is calling out. It wasn’t long before I was hooked up too but the whole time I am thinking what is this guy talking about? I can’t see any structure everything looks the same in this water. I kept hooking fish though and ended up hooking 6 before the day was over with a couple others that I felt just long enough to know it was a fish that made the bobber drop.Nolan is a lot like me in the fact he doesn’t like to fish around other people and boats if he can help it. There were a good number of boats on the river the first day and he did a great job to make sure we didn’t have to fish around many of them. He told us he liked to fish small spots others don’t know or just don’t bother to fish. Again with the water conditions everything looked the same to me. We managed to hook fish in multiple places after others had fished them though. This told me we were doing exactly that, hitting the little overlooked pockets.Day two the water had dropped about a half a foot. What a difference that made for me. Now as Nolan called out the spots I could see them. It was amazing that the day before I was fishing these same spots but couldn’t see them. Nolan knows this river so well he had Craig and I casting to micro spots all based on memory. Day two absolutely proved to me we were with the right guide.There were even more boats on the river the second day as it was at a level more people are comfortable floating it. Nolan knew that would be the case and decided to pull a somewhat secret move of his. I am not going to elaborate on what that was but I will just say we fished the first part of the day in water that no one else had fished yet and the rest of the day behind the fleet of drift boats.We only saw two boats on the river all day. One was a raft we saw at the launch which we motored up past and proceeded to catch a nice wild steelhead out of the hole they had just been fishing and the second was one of Nolan’s friends at the take out. Day 2 Craig and I hooked and landed 7 steelhead. I also caught my first and second cutthroat trout. Craig caught one or two cutthroat as well. Overall it was an awesome day on the river where we didn’t have to fish around other boats. Nolan might have been second guessing his move in the morning but by the end of the day it was very clear he had made the right call.If you want to head to Oregon and fish the Siletz, I highly recommend doing so, get a hold of Nolan Davis with Northwest Connection Sportfishing. His knowledge of the Siletz River and it’s steelhead is second to none. He is by far one of the best guides I have ever fished with. His boat is clean and comfortable. His gear is top notch as he works closely with some great manufactures. I learned a lot in my two days on the river with him and I know you will too.www.nwcfishing.com

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