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The Outlaw Fishing Guide, Grays Harbor County, Washington

Outlaw Fishing Guide Sponsored by Peninsula Boats

Volume 1, Issue 2

Ever wonder why some people catch more fish than others? Because they make the effort to fish. Half of the battle is being there. Remember the old axiom; if you don't succeed...

This month we're covering Steelhead and Sturgeon. Lets start with Steelhead, the Salmon river is kicking ass from the mouth to the west boundary road. 1/8 pink with white headed jigs, eggs, and pink rubber night crawlers have claimed many fish so far, but don't forget about #3 Vibrax buck tail spinners. My choice is silver with a red tail. Work all these middrift to the deep end of the hole. Purple and hot pink produce great results on fairly sunny days, and on really nice days try a night mare jig. This seems to clean house when nothing else works.

Let's talk about the other rivers say the E. Hoquiam. This little river puts out a solid run of metal heads, bait of choice is shrimp and eggs, although I've hung fish on just about everything in my box. Especially spinners. This river is made for run and gun tactics, it's so snaggy you have to improvise. Johns river is the same way, most of our coastal streams are really tannic this year not allowing the depth of holes to be seen.

This makes for tough sight fishing, but to lose a lure to find the depth is the risk we take.

The Nooch and the Satsop with the hatchery runs dominating the fishery, you'll see piles of boats and people. My suggestion for bait: back bounce eggs or shrimp from a bobber and slinky. Leader should be 3-4 ft. long, using orange or green yarn. Don't forget jigs when you run out of bait! The Wishkah is going to suck this year. I understand not many fish were planted in the past 3 years, avoid this river unless you like to waste time. Although catch and release of wild fish has an appeal to some folks. If you choose the Wishkah start at Cedar creek and work your way down. Purple jigs and eggs are best but peach corky and yarn work well too.

Here are some promising streams to fish for Steelhead: W.fork Hoquiam, Cloquallum, Newskah, Stevens, Copalis, Queets, Humptulips, Moclips, and North River. Remember to bring a pen to punch your fish, I saw two guys from Puyallup get busted below the Q 1000 bridge on the Salmon for a technicality. No pen! This earned one guy a free trip to Forks to be processed for a "prior", some crap about a domestic charge that was so old that the courts forgot to delete it from law enforcement computers. What's that about?! Fish cops get to play real cops. Our state has way to many laws. Ever heard the old Russian proverb from a former communist head; I can't stand the proliferation of laws, you have to kill the people who produce them to get anywhere! Before I ramble to far the other guy got the standard $47.00 ticket and kept fishing, stating with his buddy gone he'd have to fish for both of them. They had 3 Steelhead and 1 King. P.S. the Willapa is hot right now.

Sturgeon…what a tasty fish, second only to halibut. When you hang one of these fish they go nuts. They are nothing like salmon. They fight sideways, up and down, tail dance, breech, and shake. I lost a fish one time, on the hook set! That big shouldered six footer came flying out of the water at Friends' Landing. Threw a 9/0 hook and a 10 ounce weight like nobody's business. I sent my dad and a friend for beer after that! I knew the fish were there and proceeded to hang three more of those bruisers before helping a guy land a 13 footer on 50 pound test. That was the first week in July!

December through March is excellent, but cold, months, so bundle your Kahones, or whatever you are sporting. If you are boat fishing get a quick release anchor setup. We lost an out of town guy on the Chehalis last winter to a rolling submerged log that grabbed the anchor line and pulled the bow of the boat down, sinking it rather quick. Use a buoy on a slider with a slip knot if you are worried about getting your anchor and line back. Remember two rules when boating: What can happen…and an ounce of prevention…if you don't know these you are probably reading this from the grave or that, "pushed through, we don't need your support, prison that has a better view of the bay than most of Grays Harbor's fortunate!" Alright, I'll shut up. We're talking about fishing.

Let's talk gear and bait. I like to use three way swivels instead of slider rigs. They tend to hang up less. If you lose anything, it's normally the weight. Sturgeon fishing gets spendy, about 2-3 bucks a pitch. Ouch! One buck is better than 3 bucks--go 3-way. Weight of course is according to river flow. Hooks, I prefer 5/O - 7/O, but a 9/O ganker hook sometimes fits the bill. Put a nice little twist on the hook, file or pinch the barb and load that meat keeper with something tasty. My picks for bait are: mud shrimp, smelt "turned inside out", sand shrimp, squid, and pickled eel. I also use crap wrap, also known as, elastic thread to tie the bait on. Although, I have heard of people using rotten chicken, dog food in pantyhose, spawned out fish meat found on upper rivers. Yeah, right! If it was up to my friend Rick, he'd tell you to use chicken gizzards and green yarn on a 1/O hook, 10 lb. Test line, and send you out there with a trout pole to hang a 7 foot fish. Some guys just won't tell you anything but stories.

Pole size should be 6 ft. to 10 ft. if boating, of course, heavy action to broom stick strength is necessary. If you're banking it, use 9 ft, to 16 ft. super meat rod. Chances are you will pitch a 10 oz. Weight and find that the line will cut your finger on a cast that would make your Momma proud. Hint: use two fingers. You know there are a lot of lines on the market today, I use Power Pro-line. It casts like a dream, zero memory, zero stretch, and you can feel every twitch and every roll on the bottom of the river. Recently I'm liking Vision hooks but Mustads are old favorites. The Visions have a wicked chemically sharpened point. Without the advantage of a barb to hold the fish on the hook, setting, playing, and reel drag are paramount. You can buy Vision hooks at Swansons stores. Those guys can thank me later for the plug.

Would you like a recipe for smoked fish? Too bad I'm feeling generous you get it anyway.

Brine for 4 fish or 40 lbs.
2 ½ - 3 cups salt
3 ½ - 4 cups brown sugar
1 bottle mince garlic
3 Tbs. Crushed red pepper
or 10 shakes Tabasco
2 Qt. Hot water
Add ingredients in 1 clean 5 gal. bucket
Add hot water to dilute let cool to room temp.
Brine fish for 8 hrs.
Rack fish and let dry for 2 hrs.
Season with seasoning salt
Black pepper, lemon pepper lightly sprinkled crushed red pepper
Smoke with Alder chips for 10 hrs. check temperature

Always cold smoke fish never go too hot this will dry the fish out. For a smoker design and a bigger batch recipe email me @ And remember if you're not on the river that's more fish for me.

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Note: Opinions expressed by The Outlaw Fishing Guide are not necessarily those of Grays Harbor Online, any of its employees, sponsors or affiliates.

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