What a disappointing day and overall poor experience with the 2013 Pink Salmon run. It started off with hitting Dash Point with Robert D. in his Smokercraft in early August. While we saw fish porpoising it was tougher to get them lasso’d on the fly and only 1 small fish to show for our efforts. Pink hootchie flies with 6 wt rod and fully clear intermediate lines were the choice of gear.
The several other outings that I would try with Jeff H., Phil K., Dov Y., Tom H., Ching W., at Dash Point would also be times of throwing out cast after cast, hoping a school would be passing under the fly. This run and 2011 was very odd in that it seems like the fish have learned not to show too much porpoising and or surface behavior that would suggest its time to cast out a fly with anticipation for a tug. I picked up a few fish but with so many Kings in the freezer had yet to keep a single pink and ended up giving them away.
Dash Point moves to other prospects as I shift gears and think about the inner Duwamish. As this fishery opens after Sept 1st and in past years it can be very good fishing in the mouth to what eventually becomes the Green River. Some surprising information was that normally the Green has never held a pink run and up until a few years ago, these fish were never native. Hopefully greed, and good fishing practices will keep these fish around for my boys to fish someday, but based on the poor management of the Muckleshoot it won’t last long and before we know it it will become a thing of the past.
My wife’s friends in Portland expressed interest with catching salmon and Pinks are a great way to show beginners how to cast, retrieve, and land these feisty fish. The first day it was tough conditions, with few fish coming to hand for them, they hooked a couple but lost them with only Alberto P. being able to land the only fish for the Portland crew. His father in-law went fishless. We fished flies under bubbles, jigs, and other typically good patterns without success. I had left my fly rod in the van that day and had to resort to fishing with a gear rod, which was ok, but saw Paul D. and his buddy do very well with the bug rod, getting quick limits. The crowds would also be there with many anchored boats in a tight radius. Everyone got along and it was all about fun, so it didn’t bother me too much.
Sunday Sept 8th would bring an even worse day as the Muckleshoots would put in their nets at noon and the whole length of the channel would see a gaunlet of nets that strung so tight, there was no way a fish would ever make it up the river. They’ve never netted like this in years past, but salmon means money and while the lowly pink may not be consider top shelf table fare for us, I am sure many Asian countries have high demand for the roe as well as the meat and paying pennies on the dollar per pound.
It was disappointing to have our guests go essentially fishless, but we sent them home with a few pinks that I landed along with some smoked King.