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TC and I hooked up to fish "my" river:eek: this morning. We were hoping the "honey do" time would keep people off the river and allow for a peaceful day of fishing. For the most part this proved to be the case. The stretch we were fishing saw no traffic other then us for the day and it was nice to not have to look over your shoulder for a change. The fish have definetly turned into winter mode to the 10th power! Out of 8 fish, only 2 proved to be hard hitters, with 2 being typical winter bites and 4 being taken by literally still fishing a bag on the bottom. Not the most fun way to get into them, but effective non the less. There were definetly quite a few more fish around then saw our net, but they were in one of the strangest moods I have ever witnessed and it was all we could do to get our 8.

On a brighter note, up to fish number 4 they had all been hens. Well, on netting number 4 for TC, I noticed it was a spawned out hen. Well, of course TC gives me a strange look like I'm full of ???, but he quickly took it a little more serious when it started spitting eggs! Luckily I have my merit badge in spawn collecting and in under a second the eggs were falling nicely into a 2 gallon zip loc:D Of course after that all fish landed were males and so we never were able to check for more eggs, but in looking back at the earlier pictures, I do see one nice hen of mine that I would guess with 100% certainty would have started spitting if given the right motivation;) Oh well, I have plenty and getting a December batch might spoil me.


Steve with his prize:D




After that fact this one looks suspicious. Who would have thought to check in December though.


I think this one might have provided an early present also.

 

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Weird day indeed. I don't think I've ever had a day where most of the fish acted the way they did as far as the bite was concerned. To say the takes were subtle is a gross understatement. Add to the fact that one of those hens was shooting loose eggs and it was one of the most odd December fishing days I've ever had...but FUN none the less! A fresh batch of loose steelhead eggs is a welcome Christmas present. Caddis did a great job of whipping out that freezer bag the second we saw the first egg fly! ;) Despite the lethargic takes, the fish still had plenty of energy once the hook was set!

Vital statistics for the day (as I could measure them):

Water temp: COLD

Air Temp: Colder yet and dropping.

Wind Chill: Miserable.

:cool:
 

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Great job guys! Looks like you had fun. I'm not sure if you guys keep your fish or not, but an interesting question popped into my head. Since the steelies don't die off like salmon do, if you catch one like yours that is spitting eggs without having to "milk" her, would that fish survive if you cut her loose? Just curious.
Thanks...Sid
 

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i would have to say... if she was not stressed too terribly badly and not hooked deep, she would most likely survive.... remember, as with all fishing... there is gonna be some mortality rates to releasing any fish... but its the best you can do.

quick edit: I think milking eggs then releasing is technically illegal..... though i may be wrong.

steve
 

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I didn't mean to insinuate (sp?) anything, I know you guys are straight shooters, just wanted to post that you are not to release anything that is being stripped of eggs anyhow. though i've had em spit eggs so badly in the spring sometimes, you got a pile while unhookin em, and I don't see any problem with keeping those, but do not force strip any steelhead then release it.

Man you guys sure get into the fish, worth freezin your fingers off!

steve
 

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Nice job guys. Thanks for the sharing tips and pix from "your" trip.;) :D
 

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Thanks for taking the time to submit a report with pix........concise, well written, and to the point.
 

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Phlyphisher and I went out on this same trib today (12-28-03) and found pretty much the same thing: subtle bites and and a lot of fish that didn't want to play at all. We ended up hooking 9 steelhead, but really had to pound the water to get those. It was basically one or two fish per spot so we ended up covering a lot of water and really working the spots we picked from top to bottom.

The slower water definitly was the ticket, using light weight to still get a drift through these pockets. Add to the mix a couple really nice 'bows and a chunky pig of a brown and it was a decent day...even though it seemed slow as the day went on.

Once again, the best bite was early in the morning. We didn't have the digital camera today, so I'll post some pics when I get the film developed...
 
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