First Solo Spring Chinook

Cornell2012

Administrator
Staff member
Joined
Jun 8, 2009
Messages
598
Location
Portland, OR
Last weekend I attended a workshop hosted by the Association of Northwest Steelheaders (https://nwsteelheaders.org/) focused on bank fishing for salmon. I moved to Oregon in 2017 and have caught a handful of salmon, but always because of kind offers from people with boats. Being able to fish for salmon without needing to rely on their generosity was appealing. The workshop covered the basics - fortunately I had almost everything I needed already, just needed to pick up some barbless hooks, a spin-n-glow, and a few chunks of lead. There were maybe 50 people in attendance at the workshop and 2 fish were caught. The tides that day were supposedly not ideal for fishing, but it was a useful day to learn the technique.

The following weekend the tides were supposed to be great. I got a late start, headed out to the river, and settled in for a cold morning. As an ODFW officer was checking in with everyone who was fishing, one of the guys down the shore got a bite. He fought it for a few seconds and it got off. That was the only bite I'd seen all day, including from the swarm of boats just off shore.

A while later, I'm starting to gather my things together, giving myself about another 15 minutes before I head in. The bells on the rod start jingling. I figured that I'd picked up some weeds (again) or a gust of wind just hit the rod. I pick it up to reel in and check, and to my surprise there's a fish on the other end. I fight it for a couple minutes, and some other fishermen down the bank come over to help me land it. I get the fish close to the shore, where it then realizes something is up and darts back out into the river. This happens a few times and I'm worried about losing it with the required barbless hooks. The guys that came over to help get it close, confirm that it is a legal-to-keep hatchery fish, and get it up on the bank.

I know some guys spend weeks fishing for these and never get one. I got a good dose of beginner's luck to get one after only 3 or 4 hours. Thankful for the help of my fellow fishermen in landing it.

I don't have a fish scale so we didn't get a fresh weight, but we weighed ~8 lbs of meat from the fish, so we're guessing it was in the 11-ish pound range, 28" long.

The season on the Columbia closed yesterday but I've already got my eyes out for other spots that I can go around Portland. This fish was caught only a 35 minute drive away from my apartment, on a public Wildlife Management Area that I also spent 10+ days duck hunting last fall. There are a lot of things I miss about Montana, but this is a pretty good consolation.

Image from iOS (5).jpg Image from iOS (3).jpg Image from iOS (4).jpg Image from iOS (2).jpg
 

rtraverdavis

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 20, 2016
Messages
3,131
Location
OREGON
Good stuff, @Cornell2012 . I’ve never fished off Sauvie, but take my kids out there a lot to throw rocks and climb logs. I have bank-caught chinook on light tackle though, and what you described of the fight echos my experience—after the initial fight landing them is like trying to land a belligerent log.
 

Cornell2012

Administrator
Staff member
Joined
Jun 8, 2009
Messages
598
Location
Portland, OR
Good stuff, @Cornell2012 . I’ve never fished off Sauvie, but take my kids out there a lot to throw rocks and climb logs. I have bank-caught chinook on light tackle though, and what you described of the fight echos my experience—after the initial fight landing them is like trying to land a belligerent log.
I really like having access to Sauvie. I spend a lot of time on the island for duck hunting, an occasional upland hunt, lots of wildlife viewing, and a bit of fishing. As far as I'm concerned, it is some of the best money Oregon has spent to better the outdoor access for people in the Portland metro area.
 

Backofbeyond

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 2, 2018
Messages
2,008
Location
Boise, ID
I really like having access to Sauvie. I spend a lot of time on the island for duck hunting, an occasional upland hunt, lots of wildlife viewing, and a bit of fishing. As far as I'm concerned, it is some of the best money Oregon has spent to better the outdoor access for people in the Portland metro area.
I know little about the area, but my sister, brother-in-law, and nephews love it out there. They’re out there swimming/fishing/getting dirty several times a week during the summer.
 

rtraverdavis

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 20, 2016
Messages
3,131
Location
OREGON
I really like having access to Sauvie. I spend a lot of time on the island for duck hunting, an occasional upland hunt, lots of wildlife viewing, and a bit of fishing. As far as I'm concerned, it is some of the best money Oregon has spent to better the outdoor access for people in the Portland metro area.
Completely agree. 20 minutes from my house and it’s like Portland doesn’t even exist
 

Sytes

Well-known member
Joined
Sep 25, 2009
Messages
10,479
Location
Montana
Wow! Those filets have me drooling over my consolation prized Costco packaged salmon! :ROFLMAO:
A fraction of the fresh flavor though salmon none the less. Oven, liquid, butter rosemary or dill.

@Cornell2012 , have you seen the capabilities of the drones for "casting" surf fishing line? Basically, the amount of line your spool holds is as far as the drone will take your bait before it drops.
One heck of a gig reeling it back in.
 

Salmonchaser

Well-known member
Joined
Nov 12, 2019
Messages
1,161
Congratulations. Nothing better than spring kings. Unfortunate the season closes so early now, but you’re getting it figured out.
 

Cornell2012

Administrator
Staff member
Joined
Jun 8, 2009
Messages
598
Location
Portland, OR
Congratulations. Nothing better than spring kings. Unfortunate the season closes so early now, but you’re getting it figured out.
I'm now trying to figure out where I can go until it opens back up again in the summer. The Willamette is still open but seems like there is a lot less bank access to chase them.
 

Joe Hulburt

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 23, 2012
Messages
1,228
Location
Oregon Coast
A bit of a drive but both the Trask and Nestucca have good bank access for Springers! Ours down here are a bit later and generally bigger. Early May it really starts picking up.
 

Cornell2012

Administrator
Staff member
Joined
Jun 8, 2009
Messages
598
Location
Portland, OR
A bit of a drive but both the Trask and Nestucca have good bank access for Springers! Ours down here are a bit later and generally bigger. Early May it really starts picking up.
I am happy to make the trip to the coast if there's a decent shot and a nice place to go. I've tried for steelhead on the Trask and Wilson (still have yet to catch one though), never thought to go for springers. I'll have to check it out at the end of the month/early next month.
 
Top