Hooligan Fishing.

Hooligan (Thaleichthys pacificus), otherwise known as “eulachon” or “candlefish”, are a type of anadromous smelt that makes its way into a number of rivers in Alaska during the spring spawning run. They arrive in some river systems in the hundreds of thousands, and are an important forage species for eagles, gulls, bears and other species. The fish is found from the Pacific Northwest to Alaska, and the name “eulachon” is thought to derive from the Chinookan language. “Hooligan” is thought to be a derivative of the Chinookan name.Screen Shot 2017-05-29 at 9.56.57 AM.png

Hooligan are of interest to subsistence fishermen, who net them out of rivers in the spring. The fish are eaten dried, smoked, canned or pan-fried. In years past, they earned the name “candlefish”, because when dried, the oil content of the fish was sufficient to allow it to burn like a candle. Hooligan were formerly harvested and rendered for their oil, which can comprise 15% of their body weight during the spawning run.Screen Shot 2017-05-29 at 9.57.06 AM.png

Hooligan make their spawning run in May, with the males usually coming in first, followed by female fish a few days later. Males develop two fleshy ridges along their sides, and most hooligan die after spawning. They lay their eggs in sand or gravel, and the eggs hatch in roughly a month. The fry make their way to saltwater immediately, where they live for four to six years. They do not always return to the same stream where they were spawned, but they do return to the general area. They prefer slower rivers without a lot of current velocity, as they are fairly weak swimmers.Screen Shot 2017-05-29 at 9.57.53 AM.png

Hooligan average between eight and ten inches in size.Screen Shot 2017-05-29 at 9.58.21 AM.png

Hooligan are typically caught by dipnet, a long-handled net with a bag that has fine mesh in it. The fish school up in deeper pockets, and in these places hundreds of hooligan can be caught. At this writing, a dipnetting permit is not required, and anyone with a valid sport fishing license can catch hooligan. There is no bag limit on hooligan.

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Fishing Ship Creek for King Salmon.

There is a beautiful spot near downtown Anchorage called Ship Creek. Okay, so it isn’t always beautiful. It is muddy. A slippery and sticky mud that claims many boots and the occasional life. It is near the train depot. It is loud and crowded. It is always littered with fishing line, bags of salmon eggs used as bait, and junk food wrappers. I just can’t seem to stop going here. Screen Shot 2016-07-06 at 1.46.32 AM.pngThe tides need to be timed correctly. Apparently. At low tide, the creek flows rapidly and the fish stay out at seas. Apparently. At high tide the place looks like a lake and it is hard to cast to where the fish allegedly are.Screen Shot 2016-07-06 at 1.46.42 AM.pngWhile there are people catching fish there, I have not been one of them. I even gave up my morals of fly fishing and resorted to flipping out spoons. I have acquired and lost many lures already this season. I still haven’t fished with bait, or tried to floss them, yet.Screen Shot 2016-07-06 at 1.47.30 AM.png

The season is coming to a close. This is the closest place to our house where I have a chance of catching a King Salmon. It is easy for me to strap my rod to my motorcycle, wear my boots and waders, and be fishing in 20 minutes.Screen Shot 2016-07-06 at 1.47.44 AM.pngAt least the spot has beauty in its own way. Who cares that people are occasionally murdered there.

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Hex hatch in Washington.

Looking for a ton of fun? Go fish the Hex hatch at Merrill Lake. We arrived a little before 7pm and not much was happening. Both of us on float tubes allowed to explore the deeper parts of the lake, but we knew exactly where to be when the sun goes down.
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Every year, like clockwork, when the sky really starts to turn dark, the splashing starts. It sounds like kids throwing rocks from shore. The big Hex bugs are coming off. The fish are eating them. The bats are eating them. The birds are eating them.Screen Shot 2014-08-04 at 10.04.12 AMIf you want a real adventure, it is just a 3.5 hour drive from Seattle. Driving for 7 hours just for 1 hour of good fishing. Typical.

Camping and fishing on the Sol Duc.

I had never really been to the Olympic Peninsula. A couple of stops at the ferry terminal in Port Angeles doesn’t really count. I still have not been to the Olympic National Park. Until I am allowed to take my dog wherever I want in the park, I probably won’t be going there. I found out about the Klahowya Campground and had to visit it. It is on the Olympic National Forest land making it cheaper and dog friendly. The drive along US 101 wasn’t very impressive until I turned off the highway and into the campsite. Tall trees shaded the whole area. The beautiful, low, clear, and cold Sol Duc River was flowing near a bunch of the campsites. We arrived hot and ready to fish. Before unloading the car, Lando and I need to see the water and take a selfie.Screen Shot 2014-07-12 at 2.16.44 PMThe trees are as enormous as you would expect them to be. With so few inhabitants, there aren’t many (if any) trails beside the rivers. This is half of the reason I went. Even though there are places where it is easily accessible, most people aren’t willing to leave the campgrounds. Ferns, moss, and berries were everywhere. the smell of Christmas was everywhere. It felt 20 degrees cooler once you were in the forest.Screen Shot 2014-07-12 at 2.17.20 PMFollowing the river, I came to a very deep hole. It would have been a great place to swim if it weren’t full of fish. I was sight casting to some of the largest wild trout I have seen in Washington. It was a bit of sketchy hike to get to this area. I had to remind myself that if either one of us got injured, it is a long walk back to the car and there still wouldn’t be cell service for another 15 miles.

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It is always good when you can’t hold the camera far enough away to get a decent picture. Watching this fish eat my fly, swim upstream, jump, swim downstream, and force me to scramble over logs and rocks was a thrill I won’t soon forget.Screen Shot 2014-07-12 at 2.18.08 PM Screen Shot 2014-07-12 at 2.18.21 PMThanks for reading and feel free to leave your comments!

Another Yak float.

Fly fishing the Yakima River is such a standard activity for any fly angler living in Seattle. The caddis were abundant and the small cutthroat trout eagerly try to devour anything floating over their head. Derek, Jason, and I spent a hot day floating downstream occasionally catching fish and mostly solving life’s problems. It was what a good day of fishing should consist of.

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Ireland Day 6.

We couldn’t tear ourselves away from Dingle’s First Cottage. The conversation was as amazing as the breakfast. When we finally stopped drinking tea to depart, we decided to drive around the Ring of Dingle before the famous Ring of Kerry. If I had one thing to tell future tourists, it would be to spend more time in Dingle and skip the Ring of Kerry.

This is Brandon Beach.

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I don’t think that there are any fish there.

Screen Shot 2014-04-25 at 6.17.55 PMNot that I was looking for fish or thinking about fly fishing.
Screen Shot 2014-04-25 at 6.17.48 PMBut the views were incredible all around the Dingle area.
Screen Shot 2014-04-25 at 6.17.24 PMThe wildlife was ferocious.
Screen Shot 2014-04-25 at 6.17.36 PMWe continued on to this enormous and empty beach which I can only imagine is packed in the summer.

Screen Shot 2014-04-25 at 6.32.09 PMJust more beautiful views. We didn’t expect blue skies and big empty beaches on this trip.Screen Shot 2014-04-25 at 6.31.54 PMOver a few semi-sketchy mountain passes. The two lane roads are what we would call bike paths.Screen Shot 2014-04-25 at 6.31.22 PMThis was definitely not a fishing trip.Screen Shot 2014-04-25 at 6.31.47 PMWhich is a good thing because I don’t know if I could find a place to give it a go.Screen Shot 2014-04-25 at 6.31.40 PMThere may have been one or two spots we could have fished. We stopped and looked at this place for probably a bit too long.

The upper Caragh River is famous for it’s salmon/trout fishing and is one of Europe’s cleanest rivers. It is nestled at the foot of the McGillicuddy Reeks. It flows through Ireland’s most beautiful nature reserves in the heart of County Kerry. Permits can be arranged. Boat hire is available for free fishing on Caragh Lake. Michael O’Shea, fishery manager (+353 87 2213835) or visit www.safiex.com” Unfortunately, we did not stay here. We stopped, watched people fish, and drove away with small tears in my eyes.
Screen Shot 2014-04-25 at 6.37.41 PMThen we ended our day (like most days) with an amazing pub dinner. This one courtesy of the Ring of Kerry Hotel.Dinner

November 21st – Google Maps.

Sure, it started with MapQuest and probably some others. Apple tried their hand at it. For me, Google got it right and has been great since I started using them. During my last fishing trip we were discussing “secret” spots and how quickly they must be disappearing. Back in the days of the Gazateer, fisherman would have all of their favorite spots marked in pen or pencil with some sort of key known only to them. Now we search for a place that might be good by looking at satellite images from our underwear in our living rooms.

Men no longer have to fight with women about asking for directions while driving. Nobody needs to tell me how to get to their house/restaurant/coffee shop/meeting place.

Here is where I will be on Thanksgiving.

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