March’s madness is this: overlooking spring steelheading in favor of spring Chinook coverage.
Guilty as charged.
I haven’t always been so irresponsible, honestly.
Some of you may remember this story, but before my career in outdoor journalism ever began, I ran away to Steelhead Camp on the Ronde. For two glorious March weeks, my sole job was to A) Wake up; B) Help launch the drifter; C) Make sure the coffee brewing on the propane heater didn’t tip over as we floated down to Cottonwood Creek; D) Fish all day; E Tell stories at the campfire above Boggan’s; and F) Repeat.
Sadly, gainful employment with Fishing & Hunting News summoned me away from that paradise.
NOT LONG AFTERWARDS, I found myself copy editing a story about something known as a spring Chinook.
A salmon that runs in March and April?!? Poppycock!
(Forgive me, I’m from Pugetropolis and have lived a sheltered life.)
But in the coming years I learned lots about the beast during dozens of high-speed dive bomb runs back and forth to Drano and points in between. And when I became an editor, that March on the Ronde was all but forgotten. The month’s coverage came to be dominated by Chinook – glorious, glorious spring Chinook.
Which has probably been just fine with the anglers who sneak out to Oregon’s Coast, Washington’s West End, and Snake tribs to get their last whacks on steelhead.
This year, with a smaller Columbia springer run in the pipe, I had planned to give them some company, I really did. I had some great tips from Jason Schultz of Hells Canyon Sport Fishing, Terry Wiest had a big story about the Cowlitz’s stellar March steelhead run, yada, yada, yada. But, well, when Andy Schneider, Larry Ellis and Buzz Ramsey get on rolls about spring kings, game over.
In the end, I only managed to sneak in a single steelie story.
IT’S NOT JUST ME WHO loses his head about springers. On a mid-February afternoon, I got a Facebook PM from Jason Bauer, he of Northwestwalleye.com and author of that article last issue on bugeyes and an upcoming one on crappie.
“got Springer Fever now. I’m not sure Im gonna make it”
The poor soul has changed his profile pic from a walleye to a beautious chrome king.
“I need two boats now. Can’t convince Monica yet though.”
Might as well add a third, Jason, a drifter for steelies. Next year, I tell myself, we’ll talk March’s other madness.
In the meanwhile, check out these recent catches and reports from Jeff Main on the Ronde, and Andy Schneider on Oregon’s North Coast:
Sun, kept 1 9# lost 1
Limit of Local Chrome proves easy for 6-year old…..
Andy Schneider to “Undisclosed-R.
I had plans to fish the coast Friday with some friends from work and my son. But when the coastal rivers were barely holding on and might blow out, I decided to cancel my coastal ‘fishing’ trip and turn it into a coastal ‘family’ trip. But my 6-year old son was a little disappointed that we won’t get a chance to go fishing, as promised. So after some homemade waffles and getting the ‘okay’ from my editor to postpone some writing, my son finally talked me into dragging the boat to the river for a couple hours of pulling plugs.
The river had a lot of color for it’s height and with poor reports my hopes were not too high. But on the 3rd slot, my son’s rod folded over and a chrome hen was thrashing the water behind the boat.
And the very next hole my sons rod slowly loaded up and then line started peeling and before my son got to the rod he had lost 70-feet!
Not only did Ayden let the proper amount of line out on his rod and put it in the rod holder, he deployed my gear too! Not to mention, fighting both fish and making it super easy to net. Man, he’s miles ahead of where I was at 6!
Both fish were caught on a chrome with orange spotted K11X, that Ayden picked out.