Row River - it was bound to happen

SmallStreams
Hindsight is a wonderful tool. We even joke about the liklihood of an event happening, laughing at what seems to be an improbable occurence. Sometimes... well, sometimes we even HOPE to have a significant experience and it rarely ever happens...

Such was the case on Saturday. Though water level was down a foot from last month, the Row River was nicely cool, still good for trout. Bruce and I had worked our way upstream from the yellow house a couple holes. We'd had strikes and a couple of smaller cutthroat. The next hole was several hundred yards long and we worked the slow tail without any results. I moved up closer to the head, where there was good current to swing the spinner through an arc. Cast, take a step or two forward, and cast again. Work the water, cover it all.

It was about the third cast from my new spot when the lure stopped dead. Giving a slight tug indicated some flexibility, like it was hooked on a submerged branch, so I heaved again. Yes, there was a bit of give and as I stepped forward, taking up a little slack, that's when the very large fish rose to the surface, about 25' in front of me.

"Oh, crap!" is what I think I hollered. There before my eyes was a fish well over 30", bright & shiny silver, with my red-bodied spinner firmly embedded in its upper lip. The fish submerged back into the moderate depth after shifting left about a foot. I couldn't see it any more, but my eyes were fixed on where my line went into the water. This thing was totally ignoring me!

Meanwhile, Bruce had looked my way, saw the pole bent double, and gotten close enough to ask what I needed. He could tell it was a big fish rather than a branch because the tip danced around a bit. Considering that I only had my light trout rig, I knew that I wasn't going to be man-handling this fish ashore. My fanny pack was back on shore, so I told Bruce to get the gloves out of it... only I forgot to tell Bruce that I had in mind for him to handle the fish if I could get it close to shore and worn out, when he thought I meant to bring the gloves to me (but we got it straightened out).

I needed this big fish to run against a modest drag setting and wear itself out, but it was ignoring the pressure I was exerting. Any more pressure and the line would snap, so I was in a mild predicament. I was already doing all that I could do and couldn't fathom how to make the fish start running. It just sat there on the bottom. This fight was turning into a judge's decision with the fish getting most of the points since it was on home terriroty and I still had miles to go to get home.

After another minute, the fish finally decided to move. It lazily came near the surface again, gave a head shake, and <snap>. A bit of a splash as it settled down. Sigh. My 30-year-old line had parted about halfway between me and the fish, probably where it was slightly frayed. The head shake should not have been strong enough to break the 6 lb test, but indeed it had parted ways. Bruce got a look at the size of the fish and his eyes were probably as large as mine.

I waded back ashore to tie another lure on. As we excitedly chatted for several minutes, the big fish leaped backwards and took up a new station 6' downstream. Bruce took my spot. While I was tying the next spinner on, he hooked a big fish that we didn't see and it only took about 15 seconds to snap his 4 lb test line at the lure knot. Possibly the same fish.

Not catching it, we are left with a few unanswered questions. Was it a spring chinook or a summer steelhead? Was it a stray hatchery fish or wild? I'm pretty sure the Row River is not planted with hatchery fish, so most likely it would have been wild. I did not see a hooked jaw, so we know it was probably female. I thought I saw a rainbow stripe down the side, but the fight was far more characteristic of a chinook than a steelhead.

And, as Bruce said, "How many hours have we spent fishing specifically for salmon and steelhead this year, yet when we're not prepared for them, we hook a real nice one?"

Needless to say, I'll be buying some fresh line tonight, but, most of all, "I want my lure back!"
 
Spydeyrch
SmallStreams said:
Needless to say, I'll be buying some fresh line tonight, but, most of all, "I want my lure back!"

Nice report there man!! Love the story. I love that last line there too!!

-Spydey
 
ChezJfrey
Yeah, that's a fun story...like to hear about big fish and surprises, but I think mostly it's 'fun' because it doesn't involve one getting away from me :)

Oh, and please do us all a favor from now on...line changes every year or two, NOT every few decades! Yowzers!
 
18406ej
A great tale and well told. Sorry about the lure.
 
lilsalmon
Nice story......sorry the fishy took your lure.
 
plumb2fish
Cool, I can't imagine a spool of line lasting that long...I respool at the minimum for winters and then for summers. I don't target trout though so I may have a reel laying around somewhere with 3-5 yr old 4 lb test on it....better change it I guess
 
Mad dog
plumb2fish said:
Cool, I can't imagine a spool of line lasting that long...I respool at the minimum for winters and then for summers. I don't target trout though so I may have a reel laying around somewhere with 3-5 yr old 4 lb test on it....better change it I guess

Bummer about losing the fish.....still fun fighting them though!

30 year old line??? DAMMER!!! break down and buy some new fishin' line! :D It's fairly inexpensve! :lol:
 
Troutski
Check with the Springfield ODFW, you will be pleasantly surprised. Explain what happened and watch her face change into a huge grin.
541 726 3515 Ask for Kelly.

Chuck
 
TTFishon
I gotta be honest. I cringed when I saw this thread and I'm still cringing but I gotta keep it on the positive note. Yes there are steelhead in this stream and from what I've heard an occasional chinook but lets try to keep it on the down low. lol
 
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