This salmon season was like a relationship where it’s one big fat mixed message. It seemed like one minute, it was hot and heavy, and the next minute it was a ghost town. Then, after all these mixed messages, you get friend-zoned. Well, its time to say goodbye and move on. We should call it and say the salmon season is over. It is nothing to be sad about when the salmon season is over because that means it is officially steelhead season. Steelhead season is different than the salmon season because the goal of salmon is to spawn, and that is their goal. There is a lot of debate about whether salmon bite or feed during the spawn. However, there is no debate about steelhead feeding and eating. The main focus of the steelhead is to feed, and the thing that they are looking for is salmon eggs. Because of this, as an angler, you have to change up your strategy from salmon fishing to steelhead fishing. In the steelhead season, it means that you also have to adjust your expectations of what the season is going to be. Steelhead has a reputation as one of the most difficult fish to catch. It has a revered reputation for a reason – some have called it the “fish of a thousand cast.” So we recommend an adjustment of expectation and strategy.
If you look at the Douglaston Salmon Run through the filter of salmon season, then it would be slow; however, if you see it through the steelhead season, then yesterday should be considered a perfect day. Different reports from anglers that it was slow down low but that there plenty of fish on the top of the DSR near the public section.
The best report of steelhead came from the top of DSR and the line of the public part of the river from the Little Black Hole to the Lower Staircase. From the Lower Staircase to Long Bridge, there was lots of activity which included some browns. The town bridge received some of this, but it was not that great for the Ball Park and above. Some anglers reported that it was a difficult day, but after discussing it further, they were looking for salmon, and they were not even aware of what steelhead is.
There were reports of steelhead being sighted and moving from 81 to Upper Sportsman. Most of these areas are in an incline, so as they run, they need to stop and rest. A steelhead is very effective at conserving their energy and find the easiest way to travel. One thing to remember is that steelheads are trout, and their main focus as they travel is to find eggs, conserve their energy and hide from overhead predators.
Due to high water, Oz Angling had to cancel their tournament, but there were still anglers who gave it a try. Still, even with the high water, some fish were caught. For most consistent fishing, we do recommend going to the wall at Oswego.
If you are not fishing at the dam, it is all about timing. Fish are not resting down from the dam. They are just moving through and past the Archers, so it’s just timing. If you are there during when a pod pushes through, you will have a good time; otherwise, you will need to work at the dam or just past it. Most successful anglers are using floating instruments like floats or floating indicators.
Fish are moving up and more fish are getting caught from the Trestles to the Dam. There are big browns at the dam.