Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Misclipped Steelhead

This weekend brought up an important issue hopefully all Steelhead anglers encounter.  It is more and more common to catch fish with a partially or “Misclipped” Adipose fin.  We usually end up with 4-5 misclipped fish every year.  Not a huge number but I would say around 1 percent are misclipped.  I have noticed an increase now that the automatic clipping process is being used.   When the fish were clipped by hand there were very few, and any misclipped were still very obviously clipped. 

Misclipped Adipose Fin
I can usually tell pretty quickly as soon as I can see the fish for the first time - even eight feet under water - if it is a keeper or not.  Just one of those things that comes with experience and looking for it.  In this instance, I called it as a non-clipped well before it was netted, and the client was a little disappointed to hear he had to let it go.  When it was finally time to net the fish I could then tell it was worth a closer look.  The client commented that he could now see the fin, and he also believed it should go back.  I got a closer look after the hook was removed.   The fin had an obvious flat top and was more of a line from the back to the back edge.  The Adipose fin is normally rounded across the top, and the arch starts right at the back line. 

Wild Fish
I told the client he had his first keeper of the day and hoisted it in the boat.  There was a lot of concern from the clients, and I finally told him it was 100% my responsibility.  My accepting the responsibility seemed to settle his nerves a little, so I introduced the fish to the love stick.  Now I will admit only a very few people would have kept the fish because of the noticeable fin.   I will also tell anyone if you have any doubt at all turn the fish loose.  Do not ever keep a fish you are not sure is a clipped fish.  We have a mandatory keep fishery.  The more clipped fish we remove the higher probability of the fishery remaining open in the future.     

We ended the day with 9 boated and several keepers.  We headed in and the WDFW Creel Checking staff was at the dock waiting.  The client with the misclipped fish started getting nervous again.  It didn’t help with his buddy telling him he was going to jail because it was on his card not mine.  We saved the misclipped fish for last, and the checkers initially caught their breath.  As soon as the checker got a closer look though, the checker said it was a hatchery fish.  In addition to the misclipped fin, the checker could see another marking on the fish that indicated it was from the Wenatchee area.  The magic wand beeped (collecting the PIT tag number identifying the fish), and the head went in the bag.  Another great day Steelhead fishing and educating other anglers about is what it’s all about.


Editors note: Please remember we were 100% sure of the misclip through our experience. If you are not sure let the fish go. We are not responsible if you keep a wild fish thinking it is a misclip.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Wenatchee Sportsman Show

So today my family and I went to the Wenatchee Sportsmans  Show in Wenatchee, WA  My daughter was excited to see the live black bears and I was excited to see if I could find some great gear to review.

First I spoke with Glenn at the Northwest Coolers booth.  They sell Coolers made by Canyon Coolers. They are said to be just as strong as Yeti Coolers but half the price. They looked great and seemed to have a great design.

After looking at coolers I went and spoke with Mike Carolus who owns High County Hunting which makes heavy duty game bags among other things. I looked at both the deer bag and the travel bag. The bags are made out of tough canvas. The travel bag is made for the deer or elk you kill miles from the road. It allows you to bone out your game and put it into a protective bag that has straps so you can pack it out on you horse, ATV or on your back.

I want to give a big thanks to Mike Hynemm from KoneZone. He jumped right on the R-Dub Outdoors band wagon and supplied us with a bunch of fishing gear for salmon & steelhead, for future reviews and a giveaway or two. He gave us some brine, UV flashers, and stickers to put on flashers to make them more realistic, and some scentless fake eggs for steelhead fishing.  Mike has a great web page - check out his site for your fishing needs.

Another booth that caught my attention was the Handy Sharp tool. Chad Ruseler was running this booth. This small carbide tool quickly sharpens all your tools with a quick slide down the blade. I think this would make a great addition to your survival and hunting toolbox.

Eagle Tac Flashlights also caught my eye. I was told they are just as bright if not brighter than the main brand lights, but half the price. I would really like to take one to work with me and try it out.

I finished the day talking with a couple of outfitters and guides from Eastern Washington.

I really hope I get to work with at least a few of these great companies I met with today, only time will tell. I can't wait for the next show and I hope the Wenatchee show gets bigger every year.