Sunday, February 20, 2011

What is white and black and white?

The day has finally arrived! I have not picked up my fishing rod since the chum and coho turned nasty in the Puntledge in October. Today the three of us headed to the Quatse River near Port Hardy at the north end of Vancouver Island. Chris was already near there for work so the Jester and I left at 5:00 this morning to do the three hour drive.
Redbull break at Hyde Creek
This area of the island is isolated and has no cell phone or radio reception so the drive was a relentless iPod battle with a playlist running the gamut from Lady Gaga to Johnny Horton. There is nothing like Poker Face followed by North to Alaska to get you ready for a day of fishing! This drive boasts some of the most beautiful scenery on Vancouver Island. Snow covered mountain peaks, pristine rivers and huge cedar trees surround you the entire drive. It is easy to take for granted how lucky we are to live here but I don't think anyone could drive that highway and not be in awe.
Full of early morning optimism

We hooked up with the prince at 8:30 and headed to the Quatse. This is one of a few rivers that allows bait for steelhead so we came armed with shrimp along with various other enticements we hoped to fish would like. I brought my little red Abu bait caster and the boys were both using Islander centerpins. When we checked the weather forecast before leaving Comox and it said a mix of sun/rain/snow. This is a typical north island February forecast so we decided to tempt fate and hope mother nature would have mercy on us. The morning started of slightly overcast and -1c. We rigged up our gear and began to cast. The water was dark and murky from the recent rainfall and although the river is a shallow one we could not see anything. We moved further downriver every half hour and switched up our tackle. We tried wool, shrimp and wool, artificial roe clusters, Colorado lures, and Hawkeye worms.

Trying out a Colorado lure

Even though the fish weren't biting the jester was loving every second of breaking in his shiny new centerpin. He has never been so quiet while fishing.. The benefit of this reel to me is far less tangling with my line and the casting control keeps him out of my way!

Focussed on the centerpin

Around 11:00 the snow started falling lightly... At 11:30 the snow started falling steadily... By noon we were fishing in a white out.


A snowy prince

There were a few other anglers braving the river and we all agree that these are some of the friendliest people we have met while fishing. We did not lose much gear today but when one of my floats snagged and drifted down the river a sweet old guy who was wading in grabbed it and brought it back to me on his way out. He told us that the Quatse is best fished early in the morning and late afternoon.

An unsuccessful day at the river is still
better than any day not at the river!
Unfortunately by 2:30 the snow was still falling and we decided it was best to get on the road home before it became undrivable. As hard as it was to cut our fishing day short it was the right decision as this is what we encountered near Sayward.

So I am still a steelhead virgin but I hope to give it at least one more try this winter. We all hate to leave the river without playing some fish but it was still fun to be out there trying our luck and river fishing in a snowstorm is an experience that I won't soon forget.

So, what is white and black and white????
Getting skunked in the snow!

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