On a personal note, it was 22 years ago that Rick Anderson, former sports editor for the Daily World, asked me to contribute to the newspaper by writing a fishing column. It has been an amazing opportunity to share on a subject that I have a passion for – fishing.
Over these years, there have come many changes to the sports-fishing scene. Whereas, I do not consider myself an old timer, there are those out there whom I know, can tell many stories of yesteryear.
The things I can remember from earlier days of fishing on the harbor result largely from an abundance of fish.
For starters, there were no restrictions on retaining wild hatchery fish within the daily-catch limit. This applied to salmon, steelhead and sea-run cutthroat trout. The fish limit amounted to as many as three adult fish and eight sea-runs. People were retaining some very large fish in the day.
The actual fishing season went through a series of changes. My initiation to fishing in Washington led me from a season which began Jan. 1 of each year to the current start of a season on April 1. Furthermore, the opening of lakes and the rivers have seen changes over time. I can easily remember the opening of rivers on Memorial Day weekend and the flood of boat traffic on the river. Campers would occupy river bars down stream from approaching boats to get the first look at a hole of water. For the most, all rivers remained open for longer periods of time. Some of our local rivers were fishable throughout April before they closed.
Jet sleds emerged as the way to go. Whereas, drift boats were common and everyone seemed to own one, sleds took river fishing to a new level. Not only did they give greater access to a river; but, they introduced new techniques with the opportunities to refish water easily. This offered the option of going back and forth over water that assuredly held fish. The end result was that more fish were being caught. Fishing itself has seen changes. New and better equipment changed fishing to more of a science. Plunking sheds diminished in number and anglers were getting into the water with insulated waders. Waterproof clothing has allowed fishers to remain in the elements all day without the need to get warm at nearby bonfires.
However, there have been many things which have remained the same. For starters, fresh fish still taste the same. It is hard to beat a fresh salmon or steelhead. Properly prepared, these fish hold their own on the International scene of palatable fish.
Developing the skill of presenting a lure and feeling a bite remains the same. However, our new graphite poles can literally help the angler distinguish between a rock or log and the tug of a fish. New and better fishing line has enabled anglers to complete the exercise of not only hooking a fish but to actually landing it as well.