The Fishing Corner: Steelhead is the main attraction for anglers in March

When it comes to the month of March, there are a host of things that capture the mind. Firstly, everyone in the American sports world has a focus on the NCAA basketball tournaments. Golf is ramping up and baseball spring training is well on the way.

On the local fishing scene, anglers in the Northwest are zeroing in on big steelhead. When we get this late in the steelhead season, the obvious is that these fish have had a longer period of time to put on some size whether late hatchery or wild fish. They arrive in hosting rivers and seem like monsters when they take the bait. Their size gives them a huge advantage in tight quarters such as a river.

The rules around this fishery are quite simple. If they are a hatchery fish they may be retained. And, if they are a wild steelhead, they must be released. Anglers can spot the missing adipose fin in a split second and this revelation makes for some happy fishers.

This attraction of bigger fish can draw a crowd. Our Olympic drainage rivers have a reputation with our urban friends, and henceforth a tendency to pull fishing traffic in our direction. Since this event draws those who don’t mind travelling a distance, these anglers can spread out from Grays Harbor to our northern rivers and streams.

Those remaining rivers open in this season for our region include most of the northern rivers and the Chehalis, the Humptulips, the Satsop and the Wynooche rivers. It would be a good idea to consult with the Department of Fish &Wildlife regulations to determine the segments open to fishing in the above mentioned rivers.

The boat traffic on both the Wynooche and Satsop rivers has been steady. At one point lately, the ratio was coming in at one fish per boat.

There is no question that there are those who hear a report like this and doubt the accuracy. This is particularly true if a bank fisherman has spent the day without as much as a single bite. The thing everyone needs to bear in mind is that boats can cover so much more water. Plus, they can position themselves in the water so that they can cover it with strategic accuracy.

They can employ backtrolling techniques and a wide variety of presentations in a single hole of water. Those on the bank are very limited. When you add a motor to your vessel, it can change everything. Not only is accessibility a huge advantage, but when a fish is actually caught it is possible to steer the fish and play it out without the fear of losing it. Of course, this is an advantage when you are playing bigger fish. The landing chore is simplified with the usage of a net.

So, steelhead fishing is the name of the game on the fishing scene. It won’t be long and this season will wrap up. With daylight savings time already in effect, it gives those pursuing fish a little more daylight at the end of the day to get it done.