Vedder River Winter Steelhead Kickoff 2018!
This trip was special for me for a number of reasons. Two most prominently:
1) It was my first time out fishing in 3 months! It was an intentional step back for family time as I have 2 young boys (3 yrs & 10 mths old). 3 months of no fishing sounds (and is) crazy, but honestly it has been time well spent for our family. But as things are normalizing on the family front, I’m looking to get out more often!
2) This was the 1st Steelhead trip for the 2018 season. I don’t know how you feel about Steelheadin’ but for me this is like the opening week of the NHL, unbridled excitement! Winter Steelhead are my favorite fish to pursue, there is no comparison.
I was fishing with my buddy Jason who’s a much better river angler than I am. I’m always learning a lot from him. Together we were on the Vedder river before first light. After a few big downpours there have been reports of fish throughout the river, but we figured to cast our luck in the lower section of the river.
We both started float fishing with cured shrimp. I’m a fan of this bait as it’s not messy like roe, and is firm so it stays on the hook longer. This is especially important on those very cold winter days when you don’t want to be continually dealing with wet bait when your hands are cold.
The starting run I focused on looked very fishy, but with no success. We were about to move downriver to the next run but decided to try a shallower portion of this wide tail out. First drift my float went down hard! The fish immediately ripped down the run with a few acrobatic jumps. From the initial run Jason and I both thought this was a big fish. I was able to turn the fish before it exited the run, it was then I realized it wasn’t a giant. However, it still fought hard with a few more runs and jumps. It was a 6 lb hatchery Doe and was as clean as they come. Bright white belly and the distinct grey line of the Winter Steelhead. There is no fish like it.
Shortly after this Jason got his hatchery buck (approx 7 lbs), it wasn’t even 9:00 am yet but our day was over. If you kill a hatchery fish on the Vedder river you’re no longer able to continue fishing (for any species on the river). So we filled in our licenses and called it a day. And what a glorious fishing day it was! What a way to kickoff the 2018 Winter Steelhead season here in the Fraser Valley area. I already can’t wait for my next trip.
Shrimp Cure Recipe
The bait that I used in this trip was cooked shrimp put into a very simple cure recipe. Here are the basic ingredients and steps.
- Bag of Frozen Cooked Shrimp
- White Sugar
- Coarse Salt
- Procure powder / (optional)
- Thaw out Shrimp
- Pat them dry with paper towel (if they’re a little wet that’s fine)
- Mix a ratio of 5:1 Sugar to Salt into a zip lock bag (e.g. 1 cup of sugar to 1/5 of a cup of salt)
- Optional: Add a small portion of cure for coloring (table spoon of whatever color you prefer). This step is strictly for coloring so is optional. Try experimenting with different cure colors! Or skip the cure and leave it as the natural cooked shrimp color.
- Add Shrimp to the dry mix, coat well
- Leave in fridge for 24 hours, drain any liquid from zip lock bag (Shrimp are ready to fish, otherwise freeze them)