HUGE Landlocked Chinook!
February 19th was a Tuesday, and my good friend Ted invited me out on his boat to go fishing along with one of our other buddies but he prefers to remain anonymous. It turned out to be a EPIC fish day! We went to Green Peter Reservoir just hoping to catch some decent hold over Rainbows and perhaps some Kokanee since it was early in the season. We had none of the fancy gear like a fish finder, down riggers, electric motors, lead core line. Guess we didn’t need any of that stuff to catch a very memorable fish. We had been trolling around for about an hour or so without any bites so I threw something out there that is sort of out of the ordinary for lake fishing, a Lindy River Rocker plug. Not too long after we were coming up upon a point, and I noticed the tip of my rod that was leaning against the boat bounce a couple times a tell-tale sign of a bite. I immediately pick the rod and and feel something heavy and thought snag, until I felt a couple head shakes and began to tell Ted to cut the motor.
Until I saw this fish in the water I thought I had a real decent rainbow on, that is up until I got the fish close to the boat for the first time. There is such good clarity at this lake I could see the fish about 15-20 feet down just thrashing, and that was when I knew I had something BIG on, that was also when I told our buddy to get my video camera out. I knew it was gonna be a fight. I was using a 4’8″ Ultra Lite rod rated for 4-6lb line, and I was using some cheap 4lb mono that actually had a knot or two in the line but I didn’t take the time to re tie. As soon as the video starts you can hear the drag peeling, pretty sure it was right after the fish seen the boat for the first time. If your offended by foul language or have children then id advise you not to watch or mute it, we were some pretty dang excited anglers!
The fish is a land locked Chinook Salmon and measured out to 30″ we didn’t weigh it or get a girth measurement but id say it was around ten pounds from just holding it. If you watched the video you can see that we’ll have to start bringing a bigger net with us. Got pretty damn lucky on the second attempt with the net looked as if the hook almost got knocked off. Luckily Ted improvised and was able to tail the fish into the boat!
The big nook sure made the trip worth it. Only one other fish was caught a nice 16″ rainbow by Ted on a Thomas spoon. In the next day or two Ted sent the Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife an email asking some questions about this fish. This is quoting the Biologist: “Thanks for getting in touch with us about this fish. I saw the picture and it is pretty impressive. This fish is obviously a survivor from an experimental release that was done back in 2003 or 2004 to see whether Chinook would spawn successfully above Green Peter, but it was never intended to be a re-introduction because downstream passage through the dam has such poor survival. Some spawning did occur and this fish is now a second generation fish, that is using the reservoir as its “ocean”. We call these populations “adfluvial” because the newly hatched juveniles rear for a while in the river and then migrate down to a freshwater lake for a few years and can get very large. Once they have reached spawning age, which for Chinook can be 3-6 years, they migrate back up the rivers to spawn and die.”
It’s almost hard to believe that fish came out of a lake. Looks like a ocean bright Spring Chinook. Dont know if Ill ever get a land locked Salmon that size ever again. Fish of a life time? Maybe so.
Figured Id get a picture of the guy that made this whole fish/trip possible. The captain of the Newt, Ted aka TTFishon. Thanks again buddy for having me along on such a fun day! It’s days like this that make fishing really awesome and gets me coming back. The joy of the unexpected whether its an awesome fish or just plain fun times with friends or both.
Thanks for reading and as always Tight Lines!!