Once every two years, a remarkable angling event happens here in the Pacific Northwest. Pink, or “humpie” salmon make their bi-annual return to our waters, in numbers between 6 and 8 million. You heard me right, that’s million with an “illion”. It’s like a freakin’ Egyptian biblical plague of pink salmon around here. Only these plague beasts taste great smoked, and readily bite on pink lures.Read More »
Yep, their name is pink, their flesh is pink, and they have a fondness for pink lures. They’re like the Paris Hilton of sport fish. Continue Reading
One of the great things about crab is how versatile it is. It’s great just steamed and eaten out of the shell. If you’re feeling schnazzy, you can dip it in garlic butter or aioli. A simple chilled crab cocktail is delicious. Of course, there are crab cakes and stuffed mushrooms; its great on salads and in pasta dishes. Unlike most seafood, it marries well with cheese and dairy…. Continue ReadingRead More »
It feels like I’m going back to the beginning this time around. My very first post about salmon was on sockeye from the Skagit River. Now it’s a few years later, I’m a little more seasoned, a little more skilled, and I’ve got even more of that Clooney-esque distinguished charm going on.
So I had a confident swagger when I walked up to my usual fishing spot on the Skagit river this season and saw that …. everything was different.Read More »
Usually at this time of year, we have high water due to the mountain snow melt. This winter though, it was so warm that, well, we basically had no winter. No winter equals no mountain snowpack, and that means that this year …. Let’s contrast & compare, shall we? Continue Reading
It’s always going to happen. It’s part of fishing.
There’s always going to be the ones that get away.
Around here, conversations with other fishermen we encounter often go like this.
“How did you do today?”
“Not bad, we went six for ten.” Or, “6/10″ if we’re texting, emailing, or whatever.
That gives a quick picture of how the day went. We had ten fish on the line, and landed six of them. That sums up how we did on our two main tasks. Getting fish to bite, and landing them once they do.
6/10 isn’t a bad day, at least when salmon fishing. Still, those ones that got away always chap the behind, don’t they?
You’re always going to have some fish spit the hook on you. It’s part of the challenge, and part of the frustration. Learning to play and land fish is a very large part of becoming a better fisherman. So here are ten top tips for getting that fish from the strike to the net. Continue ReadingRead More »
Still have smoked salmon in your freezer from last season? Me too.
Plus I know that many of you have kept your smokers busy over this Spring-like excuse for a Winter we’ve had here in the Pacific Northwest.
What I like about this recipe is that it works either as a side dish or as an entree by itself. It takes advantage of the fact that hot smoked salmon has many of the same flavor notes as bacon: salt, smoke, and just a hint of sweetness.
Smoked salmon and potatoes are a popular combination. Putting lox on top potato latkes is a classic. This recipe is a heartier, more stick-to-your-ribs take on that idea.
Smoked Salmon Twice Baked Potatoes
4 large russet potatoes *
1 Tbs oil
1 tsp kosher salt
*I’ll usually bake a couple extra potatoes also. That way I have spares in case any of the skins break when scooping them out. Plus that gives me extra potato to mound the twice bakes up nice & high.
Pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees.
Wash the potatoes, rub them all over with oil, and sprinkle them with the salt.
Bake for 1 hour or until a fork slides easily through the center.
2 Tbs unsalted butter
1/2 cup sour cream
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup milk
1/2 cup shredded gruyere cheese
1 Tbs chopped parsley
2 tbs minced scallions
6 oz smoked salmon, flaked
While the potatoes are still very warm, cut them in half and scoop them out. Be sure to leave enough “flesh” attached to the potato skins that they hold together.
In a bowl, combine the scooped potato flesh, butter, sour cream, salt, pepper, milk, parsley, scallions, and half the cheese. Using a potato masher or stiff whisk, mash the mixture until well-mixed and fluffy.
Add the flaked smoked salmon. Using a spoon or plastic spatula, gently fold the salmon into the potato mixture.
Fill the potato skins with the salmon/potato mixture. Don’t be afraid to mound them up high.
Top them with the remaining cheese.
Bake the stuffed potatoes for 20 minutes, or until brown on the outside and hot at the center.
I’ve done a couple different attempts at making salmon caviar. The first was a pretty standard salt brine. After cleaning the eggs, they go in the brine for 30 minutes, then get rinsed and are allowed to drain overnight before getting jarred. It lasts for a while in the fridge after curing, but vacuum sealing the jars will extend that quite a bit.
This week I tried a different cure on a batch of eggs. The recipe was supposedly a Japanese Ikura style cure, like you might get at a sushi restaurant. Rather than a simple salt brine, and a 30 minute cure, this has a mix of salt, sake, dashi, soy and sugar, and its in the cure overnight.Read More »
“That should’ve been my fish.”
I had just gotten my line back in the water after landing a nice hatchery steelhead, when the guy just down from me made that comment.
“I looked away for a second, and when I turned back around my bobber was under. I tried to set the hook, but I was too late.”
He sounded kind of gruff about it, but I don’t know the guy and I choose to think he was being self-effacing, rather than being bitter at me for catching “his” fish.
There’s an important lesson there, in this style of fishing you need to keep your eye on your float or you’re going to miss fish.
That’s part of the beauty of float fishing or “bobber dogging”. There’s a quiet but sharp focus you are keeping on your line, on the water, and on that little piece of plastic that’s floating down the river.
Those of you who have been following my antics, likely know that during the warmer months I spend a good deal of time trolling for salmon out in the salt water. That type of fishing is peaceful in it’s own way. After setting the rods we usually have time to gaze around at the scenery, engage in conversation, listen music, and (far too often) check our phones for messages. Of course we’re keeping an eye on our rods, but it’s pretty obvious when a line gets hit. So we’re free to divert our attention now and again. Continue ReadingRead More »
The coho fishing out in the salt water is winding down for the season. It’s time to start hitting the rivers.
I like to review my river fishing videos from last season, to see if there are any areas I need to focus on improving.Read More »