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Below is a tutorial presented by Cameron Black of Gone Catchin’ Guide Service about how to rig a flasher and prawn spinner setup. This can also be used in conjunction with herring or any other bait you’d like to present behind a flasher. This tutorial is brought to you by Fishing Addicts Northwest and filmed & edited by Lucas Holmgren.

Happy fishing! Hope everyone’s springer season is going well so far! – Cameron Black’s Guide service fishes Columbia river and tributaries for Salmon, Steelhead, Sturgeon & many more!

Columbia River Spring Chinook! What a welcome sight to see a high prediction of upriver Spring Chinook for 2014! We’re smack dab in the early stages when pictures are showing up, reports are coming in and anglers are getting their gear wet in anticipation of the best tasting salmon to enter our waters!

This has no doubt been a year of odd water conditions. Super low water plagued our early winter steelhead fishery and then with the onset of rain, we’ve experienced many weeks of unfishable conditions. Between all of that there have been absolute slay-fests, dry spells, weak runs, great runs – it’s been an odd one. Now, with many anglers excited about Spring Chinook, we’re still dealing with difficult conditions. Most of March has seen a Columbia River full of high-off colored water. As the season progresses without a doubt the Willamette has been the best bet.

Early Willamette catches are pretty much the norm for early-season Spring Chinook. With that said we’ve been seeing a good number of fish being caught. The old stand-by – flasher & herring trolled has been the top producer.

spring chinook fishing

Fun family trip produces two bright spring chinook!

Jeff H of Vancouver, WA reports that the Shortbus color “Chartreuse Hunter” accounted for these two chunky, Willamette springers. A fun family trip proved to be productive trolling herring and flashers. These flashers have worked exceptionally well over the past few years and have already started off the season with a bang.

A few lower Columbia tributaries are already reporting catches of Spring Chinook – Cowlitz being one of them. Amidst the rising Springer counts remains the fact that the Lewis and Kalama are still experiencing down years. Neither will be open for retention of Spring Chinook – hatchery OR wild. Dam counts have yet to climb but rest assured, once they do, Drano, Wind and Klickitat fisheries will kick off.

We’ve yet to see how the year pans out but so far effort has not gone unrewarded. It’s typical to see lots of effort and little catches early – no doubt it was slow for a bit. Willamette has shown promising early results and it won’t be long before we see more consistent catches come from Columbia. Conditions will dictate what happens however. The popular I5 troll has been near vacant due to high-off color water. Plunking has already been productive for those that know it – this is largely due to the fact that high water forces Springers near the bank. Anchoring with Kwikfish (wrapped with sardines or tuna bellies are a great bet) near the bank in “traffic lanes” would be a great option.

Fishing Addicts Northwest wishes you a productive and enjoyable Spring Chinook season! We look forward to seeing your success and we’ll be out there working hard for them as well.

**Saturday March 29th update** – Mainstem Columbia catches are improving. Fairly even spread between Kwikfish and Herring/flasher bite – both seeing good success. Fish typically are being caught in the 7 – 21 foot depth range.


Those looking to get out and book a trip with an experienced Spring Chinook guide please get in contact with our Facebook page  or send an email to - we’ll let you know who WE trust to produce catches of these amazing fish!
chinook flashers lures baits
If you’re out trolling for Springers you need the best flashers in the business! Visit for a full selection and variety. Shortbus is offered at most fishing departments.

oregon steelhead fishing hatchery fish

Less conflict – More Fishing!!

First of all, let’s get this out there – it’s not always easy fishing around and with people. “Clicks” persist and  it’s not uncommon to see tempers flare and disagreements abound. This is especially true at “hatchery holes” or other areas where fish pile up. Where fish pile up, people pile up.

This article is specifically targeted towards bank anglers. We’ll discuss driftboat etiquette in a future article.

River Ettiquette | Coexisting with Other Anglers

Good fishing brings crowds. Maybe you’ve got some great locations that you can find both fish and solitude, but not everyone has that luxury.

River etiquette is beneficial to every angler involved.

    1. The customary code of polite behavior in society or among members of a particular profession or group.

We all must share the same water. As many have remarked, these days there are more anglers than fish. How can we make things easier on each other? When I go fishing I don’t seek out conflict, I seek enjoyment. Simple respect and thoughtfulness can go a long way. Below are a number of items that anglers should follow in order to keep their fishing experience enjoyable for them and others around them.

  • Casting Order - In certain cases a number of people are fishing the same water/drift. Always remember to let the downstream angler cast first. This is simple but must be followed. When a proper system has been established, many anglers can fish effectively. This is especially important in “combat” zones.
  • “Low-Holing”  - Never approach a hole that other bank fishermen are fishing and walk below the anglers and start casting. Many times fishermen are working from the top of a hole on down. It is however considered appropriate to start above the anglers and follow them down the drift. If the hole is very long and can hold numerous anglers it may be appropriate to start quite a bit below, but use discretion. Many times it’s just simply a good idea to ask – “Do you mind if I fish the lower section of this run?” Most reasonable fishermen will be agreeable. If not, move on and come back later.
  • Mean Mugging - If someone says “hello”, say “hello” back. No use being weird.
  • When a fish is hooked and your line is in the water, reel in your gear. Give the angler some space to get control of the fish and only cast out when you are not endangering the fight.
  • When you hook a fish - fight it quickly and subdue the fish as quickly as possible. Don’t spend all day tiring it out in front of everybody. Only play the fish if it’s giving you no other choice. If it’s a wild fish – handle it well!

These simple rules will save you and others a lot of grief. Most of all – keep a smile on your face and enjoy fishing. It’s meant to be enjoyed.


Interview with The Reel Tech

Today I’d like to introduce a company that excels in quality, customer service and prompt, professional service.

Fishing Addicts has worked with  The Reel Tech a few times to get standard maintenance work done on reels. We approached him simply because we were aware of his business and had heard good endorsements of The Reel Tech coming from fellow anglers. We were happy to find out that John was every bit as dependable and professional as we had heard, and that he seemed to go the extra mile to ensure that our reel maintenance was top-notch.

He does not only expert reel repair & maintenance, but also builds precision custom fishing rods, fishing rod repairs and more.  We spoke with John Strenk about his business and sent over a few questions so that our audience could get to know the background of the business – as well as the man behind it all.

big native steelhead

John with a big native Steelhead!

“Fishing has been a passion of mine since I was very young. My Dad lit the fire in me at a young

age and I took it from there. I guess you can say it built into an obsession, and it continues. I

have been fortunate to be able to fish in a lot of different places for many different species. East

coast, west coast, Mexico, Offshore long rage fishing, inshore saltwater fishing, streams, rivers,

or lakes. If it swims, I like to catch them. If I am not in the act of fishing, I am usually reading

about it, tinkering with tackle, watching it on TV, or dreaming about it.”

“I spent 6.5 years in the fishing tackle industry on the retail side. Started my first job in a small

tackle shop in Southern California in 1989 when I was in High School, and continued in the

fishing retail industry until I graduated college. Had a good time working some big sport shows

for different vendors as well as the stores I was working for at the time. The small shop where

I started offered reel repair to its customers. I was always back there watching the old man

work on reels and it intrigued me. My passion for the gear that we use to catch the fish we

love initiated me to ask to learn how to do it myself. Once I learned the basics, I knew it was

something I wanted to do. Yet another way to be involved in the fishing industry. In short

order, I was doing the reel repair for the shop. My experience with reels grew and grew over the

years and I continued to work on reels as a side business, even after I left the retail side of the


“Since 1989, I have worked on a countless number of reels. From spinning reels to offshore 2

peed lever drag reels, any make, any model, if it catches fish, I can work on it. I think this is

something that differentiates me in this business. do not focus on just one brand. I am on

top of the ever changing technology of our fishing gear and have no problem adapting to the

changes. 25 years of being inside every reel imaginable enables me to troubleshoot a reel in

seconds. I have seen an amazing amount of different issues that can and do arise with fishing

reels. I can’t tell you how many times I get customers that bring me a ziploc baggie full of parts

from a reel they tried to take apart. It is something you definitely have to have the passion for.

The ability to dump that baggie out on the table, start separating parts, and quickly see what tiny

parts were lost by the customer in the process comes with LOTS of time on the bench.

Something that defines The Reel Tech difference is my interaction with the customers throughout

the process.” (editors note: FANW can definitely vouch for this)

reel repair“I built this business delivering honesty, integrity, quality service, and fast

turnaround. According to my customers, this is something that is lacking in this profession all

over the country. My customers know everything there is to know about their reels when I am

done with them. I put my customers best interests as my #1 priority. If I feel it would be more

cost effective for a customer to replace a reel rather than fix it, I suggest that to them, and tell

them why. Ultimately, the decision is up to them if they still want me to repair the reel or not. It

is always up to them. Sometimes, unfortunately, due to lack of parts availability, or condition of

the reel, there is nothing that can be done.”

custom fishing rod blanks

One example of John’s exceptional custom rods – Click picture to view Facebook Page

“I added Reel Tech Custom Rods to the business about 3 years ago. I was fortunate to have Josh

Terry of Chrome Seeker Custom Rods as a mentor. He is a brilliant rod wrapper and someone I

am honored to call a friend. Like the fishing reels, the passion was there, and I went into it full

throttle. Building beautiful custom creations based on my customers imagination is an awesome

thing to be able to do. I can build on any commercially available blank offered, whether your

preference is St. Croix, Rogue, North Fork, Lamiglas, Calstar, Seeker, etc. I also do lots of rod

repairs for my customers. Broken guide replacements, upgrading guide sets on existing rods,

and bringing old favorites back to life with new guides and thread wraps. Many examples of my

work can be found in the custom rod section of the blog on my website

To follow John’s custom rod work & reel repair “Like” his Facebook Page -

Some tips from The Reel Tech:

1. When taking photo of your fish, or any time for that matter, submerging your entire reel

under water is never a good idea. No need to flood the inside of your reel with water. Bad

things can happen inside!

2. Back off your drags after your day of fishing. It doesn’t take that long to reset it when

you start the next day, and will prolong the life of your drag systems. No need to keep them

compressed when they are not in use :)

3. Prolong the life of your spinning reel bail systems by closing the bail with your hand rather

than by turning the reel handle. A good habit to get into and once you do, it will become second

nature and you wont even have to think about it.

Are you in need of a custom rod wrap or reel repair? The Reel Tech is FANW’s trusted resource for reel maintenance. Reels can be mailed to John for maintenance – he has a good turn-around time and communicates well through the process.

If you’d like to speak with John about a project, he can be reached at (541) 324-0346 – or just send an email through the contact form on his website

I remember fishing this summer for Fall Chinook on the lower Columbia. As we held anchor in deeper water we watched the summer steelhead fishermen on the sandy banks, plunking for Steelhead. It was difficult however, to see someone kicking a native fish back into the water. I remember seeing one angler properly release a fish and literally felt the urge to clap. It was uncommon. It was sad. It reminded me that education has still got a long ways to go.

We’re talking Wild Steelhead. native washington coast steelhead

What is it about wild steelhead that makes them so appealing to anglers like me? Is it their resilient nature, their brawny strength, their graceful colors, epic runs, amazing acrobatics and stealthy migration? Maybe all of the above, either way there’s a special connection between fish and angler.

With a species that provides so much enjoyment and anticipation for anglers, comes responsibility. These big, ocean-going rainbow trout represent a beauty and balance that shows the spirit of the great Pacific Northwest. We’ve been blessed with water and habitat that is conducive to Steelhead and get to enjoy the chase of them near our back-porches!

Please take care. These fish are hardy, but they are not invincible.

Rules of handling fish:

  1. KEEP YOUR HAND OUT OF THE GILLS - This is huge! I see this in pictures, by the river…please don’t! Do not put your fingers inside of the gills or the gill plate. This is a very sensitive area and even though it’s an “easy” area to grab, it WILL kill a wild fish after release very quickly. This would be like someone picking you up by the lung – not fun. Only do this to fish you mean to kill. A fish for release should never have anything inside of it’s gills. Also take care that mud, sand or any other material does not wash into the gills.
  2. Hold that tail! Hold your fish horizontally, distributing their weight evenly between your hands (both hands!) You can apply a lot of pressure right above the tail without harming the fish, this should be where you hold the fish most firmly. Place your other hand along the underside of the fish (keeping hands out of gills) holding it firmly. Note the picture above for proper hand placement. Don’t hold a fish vertically in either direction.
  3. Keep it in the water – Getting a picture is great. I love to get photos of native Steelhead, however, do not compromise fish safety for a picture. Wear waders or get your feet a little wet and make sure that fish stays in the water for the majority of the time. If you lift them out of the water for a quick picture return them to the water immediately after. There have been many times where a good picture is just not feasible (a difficult, rocky bank or fishing alone) – in those cases, release the fish and put your camera away. You will have that memory forever and we’ll believe your story! In my opinion it’s more important to feel and enjoy the release of a wild fish than get a picture.

So what is the difference between a “native” and a “wild” fish? Basically the idea is this – natives are basically gene-specific to the river and have lived and reproduced there for generations. A “wild” fish is simply a steelhead that was reared in the wild, spawned from the gravel. Does this make a difference? No, it may for studies and specialists, but as anglers we are to release ALL Steelhead that have an adipose fin. If you live on a river that allows for the harvest of wild steelhead, I would urge you to release them.

Being a proper steward is a responsibility but it should also be the natural inclination of people that love the sport of angling. Thank you for doing your part to ensure more Steelhead get to their spawning gravel to make more big, native babies. Fish on!

kalama river steelhead

- Lucas


On a yearly basis new products arrive on the fishing scene. Rarely does one make a splash like Dave’s Tangle Free. fishing weights lead-free

Lead has long been the standard for weight in terminal gear setups for Salmon & Steelhead. Drift fishermen, float fishermen, side-drifters, back-bouncers all utilize lead in their tackle boxes to accomplish one purpose – to get the bait/lure in front of the fishes face.

It’s really a simple concept – weight is used to target specific depths & water types.

So where does Dave’s Tangle Free fit in to this?

Dave’s Tangle Free is a brand new alternative to lead. It has burst on to the scene with a few claims to fame. Here are three benefits:

  1. Lead-Free : This alone sets Dave’s Tangle Free apart as a forward thinking, innovative company. States that have outlawed lead as a fishing weight will need high-quality alternatives to lead. Dave’s Tangle Free fills that need.
  2. Tangle-resistant : The swivel system in place on these weights allows for “wiggle-room” and movement when caught up. Also, the rubberized outer layer (the core is steel) does not “grab” rocks like lead would. These two factors make for a weight that pulls out of snags more often than lead. We at Fishing Addicts Northwest have seen the benefit of this. Many times when a weight seemed a lost cause snagged-up, they pulled out without breaking the line or losing the weight. This is ultimately a money saver in the end and a relief to the fisherman.
  3. Easy-to-Use : Besides the obvious benefits of being tangle resistant, the weights themselves come attached with a top “swivel” piece that is easily attachable to a snap-swivel or tie-able to any line. These weights have totally replaced my previous bobber weights as I prefer a three-way swivel with attachable weight when fishing a sliding float. Also, for those that would attach a “slinky” to a snap swivel, the Dave’s Tangle Free weight works great in place of that.

The feel of these weights on the bottom is different than “slinky’s” or traditional lead. This may be slightly off-putting at first for drift-fishermen but they will find quickly that the weights are super effective as well as stealthy. Back-bouncers have found huge benefit in the “tangle-resistant” qualities of these weights. The method of back-bouncing is prone to placing lead in precarious positions. With the rubberized outer core and versatile swivel, it’s simple: you will lose less weights.weights steelhead fishing

Does this mean you’ll never lose a Dave’s Tangle Free weight? No, logs & certain other obstacles can still claim a weight or two, but every single person that I’ve spoken with has retained more Dave’s Tangle Free weights than any other lead option hands down. They simply come back easier. I’ve even started making my lead-line heavier so that I can apply more pressure to it and many times the weights have pulled out of difficult positions.

With that in mind we have seen a move in recent years to eliminate lead in many states. Certainly this comes as no surprise due to the “state of California” perspective on it and the simple fact that we’re filling our river-bottoms with lead. This alone may be one of the largest reasons for why Dave’s Tangle Free is a great option for your tackle-box. The Smallmouth bass guys in the Columbia river are already picking up on them too, not to mention numerous other fishing applications in our area.

Dave’s Tangle Free brings a fresh perspective to the weight world. No doubt the benefits of these weights will continue to be seen & shared in years to come.

Ed Fast, a highly respected Portland-area Salmon & Steelhead guide had this to say about Dave’s weights:

“The slickest and trickiest weights you can buy! Dave gave me some back-bouncing weights to try and my clients and I loved them! I ordered a bunch more in all of the sizes I use and we only lost a few during my fall Chinook season. I also like them for my bobber rods.”
Ed mentioned to me how much lead he used to lose back-bouncing lead in upriver, bouldery situations, with the new lead he’s had considerably less lost weights and consequently; saved money on weight!
“When it’s available, I always try to use and promote local, quality, made in the U.S.A products. Dave’s weights meet all three of those criteria.
The fact that there is a functional, lead-free weight for some fishing situations is another thing I like about them.
And hey, they look really cool, too and let’s face it, that’s pretty important.”

Dave’s Tangle Free will be at the Portland Sportsman Show Feb 5 – 9, 2014. Come visit the booth, the Fishing Addicts will be visiting and hanging out with Dave!

Visit the website -

Bi-Mart is now stocking Dave’s Tangle Free! Keep an eye out in the Fishing Department.

You can follow them on Facebook -

salmon fishing weights

Not sure which weights to get? Check out the products page. The “Handi-Pack” retails at only $19.95 and features the perfect assortment of weights and sizes. We love these weights and we know you’ll find them to be an essential part of your tackle-box!

Stay Addicted! -Lucas

combat fishing washington

You’ve seen it shared among the social circles, or heard it mentioned by frustrated locals. You’ve heard the tales…THE INTERNET RUINED FISHING.

Fishing has grown in popularity. Immediate photo uploads to Facebook, Instagram and YouTube have become the norm. We have seen a real-time effect on crowded fisheries and over-popularized holes. The Salmon and Steelhead community has seen this in droves. Anadromous fishing is “hot” at specific times in specific places. We see this especially among coastal and metropolitan fisheries that receive lots of attention from media, guides and the general public.

So is this a bad thing? Not necessarily, but crowds can be no fun. Fish become pressured, competition becomes fierce and it can turn negative quick. This could be defined as “chasing reports” and crowding to the nearest “hot spot.” Yet, on the right days they can definitely be rewarding. (I think of the ever popular “Wobbler” Fall Chinook fishery on the Columbia River.)

Perhaps the diversity of our Northwest Fisheries can be explored more. We may be missing out on opportunities close to home, with less crowds and willing fish.  Some will travel long distances to a river they hoped would be full of fish only to find that it is just as difficult as their own home rivers. The grass is always greener on the other side it seems. I’ve spoken with people who live in epic fishing towns who don’t know what they have, or use to have. What does that mean?

Are we too quick to forget that half the fun of fishing is exploring? Finding the fish? It’s a great feeling to break out of normal routines and find new ways to catch fish, new species, and yes, new fisheries. It’s good, go fish some of these famous rivers and lakes, that is what they’re there for. The Northwest is known for Salmon & Steelhead, and probably always will be (for good reason!) but it also boasts an impressive array of other fish.

Fishing is becoming more popular in the Northwest daily. No question. Seeing the massive fleets of fishermen on the Columbia this year for Fall Chinook has made that clear. It’s tough and at times the fish are few and far between and competition on the water can turn things sour.

People blame crowds on the internet. combat fishing steelhead

Maybe people see the internet with it’s “popularization” of fishing and think “This isn’t how I remember it.” Videos, pictures, debates arguments, forums, who’s who, crowds, hot spots, not spots, bad info, good info, no info…and remark that “The Internet” has caused this.

But when I think simply of the angler I see a different story.

I see proud fathers and mothers with pictures of their kids holding fish, making lifelong memories. I see a sport that turns otherwise uninterested parties into vastly knowledgeable river stewards. I see a chance to be connected and involved in the outdoor world in an otherwise technology-gorged society. I see people spending time in a constructive, healthy way.

Ordinary people doing extraordinary things. I’ve watched the internet connect people who share the same goals and hopes. United, they have made and are making change. Even simply through social media I have seen activism to make change for the better; for instance, Chehalis system anglers fighting for their fish through public means. Have we been locked in disagreement for decades fighting each other and watching our fish disappear? Maybe in the age of information we can turn knowledge into power.

Perhaps the tide will turn.

The internet ruined fishing? What if instead we have been given the opportunity to make REAL change and fight for the fish, for the angler…for fishing.


If you get a chance, take a look at this Facebook page for example. The purpose is simply to document illegal and unethical activities performed on our public fisheries. The purpose is to make sure that your license and tax dollars are not being spent on wasteful and harmful activities. It may seem like just more debate…but maybe it could do something.

Sportsmen for Change Facebook


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