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October Caddis 08-13-2001 11:53 AM

Silvers & Seals
Sunday morning 1st light put the canoe in near the Duckabush River on the Hood Canal. Great morning, glassy, lots of eagles and osprey. Also just a ton of seals that followed us as soon as we left the boat ramp. Every time I turned around there were 4 or 5 sets of eyes right behind the canoe. About 200 yards out in the canal we started to see bait being chased by what I thought were Silvers. The bait would scatter in every dirrection across the surface and nice big swirls under them. We would start to make our casts into the bait and as soon as we did the Seals would swim right into the area and the bait would disapear. This happened to us 6 or 7 times and got pretty frustrating. Funny thing was the Seals didn't look like they were interested in the fish but more interested in following in out flies. They would swim in right behind the fly till they got about 20 feet behind the canoe. Has anyone else had this happen? Begining to think that a power boat might be the best way to get on to these feeding fish, the canoe seems like too much of an interest for the seals.
The day before from shore watched a guy in a fancy bass boat catching sea runs by casting into shore and stripping his fly back to the boat. His fish all looked to be about 12 to 16 inches. That whole area is just great looking water for sea runs.

Eric 08-13-2001 02:53 PM

When I started reading this, I thought you were going to say the seals had learned to associate your canoe with an easy meal. Pprobably a lot easier for a seal to grab a lassoed silver than it is to grab one unfettered. We ran into the seal circus one year in a lagoon we fish. The seals would grab hooked fish, sometimes biting them and sometimes just letting them go. They kept this up a whole lot longer than we found amusing.

Are these harbor seals or sea lions? Our encounters were all with harbor seals.



October Caddis 08-13-2001 04:22 PM

Don't know if the seals were following the canoe because they might get a free meal or it was easy to follow and they were curious. Wish we would have been able to get onto a fish just to see if they were silvers feeding. Next week think I'll go much further out if is a glassy morning. Staying so close to the estuary may not have been a good idea as the mother seals and thier pups love that shallow water.
It's interesting that the guys over in the striper section of this site are having problems with seal off of Cape Cod. I grew up back there and only ever remember seeing seals when I surfed in winter. Protection of seals has been a sucsess, wish that all the protection of salmon and steelhead worked as well.

juro 08-13-2001 04:27 PM

Those sea lions have no shyness whatsoever about taking a salmon off the line, I found out.

The horsehead (grey) seals on the atlantic have been giving me some fits by eating stripers off my line, eating my fly or more commonly picking off freshly released fish.

My take on the whole seal problem (Ballard Locks, etc) is that humans create the worst of it. If there were no locks the predation would be like any other river mouth. If I didn't C&R fish in front of the seals, they wouldn't try to eat the dazed fish I release. Sure, before there were concrete walls to trap fish against they got their share of the fish, but only their share. I hated watching hershel eating just the roe out of the endangered native Cedar River steelhead! Not the sea lions fault, we gave them the all-you-can-eat buffet.

They are curious critters though. They sure know how to scare the crap out of me when I am wading far out on a shallow flat! It ruins my whole day when they play chicken with me.

MCorder 09-15-2002 07:42 PM

Kinda Off Topic
My wife and I were fishing for Pinks off Chiniak on Kodiak Island Alaska. We separated ourselves by about 50 yards and were waiding waist deep. There was no seel or Sea Lion activity. My wife was fighting a Pink and all of a sudden the fish darted straight for her, just bairly missing her leg. Following close behind was a large "V" shape in the water. A Sea Lion bareled over her, knocking her under.
She was Ok, just a little shaken.

beau purvis 09-17-2002 09:39 PM

i grew up always fishing and boating from seabeck to browns pt to hazel, oakhead ,Daybob.Quilicene,Dosewalips,Duckabush . i saw maybe 2-3 seals a year when i was young. now if i go out and cover that area looking for action i can easily see 20-50 in one morning;way too many!!!

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