There are few things more peaceful and gratifying than spending a few hours fishing. Those moments are even better when you’re the only one out fishing at your favorite spot. But frontcountry fishing can get busy fast, and soon your secluded spot is overwhelmed by families and weekend warriors. When you want to get away from the crowds and have a pure fishing experience, it’s time to take to the hills and go on a backcountry fishing adventure. In our last blog, we introduced you to some of the basics you needed to know in order to get out in the wilderness and go after new and exotic fish. Today, Killgore Adventures will offer a few more tips for you to follow when backcountry fishing in the Hells Canyon area.
RELISH THE ROLL CAST
Front country fishing can follow a specific strategy or pattern. You’ve followed the same strategy using the same casting techniques with the same equipment to bag more than your fair share of fish. But the techniques that work in the frontcountry may not work in the backcountry. To catch backcountry fish like you mean it, you’ll need to master the roll cast. Rolling your line across the water’s surface keeps it from getting caught on plants and reeds that are along the banks of the rivers and tributaries in Hells Canyon. Put the backcast on the back burner for a little while, and practice the roll cast instead.
- Feed 20 to 30 feet of line from your reel. Keeping the tip of your rod over the water, wave the rod back and forth to move the line through the guides.
- Raise your arm up so that your thumb is level with your forehead. Position the rod at a roughly 45-degree angle. The line should fall neatly beside you.
- Focus on a target and position your elbow to aim at it.
- Brace your arm to fix the anchor in the water and then rotate your arm from the elbow in a quick snapping motion.
- Swish your wrist down, pushing your thumb to flick the line at the end of the cast.
- You can practice by snapping your elbow both left and right, and try flicking your wrist at harder and softer speeds. This will help you master the roll cast.
COOK YOUR MEAL RIGHT THEN
After mastering the roll cast, you can start catching fish with abandon. But unlike the frontcountry, you have to be cognizant of just how much you’re catching. After all, unless you’ve hiked a cooler in with you, you really don’t have anywhere to store your catch. Out in the wilderness, you’ll want to enjoy your catch by the end of the day.
The smaller size of backcountry fish make them difficult to fillet, so you can save time and effort and just cook the whole fish. Just make sure to clean your fish, removing its entrails, and washing off and slime and blood in the water. You can gut the fish by cutting its belly at the throat and continuing down to the anal fin. Cut just below the jaw, then pull the jaw and the attached innards down toward the tail. Cut out the bloodline, and your fish is dressed, ready for the frying pan.
Cooking your catch is simple. Coat the entire fish in olive oil or melted butter and toss it on your frying pan. If you packed in spices, try some garlic powder, chili powder, salt, and pepper. Cook the fish over a medium heat or until it’s flaky, and then enjoy! The scales will sluff off the fish with the heat, so there’s no need to try and remove them. Pick out any bones you might encounter and dispose of them responsibly. When you’re done, take any remaining guts, bones, or scales and either pack them out with your trash or place them along the water’s edge for natural predators to enjoy.