In July of 2010 our family trip was going to take us west to Seattle. I realized that although I'd been there quite a few times, I hadn't ever fished there. I began researching potential opportunities for new critters. I'd never caught a chum salmon, but the timing was wrong for that. There were dolly varden (-or were they bull trout? -or both? I won't get into that here...) and coastal cutthroat to be had. Then there was Puget Sound. There are plenty of critters in saltwater that I hadn't caught yet so that's always a good option. I decided to play it by ear and see what opportunities arose.
We met up with the in-laws and we all jumped into the car and soon we were again doing touristy things. We saw the Space Needle, Pike Place Market, the zoo, Mt. Rainier, and the Olympic Peninsula.
|My kids were still a little too young to really get into this fountain. It was fun watching them chicken out though.|
|This tiger at the zoo wasn't paying me any attention at all. She was however VERY interested in the bite-size little girl standing next to me. Thank goodness for that eerily thin pane of glass between us!|
|We visited the monkfish at Pike Place Market. Brooke didn't think it was near as funny as I did. Yes I know I'm a horrible person (If you don't know what I'm talking about, see this video and I think you'll be able to put the pieces together).|
|Well hello there!|
|Somehow everybody managed to escape with all their fingers intact, though we did get slobbered on!|
|Random waterfall. Pretty eh?|
|This is what almost the entire hike looked like.|
|The Hoh River|
|I'm not sure if this rock contains some celestial apparition, or a post-rhinoplasty Michael Jackson, you be the judge.|
|Four inches of sheer excitement if you ask me! And this was one of the bigger ones. Yes I know I have a problem.|
|Coastal Cutthroat trout, new species number two for the day.|
It didn't take long until the new species started coming over the rail. Species number three on the day was the mighty shiner perch.
|These things may be small but..... no I can't do it. I was going to try to make this little thing sound glamorous somehow, but they're pretty much just a small fish that not too many people (besides me) would take notice of.|
|Pacific snake prickleback. They're called that because they live in the Pacific, look like a snake, and have prickly backs...|
I continued casting the little jig and enjoying catching quite a few sculpins; it almost reminded me of smallmouth fishing in Idaho. Then one bite felt a little different and the resulting fight was much harder. I was pretty excited when I saw what looked like a tiny halibut come to the surface. I managed to pull him up over the rail and I had species number 5!
|The mighty rock sole, complete with a face only a mother could love.|
The next day I took my girls down to the beach...er...tidal mud flat.... thingy... near the house to look for treasures. The kids were pretty excited to find lots of clams and sand dollars. Being the curious fellow that I am, I couldn't resist flipping over some rocks. We found tons of crabs under most of them, which either terrified or fascinated my girls, I couldn't decide which. Under one especially promising rock right at the water line we found about a dozen small fish. They were mostly high cockscomb prickleback, which were not as exciting as their elaborate name suggests, but definitely were a new species! There was also one particularly homely lump of a fish that I learned was called a plainfin midshipman - also a new species.
|The intimidating high cockscomb prickleback, faster than a speeding ladybug, able to leap a pencil eraser in a single bound...|
|The beautiful plainfin midshipman. These actually have photophores (light producing organs) that are used to attract prey at night. In a temporary lapse of judgement I failed to get a picture of this slug of a fish. I borrowed this picture from the internet. Photo credit goes to this site which is actually pretty cool in it's own right.|