More than 30 years ago, back when the hybrid striper program on Tenmile Lakes was in operation, I discovered that there was a good-sized school of hybrid stripers hanging out below the dam on Tahkenitch Creek. These fish had exited Tenmile Lake via Tenmile Creek and then swam North for at least ten miles and then ascended Tahkenitch Creek.
Determined to catch one of these fish on an artificial lure, I began casting a 4-inch tube skirt and quickly got a bite. The powerful fish swam back and forth at an incredible rate of speed , but avoided the numerous snags in the creek. But it was swimming so fast that despite the loose drag it managed to break my 4# test monofilament.
I walked upstream to the dam in an effort to see what had just broke my line.
Iwas shocked to see that the hybrid striper still had my lure, clearly visible and partway inside the fish’s mouth – and it was the biggest fish in the entire school. I estimated that it weighed about nine pounds.
I never caught any of those Tahkenitch Creek hybrids on an artificial lure, but over the next few weeks I hooked 17 of them on sand shrimp and landed 12 of them. Every one of them weighed between six and seven and a half pounds.
None of the inexperienced anglers I showed the spot to landed any of the hybrids they hooked as they were simply overwhelmed – but John Griffith, who for many years was the outdoor editor for “The World” newspaper, landed the six pound hybrid he hooked.
When the gates of the dam were opened – like they were every year around November 1st, the hybrids did not enter the lake, but headed downstream to the Pacific ocean – never to return.
But it was special while it lasted.