The Salmon Trip is Complete
The last two and one-half days have raced by. The third day of the trip, Duane and I explored more areas that we had not fished before, and re-worked areas that we had fished on days one and two. The fish were not super cooperative (when are they ever?), but we did manage 8 landed out of 15 hooked. Why, you might ask, is the landing percentage so low? Well, we have all sorts of excuses to make ourselves feel better-we didn’t use a net, old tippet material that broke, the fish tore the hook out, another fish hit the tippet and dislodged the hook, we pulled too hard at the wrong time, etc. Take your choice, they all happened. We sat up late that night tying flies and toasting the river.
Duane left early in the morning on day 4 of the trip, and I spent the morning fishing a spot that had performed well at the close of day 3. There were fish and they cooperated. I left after a couple of hours and moved to another section where I’d told my long time friend, John Beth that I would meet him.
John and our mutual friend “Doc” showed up at 11 am, and I informed them of the river condition and the fishing “exercise.” After they were brought up to date, we went in search of cooperative fish. There didn’t seem to be any in the river. Then about 3 pm, John hit his first fish of the day. It seems the bite was on-for John. I couldn’t buy a fish. John didn’t wasn’t to sell any of his, and no one else was offering any, even at twice market price. After this third fish, I checked his fly. It was a tan strip fly, not his usual grizzly barred strip fly. “Must look like a Gobie,” John told me. He was probably right, This invasive species has spread rapidly through the Great Lakes. At least they were salmon food.
I dug in the boxes and found a big Down and Dirty Collared Sculpin. It was close enough. The first big hen grabbed it with zest, and the cry “Gobie, Gobie,” went up on the river. While the “bite” lasted, John found fish after fish that wanted a Gobie snack, including a silver bright king that we both thought was a ginormous steelhead. Then it ended, and the day faded into the annuals of the 2010 salmon season with 16 hooked and 14 landed.
Day Five started with a definite whimper—my whimper. Nothing. Every fish that saw the fly fled in terror. The day had dawned dark and cold with clouds that suggested snow was soon to come. But about 9:30 the sun broke through and the fish turned on. The Black and Purple Collared Leech was fish candy. My score for hits was great-7 fish on in a little over and hour, including a huge male that simply would not give up until the hook pulled out. The day ended at 11 am with my score 7 hooked, 3 landed. The fish certainly won that one. But I won, too. It had been a great week with enough action to hold my attention firmly from well before dawn until hours after dark.