|Snaelda fish #1|
With the water falling and clearing, I thought today would be an ideal day to go. I dropped off the little guy at mom's work and got to the river with just under three hours before sunset. I usually like to have a little more time to work with, but I felt lucky to even go at all today.
Pool #1...no fish showed and nothing moved for my standard flies and presentations. I moved quickly and thoroughly, but didn't move a fish. It was a bit frustrating, but you can't make the salmon react if they don't want to.
Pool #2...I thought I'd finish the evening here. It's a popular pool, but I'm not used to seeing it that crowded on a weekday. The spin fishermen occupied their normal spots in the slow water. One fly fisherman planted himself 3/4 of the way down the run and never moved. Further frustration ensued...please refer to several previous posts where I stress the importance of mobility. I fished as far as I could go and headed back to the top of the run only to get low holed by another fly angler (click for definition). Given that a decently function rotation has seemed to establish itself at this pool over the past few seasons, tonight was disappointing, though not surprising. Well, that was enough for me. Getting pinned into one spot while fishing for non-migratory salmon does not interest me.
Quickly back to Pool #1...which I ended up having to myself save for a few spectators. I tried a Red Butt, but no dice. Fish still weren't showing, which is rare for this pool. The air temperature was a good bit cooler than the water temperature and that can make salmon fussy. With time running out, I decided to get in their faces a bit. I don't normally fish this way until later in the fall, but watching Henrik Mortensen fish a Red Francis to reluctant salmon on his DVDs made my gears turn a bit. The Francis isn't one of my "confidence flies," but the German Snaelda is. I tried a Snaelda (.75" copper tube) I had just tied, substituting arctic fox for bucktail in the rear of the fly.
Fishing deeper and more slowly paid off within a few minutes. The fish pictured above came to hand after several jumps and a couple modest runs. After releasing the fish, I went back to it and hooked another, more spirited fish within ten minutes or so. The second fish was a leaper and a runner. My reel was screaming and I had to run downstream after it. I didn't realize how far it ran until it jumped further away than I expected it to be. That definitely increased my sense of urgency. I fought this fish for a few minutes before the hooked pulled loose. Oh well, I'll take 1 for 2 just about any day, especially given how this evening started.
The second salmon made me realize my Vision 9' 6wt. rod is not totally up for this job. It was fine with all the salmon I hooked this season prior to this one. Who knows, that might have been my toughest scrap of the season, but I'd prefer a bit more ammo in case I tie into another hot fish. Like I said, hook enough early season salmon and you'll get some that fight pretty damn hard. I know it's sounds hard to believe, but it's true. Anyhow, I think it's time to go back to the Sage Z-Axis 11' 6 wt. switch rod and the Sage Graphite II 9' 7wt. single hander (ol' faithful).
Remember, keep moving and always enter a pool or a run above the rest of the anglers!