Weather wise, today was a strange day. I believe the fishing day started in the low 60s. I was too warm and started to remove layers. It was cloudy and drizzly, but the air temperature was very comfortable. The water topped out around 55ºF (the last we'll see of prime temps, I think). As usual, the water was low. That sort of goes without saying at this point.
Warren and I met a little before noon and he was tight to salmon #1 within the first hour. This one didn't mess around, grabbing a #4 Same Thing Murray the first time the fly swung by him.
We're still not sinking a fly unless we absolutely have to. They're still eager to rise for an unweighted wet fly, though I think that will begin to change as the cold weather rolls in this week. I sound like a broken record, but I have no idea why anyone would fish heavy flies and tips when it's unnecessary. First of all, I don't know any fly fisher who prefers chucking weight. Also, if a fish shows interest in your fly, you want to be able to see it. You don't always see the fish move when you're fishing lower in the water column, especially in broken water. It pays to start high, then work your way down. They're Atlantic salmon...they like to rise for flies, perhaps even more than trout do. Refer to salmon #2 below for an example of why it pays to start with your fly on or just beneath the surface...
|Salmon #1 of the day|
On our way to pool #2, we felt noticeably cooler. I stopped by the car to add a layer. About midway down the run, we saw a really subtle boil behind the #6 Same Thing Murray. The boil happened near some submerged stones and neither of us were sure if it was a fish or just hydraulics. It was that subtle. Also, it was too dark out to see the fish flash in the water, adding to the confusion. I decided we should treat it like a fish just to be safe. It was a good move, as it was a fish and a hot one at that. It took about three or four more casts and slight presentation tweaks to persuade him to take the Murray. Unlike his original showing, the take was much more dramatic. He was airborne and off to the races in no time. Warren handled him well and he was quickly brought to the net and released. The Murray does it again! Time and again, this fly proves its worth on dark, dreary days.
|Salmon #2 - further validation why it makes sense to fish from the top down|
Shortly thereafter, an intense rain squall passed by, complete with very strong gusts of wind. We waited it out and decided to move to pool #3. Pool #3 has been as much of a "sure thing" for me this season as any but, strangely, didn't produce a salmon for us today. It did produce a nice 15" holdover rainbow trout, however. Which fly did it take? The same thing, Murray...
By the end of the trip, we were both soaked and freezing. It felt like the air temperature dropped by a good 10-15ºF over the course of the day. If I had to guess, the bite probably got progressively worse as it got colder, though two salmon landed is a good day in my opinion.
Cold water tactics are about to come into play. Conventional flies will be replaced with tubes and large classic salmon flies in the near future. Once my guides start to freeze up, I'm done for the season, so come get it while the gettin's still good!