Nothing much has changed at the Salmon River this year but every trip remains memorable. Upon getting off the exit, Jim Hurtgen got some flies at Whitakers and then we headed to Fox Hollow Lodge. We got dressed quickly and headed down to the river deciding to check our rooms later. We walked down the well-worn path and headed downstream below the Refrigerator Pool (apparently titled for a refrigerator that years ago used to be located on the island next to the pool). We tried several different flies and then I remembered the tip from the guide at Whitakers: use drab flies. The salmon have seen a lot of colorful flies and patterns and will be weary of anything with color.
After ignoring his advice for 20 mimutes, I looked through my two fly boxes and found an old sculpin fly that never worked on the Canadaway. The first time I swung to a salmon, I noticed that he nudged away from the fly. I removed the white rubber legs and she took it on the next swing.
It was so heavy I could not lift it with one hand and had to lay it on my knee. I released the fish and returned to the run where I landed another one soon afterwards.
Diego sheepishly came over wondering what I was using. We switched rods and while I was tying on another fly on his rod, he had a fish on.
We both broke off my last two remaining patterns. After wondering where Jim had gone, I went back and tried to see how he was doing. We met on the path and headed back to our productive run but had no more luck. We decide to go back to see what are $50 dollar rooms had purchased.
Diego and I shared a room
Overall, it was a well worth money especially since the aesthetically pleasing Hotel 8 was around $118. We will consider it again next year especially if we can get the whole crew together.
The next morning we headed to Douglaston Run. I had high hopes of swinging to energetic salmon who would chase my streamers after being encouraged by the same guide from Whitakers. We found a nice secluded section by the Clay Hole and found a steady number of salmon staging in a shallow pool before running up the next gravel run. We had little luck however. Jim was the only one who as able to land a salmon although we do not have any documentation of his feat. Diego had a few on and landed a few questionable fish with flies close to the fish’s mouth. I also had a couple on a small angel hair streamer but the flies popped out soon after seeing their jaws shaking and coming out of the water.
Overall is was a little bit disappointing but it was a beautiful day and we were entertained by each other’s company and the spectacle of the moving salmon even if they were not moving toward our flies.
The next morning, Sunday, while Janeil was taking the kids to
church, I looked over the bridge to find a couple of small pods
of steelhead. I droppped any plans of working in the studio and
headed to the water with rod in hand.
While fishing, I saw a weasel working its way upstream until it ran right across from me. I had never seen one on our local streams. About 10 years ago, I saw an ermine, a weasel with its white winter coat, chasing steelhead under the ice on 20 Mile Creek in Pennsylvania but that’s as close as I had gotten to one.
Diego met me on the stream and we fished together. After I was not able to get a steelhead to take my fly at the Hornet’s Nest Pool, he made a perfect roll cast and the fish took his fly. He landed it but it squirmed away on the bank before we were able to take a picture. It was very exciting and was very proud of him.
This beauty came from another pool that chased the fly several yards before hammering it. It was a bit shocking and refreshing after fishing to sluggish monsters the day before…… It will take us a year to recover from our latest trip to the Salmon but we will be back next October with restored optimism….and more sculpin flies!