Thursday, November 5, 2015

Arrival at the Salmon River and a Little Fishing

We made Route 13, Pulaski, NY, in four hours, 15 minutes from Bedminster, NJ, stopped at Whitakers, bought our licenses, flies--including a couple of wild marabou streamers with blue and pink, about four inches long, just in case--and some leaders. Clouds overhead had the staff wanting to be out. It's been very slow with a lot of sunlight and I guess just not enough flow to get all that many steelhead in the river, although I was told some are moving up in pods of two or three. The weather is very unusual with temperatures in the 70's today, and for all we know, maybe 80 tomorrow with more clouds and thunderstorms and showers besides. The river's flowing at 350 cfs and that's the only figure I've seen in a week or so, unless I missed something. That weather forecasted tomorrow is the break in this week's pattern. Sunday it's supposed to be 53 at most. The last my son and I fished steelhead in 2011, we had 33 degrees on November 7th to start in the dark, with the most mysterious boat passage in the McKensie driftboat I've ever experienced, before first light, and then--with snow off and on--temperatures reached a high of 38. That was steelhead weather and we caught five, losing two or three.

We had time for more than an hour of fishing into dusk today right here behind the Steelhead Lodge. I found a nice, dark run at least three feet deep, and I guess since I had some practice at the Ken Lockwood Gorge recently, I was in really good form, way better than I had been there. I fished a pink Estaz egg, size 8, and after a dozen or so drifts through this run, got life on the other end, a double tap, pronounced, unmistakably a hit, but the hookset only initiated the next cast. Sometimes the steelhead take the fly a little deeper than other times, and when they do, that's when you get a solid hookup. After a dozen more casts with the Estaz, I switched to a size 10 brown stonefly nymph. I figured the fish had seen enough of the egg form. Nothing more happened. I fished a few other runs not so promising.

So did Matt. But he had no hits, yet a lot of gumption in moving about the river in his Korkers, trying to find a steelhead. We fish with Nate Adam tomorrow and I hope we do well, despite the ominous news that the fishing just isn't good. And Sunday? Well, if we catch any Sunday, that's really the icing on the cake, since we'll have found those fish on our own.

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