Thursday, September 16, 2010
Salmon Mayhem - Part 3 of 3 9.11.10
Right now the salmon entering our rivers are feeling good and full of rod busting energy. Check your arbor knot, once you hookup, they own you! Salmon will crush streamers and other properly presented flies with an attitude that cannot be tamed. Your best bet for locating a player is to find the "deep" slow sand holes in the lower rivers. Deep is relative, on a smaller river, it may be a dark spot that is only 3' deep. Larger rivers will have deeper holes and the fish will congregate accordingly.
If you are looking for the ultimate thrill, try stripping streamers. Watch the guys throwing plugs and other hardware. Check out the colors they are using and mimic their presentation with your fly. This is not a numbers game, but the strike will be memorable.
You will also see other fisherman throwing skein or spawn bags under a bobber or bottom-bouncing. This is an absolute deadly tactic. Observe their presentations when you can and learn from them. Tie up some larger egg flies, maybe an 8 or a 6 if the water is strained. The same presentation used when indicating for steelhead will work for salmon. Adjust your float so your fly just tics the bottom. I have found that salmon can suspend so be sure to work the entire water column of a likely river bend if you are not hooking up with fish near the bottom. Flies include eggs, ESL's, buggers, green caddis, and spring's wigglers in a variety of colors. On smaller rivers I usually take the float off and dead drift my flies through the hole with a high-stick nymphing technique. Typically the drift is short and the float is not necessary.
Once the fish reach spawning gravel, the likelihood of a fair take is much less. Although I have seen a pissed off male nearly swallow an ESL, this is not typical. Most of the fish have dodged thousands of flies and are concentrated on the final dance. Best to fish for the gorging brown trout and steelhead at this point. Any other questions, just ask. Tight lines!