I was back at it the next weekend after arriving home in November. The salmon were all duking it out for spawning rights, the steelies were putting feed bags on for the Winter and the hunting season put less pressure on the rivers.
Since I don't hunt, I took full advantage of the lack of pressure on the rivers. I don't know why, but I felt the urge to get a fish to hit a swung streamer. I had a ton of extra flies from weeks of tying in preparation for NY. I had a dozen big, heavily weighted orange slump busters that looked very fishy.
The water was still pretty low, but I knew there were steelies roaming around - a friend of mine had landed a few and lost a large one a few days prior. I don't think I was more than 5 minutes into swinging this big, ugly slumpbuster before it got whacked by a feisty steelie. One of my favorite takes is from swinging, whether it be mid-swing, or at the end of it.
While it wasn't a big fish, it put up a great fight, and it fulfilled my need for a fish on the swing!
|Went in for the kill but ended up with a mouth full of metal!|
Not long after landing this fish, I was in the mood for hitting some different water. I know they say don't leave fish to find fish, but I just had a feeling. The spot I ended up I've known about since I started spin-fishing, but have only fished a few times. Just hard to fish new spots when I was so close to such good water!
I had no clue what was about to unfold - it was pure mayhem. There was nobody there, which is about normal for this spot. It's known by many, but it doesn't get much pressure because it's relatively close to another spot on Champlain where the salmon stack up in front of a hatchery brook. Anyone that knows anything about salmon fishing will know where I am talking about of course. This is another spot I've known about for a while but really have no urge to fish it for more than one reason. I geared up and walked down to the water to find it was very low and clear. The fishing was phenomenal to say the least. I was able to sight fish many salmon, a few of which were close to or over 7 lbs. The first fish came in minutes. It chased down and inhaled a white slumpbuster - the same fly as the steelie grabbed earlier in the morning but a different color.
|Off to a great start!|
In the next few hours, I'd landed another 10, yes TEN salmon and losing another 3. I couldn't believe what was going on. These fish were going nuts for a simple black bugger with a generic orange bead-headed nymph. The current made for perfect high-sticks through the slot I was fishing. I was lucky enough to watch fish react to my flies, and even witness them grab my flies. For some reason, they were all over the two flies I had on. I don't even think I changed them all day!
A few hours into the fishing, I had to call my buddy Chris and let him in on the action. He was eager to catch salmon, which he hadn't had a ton of luck doing so far in the year. It was a tough year for a lot of people. I kept catching fish while he came to meet me, but as he got there, I set him up and showed him how to drift the flies through to get the fish to take. Funny thing is, why I was giving him a quick demo with his own rod, I had a fish take and handed him the rod to land it. We both got a kick out of that. For the rest of the day, we both continued fishing, and Chris had hooked into and landed a few fish which I was very happy to see.
I had no idea I'd be landing so many salmon in one day....it was just insane!
After the hot action on Saturday, I went back on Sunday morning and got into even more fish! One thing that I was noticing was that these fish did NOT want to be handled at all. I had half a dozen fish that slipped away before I could snap a quick picture, and even some of the ones I got pictures of turned out pretty bad. No worries, I've got the memories of the ones that got away!
|A big, 26" hen!|
Hands down the most salmon I'd ever landed in one weekend in VT!