Sunday, February 8, 2015

Early start

My Fall salmon fishing actually started early.  While I normally don't bother fishing the lower section of my favorite river until about September, cold nights and mild weather pushed the water temps below 70 towards the end of August.  I kept a close eye on the water temps, and once it dropped below 65 overnight, I headed down at sunrise to my favorite run.  I'd cranked out a bunch of streamers the weeks before, and was ready to go.  For me, early salmon usually means a tight, dry-line presentation with an unweighted streamer.  The streamer will stay just below the surface film with the right speed, and this can mean devastatingly aggressive hits from fresh Atlantics that usually break the surface when they take.  I tied a marabou ghost on with excitement - I think I was shaking a little.  I was so excited to be doing what I love to do.  The time had finally come to start my Fall fishing extravaganza, and it couldn't have come any sooner.
I started out doing the traditional 45 degree cast downstream, followed by a swing, and then a pause at the end before stripping line in.  My first cast, I paused for a few extra seconds to soak in the joys of being on the water.  The very next cast, right as the fly started to straighten out after the swing, a boil followed by a tug.  GAME ON!!  The fish hit fast and hard, and barely even needed a hookset.  I tightened up on it and got it to the reel quickly.  Jump after jump, my excitement turned into nervousness.....this was my first Atlantic of the year, after all.  Luckily, I managed to net the fish.

Fresh from Champlain!

 The date was August 25th, the earliest I've landed a Fall salmon on my home water, pretty sweet!  On top of that,I had the whole river to myself(or at least as far as I could see)

After changing streamers and various other things like line angles, speed and depth, I decided to nymph a deeper slot in front of me that has been very good to me in the past.  I grabbed my 5 wt which was already rigged with nymphs.  The water was low and clear, so instead of an indicator I opted to just go by feel.  After a couple of well-placed slow drifts, I noticed my line stop for a just a moment.  Usually this turns out to be bottom, but a hookset always confirms.  This time though, NOT bottom!  The normal steady hard pull of bottom was replaced with violent headshakes by a big salmon.  It didn't take long for it to take to the air and start somersaulting. A long and fun fight it was, but I had won.  I netted the beauty, snapped a picture and sent it back on its way.  A Master Class salmon my first time out...not bad!

A fresh, 25" Atlantic

By 9 A.M, the sun was out and the water was already approaching 68.  I decided to leave the fish be until the cooler weather came.  Unfortunately, things only got hotter!  The water didn't drop below 70 for a few weeks, but in between then, I got out to the NEK and fished with my buddy Kenny, who knows the area probably better than anyone.  They'd gotten a run of fish after rain, and they were ready and willing. 

We almost had the river to ourselves besides a few other anglers.  I spent the weekend at his place, and we put a ton of time in on the water.  We ended up finding a pool of salmon with some true beasts roaming around.  A few males were already kyped out, and the females were FAT!  I started things off with a bang and had one chase down and inhale a white bunny!

Not the biggest in the pool, but definitely the most aggressive!  

Kenny and I were constantly switching it up, trying to figure out the most productive flies.  The fish were both line shy, and splitshot shy!  It got to the point where I was watching the fish spook from a BB sized splitshot, or a gold bead-headed nymph.  We had to go micro shots with flies 16 and smaller to get takes.  I remember having one big female move about 5 feet to suck in an emerger.  She took off like a rocket and popped off before I could say a word!

We landed many fish that weekend, but none of the monsters that were patrolling the pools.  They don't get that big for being stupid!

One of many that Kenny landed, but this one in particular took a size 20 midge!

It was an awesome weekend, and I couldn't have asked for any better.  I can't wait to do it again next year!

No comments:

Post a Comment