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!