Friday, February 13, 2015

Steady action

Finally, the Winooski was back at a fishable temp!  It was early September, the days were still long, the sun high, and the fish...well....aggressive!

Since I live so close to the river, I was able to put in a few hours after work every other weekday.  For about 3 weeks straight, the action was steady.  I even took some beginners out on the weekends - one that hadn't fly fished in over a decade!  He ended up landing 3 salmon in one morning on some of my streamers right below the surface.  We both got to see all of the takes too.  Lots of hooting, hollering, and cheering!  They weren't the biggest salmon around, maybe 20", but the excitement was palpable when we got to see the fish follow the streamer for a good 10-20 yards before hitting.  There were many, many last minute bails from fish (probably from over 15 different fish)

I learned in August that the State had decided to transport out Atlantic salmon upstream this year, utilizing the fish ladder at the Salmon Hole and then putting them in a large holding tank and then bringing them over 20 miles upstream to water that is more suited for spawning.  I was happy, but at the same time, I knew the fishing might be slower.  Luckily for me, that wasn't the case!

My jaw dropped when I heard of and saw a picture of Jon(who operates the Hydro One Dam) holding up a 14, yes FOURTEEN pound male salmon!  Shattering the current record of 12 pounds, 10 ounces.  The fish was moved upstream the same day, where he had access to over 20 miles of river, and tributaries of the Winooski.  I'm sure he ruled with an iron kype in that area.

I continued fishing the lower Winooski, in hopes of another monster migrating from Champlain.  While I didn't find any fish over 8 lbs, I found many, many salmon(and even a few nice steelies) that were more than willing to tango.
Funny story about this little steelie.  I was messing around in some very fast water and he nabbed my dropper and took off straight downstream.  I honestly thought it was a huge salmon by the weight and speed of it at first.  Turns out...a 15" steelie. 

Behind this blur is actually a thick steelie!

I call these minis. Still a great fight. 

Some of the big producers.  Royal Coachman, and marabou Black Ghosts. 

Luring the fish to the, "landing side"

Two fish in 5 minutes after work...nothing better!

Having a chat with a fellow angler...lazily drifting a tiny little pheasant tail and all of a sudden this guy flies out of the water. "WOAH!"  Oh, hes got my fly in his mouth!  Ha!  I had to chase this big guy down quite a ways.  Very exciting!

Proof that it really does pay to put your time in on a body of water, and get to know it like the back of your hand.  When I close my eyes, I can picture every single slot, boulder and holding spot in the area....I just love it!  I can't that that about many bodies of water, but I'm proud to say it about the Salmon Hole. 

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