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Sunday, 27 March 2011

Wannabe Fireman

Two Sleeps, Two Barbecues
I went fishing the other day...on a Tuesday.  What a treat.  We had the place pretty much to ourselves without the need to drive for several hours.  Now I know what it's like to be a fireman--four on, four off, two sleeps, two barbecues, yada, yada, yada.  I hope firefighters get as much grief for their days off as us teachers.  As it was Spring/March break, I had the week off and figured I'd make the most of a day out.

The Turn
The fish are starting to turn from eggs to bugs and to maximize the action, we had to cover both possibilities.  After hitting a couple big fish earlier in the day, my buddy drew a blank in the second run with an egg.  I followed with a nymph and quickly popped two nice browns.  The second one had the hump behind the head and the large head that big browns seem to develop.  This brownie may have gone a shade over twenty but I forgot to measure.  We're blessed to have such a great trout river nearby.  It spoils us.  Browns over twenty inches are very common.  My best to date is 28 inches.

Not only were these first two browns a good size, but they shot across the surface several times, almost uncharacteristically for them.  The rainbows always fight a little more frenetically than the browns but these browns have recovered from the spawning season and are very nicely coloured and proportioned.  A fall and winter of chowing on salmon eggs seems to have replenished their energy stores.

In the next run, the difference wasn't quite as pronounced but again I fished second.  This time we reversed flies.  Brock worked the run first with the nymph.  He hit a couple fish but they wouldn't stay buttoned.  I followed with the egg and quickly sniped off 3 bows.  I was beginning to wonder if each species has a preference for different food sources.

Hypothesis Refuted
We continued downstream, then returned to the third run from below.  This time we fished upstream to the fish starting a little further down and on the other side of the main flow.  Earlier in the day we were fishing from above.  Amazingly, the action was even better than it was from above.  I was back to the nymph now and the fish were hitting within a couple casts of one another.  I landed four more and lost a few others.  This time I was hooking both bows and browns on the nymph so the earlier hypothesis was a little off base.

Best For Last
We moved upriver to a run that held close to a half dozen steelhead.  They were pretty tight lipped for the most part but I eventually duped one and the battle was on.  I was undergunned with my five weight trout rod but I had skookum tippet on just in case I smacked a late season steelie.  Good thing.  After initially taking me way downstream, the steelie allowed me to walk it back up to my location and eventually I brought him to the softer water side of the submerged island I was on.  In this slower current I was able to slide him up onto the shallow water of the submerged bar.  I estimated him to be 12 or 13 pounds, a pretty hefty fish for my little rod but it held up admirably.

Wanting More
We've just had a beautiful sunny 15 degree day (60 for you Americans) and just being out on the river would be great.  However, "it was just nice to be out" is not an expression that a good nymph fisher needs to use for the next while.  The insect hatches are picking up speed, the crowds of steelheaders are packing away their rods for another season, and the best nymphers are beginning to salivate.  Imagine what you could do if you worked a four on four off schedule--firefighters doh!

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