07-05-2005, 05:10 PM
i just came back from the hawke river in labrador after a week of fishing. when i arrived last sunday the water was unusually low. veterans of the river said that it was the lowest they had ever seen it. the person i fished with, a six year veteran of the hawke, accurately predicted that the fishing would be off unless the water came up dramatically. given the conditions we hiked about an hour and a half beyond the home pool and the top of the steedy to "pike's peak" just below the falls where there were fish holding. the hike was arduous, but worth it. on the first 2 days we hooked over 20 fish, mostly grilse but a few 10lb salmon. the other six anglers fished the home pool, don's pool and the top of the steedy and were all but blanked. we had a substantial rain on the third day which brought the river to its maximum height. pike's peak and another area known as "black bear",about an hour from camp and "the(other) falls", (about a 2 hour trip from the camp) fished well. the areas more accessable to the camp were still way off. havving hiked my arse off for three days i opted to try the home pool on the forth day under the mistaken belief that the new high water would hold more fish that must have moved up. i was wrong and cought none but had 2 good shots. my fishing compadre got three. everyone else had similar results at other areas except my friend who went to pike's peak again. days 5 and 6 again proved plentiful both at pike's peak and the other distant falls. surprisingly, the home pool landed 10 on day 5 and back to the doldrums on day six and seven. day seven was a bust even at pike's peak as it was sunny and hot. all in all i was second high man with 25 fish and my partner on the river had 41 with 10 over 10 lbs and 1 which was a 20 pounder. the anglers who stuck to the closer areas were disappointed with catches from 6 to 16 for the week. seemed like anything with a green butt , but mostly bugs with glitter and wet flies(blue charms, black bears etc with glitter) in sizes from 4 to 8, depending on water conditions, did the job although i did get one on a #4 bomber. we fished 7,8, and 9 weight rods with heavy leaders (12 lbs) as the pools are small, the fish strong, and the drop long. the extra length of the 9'6" xp 9wt and the 10' 7wt orvis trident tl came in handy when the water got high and fast in spots as mending to slow the fly was necessary. likewise when the water was low mending helped speed up the fly when needed. i am told that conditions will improve and more if not larger fish are expected to show. that said i was struck at how few large fish were cought during what was supposed to be prime time for large fish on the hawke. similarly we were all somewhat stymied that large amounts of fish did not appear after the water rose.