Upper Skagit [Archive] - Fly Fishing Forum

: Upper Skagit

11-20-2001, 09:13 AM
I finally got to the upper Skagit. I usually make it up in the late summer early fall a couple of times a year. Even though this trip was later than the trips in previous years it may be one of the most memorable. This trip had a couple of purposes. Like previous trips up river this one was to reacquaint myself with the river before winter steelheading commenced. I also was in need to some spey casting practice and who knows maybe an early steelhead.

The bar was littered with humpy carcasses. When the wind blew in the right direction the stench was incredible. I have never seen this many dead salmon along the river before. The end and the beginning. I stood and watch the chums battle for the best spawning areas in the frog water below the bucket of the run. I didnít see as many chums as I thought I would, considering the size of other runs this year.

What I thought was really cool was what I saw when doing a little exploring away from the river. What I found was a man made slough or the restoration or an old slough. I am going to assume that Seattle City Light built/restored the slough because it was on their right of way. What made this place so cool was the half dozen pairs of coho salmon that were guarding their nest form the few chums that had found their way into the slough. It also had a bunch of rotting humpy carcasses along the sides. Then I saw what really exited me. Small smolt, maybe a couple inches long were playing (for lack of a better term) around the edges. I donít know enough about the life cycle of anadromous fish to know what species these little guys were. I would like to think they might be the off spring of winter/spring run steelhead. Maybe someone who has more knowledge in this area can tell me.

It is not always about catching fish. I left the river renewed with a feeling that the future was bright for the Skagit and itís fish. I had seen the end and the beginning. The northwest is a miraculous place.