Juro's Steelheading Odyssey 2000 (Part I - the Skykomish Float)
Well, the Sky float began on an absolutely clear morning at the Sultan River Boat Launch. The water was also clear, and low. For a great picture of this moment, check out Juro's post on the Extended 10wt belly.
Tyler, Juro, Bill, Duggan and I packed ourselves into a couple rafts (mine is pictured) and we headed off down the river.
The sun came out as we were fishing the first run of the day below the Sultan. In fact, it was so bright I could see my fly swimming in about 4-5' of water! Sensing that this might be a "Picnic and Sightseeing" kinda day, I was rather upset when I realized my own picnic basket was still sitting on the backseat of my Rodeo!
Resigned to my fate, we fished our way down through the familiar runs, noting which ones didn't fish well at low water. We also explored water I'd never fished before- water usually dredged by the plug pullers. The low water had exposed just enough beach for navigating/restricted spey casting and the normally 8-10' deep slots were now a more flyfishable 6-8'. We didn't hook anything, but had a great time investigating these runs.
We stopped for lunch on a small island about halfway down to our takeout at Lewis Street. It offers the primary run, an interesting backchannel, and a nice dropoff shelf you can wade to below the island and swing a fly through after fishing the main run. There is also a nice run on the other side that Duggan and Bill explored. We decided to have lunch there. Tyler was kind enuf to offer me a bagel sandwich so I wouldn't collapse at the oars <g>. He also just missed the picture of the trip - Juro collapsed in front of a large rootwad! I was drifting the raft down when I saw Tyler sneaking out of the water at the end of the run with his camera at ready. Even though I couldn't see what he had his shutter trained on, the hugh grin was a giveaway!
Sadly, his film had run out. Juro woke up as I pulled the boat in and the moment was lost.
The next run was also one of the best - a nice long flats with several deep pockets and lots of boulders for cover. Juro had a grab there in the deep pocket at the head, but the hook didn't stick. We covered that stretch pretty well, but nobody was able to get anything to stay on the hook.
The clouds started to gather at this point, but it was getting late in the day and we only had time to fish one more run. We spread out on both sides of the riffle and fished it thoroughly. And the entertainment wasn't over yet -- Tyler and I look across the river and see a small figure stalking Bill! She'd snake and crawl over boulders, getting closer and closer to him. I was a little worried until I realized it was a very young girl and most likely harmless. Provided quite an amusing scene as we swung our flies through the glassy water in the fading light.
We'd wanted to fish another island, but a guide was teaching casting technique to his client there so we decided to go in for a little chow. The Buzz Inn is a rowdy steakhouse in Monroe that has become a bit of a traditional post-float hangout and we feasted on assorted steaks, potatoes, etc before heading off our separate ways.
It was a great day on the water and a chance for quite a few of the participants on this board to meet. Juro (BoardMeister), Duggan (aka Sinktip and this year's winner of the First Native of 2000 award), Tyler (and his 18' Bruce&Walker Spey rod), Bill, and myself. A fun time was had by all.
One final note - the ROADKILL icon is in honor of Juro and Bill. Juro's flight arrived at 2am, and neither one got any sleep the night before our float. And even tho I regret Tyler missing what was obviously a once-in-a-livetime pic of Juro - legs askew and arms outstretched (and spey rod still clutched in his hand) - I gotta say that my hat's off to them both!
Don't miss Part II - Bill, Juro, and I journey to the Olympic Peninsula (coming soon)!