BC's chapter of the Brotherhood of the Black GP decided to travel south to spend an afternoon with me on the Skagit river this last Saturday.
With our favored March-April fishery cancelled, we'd resigned ourselves to the less appealing prospect of swinging flies for semi-frozen hatchery brats. This was offset by my own excitement at fishing with good friend Dana Sturn again (our paths haven't crossed in over a year) and drawing inspiration from the amazing variety of furry and feathery creations both Dana (Blacksalmon) and Tyler (Kush) had managed to craft on tubes.
We've all been bitten by the tube fly bug of late and took this opportunity to discuss our discoveries. At one point, after breakfast at the Bunny Cafe, we laid out a lavish spread of exotic and innovative ties on the white tablecloth and reached for the cameras.
There was Dana's amazing Intruder-inspired monster - an orange and black creation a full 8" long, Tyler's dazzling Maribou spider in Skykomish Sunrise colors (a vibrant combinations of colors - one of the nicest ties of a maribou spider I've seen), my own blue/yellow tie on a brass tube, and several more of Tyler's colorful orange/yellow maribou GPs completed the display.
Oh, that's right . . . the Cameras! I lined up my digital on the flies, but the message "DISK FULL" appeared in the LED display. DUH! Forgot to delete all those other pics before I left home.
Tyler breaks out his waterproof Canon, but . . you guessed it! Dead Battery!
One more chance, but for the first time in the 2 years I've had the Olympus -
Strike 3 - DEAD BATTERY! That picture was not to be!
OK - on to the fishing!!! <g>
I've never had much luck with the winter hatchery fish myself, but have had a few days where things just seemed to line up. This was one of those days!
In the first run we fished, Dana hooked up with a nice Dolly in the tailout. Tyler and I were watching his Diawa 15' spey rod bucking, and the splashes of the fish were respectable. I think we were both a little suprised when he hoisted up that Dolly.
We proceeded downriver at 1pm to another favored run and spread out to cover it. I was following Tyler through the upper water when I saw his rod dip. The fish didn't do much at first, so I couldn't really tell what he might have ('specially since I've caught quite a few Dollys from that very spot). He reeled it right up close at first, but when it saw him and started stripping off line we knew that was no Dolly!! After another few runs, he led the bright hatchery buck to shore. Something I noticed is that it's tough finding those little short-shank hooks when the tube fly separates from the hook and the fish is thrashing about in the shallows. Tyler was able to convince the fish to settle down - he extracted the hook from the lower jaw and Mr Brat was back on his way upstream!
After congratulations all around, Tyler graciously retired to a handy log to enjoy one of his Stogies while I continued thru the gut of the run. And sure enough, by the time I'd passed about 10 steps below where Tyler had been standing, a subtle bump on my brass tube Shrimp caught my attention as it started the swing below me. At the end of the swing, I felt increased tension and lifted the rod. The fish shook hard, flexing the 8150 into the butt as I aimed the rod toward shore and yelled "Got One!!"
Kiss of Death!! The fish continued his headshaking for a few more seconds, then I heard the first clicks of the drag just as the hook came away! My little Tiemco 105 #4 was still sticky sharp when I checked it, so I'm still at a loss as to how that fish escaped.
We saw another steelie roll in this very spot, but even with us all giving it a try nobody was able to get another take. Still, when I look back on my past December/January flyfishing trips, this one stands out both for it's productivity and because we weren't anywhere near a hatchery or plant site.
After a celebratory dinner and some fine Whiskey-laced Bread Pudding, we headed home! And next trip, I'll have a larger MB card for my digital so we can share some of these incredible patters with the Forum readers.
Tight Lines and Sharp Hooks!