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Finding The Fish;

Posted 03-13-2011 at 03:08 PM by Ard
Updated 04-21-2011 at 08:12 PM by Ard

There are times when I go fishing where there is not another person there. Being alone in a place so vast isn't all that it's cracked up to be. There are things to consider, things like safety. It's not always a bear that you must be thinking of, if you were to take a fall while climbing through the Bush or scampering the rocks along a creek nobody knows where you are and that you're in trouble. I also spend a lot of time on rivers that see a lot of boats and fishermen and that's what this is about.

Alone out there;

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Why I hike in to that little creek, that's Ard's Nine Three in his mouth ;

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This was taken on a pack trip into Kodiak Island. Not a lot of human presence here.

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This is one of the many really fat char from the stream pictured above.

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I used to get all upset when I had parked the boat and was trying to fish when all of a sudden a jet boat full of people appears coming around a bend in the river at full speed. The wake from a jet moving 30 mph will sully the water and when there are 20 or more of them racing to some secret honey hole it can rob you of any chance to spot fish. Over the years I learned that the fish kinda deal with it. They just hunker down and have no idea what the heck those things are.

My strategy for these rivers is quite simple. I try to get on the water as early as possible and I drive real slow. I have a pair of polarized fishing glasses that I bought at Tony's Tackle in Pulaski New York 20 years ago and I swear that I have never seen any better. I paid 10 dollars for them. They are the old "Fish Finders" that had the little tag with the hidden fish but when you put on the glasses the fish appeared. I have no idea how that was done but I can tell you I guard them with my life. Whit my fish finders I never miss an opportunity. While taking the slow cruise up river I look to the places that the fish will be and sooner or later there they are. The trick is don't stop right there, keep going and find more. I don't hit the big pools where all the guides take their people to sling all sort of stuff at the fish. I find the fish who get ran over all day while the boats are on their way to "somewhere good". After marking enough spots in my mind and knowing where the fish are holding I stop and rig my rod up. Then I drift down and use the paddles to get on shore at my first stop going down, toss the anchor on the land and get out for a look. Sometimes the water is still clear enough to see them and other times it is not.

A good parking spot;

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There are other factors that contribute to roiled waters here. The rivers and creeks have a sort of silt cycle. Each sunny day the snow pack and mini glaciers melt and raise the water level. Along with the melt water comes a silt load and each night the melt slows down and the water begins to run clear. So there are stretches of water running down the system that are fairly clear but sandwiched between silt flows. it's different that timing the tides but equally important when it comes to locating fish. As the morning goes on the boat traffic generally picks up but knowing where you were able to spot groups of salmon prior to the water getting fouled is the ace in the hole so to say. One day last year I found an unbelievable number of fish as I crept along and as I drifted down to address each spot I found no one had bothered to slow down. It's hard to see a tail or a shadow when you're going like a bat outta hell I guess. On this day I caught more fish than any other day of last year. I don't know how many but I kept releasing them so I didn't have to stop.

One of the males that I kept;

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I used the same principals when I trout fished in Pennsylvania. Observation was more important than the brand of rod I was holding in my hand. Finding the fish has always been more important than fishing to me. When you think about it; if you don't know what kind and how many fish are in the water in front of you, you're just fishing and a lot of people fish. The day that I was referring to last year will not be the last like that and although I may have put pictures on before of some of the results I'm including them here too. I fished the same spots for a week and each day there were a fresh batch of salmon who had moved up from down river. In all the fishing I used only two flies and at the end of the week they both needed to be retired.

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It won't be too long now until the ice goes out and I can go after a new generation of salmon but I'll be using the same tricks that fooled their relatives last year

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Total Comments 5


  1. Old Comment
    mcnerney's Avatar
    Ard: Very smart tactic you have developed for spotting fish along the river, congrats! I can just see those boats you were talking about speeding full tilt up river.

    Posted 03-19-2011 at 09:15 PM by mcnerney mcnerney is offline
  2. Old Comment
    fredaevans's Avatar
    Originally Posted by mcnerney View Comment
    Ard: Very smart tactic you have developed for spotting fish along the river, congrats! I can just see those boats you were talking about speeding full tilt up river.

    We get the same nonsense here on the upper Rogue.
    Posted 03-20-2011 at 11:35 AM by fredaevans fredaevans is offline
  3. Old Comment
    Ard's Avatar
    On April 15 I went looking for fish on a stream. When they first open up from the ice the main channel opens first. What makes this interesting is that I can ride my mountain bike along the channels on the shelf ice that has not melted yet. It is perfect, almost like a paved bike path along your trout stream. I didn't see anything over 2" but the number of fry was a good thing. This coming week I will be going fishing although there may be no fish present I'll take a rod anyway, it's been a long winter.
    Posted 04-16-2011 at 12:28 PM by Ard Ard is online now
  4. Old Comment
    Liphookedau's Avatar
    You are right,people drive,fish,walk right past fish thinking they going to better water,Last year I followed,fished a run into a hole a guide & another guy fished without any luck,subsequently I saw a Rainbow caught it plus three others where the others didn't have a hit..
    Posted 04-18-2011 at 08:24 AM by Liphookedau Liphookedau is offline
  5. Old Comment
    Liphookedau's Avatar
    Also the Stream on Kodiak Island looks beaut.
    Posted 04-18-2011 at 08:25 AM by Liphookedau Liphookedau is offline

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