Hi Jim it must be the moon phase because I had a day yesterday also.................
I got about 11 miles into the 30 mile drive to the boat launch and realized that I had left my old Lewis Creek jacket hang on the rack inside the front door; problem was that the 40 clip box with all the secret weapons was in the jacket. So, find a place where I could turn around and then go back for it. Now it's time for take #2. I get down to the river and there are a group of Park Rangers ready to launch 2 jet boats. I'm pretty chummy with them so we chat, they tell me they are headed upriver to winterize the campsites along the river.
I've been working the upriver area for over a week looking for trout. the trout are hanging around the coho salmon as they turn and begin spawning activity. The trout are sometimes large, I mean large like a salmon. I use a boat but I am pretty sneaky about how I travel when looking for fish. My boat can scoot over 3" of water at 13 mph so I stay away from the deep channels where the fish are at. Knowing where the fish are I'm able to slide into position downstream and then walk up to where I want to fish. No doubt that the larger boats with 2 rangers and 2 helpers each were going to need to run right on the deep channels and right over the fish. This will not make a big rainbow want to take a fly, at least not for 3 or 4 hours in nice clear water so............ maybe downriver right? I haven't been going down because this is a popular moose hunting area and there are 8 empty boat trailers parked at the launch area. If the hunters run up or down over the pools and channels downstream it is just as bad for the sport swinging a fly so it's a gamble, will the river be quite or will a group of hunters be headed out today? I figured to fish and take my chances, I start loading the boat and then notice that I left that big pesky Nikon SLR at home
So what's the problem, I'm here to fish right? Problem is that if you really catch what I'm after you will want a picture. Imagine a rainbow trout somewhere in the 30" class weighing between 10 - 15 pounds. They get that big and I've seen them but have not caught one. They come from the tidewater and they swim with the salmon, they are as big and they have nothing to fear from the salmon unlike small trout who keep their distance. Decision time, I leave; now the two trips taken ate up 2 hours and quite a bit of gas so I dump gas into the truck and set my sights on the upper river.
After another 30 miles part of which is a dirt road that will jar the fillings loose from your molars I reach the crude launch, no one there, good! Reason no one there, water is so low that even a fancy boat driver like me is gonna have to skip over logs to make it down the river but I skip when and where I have to and I float, park and fish as many good spots as I can. Nada, nothing, a few salmon who chase the fly but I speed it away before anyone can get hooked. I make it 7 miles down to the confluence with a nice creek that was my destination, the last hope for the day, it's now 2:30 PM. First cast, swinging slow through the tannin line where the 2 flows meet and I snag! I never saw that log in the tannin stained water! So I wade in and use my foot to pry up the offending waterlogged specimen and retrieve my fly. After a dozen cast through the best water there I set my sights up the small creek, no trail, plenty of stuff to crawl through, perfect for brown bears, this isn't what I really wanted to do but I get to some good looking runs. Problem! The bottom is nothing but basketball sized very round stones, and slippery too, real slippery. I snag the Coal Car (fly) in brush behind me on try #1, and have a knot that I couldn't tie if I were trying and untying it is even harder........... I was not meant to fish yesterday. End of story: no fish and a white knuckle drive back upriver. The good news was that I made it all the way back to the launch and never heard the bottom touch the gravel. Amazing how the boat scoots over hardly any water.
the good news, I lost no flies, I didn't fall down and there's always Monday. Moose season closes Sunday and the rangers work is done