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One of Those Days, I've Had a Couple Lately.......

Rating: 2 votes, 5.00 average.
In the past week I've had a couple good days and a couple of those days that it just seemed you shouldn't have went fishing. The first one of 'Those days' was last Friday I think. I left in the AM around 9 and took the boat to go searching for trout. They are not plentiful in my favorite river but it seems they only come in one size, large. So with that as the catalyst off I went happy as could be.

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, without the camera I'll probably catch a good fish but while I'm weighing the decision here comes a boat up river, that does it, I leave; Well now the two trips taken so far 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.

In between Friday and Monday I had a good day so I worked on a project Monday; then came yesterday, Tuesday. As i drove to the river with boat in tow there was heavy fog coming in from the ocean inlet. Low & behold the fog lifted as I neared the river and I loaded the tackle bag into the boat, put in the plugs and rigged my rod with Sundays winning pattern a Lady Caroline in size 6. I pushed the boat off the trailer and pulled it to shore, only one other boat trailer in the parking area but it haunted me not knowing which way it went, up or down. I had stopped to photograph a Spruce Grouse on the way to the launch and I could hear the howl of a 2 stroke motor and I thought it was headed up but .......................


When I had parked the truck & trailer Boss and I got in and pushed off. As I started the motor and began slowly moving up stream I noticed that I had just pushed off and was drift motoring over, and spooking 2 twin rainbow trout. These are in the class I'm seeking, about 2 foot each Who would think to fish right at the launch before pushing off Yeah, I parked, I waited, I fished, I caught nothing. But the fish I know the whereabouts of upstream are there and I'm going after them

In keeping with being sneaky I ran aground! Quite a project getting back into enough water to float and use power in but I made it. I drug the boat free and still managed to slip into one of my honey holes without so much as a wake. before I could make cast #1 I heard that 2 stroke howling upstream and within a minuet it came raging right down and through my fish. I went on up and snuck into Honey Hole #2. We (Boss & I) had lunch and waited a good hour before fishing. I worked the run and pool 2 times with the Lady C. then changed to a prized Skykomish Sunrise on a small hook. soon a coho grabbed the fly, not what I wanted but at least I'm not skunked. After several hours I paddled the boat to the other side to get a different presentation swing. Wham a trout grabs hold and goes nuts! Pretty big too but within 5 seconds it's gone Soon another grab and when the fish comes up I see it's another coho, I play him in until I have his head on the waterline and as I try to remove the fly he goes NUTS. Snap, fly and a foot of leader gone. Not just any fly but one I've been using for 4 years............

Time to go back to the launch and try those trout, it's now about 6 in the evening and I leave honey hole #2 behind.


With the usual stealth I kill the motor a few hundred yards above the target water and drift in quiet. I pull the boat to shore in the worst muck on the whole river but hey I'm not going to do anything to mess up this water so with each footstep sticking to the riverside like glue I start to cast and swing a Signal Light feather wing. Within a few minuets I see a fish I didn't know was there follow the fly right up to me! A really big trout! This is what I'm doing, he follows 3 times but does not take then disapears. Not wanting to kill the opertunity I moved on down toward the boat launch hoping for one of the morning fish to grab the fly.

It was then that I heard it. The unmistakeable sound of a boat being towed on its trailer down the hill to the launch. And there it is, a man and woman with 2 dogs backing right into the holding water at the boat ramp. Drat! Dam the luck, I said aloud but not too loud. Of course the gent had to circle the area to be sure all was well before he headed down river through the rest of the water I had my sights on......... As we bumped our way along the pot holed dirt road headed home I had a good ending, a beautiful sunset. I'm going to go fishing tomorrow


Updated 09-28-2011 at 02:34 PM by Ard



  1. milt spawn's Avatar
    Excellent as usual Ard! I have a question, when you ground your boat on a bar, does Boss get out and help, or stay in the boat for extra weight? milt.
  2. Ard's Avatar
    Hi Milt, and Thank You

    Boss jumps out or I tell him to get out, the extra weight isn't needed

    I'm almost ready for the Fall Colors entries on this blog page. I've been collecting photography for three weeks and still trying to get more colorful fish for the writing. It will take 2 or three entries to get it all in. There will be more photos than text but I'll try to explain everything as best I can............
  3. milt spawn's Avatar
    Keep the fall foliage fotos coming! We don't get much of that here in SoCal. Would like to see a 30 inch leopard bow if you can get one (karma). milt.
  4. Ard's Avatar
    These big trout are very much like steelhead in that they are few and far between. Oh they're here but there is a lot of water in a river and you have to make a lot of casts to try to cover any and all likely slots, seems, and eddies. I am going to leave for the river soon and I too hope that I can get a big one. When I say 'few and far' you must remember these are wild fish who are somewhat transient by nature. They move within the rivers driven by various influences, spawning of course results in a migration, then come the salmon runs and the trout get caught up in this trip as well. They follow salmon and then drop back as the fish finish their business and die. I could go on but I figure you get it, they don't have a home like fish in the lower 48. They are on the go and you really have to read a river to even have a chance at one.

    I'll give it my best shot...........
  5. milt spawn's Avatar
    Allow me to rephrase, I would like to see the 30 inch leopard bow you ARE going to get. Good karma! milt.
  6. littledavid123's Avatar
    Good blog Ard

    Are there many of the smaller bows in your river or are they difficult to locate also? I sometimes believe we need a few bad days, they certainly have a way of making the good days special.

  7. Ard's Avatar
    Hi Dave,

    I'm getting paranoid now because I just had two great days back to back!
  8. jpbfly's Avatar
    great story and pics Ard...thanks for taking time to write this for us.
  9. Vans's Avatar
    Another good turn of the word Ard.