January 1, 2006
December ?, 2005
September 12, 2005
Saturday, September 25, 2004
Before the break of dawn I met JR and his father-in-law at his place near Maple Leaf. Although the plan was to float from Lower Branch to Walhalla, they said plenty of fish were just downstream from the cabin and perhaps we should stay there. Prophetic words indeed. At the launch we waited around for 20 minutes for it to get light enough to safely float. When we did, anglers were in pretty much every good hole. They were out early and out in force. In the morning we saw very few fresh fish -- mostly whitetails. JR, Ken and myself hooked a fish or two apiece, but the real action didn't take happen until we got back to the cabin. There, we found plenty of fish, some fresh, some old. We found we could target them in exceptionally tight holes by doing a sidearm c&d. I landed one clean salmon. Further downstream we again found many, many anglers. Near Walhalla we found one really nice section that held a good number of spawning and staging fish. There most be some public access, although I couldn't tell where. The guys there were nice enough to let us play with a few of them an go on our way. Nice sunny weather and comfortable temps today. The water had a decent stain and level to it.
Saturday, April 7, 2004
Steelhead season is in full swing and I felt the need to put on a full court press at the best time. I floated in my boat from M37 to Gleasons from 8am to 8pm. Good news is I landed one nice steelie, a bunch of rainbow trout and lost a couple other steelies. Still, I felt I probably should have done better. It was very tempting to fish for the visibile steelhead near the gravel. They were showing up in pods of 1-3 fish on about every third or fourth piece of good gravel. I also targeted the deep holes in the corner bends and the deep gravel runs. Neither of those did me any good although other anglers said they had good luck there. Considering the "day" there weren't many people out. A few other guides and individuals like me floated the same stretch. Also had good numbers of waders at the access areas. There was some really nice water down from Green Cottage, especially Clay banks 4, Alligator Alley and Wadells Riffles. Even the upper and mid part of Jorgensons held good numbers of fish.
Sunday, March 28, 2004
With the snow gone, warmer temps and longer days, Jim and I headed up to try our luck. We had hoped to wade down from Fisherman's Trail to Green Cottage. The rising river put a stop to that plan. The snow melted a few weeks back. Several days of heavy rain pushed the river well over its banks. While it was still falling, it was very difficult to wade across the river. Still, we found a few places to cross and were able to fish good runs where we knew fish were. I landed a trout and maybe had on a steelie. Jim landed a couple trout and maybe had on a steelie.
Sunday, February ?, 2004
I expected a few more people today but was pleasantly suprised by the very light turnout. It really was a very, very nice day considering the snow and temperatures. It started out below freezing and then got above freezing for the bulk of the day. I floated by boat from M37 to Green Cottage, starting around 9am and ending around 3pm. As I ended, I thought I probably could have slowed down even more. That said, I fished just about every hole and run that looked good. Unfortunately, I got skunked. I really didn't expect to ... not even a trout. A couple older guys doing the same float got three steelhead. All out of the same run by the train trestle. Water temps never passed 40 degrees.
Thursday, January 1, 2004
This is beginning to be a tradition -- spending New Years Day in search of steelhead. I walked in at the Ledge and worked my way down to Green Cottage. I started the year out right by catching a nice steely. I worked a particular run and hole for about 90 minutes before I finally hooked up. Using my idy rig, I covered just about every inch of the area. On my first drift through the tail end of the hole, right along the bank, my bobber dropped and the fish was on. It made few good runs but didn't go crazy -- probably why I landed it. Further downstream I tried just about every available good-looking piece of water. Quite a few people out today. The weather was actually very nice. It got above freezing for a few hours. One guy told me the water temp was 37 degrees, which had been falling for the past week.
Sunday, September 21, 2003
Since my float trip with Jim, I've been checking the maps for the same stretch where we saw so many salmon. Luckily I remembered where it was and could compare it to a couple different maps showing public access. A new-found spot is claimed! For secrecy sake, I'll just call it Lower Branch. The first hole I tried was the one we fished for hours. I couldn't see a thing in it for a while, so I moved up to the other big hole. Hmmm, nothing doing there either, although it looked very, very promising. I remember the guys in the other boat saying they had hooked 40. In the next spot up were a good 10 or more fish sparring like crazy. They were very active and challenging a big male for the primary spot. I fished it for several hours and had a good six hook-ups. None landed though. I was pretty sure I got the biggest baddest fish in the hole right in the mouth. Like all the rest, he got under the logs and broke me off. I saw a few more fish hitting the gravel. Two females were really working the redds.
Sunday, September 14, 2003
I headed back to the same stretch late in the afternoon. I was thinking if the hole was taken, I'd work my way down to Green Cottage. Of course, the hole was filled with a few guys. As I worked my way downstream, it seemed like every good hole was filled. It took a while, but I finally did find a decent number of fish in the GC access area. Funny, because this is a hole I checked out for steelhead last season. I don't remember seeing any fish in it. Today there were about eight or so. I hooked about six and landed one as darkness fell. It took one of my red and pink marabou spey flies right in the mouth. About half my time was spent standing in the rain, and a good 20 minutes was in a complete downpour. Suprisingly, the wet weather didn't deter many anglers! Fishing was pretty good. I wish I'd gotten out there sooner because it was pitch black by the time I got back to the car.
Saturday, September 13, 2003
Although I don't normally fish for salmon in the flies-only section, I thought I'd give it a try on this "off" day. I got to the river about a half hour before day break and starting working my way down from the 72nd street access. I planned to go down to Green Cottage, but after a few bends found a hole that was loaded with salmon. From then until I left around 3pm, I hooked 19 and landed two! The first was my first hook-up of the day -- an accidental tail shot. The second was hooked firmly in the top of the mouth! It took an egg sucking leech I tied myself (chartruse and black). Several other fish were hooked squarely in the mouth, but they went under numerous logs up or down stream. I'm not sure if it was my familiarity with the hole or the salmon, but the fishing seemed to get better as the day wore on. I was really trying to hit that 20 mark. The sky was clear and sunny, the wind was strong and the temp was pretty warm. The water was also very low which forced the fish to lie deep in the holes. I saw very few fish on the gravel.
Sunday-Monday, August 31-Sept. 1, 2003
Jim and I spent two days (well more like 24 hours) canoeing from Rainbow Rapids to Walhalla. Shortly after launching, we started seeing salmon. One or two here and there, most were on the move. We hit a few dark holes that looked promising. Got a couple on the line, but they were fresh, fresh, fresh and gone, gone, gone. Lots of people out this weekend. Both days were like partes along the river -- bring the beer, the food, the girlfriends and have a blast. Good times. Being the in the canoe, we could easily slide by these folks and find good water all to ourselves. There were good numbers of anglers hooking good numbers of salmon. Some pools held many fish, while others were empty. When we got below Barothey to Walhalla, we saw very few fish. Between Sulak and Maple Leaf, there were some really great spots worth exploring. In the end, we didn't land any fish. Jim got some hits and I had about 5 on the line for a while. From Rainbow to Elk, where we camped, it took about 6 hours of paddling and canoeing. From Elk to Walhalla, it took about 9 hours, although we spent 4 hours in one spot.
Saturday, August 9, 2003
Took out my new boat for its first trip down the river. I had to fight for a spot to launch my boat at Bowman's Landing. About 25 canoes went off just before me and about 25 loud ones followed me. I mis-timed my trip a bit. While it took about 10 hours to float and fish, I had to row the last 3 hours just to get in before dark. I should have rowed more earlier in the day -- the fishing for the first few miles was pretty slow. I did find plenty of fish though. Lots of 6-10 inch browns and rainbows. Even a few 3 inchers. Biggest fish of the day was a nice 13 inch rainbow. I rowed over a much bigger trout, or was it a steelhead? Taking my time, I eyed some really nice spots for salmon between MacDougal's and Rainbow Rapids. There was plenty of gravel, holes and shade. Just below I even saw a salmon swirl in the big hole!
Saturday, April 26, 2003
Today was the trout opener, but I was really in search of steelhead. I was in place at Maple Leaf at the crack of dawn. Right place, wrong time. Even with the steelhead run a couple weeks late this year, it seems like they are either further upstream or further downstream. I fished hard for about three hours when everyone else started showing up. I saw only one fish. My plan was to go far, far upstream if nothing was going on. I headed up further than I'd been beofe and explored a couple access areas up from Idlewild. It was really to small to fish for steelhead, but it was nice to look around. I saw a few redds, but no fish other than a few trout.
When lunchtime rolled around I headed to Ledge Hole. I hadn't been there in a very long time. Suprisingly it wasn't too busy. I fished up the Baldwin and hit all the good spots upstream for a couple hours. Landed a couple of trout to get rid of the skunk, and even had a chance at steel.
Next up, I went to Green Cottage hoping for a changing of the guard. I was very much in luck to find a very reliable stretch of water completely empty. In fact, it stayed empty for the next three hours. I could see a few steelies on the redds and in the holes, but couldn't get them to bite. Still, a couple of trout helped ease the pain. For a while, I moved to the other bank to peer down into the holes. I saw a couple steelies and an amazing site. One fish actually was facing angled downstream. It was deep at the bottom of an eddy, and was looking straight at me. With my back directly to the sun, it probably thought I was a tree. Once I even saw it rise to the surface of the eddy and take a gulp of something. Unfortunately it wasn't my fly.
Sunday, March 2, 2003
Got the itch to fish even though I heard the reports weren't good. I headed to the Sulak area to avoid what I thought would be crowds elsewhere. I don't know about further upstream, but no one was down where I was. The road was impassable, so I parked at lower bridge and hiked in. Really could have used snowshoes. This one time I was grateful the snowmobiles paved part of the way. The weather started out at 28 degrees and dropped all day long -- it was 7 when I got home. Beautiful sunshine though. The fishing was just as cold. I worked one classic spot over and over at varying depths with varying flies -- nada.
Wednesday, January 1, 2003
While the rest of the world slept off hangovers and watched football, I explored Maple Leaf access. Sure, I fished hard all day, but never even saw a trout scurry away. Tried all the usual spots using my best techniques. It was a gorgeous day. Mostly sunny, just about at the freezing mark. Very little snow made it easy to hike around. The water was crystal clear and low, which was kinda cool. I could see lots of clean gravel in spots I didn't expect. It gave me a good idea of where fish might be hanging out at other times of the year. Upstream from where I normally go, the water was much shallower and the gravel more plentiful. From the looks of it, the angling pressure is also more plentiful. On the drive up, I almost hit a bald eagle. It was trying to scoop up a roadkill squirrel when I was it flying directly at me. I slowed way down and it flapped its wings just over my car. I could see the yellow of its eyes.
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