Thursday, November 10, 2011

fly fishing for coastal river salmon

Starting in early spetmber and running into december  chinook ,coho and chum salmon  start their annual fall spawning migration into oregons coastal rivers and valley tributaries fresh from the ocean. These bright and powerful fish attract people from all over the state not just for food,but to feel the power of a big salmon on the end of oens rod is said to me magical.  These past 2 years i have decided not not participate in  the rush due to snaggers and shoulder to shoulder flossing with corkies plus i have been doing just fine doing my favorite thing in the world, throwing flies at trout. But after learning the ropes with a fly rod i was ready for a challenge. Early one november morning  i was woke up by my dad who asked me  those words that he knew would  get me out of bed. Do you want to go salmon fishing with your uncle? i knew this was my chance to do something i have always wanted to try, fly fishing for salmon.  After running around the house grabbing all my gear and bundling up then throwing my waders  on i pre rigged my cabelas wind river 8wt and prepared for battle.  As my cousins and uncle arrived they brought good news,previous days themselves and family had landed several fish and they were coming in thick. But along with the good news there was a concerned look from my uncle. He looks at me , then my fly rod and asks, do you have a regular rod?  i replied with a no and said i don't gear fish anymore so  he shrugged and we loaded up then took off. Although the task ahead was going to be difficult i stayed confident and ready. After the longest hour drive i have ever been on  we pulled over, got our stuff ready and headed down to the river. My heart was starting to pound as the water became visible, i ran down to the river and  got my flies and leader material out,   as i knew i needed to re rig for the water we were fishing (deep and medium/fast).  While i was  confused as to what i should use due to not being very well rpepared everyone had already started fishing. After a minute of thinking  i decided to choose  a morrish's thunder egg under an indicator, knowing salmon will bite eggs  and it is heavy enough to reach the bottom.  i rigged up and fished for a few minutes without success when i hear a fish cousin had a breif hook up drifting but it came unbuttoned. As time passed i switched to using a small amount of weight with my egg pattern and decided to dead drift it on the bottom. I fished  it for a few minutes without even a tap before getting snagged and breaking off, so i decided to swing and strip large streamers. Five minutes into using a moal leech my cousin  yelps fish on! sicne i was the closest one to him and the fish i directed him to steer the tiring coho towards my hands.I tailed the fish,held it up then released it. After a while of no success with the moal i tied on a pick yer pocket looking marabou fly With a little bit of weight to get it down, i swung and stripped it for around an hour without success so i decided to travel up to my favorite deep slot.It was not ideal swing water, so i threw on a small  chunk of lead and decided to try my hand at dredging.  after about 15 minutes of working the slot the unimagineable happened, i had a hit. as soon as i realized it was a fish my heart starting pounding fast and i drove the hook home with a hard hookset.I screamed fish on as i was palming the spool,my reel screaming and spitting water everywhere as the chrome bullet  rocketed downstream trying her hardest to pop my hook out.  i followed the fish and kept as much pressure as i could on it with a 10lb test leader as it ran about the hole, tiring my wrists in the proccess . Everytime it got close to us and made a run it nearly gave me a heart attack,but finally after 10 minutes of the hardest fight ive ever had on a fly rod  my first salmon on a fly  was netted, we took a picture then the pretty hen coho was released.  I have never been so excited in my life..  the memory will remain in my head forever playing over and over like a mini movie, but the day wasnt over yet!   i kept fishing and got snagged up on the bottom a few more times but my younger cousin mitch caught a 16lb coho drift fishing, it was a pretty fish. After a while we decided to call it a day. The next morning  i was called again with the same question, i will follow with a breif report of that trip in a few hours plus yesterdays trip aswell enjoy!


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