Today was a great day to be on the water. I was able to fish with both of my boys. And after we dropped Katie off at her school, we headed up to the Brick schoolhouse road section of Sandy creek.
Conditions did not look good from the start. Low water, weeds and most importantly....no fish! We trudged our way upstream looking at every run, riffle and little pool hoping to find something. Then we found a salmon holding in a riffle section. It looked pretty old and ragged, but Jonathan wanted to try and catch it. It would be his first Chinook salmon ever on the fly rod. The fish stayed in the riffle section running here and there, stopping only to shake it's huge head in an attempt to get rid of the fly in it's mouth. With Jonathan straining to keep the fly rod's tip up, I coached him on putting some side pressure on the fish and soon we had his first salmon tailed. A quick picture and he was on his way. What a great fight!
We spent the next half hour looking for more fish. Walking downstream, we past the bridge and searched the water for any fish looking shape hiding along the greens and browns of the stream bottom. Then another salmon made it's way in front of us and within a few casts we had hooked our second fish of the day. This would not last however, as the fish brook off a minute later.
We then continued our march downstream and came to a slight bend in the creek where there appeared to be a good riffle section that would hold fish. As I began to scan the water below the riffle, two fish worked there way up into that riffle. I could see two beautiful brown trout holding in the current. A few casts, and "Fish On!" Jonathan held on as the brown trout ran up and down that run 3 or 4 times before I could get my hand around it's tail. Our reward was a beautifully colored male of about 7 lbs.
With fish number two landed, photographed and released, we headed back upstream in hopes of finding one last fish before we had to go back and pick up Katie from school. And just as it was looking like we would be done for the day, I spotted a really big brown trout holding in the tail out of the pool under the bridge. It was a very large female brown trout and it took a little while of careful presentation before I could say "Fish on" for the last time today. This fish put up one of the most memorable fights that I have ever seen. Jonathan strained to keep the fish under control, and soon it had all the fly line off the reel. He then had to work the fish back upstream gaining a little line here and there between runs. This went on for 5 or 6 minutes before the the fish went near the bank and some under water brush. Jonathan stood upstream with fly rod in hand waiting as I tried to find the fish. A tail appeared in the water under some brush. I tried to grab the tail. The fish went nuts swimming around me and tangling the line around my feet. At this point I thought it was over. I tried as quickly as I could to get that line unwrapped but it was not working. And then, in an instant I was free and Jonathan still had the fish on! After another minute I had my hand wrapped firmly around the tail of a 12 or 13 lb. female brown trout. What a fiasco! What a fish!
There were not a lot of fish moving today. In fact, I have seen a lot more salmon and trout during this time of year. But, we also don't have the water either. If we get a good amount of rain or water release from the canal, it could change everything! The weeds would get washed out and the fish that are waiting to run will have enough water to do it in mass numbers. On a good note......I was able to cast many times to a fish until it took a fly without spooking it. This means that the fish are used to their surroundings and not being pressured by lots of anglers. And most importantly, I was able to share a morning of fishing with my two sons, Ethan and Jonathan.