Monday, November 10, 2014

Fishing with the Boys – November Edition


Ethan with our first brown trout of the afternoon
This weekend I finally had the opportunity to fulfill a promise I had made at the beginning of the fall – Take my boys fly fishing for giant lake run trout and salmon.


The reports I had been getting throughout this fall have been very promising, and even when I have had the chance to get out there have been plenty of fish around to make things interesting.

The only downfall has been the lack of sufficient rain to keep our local freestone tributaries at a good flow, or even better, bump it up to high and stained, which is what I and the fish prefer. 

Jonathan with a nice female brown trout
We finally got on the stream around noon and after navigating our way downstream after a short walk, we began to see fish. The boys were very excited and couldn’t wait to catch a few salmon.

Over the course of the next couple of hours we saw only two other anglers and had many of the places I had planned to fish with the boys vacant.

We found some very willing lake run brown trout and even a few post-spawn salmon that intercepted some big streamers on the swing.

The trout took a #10 gold colored nuclear egg pattern and #6 Cone head brown buggers. We found them holding in pocket water, but did our best when we found small pools that where formed by fall-downs near the bank. Here, the fish felt right at home and seemed eager to eat.

Jonathan with his first ever solo caught king on the swing
Many of the salmon we saw were either in spawn or post spawn mode with some carcasses already littering the stream.

Our best success with the salmon came while fishing a long deep riffle section. Here we could see numerous females and males holding throughout its course, with some of the males chasing each other around. This is where we decided to slowly swing big streamers in front of the fish to take full advantage their aggressive behavior – and it worked!

Even dad caught a few - Photo by Jonathan Bradfield
While working a fish with my youngest son, I could track the fly as it swung right in front of a big male chinook. As the streamer passed about a foot in front of the fish, it turned and swam up to the fly, opened its mouth and inhaled it – Fish On!

This worked quite well on a few other fish, but not every salmon was willing to bite, so we moved on.

Ethan does battle with a nice king
We all know that these big kings are in the streams to spawn and then eventually die. But that doesn’t mean that they won’t take a fly. I have seen aggressive fish, like the ones we had on this day, move to intercept flies before. The trick is to be patient, stay off the fish as much as possible and get that fly in front of them. Keeping the fly off the bottom is key. And in these conditions we used a floating line with a long six to eight foot leader tapered down to ten or twelve pound test while swinging a weighted three and a half to four inch rabbit strip streamer to match the many baitfish in this stream. This setup allowed us to control the depth of the fly and keep it in the strike zone with lower water conditions. This same tactic has worked well for me at tail outs of pools as well.

Ethan holds his first ever king salmon with some help from his older brother
Fishing with the boys this past weekend was a blast (as it always is,) but on this day the fishing turned into a whole lot of catching. 






Another nice lake run female brown

Big smiles and sore arms were the norm for this afternoon!

All fish were released

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