Our tally after a day of fishing the Salmon River was four chubs. Three anglers landed a total of four chubs! Readers of this blog know that candidly I post the good, as well as the lousy. I’d like to provide a glowing report after our one day trip to the Salmon River. But, we didn’t manage to land any salmon nor steelhead. The Salmon River was as scenic as ever and it’s always nice to fish with friends. Yet, we expected more from this mighty fishery.
It all began with promising reports of fresh kings streaming in over Labor Day. We excitedly read successive reports of active kings, bright cohos, aggressive steelhead, reels screaming and multiple hook ups. The drizzly, cool forecast furthered our conviction that we should enjoy the day off and fish the Salmon River. We splurged and decided to fish the Douglaston Salmon Run. Be forewarned, the fee is now a hefty $45. Ouch! At least we weren’t the only other chumps, as numerous other cars were already in the lot. Around 7 am, we walked downstream to the Joss Hole. Setting up on the lower half of the pool, we observed the random salmon porpoise. I fished a t-14 6′ sink tip with my two handed rod, opting to slowly swing streamers. My buddies nymphed w/ a variety of glo bug and larger nymphs. Over the next seven hours, we pounded every stretch of that pool. My friend Brian, lost count after changing a dozen flies. I even switched to bottom bouncing after a few hours and never experienced any success. Of the multiple anglers fishing the Joss Hole during this time, we observed one large 15 lb steelhead lost (fairly hooked), one small 18″ steelhead landed (fairly hooked), and half a dozen salmon lost that were not cleanly hooked. Nobody landed any salmon. Nonetheless, we did manage to fair hook and land four chubbs.
Several anglers talked about the stark difference from yesterday. “Best ever, awesome day, arm worn out, thick w/ salmon, bottom was moving, eating whatever you threw at them”, etc were just a few of the descriptors we heard about the previous day in the DSR. We decided to abandon the DSR and visited our friends at Whitaker’s Sports Store. They confirmed it had been awesome and that today was much slower. For a change of scenery, we next fished the Compactor Pool. Fish less after two hours, we then drove upstream to fish Pineville. Again, we joined fellow anglers in flogging the water without any hook ups. Talking w/ a local guide, he verified that he saw hundreds of kings heading downriver earlier in the day. Who knows where they are? Some speculate that they moved back out to the estuary. All I know, is that we sure missed the mother load of salmon. Not to worry, another run with more fish is due any day. The Salmon River will be loaded w/ salmonid species for the next two months. It is a beautiful river and we know that you have to pay your dues on the water. Put in the time, follow the conditions and it is deservedly an exceptional fishery. For these reasons, I’ll continue to fish the Salmon River and eagerly await a return to this fabled fish factory.
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