We gambled and lost. We bet against the Salmon River, in favor of the West Branch of the Delaware. The Salmon River was the winner, the WBD the loser. As anglers siding with the WBD, we missed out on a fresh, fast and furious salmon run.
You could argue that our reasoning was flawed. That it’s never wise to bet against the Salmon River. This is especially true in September, and even more probable after several days of poor fishing. It’s unusual for that river to fish poorly several days in a row. You see, several friends had just fished the lower Salmon River and returned skunked. The water temperature was 67 degrees, there was no fish movement and things were slow. On the other hand, tricos and olives were still steady on the WBD. So, we banked on decent dry fly fishing on the WBD. It seemed like the Salmon River needed cooler temps to get things going. Well, we were wrong.
Turns out, after several days of poor fishing, the lower Salmon River turned on. Hundreds of fresh salmon poured upriver. Meanwhile, we were camped out on the WBD, waiting for the wind to stop blowing. Sure, we had clouds of tricos and a decent afternoon baetis hatch, but the 10 to 20 mph wind prevented much dry fly fishing. The following day on the WBD, it was cold and things never turned on. It was a nice sunny day, but the bugs and fish never got going until the last half an hour of daylight. It was pretty and the crowds sparse, but the dry fly fishing was disappointing. We barely managed to scratch out a few, smaller trout. Speaking of small trout, there sure is an ample population of 6″ browns eager to feed on the surface, in that system. Still, 6″ trout were not what we were targeting. It was tough not to question our commitment to the WBD, as we read all the stellar DSR Salmon River reports (waiting for the wind to quit howling, or the bugs to show up). Still, as anglers we can’t have it all. I wanted one last hurrah for quality sight, dry fly fishing. If conditions were more favorable, I might instead be blogging about the several 18″ to 22″ browns that we landed on dries. That’s ok, there still a few more days left to throw dry flies. There’s also another month plus of decent salmon fishing. Fall is a great time of year and make a plan to spend some time on the water!
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