Monday, August 2, 2010

a look back- 09-27-2009 fly fishing salmon (tributaries, wi)

With my favorite fishing season (fall salmon in the tributaries) right around the corner, I’ve decided to take a look back to 2009 at one of the best king salmon trips me a Neal shared. It happened to be the first salmon trip we took that fall. This post was partly brought on because of the extra thought I’ve been putting towards the upcoming spawning migration and partly because I blanked this weekend fishing in-land trout in the driftless area of Wisconsin. At least my car held up this weekend with no issues. Lets rewind the clock 14 months…


We were making this a two day trip where we would be camping overnight. It was a Sunday morning and Me and Neal were heading to fish for king salmon. A local guide had tipped us off that fish had already began to move into the rivers in Northern Wisconsin. We were up and on the road by 5:00am to put most of the miles on his truck before the sun showed up. We made the river by 8:00am and did some scouting around before deciding on where to fish. A quick stop at the fish weir and we could see a few fish pooled up by the fish elevator but the numbers just weren’t there to say the run was in full swing. Maybe we were a little early? Well, we are here now. Lets go fishing.

salmon sitting under the dam
The first morning of fishing was exhausting to say the least. We covered lots of different water working tons of different flies. We pounded the water for almost 6 hours with out even seeing a fish. By that time we were tires and hungry and voted that it was time to break for lunch. We drove back into town and found a nice pub and had a burger while pretending to be Packer fans. That close to Greenbay we should be careful things don’t get out of hand. After lunch we went shopping for some food to have at camp and then we drove to the campground to set up our tent. After our camp site was in order we headed back to the river.

The afternoon on the river started the same as the morning did. We arrived and started to scout the water placing some random casts to some decent looking pools. Still no fish in sight! Just as I thought it couldn’t get worse it started to rain, thank goodness we packed the rain gear. As the initial down pour started to slow something magical happened. It was like a stampede of wild bulls, instantly dozens of fresh silver kings come bulldozing up the river. Salmon aren’t graceful like steelies, the urge to spawn will motivate them to navigate water only a few inches deep practically beaching themselves. Fish were blowing the water up all around us. We both thought the fresh water the rain brought into the river system caused the fish to move up from the deep holding pools down river.

Within minutes Neal yelled “fish on”! The battle was on, that first fish was up and down the river putting Neal’s tippet to the test. He fought the fish well even having to flip the line off a boulder after getting wrapped around it. A few minutes later I tail grabbed our first salmon of 2009.

now thats a king salmon
Now it was my turn to try landing a river monster. The sun was setting as the beast sucked the fly into its mouth. I reared back quickly on the rod and the fish took off. Line was flying off the real as I applied soft pressure with my hand. This fish felt like it really had some shoulders and quite possibly could be a personal best for me. It took some time to tire her out but I finally got her turned from running up current. With the fish coming back down stream I guided her over to Neal. Another solid hand grab and we put the camera to our last fish of the day.
my turn for a trophy king salmon
By the time we got off the river it was dark. We headed back to camp and grabbed some firewood on the way. Time to have a nice campfire, some brats, and a couple stiff drinks before calling it a night.

To read about the second day the click here.

1 comment:

  1. As per my experience, salmons are a picky lot and making them bit is a tricky business.

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