Fished the upper below the hatchery this afternoon....didn't touch a fish. Fished some nice pocket water, clarity was 3 ft. Was down mid river earlier and it was pretty colored about 8 in. where I was. Just wondering if anyone else had better luck?
After spending the entire day on the river, Friday with my son and coming home empty handed (he had caught quite a few the previous 4 days) I had to make a quick call to my very understanding wife, and tell her I was staying over another night in Chilliwack.
Friday started very promising, with the deal being struck, that my son and his friend would take me to their sacred spot where they had done extremely well the previous week in exchange for a free lunch, something that seemed fair at the time to both parties. Well, the fish were not in the mood on Friday, in spite of water conditions, that started off really good, then slowly deteriorated as noon approached, then became almost unfishable later in the day. With a whole day on the river behind me and nothing to show for it, a quick call to Finder and a quick twist of his arm while watching the Canucks over a few drinks , he, too, got a Saturday pass to hit the flow with me in the morning.
Normally, I am not a weekend fisher, because I am not too fond of the crowds the river draws, however, I reluctantly agreed to an 8am departure from Finders house.(knowing the river would be busy, and the previous no fish day still firmly entrenched in my head)
Now , my good friend , who would sooner toss feathers for steelhead than gear, had a few things to organize on arrival, and even tho’ he could see I was wearing out the pavement in the driveway pacing back and forth, he assured me that too much emphasis is placed on the first light fishery, as he dusted off a level wind and, tried to round up enough terminal tackle for the day's outing. When river clarity is an issue, fish can be caught all day, regardless of how many guys have been to the water. Most of them will blank, most of them will depart by 2-3pm and when the river is devoid of fishers, we will catch some fish…….Right…..A quick roadside stop to say hello to Hook and Wagonmaster and we were finally on our way.(Apparently, Wagonmaster had just lost a nice fish) Hope you guys stung some more.
On arrival at some water I had covered the previous day, we were greeted by no fewer than six other guys flailing the water with a variety of gear, including a couple of clowns who jumped in immediately below us after watching us fish slowly thru most of the run.
We worked ¼ mile of river over three hours and decided to go for breakfast and rethink the strategy. I am going to put in a plug here for the Ponta Vista Café, because they deserve it. Forget anywhere else. The breakfasts were really good, very reasonable, and they have also added some fishing gear/groceries to the inventory.
I am convinced at lunch to head to an area of the river that has not been over productive for me in the past, but has been one of Finder's favorite haunts over past seasons. So why spit into the wind? I’m still looking at a zero on the card!! Thru the bush we go and under the watchful eye of two beautiful eagles, we start working this piece of water with the knowledge we only have two floats between us, (we forgot to pick some up at the lunch stop) It is not an easy piece of water to fish for a number of reasons, and it is a good thing Finder and I have mastered the cast from right or left in tight quarters, or we surely would have had our lines crossed on numerous occasions.
Suddenly, out of nowhere, float down, hook set, and a beautiful bar of chrome shows me her belly, spits the presentation, and leaves me staring at what I now think will be the only chance of the day…I have to admit, it is times like this you wanna pack up.
Looking a short distance down run, I see a likely looking piece of water and change gear to fit the bill. This tail out section of water is quite a bit faster and demands a little more weight and a completely different set up, One cast, two casts, three casts…..Wham!....I have never seen a float go down so hard and go 3 feet sideways in a fraction of a second!!......Now I got a problem.
There is nowhere to go with the fish! Nowhere to land her. I decide to slide into the fast moving water, and risk an attempt to cross the channel to my left in order to get to the shore, while the fish is now 100 feet below me in the fast water. At this precise moment, Finder has broken off his line on a Vedder River Rockfish and he is pointing to his last float heading towards me in the water. So, waist deep in water with a fish on the end of my line in one hand, I scoop the float out of the water with my free hand .Lucky!!. Many years of whitewater paddling paid off, as I was able to read the water, recognize where the larger rocks were, use them to my advantage and get safely to shore in the fast flowing water.
Down the river I go with what I feel is almost no chance to land this fish. The 8lb. fluorocarbon leader was about to be tested severely….Three more minutes and there she was, a beautiful hatchery doe of 7-8 lbs. Very lucky!
My hands are still shaking when Finder arrives, and the look on his face says it all!......Just my luck, “I take this guy to my water and the ol’ bugger lands one! Very lucky, indeed!! Looking back upstream, I had crossed a piece of water. I most assuredly would not have done without a fish on. He is kind enough to take a few pics, and with a quick, “well done, buddy” the look of determination replaces the disbelief and within minutes, we are back at the same run. Finder knows these waters well, and I am in total agreement that there will likely be a mate to the doe lying in this spot….. just have to find him and trick ‘em!
Leaving my gear on the shore, I wade out to observe and watch with anticipation and offer some words of encouragement as the afternoon light starts to fade….”Nice drift, yup, right there…….try the slick in front of the rock,….oh yeah,…..perfect!”……..Wham! Nothing.....Next cast, Wham! Got ‘em!..This fish is a beauty and very strong!. Finder skillfully navigates all the hazards as we again crossed the flow to the main land and successfully keeps the fish in the slower water to a small landing spot on the beach. Immediately upon arrival, the hook pops, the gear and float are now in the tree, and the wild buck is not only free, but sitting in 4 inches of water exactly one foot from freedom!....Within a second after a quick look at one another, Kevin jumps into the river and skillfully tails this beauty before he is able to escape.
After quick, click of the camera, Finder gives this wide shouldered specimen a kiss on the cheek and carefully releases him to the river and the bullet was gone n a shot, no revival needed……Well, needless to say, we are now 2 for 3 and high fives and a shot of snake oil are in order . Nice fish, buddy!.....Well done!
Heading back to the car, Finder says……… “Jeez we were lucky we landed those fish today.”…..Yup, I reply..................Really lucky!! We could see the Eagles on the tree nodding in agreement.
well done gentlemen, nice to see you rewarded, Ortho must have been one mean a$$ piece of water if YOU were reluctant to cross it. You know me, I would have bailed. OK actually, I'd have probably crossed in your wake ;D
Awesome read Ortho!!! Sounds like things went great! I wish more people would put the time in that you obviously have, and tell us about their days on the river...hopefully we'll see a few people posting here in the months to come...
Thanks fellas. A fitting end to the day indeed! A great one for the books Ortho. Come to think of it...I wouldn't have crossed that stretch of river either. Not without a fish in tow anyways. One thing's for sure, wading with a bud is way safer than going it alone.
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