We saw a pair of black bears on the 123 at the powerline. There must have been some good eats there as the smaller bear that was closest to the road would hardly lift his head as I whistled/yelled to him. He had a very nice and prominent white V on his chest but I was unable to get a picture of it.
NOM, NOM, NOM...
We arrived at the camp got settled in, and started discussing our strategy for the morning ... we reviewed the river gauges over and over and finally settled on a trib, one that had a big raise but appeared to be close to cresting... well at least until the rains began the next morning *rolls eyes*. I like to swing big flies so big water is where I prefer to be!
The alarm went off at 6:00 and we were on the road by 7:00 and on the river by 8:00. Before driving into our fishing destination we stopped off at Debbie's http://www.upperoxbow.com/ to get some intel. "Spring high", she said and more rain was in the forecast.. she also mentioned that we might run into Brett. We chatted for a few minutes before deciding it was great weather to be a fish! It was nice seeing you, Deb - i'll see you folks again soon.
Into the wilderness we headed... about a half hour later we arrived and decided to split up with Dad & Joe fishing the lower, upper pool and Brad and I to the upper, upper pool - does that make sense? Oh and did I mention that the water was high? Somewhere during our first pass Brett arrived with several sports who he put on the middle pool. I walked down and chatted with him for a few minutes before heading back up to finish my pass.... Thursday was perfect for the old 'dark day, dark fly' thing so I had my trusty long-hackled shady lady on with the magic white tail.... in fact, it stayed on all day until Brad and I fished the MSW later that afternoon. As I was nearing the tail out of the pool I tightened up on a very pissed off, raging 16-18lbs of silver - this fish instantly took off jumping and thrashing it's way out of the pool and into the rapids... It took me to my backing with the the hardy screaming all the while before another big jump and a thrash right in the rapids and then my line went slack.... What a rush! Brett yelled up "I'm going to tell Paul you lost that fish!" and I'm sure he did :)
Brett and his group left and we figured it was time for lunch. We had a quick break and I decided I was going to fish all the way down the lower pools as quickly as I could. The other lads decided to stick with the upper pools and I can't say as I blame them. I got all the way down around the corner and was hooking trout and parr pretty much on every cast... At least with the parr all I had to do was give them a bit of slack and they would remove themselves.
So on down I fished towards the lower end of the last pool where even in the high water it was quite well defined: (and people say there isn't enough water for spey rods here, the fools! heh, heh!)
Right about here I felt what I thought was a trout for a split second, and then a bit more weight - a grilse! And then airborne silver! Woohoo! I was by myself and determined to at least get a picture so I found a great little spot with a soft grassy bottom and landed it.
This is where I have to get a little preachy... this fish along with all other salmon/grilse I'm fortunate to hook and land was released unharmed... the day and age of killing and tagging fish by recreational anglers is over... people need to wake up and get a clue that these fish are far too valuable to be killing and their very existence could depend on the releasing of yes, EVEN GRILSE! I'm seeing pictures of young people with tagged fish online and think to myself who is bringing these kids up? Young catch and release anglers are the future of Atlantic Salmon fishing in North America and if you're teaching your kids to kill a fish it's time for YOU to wake up!
Here's a recent press release by the NBSC asking for anglers to voluntarily release their grilse this year after the horrible 2012 returns and the recent actions by Greenland who may up their catch to 75 metric tonnes in 2013... our salmon are in trouble folks..
There, now that that's off my chest I can get on with the rest of the report....
I released the grilse, which took off like he was shot from a gun and headed back up river where I found Brad swinging a muddler over the middle pool. I arrived just in time to get a pic of this nice little brookie he landed and released. We do on occasion keep a few trout for the pan but today wasn't the day:
Shortly after this we were all pretty much ready to hit the road for the camp to get dried off and warmed up. Brad and I were going to hit the MSW at his uncle's pool later that day.
To be continued....