Saturday, August 13, 2011

HTC 10b: Steelhead

I tied flies for a day to make a new box of flies for the Klamath River. Hopefully I would run into a pod of half pounders (small steelhead under a couple of pounds -- usually 12 to 20 inches), adult steelhead, and possibly salmon. I tied a dozen each of Assassin's, Copper Assassin's, Moss Back's, Silver Herniators, Copper Herniators, and a Worm Fly that I hoped would work.

I headed up to Blake's Riffle yesterday evening to find only a pair of spin fishermen entering the water. The entire riffle was vacant of fishermen. I went to the top of the riffle and almost fell in several times on my way out into the water. One has to wade out about 60 feet to thigh high water to be able to reach the deeper water and swing your fly through the deep water and into the edge of the riffles.

I entered the water at 4:30 and was fortunate to have a half pounder "suicide hit" my Assassin Fly on the swing at 5:00. It jumped out of the water twice and I was glad I brought my 7 weight rod (all my other rods are at Lewiston Lake). In the fast water the 12 to 14 inch fish made me put in on the reel instead of just stripping the line in by hand. I got it to the net and took the photo above. Again, I'm disappointed in the quality of the picture, but using an inexpensive water proof camera with one hand while a half pounder squirms in the net while standing waist deep in fast water while standing on very, very, slippery rocks: cannot complain too much.

I ended up catching two "quarter pounders", fish about 8 to 10 inches long. One was silver and looked like it just came out of the ocean while the other looked like a juvenile trout that had not left the river. I also caught about 6 "eighth pounders" or 4 to 6 inch fish, probably smolts. It is amazing how hard the smolts hit the fly as it is swinging across the current.

I fished for 3.5 hours, moving down the riffle after 3 or 4 casts at each spot. After an hour I got my footing down and could move down the stream safely. After 3 hours I was getting tired from casting, stripping line back, and moving down the riffle while always making sure that I was stable in the water. I left with about 45 more minutes of possible fishing time -- usually the best time, but for safety I called it a session and drove home.

I plan to give the Klamath River a couple of fishing sessions until my tennis teams have Saturday matches, leaving my Sundays for grading and getting ready for the upcoming week in school. Although I have fished at Blake's Riffle before, this outing had the feeling of a Heritage Trout outing and releasing the healthy juvenile steelhead back into the water was awesome.

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