Monday, September 3, 2012

The Salmon Fork 2012

Ah, the the big trip of the summer. Mike and I have been anticipating this trip since we got back last year. A week with no phones, no noise and nothing to worry about. Silence and solitude would be ours for seven days.

I wanted to try out some new fly patterns, add a couple of species to add to my list and maybe catch a big pike on a fly.

We were dropped off close to the normal spot above Pink Bluff and soon after the drone of the Cessna 170 faded away over the hills on the first shuttle I settled into a different rhythm, a slower pace with nothing on my mind but whatever I wanted to do, nothing urgent to take care of, when we got hungry, we ate, when we got tired we slept. I decided to fish and caught this grayling on a Spruce Bud Worm Moth.

Most of the Salmon Fork is fishable water, before our second and third shuttle with the float plane I had caught several grayling in the hole that the plane landed in. This is the first fish caught on this pattern, a woven mylar tube minnow I dubbed the Pink Bluff Chub. The pattern would prove to be very productive in the next week for grayling, sheefish and pike. Watch for a recipe for the Pink Bluff Chub in a future post.

Here's our rig for the next week, everything we will need to be fairly comfortable, whatever the conditions.

I had three fly rods with me, a 9 weight with fast sinking line for getting into the deep pools for sheefish and pike, a 5/6 weight set up for surface fishing and a six weight for shallow water under the surface.

Red salmon from the trip to Kenai.

Shore lunch.

This is one of the spots that had pike, sheefish and grayling all in the same hole, it's usually not easy to find places like that but the Salmon Fork has a few. These fish were all hitting on the same fly, the Salmon Fork Smolt, another new pattern. It was tied with these holes in mind, it resembles a salmon smolt, small grayling or rainbow trout. It was really a hit on this river and should be productive anywhere that small spotted fish are a predominant prey species. I will tie a Salmon Fork Smolt for you in a future post.

Sheefish on the smolt.

A grayling on the Salmon Fork Smolt, the biggest grayling we measured on the trip was 16 1/2 inches long, really nice fish.

Here's the biggest of the pike I caught this week, it was 32 inches long.

We weren't able to get down to the lower river where we have caught pike up to 45 inches long due to a two day head wind, so the bigger fish will have to wait for another trip.

This is a different variation of the Salmon Fork Smolt, I tied some with barred-feathers instead of spots, some weighted ones and some articulated ones. They all did well, but the best ones had spots.

I can never get enough of the sunrises and sunsets.

My tally to date;
GRAYLING on... Spruce Worm Bud Moth, Egg Butt and Egg Head Scud, Egg Butt and Egg Head Nymph, Pink Bluff Chub and Salmon Fork Smolt.
RAINBOW on Egg Head Scud
SOCKEYE  No name red salmon pattern I will call Noname (pronounced "No nah me")
NORTHERN PIKE Pink Bluff Chub and Salmon Fork Smolt
SHEEFISH Salmon Fork Smolt

Next time, tying some of these patterns and maybe some silver salmon, char, and rainbow fishing.

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