This year's annual trip looked very promising for our intrepid group of four; Lob-Dude, da Hell Yeah Kid, Yo Joe! and myself. As luck would have it; rain was projected for the first two days of the three days we were going to drift; December 15, 16 & 17. I do not mind rain; as long as it is mild & falling softly. We again stayed at the River Haven Cottage in Lewiston; the river being in our backyard.
OR, they felt pressured to produce. Believe me, I've been there during my 26 years as a trout fly fishing; I call it "sphincter-tightening time" So, during the third day we ventured way down river to the inflow of the South Fork to Willow Creek. There we caught numerous 1/2 pounders and tussled with 20-25 Chinook salmon. We really enjoyed the battles (...or shall I say being tugged around the river); not landing any of them being under-gunned with 7 weight rods.
Suffice it to say that I was exuberant upon boating this "small-adult"...been a awhile. I'm sure Brian (the guide) felt the same.
The Hell Yeah Kid with the largest netted steelhead...several larger ones uncorked
Lob Dude with a female "wild thing"...notice intact adipose
Yo Joe! with a wild buck
Unedited Comments & Numbers Crunch:
DAY 1---Sky Ranch to Cable Car drift
Four of us…13/5; YJ 3/2…HYK 2/1…LD 3/1….me...5/1...HYK got a 27” Buck…three browns
rained all day!... clear water..so far!
…I lost two “good” ones 26”+..one on pilot error (…a nano-second of slack; can get way with trout but definitely not these ocean-going trout…making quick forceful moves); the second on a “thump-thump” flash, deep in the water column shoing a very deep girth. Brian Balog, the guide(highly recommended...if you can get him being that he's booked waaaay in advance) guessed a minimum of 8 pounds and into 10.
Flies: #10 BH, legged Golden Stone was the best producer…1-2 BB shot…
DAY 2---Steel Bridge to Steiner Flat
Blown-out. Not a single, “legit” SH netted. Best was a 16” half-pounder. HYK landed 3 browns to 17” on egg patterns…other three of us, ZERO-takes…all day. Rain was lighter than previous day, but fell constantly until about 1 PM…it then ceased.
We gambled on the lower river because of less boats….although clearer water. We rolled the dice because when we got to the launch-site; we had about 2-2-1/2 feet of visibility….flow was at 1000cfs; day before being 450cfs.
DAY 3---Sky Ranch-Pigeon Point”
Flies: Golden Stones…Rubber-Legged Red Copper John...egg eaten by wild buck…