Salmon Fishing

Chinook Festivities have begun…

by Rebecca on June 16, 2011

in Salmon Fishing

Happy Gear Chucker

It’s that time of the year when I put my Fly Rod down and become a gear chucker for a few weeks.

Why would I do such a thing you (fly fisherman) may ask? Well, because it’s Chinook Salmon and a raging river (see photo below) that is not kind to fly rods and barely tolerates gear set ups. Add in the fact that if I tried to hit the bank and swirl a Fly Line around everyone’s head I’d probably get boot kicked in the arse.

So that’s why.

Never fear though, as soon as the salmon hit a different river, a kinder, more gentle river that allows for 10 feet of space between anglers, I’ll be swinging for the big boys with my fly rod. Which should be in about 3 weeks.

Until then, I’m happily playing on the other side of the river. Because it’s SALMON.

This last weekend was fantastic. High river, technical fishing and lots of fun to be had. Once again, (I know I whined about this last year on my blog) noted by the pain below my ribcage, I’m certain I’ve caused myself internal injuries from my bad habit of sticking the end of my rod into my gut to fight the big fish.

Over and over…repeat till I am cringing at the thought of catching another. Then ignore that thought and do it again.

Same Pose ~ Different Year (And look at that raging water I just pulled this salmon out of!)

In fact, looking at the above picture, I don’t think I look like a happy angler. I look more like an angler in anguish, forcing a smile, who just got her butt kicked by fish and river. One who won the battle on a fish in the net technicality, but that’s about it.

Which is why I’m totally going to go back and do it again this weekend.
All those angler technicalities that add up to an overall good time!


End of the Salmon Season

by Rebecca on July 12, 2010

in Salmon Fishing

I know, it’s been awhile since I posted here. I have a legit excuse, really. I’ve been camping in the Mountains in a bubble where cell service is wishful thinking and the concept of Internet access is about as futuristic as the hovercraft car I thought I’d be driving by now when I was an 8 year old dreaming about the future.  My previous few weeks have been a total and complete disconnect from one world and totally emerged in another…..

What was wonderful about the previous two weeks was my change in location. The river I had been fishing throughout the whole of May and deep into June isn’t exactly a vision of beauty and tranquility. As the salmon finally arrived at another river, the salmon fishing clan made a quick camp move and set up in the heart of beauty. Real Mountains that is…..with Pine trees and lush green everywhere. If they hadn’t closed the Salmon season unexpectedly on Friday, I could have stayed another few weeks.

My Biggest Salmon of the Season, Hence the Grin

This is it, the last grip and grin (a mile wide) salmon picture I’ll post this year. Gratuitous, perhaps, but it should illustrate why I’ve been gone.

I have to admit that while I was salmon fishing I took several breaks from casting for big fish and went back to my first love, trout that is.

I felt badly for the first trout that took one of my flies. I was so used to hauling back with a mighty roar to set the hook on salmon, that the first 8 inch trout to hit my little dry fly was launched like an airborn torpedo through the air.

Sorry little buddy!

Next on the fishing agenda—–Montana and Oregon, here I come……..


~The Idaho Native Way of Fishing for Salmon~

In the last 6 weeks I’ve somewhat fallen off the Fly Fishing wagon and traded in my version of Fine Wine fishing for a 12 pack of Keystone light. First I kept a perfectly good fly rod strapped to the front of a warp speed Bass Boat and tried my hand at fishing for Smallies like the Bass Pros do it.

I had a great time, but snuck down to the river confessional later that evening to try for Bass on my Fly Rod. I discovered that if you cheat on your Fly Rod, it does forgive…

Next I left my Fly Fishing gear in the FishCruiser so I could partake in some Salmon gluttony over the next few weekends….the regular old fishing style. I’ve tried to justify this Fly Fishing infraction by the factual circumstances. 1) All my Fly Fishing rivers were closed until the end of May! And 2) If I were to march down on the riverbank to the communal fishing hole with a Fly Rod, I’d get promptly drowned.  May– Salmon season on the Little Salmon— it’s my new Fly Fishing exemption rule to a whole years worth of water swatting.

When I go up Salmon fishing, I encounter another form of fishing community that I’m not part of, but have spent time observing and asking a lot of questions. The Northern Idaho Natives engage in their own form of fishing that to the casual observer might appear ‘easier’ or less difficult than the way we are required to fish for the salmon.

I admit that I used to think the same thing –easier–  in perhaps the same way I’d come to think of Fly Fishing is more difficult than the standard variety of fishing. In regards to gaffing or dip netting, I’ve witnessed how preconceived notions can add a layer of tension over a river. However, in the last few weeks I’ve come to understand the Natives way is indeed difficult and takes skill, practise, patience and know-how that must be learned to catch fish their way. In other words, some catch a lot of fish, some catch a few fish and others barely catch any fish. Fishing, no matter the form, does not show favoritism.

Maybe I’ve been gently knocked off my Fly Fishing high horse over the last month and my horizons have been broadened by being open minded. I’ve caught fish that haven’t been on my radar, I’ve met new and interesting people from all walks of life and I’ve gathered a new respect for all types of fishing……not just the one I personally prefer.

Truth is, fishing comes in all shapes and sizes, forms and techniques and for the record, I’d like to add ’humbling hatchet’ under its definition as well.


Photo Credit:
By my Fishing Friend & Photographer extraordinaire Bryan Forsmann


Salmon Smile

Have any of you ever experienced the phenomenon of fishing that is so amazing, so unbelievably perfect that you feel like all the stars aligned and the Fairy Godmother of Fishing has swooped down, covered your gear with fishy gold dust, granted you 24 hours of the most perfect casts and extraordinary drift presentation known to man WITH willing, eager fish?

Or, in simple terms. You went on a fishing trip and it rocked. BOO-YAHH

Well that was me—- specifically on Monday 5/17/2010. Fairy fishing dust, aligned stars, perhaps a whole years of good fishing karma used up on one historical (for me) day of salmon fishing. I’m still grinning like a fool from the whole experience which trumps the other lasting effects like the pretty bruises and the questionable internal injuries I’m still feeling from that day. 

~More Salmon in the Fiesta~

This is how I claimed my piece of perfection. I found a magic rock to stand on. I found a honey hole slot that the salmon were moving (piling) through. I figured out the exact weight to use and the perfect length of leader. Somehow I figured out the exact spot to cast into without snagging up and just how far down the slot to guide my line before I needed to recast or more often than not, set the hook.

I set the hook a lot. So often that Slayer (who was struggling for much of the day) started counting my fish on, fish in the net, fishing broke off, totals. At this point I think he did that because on some level his fishing ego was on the line, but thankfully by the end of the day he was doing fine himself. Since he counted (I never do) I’ll share. Evidently I caught into 58 salmon.  Out of those 58,  I got 31 int0 the net. At the end of the day my jello arms and wounded body parts agreed with those numbers as well.

~Last Salmon of the Night~

However~ big numbers, sore arms, impaling of the butt of my rod into my ribcage and a melted reel aside, I did something else that day that made it beyond special. A little gal, age 14, came along the river with her dad. I asked her if she had caught any salmon over the weekend and she replied, “well, I hooked two in 3 days, but they broke off really fast.” Insta-mission for me.

I told her to grab her rod and I took her down to my magic rock. I made her swear to keep the magic to herself and showed her my exact line of casting and drifting. Magic I tell ya ~ Savannah caught (and for once I DID count) exactly 7 salmon in one hour. She rocked it and dropped the jaws of about 20 other fisherman around. I was one extremely proud instructor. Just when I didn’t think anyones grin on that river could get any bigger than mine, Savannahs smile blew right by my own. Priceless………

I’m not sure when my next magical fishing day will happen again. I know I tried to re-enact the scenario again this last weekend only to be rightfully (and without mercy) humbled back into realistic expectations ~ salmon fishing can be tough. Doesn’t matter though, I had my day, the one that will carry me all through the year. Boo-yahh


~ It was a good day...a really good day....~


5 Days Of Fishing…..

May 18, 2010

I just got home a few hours ago from 5 days of fishing and camping. I’m beat up, bruised, my fingers are all sliced up, and I’m dead ass tired. I’m also impossibly behind on all things correspondence, Internet and mowing the grass BUT~ I’m still grinning like a fool. So what’s the reason for my unlikely smile in [...]

Read the full article →

Guest Post: Salmon Fishing Showdown

November 16, 2009

~”Salmon Fishing Showdown” is written by my 14 year old daughter Kaitlyn. Enjoy!~ This was my first time salmon fishing. Robert and my Mom, Rebecca, kept chuckling when they looked at me, for I hadn’t stopped grinning since the moment they told me we were going salmon fishing. I was imagining a leisurely fishing trip with [...]

Read the full article →