With the gift of unseasonably warm weather and a reprieve from work for the holiday season I have been blessed with a multitude of opportunities to frequent the river. My last posting spoke to tremendous success during an afternoon session. The following two day’s I had also fished but to no avail. It was quite disheartening actually with three sessions producing not even a single trout. It took the wind out of my sails and left me scratching my head. We returned home for New Years Eve and a couple of days of work before repacking up and heading back to the cottage for this weekend. In my absence the weather bounced from sub Arctic lows to this morning’s +6 C heat wave. I had planned to take advantage of the break in the weather and launch the Hyde this morning. The work week had left me in arrears on the sleep front. Truth be told I had less than 12 hours sleep over the course of the week and I was bordering on exhaustion.
The thought of leaving the comfort and warmth of the bed this morning lost all romantic appeal with the coming of the spine tingling 6 am alarm. Plan B was quickly brought into play and the subsequent alarms were reset for a later rise. The cottages proximity to multiple river accesses is a blessing and affords me the occasional option of a leisurely morning rise. This morning would be such an occurrence and after a couple of cups of Java and a quick glance at the web I was off to the river with cautious optimism. As previously stated the last three trips to the river stung and I was looking for some form of redemption. With hopes of a lonely river I swung into the access parking lot. I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised to witness a dozen or so vehicles already there. On the hike down to the river I overheard a couple of anglers chatting about the lack of action all morning. Determined not to let this ruin my outing I continued down the stairs arriving to the river. Here I met another angler on his way out that spoke a similar tale.
The section I intended on fishing was now lonely and I wasted no time rigging up a fresh spawn bag offering. I opted to bring the GL3 over to MI with me on this trip in the hopes that I would run two rods out of the Hyde. This would allow me the opportunity to bounce between roe and jigs without retying. This morning I decided to give her a run on the big river. After a half dozen or so drifts with fresh coho roe I decided to cut to the chase and put a Norland Jig on. After reaching for the jig case and opening it up I was about to decide what colour to start on when a black and red jig fell into my open palm. Considering this as close to an omen as I care to believe in I tied her up and made the first cast to the inside seam of the center shute. As little as 4 seconds into the drift the float dropped and I was into a giant fish. The GL3 is a lot slower than the Rainshadow and was bent over from the cork. The blank was handling the fish fine but It did leave me thinking how it would fare on a similar fish in the spring or early November on this big flow.
It definitely would be a hook and chase scenario. After a decent battle involving luck, prayers and promises the fish was swung to the bank. She was a giant mint hen in the 10lb class. The jig didn’t stand a chance but somehow managed to hold it’s integrity for this encounter. By now the people I passed on the stairs were now around me asking a multitude of questions and preparing to wet their lines again. After a quick photo session the fine lady returned to the big river a little educated with nothing hurt but her pride. The lonely section of river I had was now populated with three anglers. It was of no concern to me and I worked my way back up to the foot of the coffer where I retied a new flouro leader and opted for an olive and brown jig.
I picked away at a series of lines while I worked my way down towards the bottom of the run. Just prior to reaching the next angler I set up on another fish. This one was in the 6 lb class but put up a stronger battle. I managed to swing her into the shallows for a few pics and quick release. Not wanting to draw any more attention to myself I decided to leave the run to the other fishermen and slid down to some favoured lines on the inside bend. The river is running at 1500 cfs which makes the entire river accessible. I waded out onto a gravel bar and picked my lines and began covering them thoroughly. A couple of peeps in a jet boat came storming up the river and around the bend. They ended up anchoring directly behind me putting themselves between me and the bank. I literally began to wonder how I would land a decent fish now when my float dropped and I was into fish number three. This fish was a tad smaller in the 4-5lb class and resembled a summer run fish or a spent fall spawner...very long and lean.
I gestured to the boat that I would have to swing this fish behind them when they offered to net her for me. It took a little doing but I managed to swing her into the awaiting net. She was a pretty clipper with some signs of river life on her body. I asked the guys in the boat how their day had gone and they also spoke a bewildered tale of zero success. I could tell this fish wouldn’t go to waste in their hands and made a quickly accepted gesture of a fresh free meal. There is a put and take aspect to some of the MI fishery and this lady fit my requirements for harvest. I didn’t mind helping these guys out and they certainly appreciated the gesture.