Saturday, 19 April 2014
Having fished for a few minutes with my switch fly rod the water level rose quite rapidly by over six feet in just 15 minutes so i had to change over to my spinning rod to deal with the very fast water, that is the problem associated with fishing below a Hydro Electric Dam. It can also have a very favourable side in that it can bring fresh fish in very fast from tide some distance downstream and when other rivers are in full spate with a chocolate brown colour the dam controls this river and most high water levels are almost clear or there abouts. There were a few anglers fishing earlier and they had no luck with both spinner or fly but as the water levels had increased i expexcted to see some fresh fish moving up from downstream, the lower river has seen some fish caught recently but not as many as in past seasons. I covered a few of the known salmon lies and there seems to be a change in the areas that the salmon are now lying, maybe due to the extra volume and speed of the water as i am now meeting fish in different areas than i have met them in past years. The salmon hit the spinner with a thump and there was a lot of rolling and rubbing on the line in the earlier part of the fight and when i got the fish in close i could see that there was only one hook in its mouth ideal for a fast release. The fish gave a good account of itself with a number of jumps and cartwheels before i was able to bring it under control but still a great fight for a small fish of about 7lbs with fresh sea lice. The area that i was fishing has very little safe bank so i had to put the camera down while i landed the salmon as there was nowhere to beach it, with plenty of rocks and underwater stumps just waiting to snag my line i quickly tailed and released the fish. I'm still waiting for a chance to fish the fly properly through all the beats but i cannot complain when being interupted by the rising water as i am catching fish even though its only on spinner.
Monday, 14 April 2014
The water was at full load with one sill open and this was topping up the height and speed of the river, i fished with a 25gr black / silver flying c just to get depth so that i could get under the very fast top current to properly cover the salmon lies. Most anglers just do the 80 % and forget about the other 20 % that can be the difference between catching fish or not catching fish. I will definitely be putting up a video on youtube soon on the proper casting and spinning techniques needed to increase ones chances of catching salmon, including how to achieve proper depth and speed control while spinning in fast high water using the upstream spinning method. A lot of anglers turn up at a river and really cannot read the water, they don't know where the salmon lies are in low, medium or high water so they spend either a very long time in one area or they shoot through the beats hoping to cover as much water as possible in an attempt to catch fish. Proper intelligence on a river is important so doing your homework on gaining information from expert anglers or gillies etc., on the holding pools and salmon lies is probably the best thing that a novice angler can do, even watching other anglers cover certain parts of the river will give one an idea where to cast to increase ones chances.
The salmon hit the spinner twice, bumping it on the first attempt and then nailing it on the second hit as the spinner was coming down the pool. I hit the fish really hard because of the strong heavy water as sometimes they are very lightly hooked when the spinner comes at them so fast and with a few head shakes they are free. Even when playing the salmon i could see that it was lightly hooked and this was great because i was releasing the fish and the less damage to the fish the better. I was holding the salmon with one hand reviving it and with the other hand i was setting up the camera for some underwater shots when the fish decided it was time to go and knocked over my underwater camera but luckily i got the shot of the fish swimming away safely and strong. It is very hard catching, playing, filming, landing fish with only two hands and as i hold a camera in one hand as i play the salmon to get the best shots some people think that i'm mad but it adds to the drama and excitment of the fight, so next time you watch one of my videos see if you can play a strong fish out with one hand while trying to get some good steady footage with the other, trust me it will definitely add excitement to your salmon fishing and if you really want to show off wear a blindfold....
Tuesday, 1 April 2014
Having started my evening session at beat 4 i was just about to take a cast with my 6wt switch fly rod when i noticed that the sand bar that i was standing on was steadily disappearing and then i realised that the water was coming on. Moving up to beat 1 i changed over to my spinning outfit and due to the speed of the water put up a 25gr black and gold flying c, i find the gold blade works very well in low light conditions especially when there is a slight tint to the water colour. Casting far upstream i was able to then cover the lies at the proper depth and getting down below the top current i was able to slow down the pace of the spinner which increased my chances of a hook up. The salmon hit the spinner hard and took off downstream at a rate of knots but i quickly turned it and brought it back up to where it suited me to play the fish. I allowed the fish to run in circles and once or twice it rolled over on the line trying to shake off the spinner but i quickly regained the upper hand and landed it in no time. A fine fresh 12lb sea liced hatchery salmon which had just arrived in no more than 24 hours from salt water. The only pity was that it wasn't on the fly but that will come soon, once the rain eases off and the water levels get back to normal i can then get back to my fly fishing and as i have tied up some new patterns i can't wait to try them out on fresh fish. Having taken the measurements of my salmon i checked to see if the weight calculator would be close to the weight that i had estimated and at a girth of 39cm and a lenght of over 79 cm it was just under 12lbs so i wasn't far off the mark with 12lbs. A good idea for the future just take the measurements of your salmon ( girth and lenght to v of the tail ) and put it into one of the fish calculators that are on the web and you will have a fairly exact weight for your fish especially if releasing the salmon.