The next morning came quickly. After some great breakfast tacos, the three of us were on our way to the truck. Knowing how many fish were moving up the river system the day before really kept us motivated. As we stepped out of the car in the brisk morning air, we could hear fish thrashing and trying to work their way upstream.
Unlike last year, we removed our waders into a heated garage the night before so sliding them on was almost welcoming. We worked our way down the rocks and slowly walked into the water. With no sunlight to help guide our way, we made sure to be EXTRA careful. Nothing like taking a spill in cold water with temperatures in the 40s. The water was a little higher today than yesterday which could mean fresh fish moving up. I hoped for excellent conditions and it seemed that today was going to be a great day on the water.
I started my morning drifting a purple esl through some riffles that opened up into a deep eddy. I was working the top of the riffles while ET worked the bottom along with the eddy itself. The Big Easy walked downstream to cross the river. He was working the middle of the pool on the other side of the river. At about 8:00am I switched to a white wholly bugger that I tied. I noticed that there was a few smaller fish in the riffles. After a few casts with the bugger, I finally got a legal strike. A quick hookset and decent little fight which contained a few jumps, and this little guy was in the net.
For such a promising morning, it was actually pretty slow catching wise. We took our normal 11:00am break for lunch and for some football before the afternoon action. After a Detroit Lions lose (which was awesome) we were headed back out. The river had a decent crowd for a Sunday afternoon. We were able to work a little downstream from where we fished that morning. I decided to throw an egg pattern that I tied. It was probably 30 to 40 minutes before I got my first hookup. I am not a seasoned vet when it comes to salmon fishing, but this fight was a little different. As this fish opened its mouth and flared its jaws, I could tell it was different. I was hoping for a steelhead since I have never caught one before. The fish did a back flip and my body tensed up. I thought for sure I was fighting a steelie and I did everything in my power to contain my excitement. After a great net job of ET, I posed for the picture to send it to our personal fish guru.