After a recent, very unfruitful, and very long trip to B.C. that resulted in almost no fishing due to high water and catching the cold of all colds, I was anxious to take advantage of some of the E. Washington steelheading that we are blessed with each fall. On Saturday, Oct. 10th, I met up with Joe’s dad, Bill Ewing, on what has to be one of the most beautiful rivers in Washington — the Wenatchee.
We decided to float the river in our pontoon boats and did a nice float from Cashmere to Monitor. It was a cool morning but by the time we got some breakfast, shuttled the trucks, and organized our gear, we shoved off around 8:30 and had already shed our jackets. By mid-morning, the sun was shining bright and the temperatures were getting into the 60’s.
There were lots of crusty king salmon in the river and they would occasionally launch themselves out of thewater, their dark bodies appearing even darker silhouetted against the glaring surface of the river. We had sporadic hatches throughout the day that would occasionally inspire a trout or whitefish to rise to the surface. We also witnessed quite a few “roles” on the surface that we suspected were steelhead. Overall, we got the feeling we were fishing over fish throughout the day.
We fished some of the most gorgeous water a steelheader could ever hope for. Whenever I fish the Wenatchee, I’m always a little frustrated that EVERY piece of water that looks and fished SO GOOD doesn’t produce a fish on the end of the line. This day was certainly no exception. In fact, we fished great water, fished hard, and despite the bright sun, didn’t have many excuses for a pretty slow day.
We did, however, get one grab for the day. About mid-day, when a few clouds rolled through and the sunlight died down, I found a fish on a tailout that Bill mentioned he knew held fish. Fishing a light sink-tip and a small Exasperator , I finally felt the pull of fish that quickly escalated into five or six screaming runs. I yelled up to Bill just in time for him to look downriver and see a chunky native hen screaming across the river with her back out of the water and finally jumping like a porpoise into the mid-river depths. After a pretty ugly job of trying to land her and get my hands around the wrist of her tail, we finally got her to the beach to remove the fly and get a picture or two.
Despite fishing more good water throughout the day, we didn’t touch another fish. I’m sure the next day it was on fire… but there is a big difference between zero fish and one fish when it comes to steelheading so it was nice to get to touch one.
Pacific Fly Fishers