June Sky

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With Joe continuing to have great reports for him and his clients on the Sky, I dropped everything on Tuesday and headed out to get in on the action. The river jumped to 15,000 cfs on Monday so I was hesitant to go that day… but Joe and clients hooked FIVE that day! Sure as shit, I was out there the next day with the river still running at 12,000 cfs in the morning. Despite fishing in the trees on some of my favorite holes, the water clarity was good. I put the boat in at Monroe and headed all the way up to Gold Bar, then fishing my way back down. Only a few boats were on the river so that is one benefit of high water. It scares away most of the other anglers.

I fished four holes during the day. One I had never fished. One I knew fished well. One I wasn’t sure about in such high water. And one that always fishes so well, but has yet to product a fish for me yet.

The first hole had potential but was a hair too fast for me… and apparently the fish. Nothing there so I moved on to the second hole, one I knew had high probability.

On the second hole, I quickly hooked a screamer. It was the kind of grab where no hook set is necessary. BAM! Then it’s off to the races. The fish didn’t jump but had me into the backing three times before I could finally coax him into shallow water. Still about twenty feet from shore, I got a look at the fish’s tail. It looked a little “pointy”. A couple minutes later, I got a glimpse of the fish’s back and could see the big, blotchy spots of a King Salmon. “Huh, it’s a Chinook!” I said to myself. Not a big one, but the first Chinook I’ve taken on a fly in years.

I beached that fish, took a few pictures and let him go. It was a wild fish, about nine or ten pounds, and as bright as a chrome bumper.

The third hole just didn’t fish right in the high water. I fished the whole thing, though, without a grab. I did catch plenty of sticks and woody debris, though. The water was high enough that there were lots of bushes right next to where I suspected the fish would hold.

On to the fourth hole all the way down in the Monroe area. It also seemed a bit fast for steelhead, but lower down on the hole than normal, there was a nice soft spot where the bottom deepened just a foot or two. Just about the time you start to think, “Hmm, this is fishing pretty good”, a fish just about jerked the rod out of my hands. One of the mysteries with steelhead is how they can slam a fly so hard and still not get hooked. I backed up, changed flies, changed flies again, and then changed back to the original fly. Still, I couldn’t get that fish to come back and eat the fly again. I think he got a little too much steel on that first grab and wasn’t willing to play anymore.

So, overall, a fun day with good weather and a beautiful king to the beach. The Skykomish is a great river this time of year. Fishing it before it drops and clears too much (which it will typically in mid-July to early August) will add greatly to anyone’s success rate in the summer. Hope you get a chance to hit the river and find a willing fish or two.

Good Fishing,

Michael

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