A Secret Fly? Nope - Just a Positive Attitude!
May 25, 2017
If you would have seen the river yesterday morning, you would have gone ahead and scheduled that tee time for this weekend. Near zero visibility, hurricane-like winds, and flows at 5300 cfs and rising.... I never would have thought that it could come back as fast as it went out, but as I sit there this evening, I'd say "make your sandwich and pack your lunch, this weekend is going to be a picnic!" The river is green, the leaves are moving gently on the trees, the sun is shining, and the caddis are starting to fly...
We had a group of guys scheduled to fish yesterday, who took a day from their coastal tour to drive over and see us. These guys were from Tennessee and Florida, the land of tornadoes and hurricanes.... perfect. They had fished enough to know that we were looking at "less than ideal" conditions, but they were hearty and up for an adventure if we were. I told them that was great and we were going to head upriver to clean waters that were "sheltered" in the tall pines. Our longtime guide Shan prides himself as a poker player, but I could read some skepticism in his eyes at that point...
Henry looking for "skipping rocks" at the lunch spot.
The wind was blowing harder and the river wasn't getting any cleaner as we drove up the river. The incoming text messages I was receiving through the guide network weren't exactly painting a rosy picture, either. "Dirty water super windy and still going up" and "I think you'll have it all to yourselves" were the last two that came in. As we pulled into the launch at South Cle Elum, the color was green----ish but not the clear green that we're used to up there. We all wadered up as Shan launched his boat. He's always the first to launch because he doesn't wear waders after May 15 (it used to be April 15 back when he was in his prime!). As he reached for his gear bag to pull out his puffy vest, he commented "At least it's not cold up here." I replied that "I got some pretty promising fishing reports from the other guys on the drive up." We both held back our chuckles as we helped Charlie, Ben, and Uncle Rab (short for Rabbit) get rods strung up and ready to fish. Grandpa Tony and grandson Henry (age 4) were going to drive the shuttle vehicle and meet us along the river downstream for lunch.
As we shoved off and fished our way downriver, Shan explained to Charlie and Rab that they may catch Rainbow and Cutthroat trout, Whitefish (which takes perfect presentation to trick one), or Pikeminnow (formerly known as Squawfish). Shortly after that, Rab's bobber went down and the skunk came off as they slid the net under a big beautiful ............... yellow bellied fluvial sucker. Hahaha... good call, Shan! We had a few other suspicious bobber downs, but that was the only fish we landed as we arrived at the lunch spot near Hanson Ponds. Ben and I picked Tony and Henry up on the riverbank and let Henry row us across the river to a nice gravel bar where they wade fished, skipped rocks, and found a few salmon fly shucks as we BBQ'd chicken. After that, we dropped Tony and Henry off, and low and behold, the fishing started to pick up. The guys were finding some rhythm in their casting and line management, and managed to get their bugs in front of a few hungry trout. We arrived at the launch with smiles on everyone's faces, including Henry, who I suspect his Grandpa must have bought him off with ice cream! It sounded like the Rabbit landed the most fish, Charlie allegedly caught the largest (although he's been known to exaggerate stats ever since little league), and Ben hooked the most, but had a hard time bringing them to hand. A few aerial heroics, and out popped the hook. I will say, I noticed Ben seemed to be more productive when he was in sight of the other boat. He played baseball at Ole Miss, so I think he's used to performing for a crowd!
After the guys were headed West, and Shan and I were tidying up our boats, we remarked about how important it is to have a positive attitude. Too many times we let conditions influence the outcome of the day before it's even begun. Only one thing is for certain in fishing, and that's if you don't go, you won't have ANY fun! Thank you to the Edwards boys for reminding us of that, and we look forward to seeing you again in the future.