Last year, in October and November we observed intensive salmon course from the sea in to the river. Therefore, we know that at the beginning of the season a lot of overwintered fish stay in the big pools like Cable pool or Pokosy. Now the water level turned out to be comfortable, and the water temperature gradually decreased after the May heat. A few cold days in early June led temperature to decrease from 14 to 11-12 degrees. Water was clear and transparent.
The first days of fishing have confirmed our fears that an unusual early spring and the May heat will affect the activity of autumn run fish. At the beginning of the season the biggest part of salmons we caught are fishes who have come into the river last fall. In the cold water, they retain their activity and strength. They are distinguished by a light purple stripes on the sides and a little darker color of the back.
The main problem is that fall fish loses its activity quickly with increasing temperature of the water. The optimum temperature for spring fishing can be regarded as the temperature in the range of 7-9 degrees. If the water warms up quickly and exceed 10-12 degrees, autumn fish rarely appears on the surface, it loses activity and reaction to the fly. So, now fish left big pools with calm water, where it is usually stays until mid-June, and moved to the typical summer place with stones and fast-flowing water. Since the water level was still high enough fishing conditions were difficult to call comfortable for every fisherman. Like last year, we had to move a lot along the river, choosing the most affordable areas for wading and casting. It was possible to notice that this week autumn salmon was more active on the upper sections of the river. Some of them have already started to get a summer color ( end of May!) and standing in the shallows near the spawning shoals. It also speaks about the unusually early onset of summer this year. Fresh fish from the sea was rising steadily and positioned evenly along the entire length of the river, preferring to park on a typical summer swift current in the main channel and in the fall of water.
The average size of salmon we caught in the end of May - first week of June, clearly exceeds the size of fish of last season. Autumn fish were from 3.3 to 4.3 kg, fresh sea fish sometimes weighed 4.5 - 6 kg. We pay attention to the very good physical condition of these fish. I mentioned that there was unusually high number of unhooked salmons. For each one landed salmon we had lost 5-6 fish. I want to note here that we do not use guides with a huge nets in the middle of the river. We count the fish landed, if the angler himself fix salmon at the shore. A large percentage of lost salmon could be explained in many ways. All we noticed a significant number of touches to the flies, the cautious bites. Among us again there was a discussion about the role of strike or loop of line near fly reel.
One way or another, we have not come to a common opinion, as the fish continued to go off the hook. Our guide George as usually demonstrated the best results, no one salmon lost, may be he use extremely powerful technique of fish landing using short and very soft single hand rod.
A little about tackles and flies. The water level was comfortable for two-handed fishing rods 8-10 class, lines heads from Spey to Skagit. Casting distance ranged from 12 to 20 meters. The most effective depth of flies presentations was 0.5 -0.8 meters, the nature of the presentation - cast in a narrow sector downstream and very slow and insignificant lateral fly drift. Therefore correct position of fisherman is very important.
It seems that large fly in the standard black - red - orange colors with silver elements on the body have been more effective. Tubes ( metal or plastic) and double hooks work well. This season surprise - my Shrimp # 6-8 were not effective at this time. May be medium size flies apparently not been sufficiently provocative for autumn passive fish and for fresh and aggressive salmon too. Although the situation on the river was changing on our eyes and we had to constantly change the tactics and techniques of fishing.
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