It all started as a lark. My buddy floated the idea of he and I headed out west for a fishing trip and my wife agreed that we should go. I feigned protest because I didn’t want to go fishing out west. Truth be told I had my own secret bucket list in my head and numerous western trout locations had already been visited. I tossed the Everglades for baby Tarpon and the Deschutes for steelhead out, spots that interested me. It was a go.My bud and I spent a good week or so discussing various scenarios until the realities of our schedules crystallized and any far ranging trip would be out of the question this year. That still left us with numerous scenarios. Atlantic salmon, Redfish and Muskie were the leading contenders. After a bit of research which included phone calls, emails and reading it seemed like the best option given our time frame was Muskie fishing, the fish of 10,000 casts. Enter beginner’s mind all over again as neither one of us knew squat about Muskie fishing. More phone calls and emails were sent to learn what we could about Muskie fishing. Large 8-10 inch flies we tied along with wire leaders. Then the plans started morphing as the result of cooler than usual water temps this year. Maybe a combination of Muskie and Kings were in order. Then Muskie and the salt became an option. Then finally all three. As seen in my previous post I hit the Kings a few days prior so we were going a 4 day fishing binge. Hopes were high.
We packed our half chicken sized flies, wire leaders, canoe and gear prior to heading northward.
The river didn’t make any sense to us as it was super shallow and full of pockets, not the kind of water that would hold anything larger than a small trout or smallmouth. Definitely not the kind of water that would hold a 30 plus inch fish. As we floated the first two miles of pocket water we asked ourselves if we had been sent on a wild goose chase or if we didn’t understand ambush predator fish at all because we could not find any water that had the possibility of harboring such a fish. Then the river’s character changed suddenly. The current slowed down, the pockets went from the size of toilet bowls to swimming pools. Things were looking more promising. We worked this seam next to an island just trying to figure shit out and then all hell broke loose. The water erupted then I felt weight on my line and I instinctively set the hook and it was on. The savagery of the take imprinted an image in my mind that we had stumbled onto something special. We were late to the Muskie party but oh so glad we finally made it. After a short fight the small Muskie can to net. The metallic green color that draped the sides of the fish blew me away. These are stunningly beautiful fish. I had no idea.
I took the oars as my friend got some more bow time. Within a relatively short period of time he moved a large fish. It appeared for a second or two only to melt back into where it came from. We set up in that area and threw every fly we had but we never saw it again. Such are the habits of Muskie. A while later my bud hooked up with a beast that came unbuttoned after a minute or so. He was crushed. The canoe was quiet for a while after that.
The remainder of the day we caught a few large smallies, but didn’t see any other signs of Muskie. All in all it was not a bad day for two green horns chasing a new species.
Next up Day 2