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Friday, November 6, 2009

Who Let the Dogs Out?!!

It's November; I'm sure there are still Carp in the water out there somewhere, but not many in the flats. And even if there were, spotting them would be dang difficult what with the thunder, lightening, total cloud cover, hail, hard winds, and pouring rain we are having right now. While Carp are my favorite fish to catch on the fly, I am thankful that this is terrible Carp fishing weather. It helps me to enjoy other fishing opportunities.

Here in Washington State we are on the east side of the Pacific Ocean. Being on the west coast of the United States, it is weird to think of ourselves as being on the east side of anything. In Washington we commonly say that there are five species of Pacific Salmon. The Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife shows five species on their webpage. There are actually seven species of Pacific Salmon two of which are only found on the west side of the ocean, in Asia. The other five species are found on both sides.

In Washington the salmon we have are: Chinook (King), Coho (Silver), Chum (Dog), Sockeye (Red), and Pink (Humpie). All of these fish die shortly after migrating to fresh water and spawning.

Our Pacific Salmon undergo dramatic changes as they go into their spawning cycle. The Chums take on calico coloration.
They also get some serious teeth that look like dog teeth. Hence the slang, Dog Salmon.

Yesterday I got out for some Chum fishing. Its close to home, the fish are big and they will take a fly. All those are good things. Fishing a river that I first sampled in the middle 70's, I tried a new section. Overall, it was a good day. One of the things that is frustrating about Chum fishing is the number of fish that you snag. When the fish are in the river there are often quite a few of them together. Swinging a fly and dead drifting can both be effective techniques.

The Coho also run this time of year. They are more highly prized than the Chums. They are MUCH more difficult to catch on a fly; at least here in Washington. I was also fishing for Coho but I realize that is more like dreaming than fishing.

I got a Chum to hand about 10 minutes after stepping in the river. The fly was in the corner of his mouth so I count that one as caught. The next several fish I hooked were all snagged. Grrrr... I just don't like that. If they are tail snagged or belly snagged, they are difficult to get in and it just isn't satisfying at all. I got a few fish to hand that had my fly inside their mouths.

My best fish of the day took the fly, danced on the water, and charged down the river. He took me a good ways into the backing. I followed him and got him right to my feet. As I as reaching for the camera to get his picture he flopped and scurried back in the river. It was okay.

Good Chum fishing really only lasts for a few weeks. Being able to fly fish for them is heavily dependent on the river conditions.

The days are getting shorter. The weather is nasty. So are a Chum's teeth. Life is good.

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