Time: 1:30PM – 6:00PM
Location: Spot a mile up the river below high bank and large bend
Fish Landed: 9 trout
Mike, Jordan and I loaded all the gear and lunch supplies into the boat and cruised over to the mouth of Gibralter Creek after lunch. Steve and Jared were there at the mouth of the river waiting for us. Jordan and I jumped in the jet boat, and Mike shuttled us upstream to a spot that Jared recommended where they’d had action in the morning. As we approached the target area we noticed some rising fish, so Jordan tied on the black caddis with the pheasant tail dropper, but this didn’t produce.
Next we moved to the top of the run where the water wasn’t as swift as most of the river. There was a stretch that was around 15’ wide and 25’ long that proved to be unbelievably productive, and we were now toward the top of this directly across from a dark spot on the bottom that Jordan called submerged tundra. Jordan set me up with the white flesh fly on top and the rubber leg pheasant tail on the end with a strike indicator. Using this combination in the stretch described, I landed 9 of 12 hookups over the remainder of the afternoon. My first three casts yielded medium sized dolly varden, so we thought we’d hit a dolly varden school.
But I continued to fish and started landing larger rainbows from the area directly in front of the tundra spot. The highlight was a 24” rainbow bruiser that spit out 10+ salmon fry when I landed it. This was the largest fish of the trip so far, and in fact the largest fish of my life. In addition to the 24” rainbow, I also landed two 20+ inch fish, an 18” rainbow and two more dolly varden. When I hooked the rainbows, they would immediately charge into some very large fast riffles and all I could do was hold on and allow the fish to run and follow them downstream to a point where the stream widened. By applying side pressure I could bring them over to the shallow gravel below me where Jordan eventually netted the fish. Of the nine fish landed, two hit the pheasant tail and all the rest banged the flesh fly.
After we’d landed eight or so of the fish, Jordan changed my rig to add more weight and was showing me how to execute the Czech-style nymphing technique by holding the rod high and moving it up and down so the flies would bounce along just above the bottom. He was demonstrating this technique in the faster water just beyond where I’d been fishing as he felt fish were also right on the seam. Sure enough, as he showed me the technique, he hooked a nice fish that immediately raced downstream in the heavy current as mine had done before. I decided to do a role reversal and grabbed the long handled net and started wading out behind him. As I did so, I glanced over my left shoulder and saw a capsized inflated raft floating down the river. I shouted to Jordan, and he gave me the rod with the fish still attached, and he waded out to the top of his waders and righted the raft and recovered most of the equipment. I eventually played the fish around to the shallow shoreline and released it.
We looked up the river and spotted three soaking wet fishermen, a guide and two unhappy clients. Jordan helped the guide get across the river. While Jordan was lending assistance, I began fishing again using the technique he demonstrated and hooked and landed one of the 20 inch fish. Jordan was on the high bank instructing the other guide on where to cross and came charging down the bank to help net the last fish.
When Mike brought the jet boat up to pick us up, he first took the wet fishermen and their deflated raft to the mouth, and then returned to pick us up. We worked some areas below our hot spot for a half hour or so with no success.
We ended our day around 6PM when we got shuttled back to the mouth and boarded the cabin cruiser. Thursday was an exciting day.