The BC Flyfishers chapter of IFFF kicked off its fall / winter program with a welcome back speech by BCFF President, Nick DiNunzi, followed by a nice presentation on fly fishing the Salmon River by the chapter’s very own Tim Barrett. Now half-way into its second year of existence, the chapter leadership has continued with its promise of a great line-up of speakers, activities, and classes coming to members. And anglers seem to be responding, as over 35 people were in attendance.
The meeting started with some fly tying. Tim Barrett, tied up flies that would typically be used on the Salmon River. “The Turd”, a great nymph / attractor pattern was one such fly. Barrett also tied some “crystal meth” sucker spawn patterns.
After fly tying, Nick DiNunzio, BC Flyfishers President, made some announcements, summarized below:
- Keep ahead of your membership and be sure to renew!
- A rod raffle will be held at the October chapter meeting.
- The next upcoming event is a trip to Pulaski / Salmon River on October 3rd.
- The chapter plans on setting up some winter projects, including intermediate fly tying in 3 or 4 different modules (dries, streamers, nymphs) with each module being conducted on a Saturday. The chapter is also setting up a rod building class with an option for members to buy the blank and keep the rod they build or build a rod with a blank supplied by the chapter where the chapter then keeps the rod. The cost for this class will be in the range of $100 – $150.
- Lastly, according to chapter Vice President Gary Romanic, the BC Flyfishers chapter is the fastest growing chapter in IFFF!
After chapter announcements, Tim Barrett, fly fishing guide, fly tyer, and boat builder, was introduced by Gary Romanic. Barrett started his presentation by noting that anglers measure fish caught in the Salmon River in pounds, rather than inches. He then provided the following nuggets of wisdom on fly fishing the river based on his 20 years of fishing and guiding:
- The Atlantic Salmon is the “salmon” for which the river was named. Unfortunately, overfishing, dams, and competition from stocked Pacific Salmon decimated the Landlocked Salmon, though it is starting to come back, thanks to the NY DEC. Pacific Salmon – the King or Chinook Salmon, the Silver or Coho Salmon, the Steelhead, lake-run Brown Trout were also profiled.
- Tim then gave an overview of the river, showing a map of the major pools and discussing each one. The lower river below the Lighthouse Hill Dam is 17 miles. The lowest part of the river – a stretch of 2.5 miles – is the Douglaston Salmon Run (DSR) and is a “pay-to-fish” area. The DSR gives anglers a fisrt crack at fish that are entering the river.
- The rigs used to catch big fish include the slinky weight rig, the split shot rig, mono shot rig, and plain sighter rig. One recommended leader is a 6 – 8 foot section of 20 lb/15 lb leader, followed by 3 – 4 feet of 10 lb/8 lb leader, a swivel, weight, and 30″ – 36″ of 6 – 8 lb fluorocarbon tippet. Tim provided examples of the rods he uses. These include the standard single-handed rod in 7 or 8 weight with a fighting butt and the switch or spey rod which are typically greater than 11 feet in length.
- Fly fishing techniques are nymphing (using an indicator), streamer fishing, chuck & duck (nymphing using weight), and spey or switch.
- Flies range from estaz, yarn, rubber / natural egg patterns, the venerable wooly bugger, stonefly patterns, other nymphs, streamers (bright and shiny), and tube flies (short shank hook)
- Barrett showed pictures of classic holding lies. He emphasized that lake-run fish are used to living at depth and in low light so that when they come into the river, they hold in places where the light is low, such as in deep pools, heavy riffles / runs, and in shaded areas.
- Tim talked about the power of these lake-run fish, particularly salmon, and how to fight them effectively. These fish are “going to run”. Tim suggested setting the drag right and letting these strong fish run and fighting them with light tension once their big runs were over. Barrett recommended using a big reel with a good drag and 100 to 150 yards of backing.
- Lastly, etiquette was discussed. Tim mentioned the importance of communicating that you’ve got a fish on your line and that the fish is moving upstream or that the fish is moving downstream and to bring your line in when someone else is playing a fish. Be courteous and a gentleman when fishing. Follow the golden rule.
Salmon fishing is just a trickle right now, thanks to dry, warm weather and low flows on most tribs. While some fish have moved up the river, these are, by all reports, hit and miss pods. Hopefully the weather gods will mix things up and bring rain and cooler temperatures in the weeks ahead. Once that happens, expect better runs, and steelhead and browns to follow.