Thought you all might like a (true) story I wrote last summer to my dad. (I edited for 2+2 readability)
My youngest son Eric had a baseball team picnic two weeks ago on the other side of Boise so I dropped him off and headed a little ways into town and rigged up my #2 for some 10” rainbow…mostly plants. I had forgotten that the Idaho Natural Resource had just released a bunch of salmon in the river. Essentially for old timers that remember when the Boise River was a part of the migration. Now the Snake River dams and the couple on the Boise have stopped all the salmon and steelhead so the INR does a few releases throughout the year of both. The INR stocks all the major runs of the Snake/Salmon/Clearwater and if they have leftovers…. that’s what gets dumped into the Boise.
So anyway, I walk down to the shore and grab my own little stretch of paradise. Trying to ignore Redneck Randy and his 600 friends who have come to the river to reap the salmon bounty……with spinners and worms. I’ve got twenty yards up and down stream that I call my own and make sure everyone knows that a fly thrower needs space
(Mostly it’s fine and I have more than enough room. However, I am probably stuck in this spot for the entire baseball party time)
I wade out about 15’ from the bank and cast several times to loosen up. Meanwhile…..and probably only noticed by me, a HUGE caddis cloud has descended to drop eggs. The river is full of little tan fluttering food. And it’s not long before the rainbows get active feeding on the surface. I cutoff the beadhead Hare’s Ear and tie on a #18 Elk Hair caddis. I am OF COURSE upset that my caddis has a dark body whilst the natives are sporting white. (Rectifying now at the vise).
I turn around to face the bank and immediately spot my first victim that is methodically sipping off the surface no more than 3’ from the bank…..and corresponding shrubbery. Within four minutes, I have the attention of all the Redneck Randys around as I have bagged 4 bows. And much to their disgust, all are released. LOL For you see, Randy couldn’t catch a cold in a room full of snot-nosed rug-rats
I now return to the Hare’s Ear and start methodically working the nice run in the middle of the river. Didn’t get anything for at least a half hour. Well, maybe a little arm strain. So I change up to a #12 beadhead scud. The river is only about 5’ deep through this run, but running quickly. This beadhead was the only one big enough to have a chance to get to the bottom. After a few casts… luck would shine on me once more.
I had just made a retrieve and was about to double haul back to the top of the run. In mid first cast, the surface broke in the exact middle of the run. And Broke and broke again. A bow was chasing a caddis as it skipped across the surface. I probably made the best cast recovery of my life at this point as I yank back on the line with my left hand, while throwing the rod tip well to the back/right. The scud hit PERFECTLY and was immediately hit. But it wasn’t a rainbow. It was a 22” coho that seemed a tad irate that I was connected to him.
At this point I need to remind my faithful readers that my preferred rod of choice for the Boise, a Sage #4, was back at home collecting dust. The rod in my hand was another Sage….but only a #2 weight. Ya know, lightweight.
Mr. Coho heads upstream. Mr. Coho heads downstream. I am now into my backing! And crashing up and down the run, much to the disgust of the metal slingers. I have their complete attention though. After a coupla good runs with spirited jumps, Mr. Coho heads for the bottom to sulk giving me time to reel in most of my line. But I can’t move him. He’s resting and knows it. And he knows that I know it. And he knows that I know that he knows that I know it. I am being leveled. So he’s staying put as long as he can. AND THERE’S NOT MUCH I CAN DO ABOUT IT!
At this point I realize that I am the center of attention for a WHOLE bunch of humans….. and only one fish. As I am scanning the crowd (and smirking), the light bulb went off. I know! I can do a Redneck move….bound to work! I reach done by my boots and pick up a two pound stone and hurl it a bit downstream from Mr. Sulk..... who immediately is now on the move again! But he’s about done in and it takes less than a minute to get him next to me.
Randy is on the shore 5’ feet from me and says “That’s a beaut”. A few other “Whoa”s and “WoW”s can be heard. So I reach up and grab my forceps and bend over. At this point I look up at Randy, give a short little smile, look back down and release the fish. Have you ever heard people, as a crowd, suck in air and gasp in unison? To me, I expect that this is better than a stadium standing ovation.
Immediately I turn around and head back to my run. And it’s like time stood still for ….oh, I don’t know, but it seemed like forever, but more likely just 2 seconds. Then the crowd noise went back to normal and everyone shuffled back to their stations,,, I assume muttering and shaking their heads.
It was a good day to be on the water.