Both of the salmon flies plopped on the surface of the water, and floated there looking like little birds. They hadn’t been there more than thirty seconds before I saw the slow rise of a cutthroat trout.
“Boom!” I yelled, as I set the hook.
“Oh, no way!” Mark yelled, as I brought in a nice Yellowstone cutthroat.
“I want a picture with this one.” I said handing my camera to Mark, and I held up the fish when he was ready.
My fish kicked away hard, and I was back to fishing. Mark pulled up the anchor, and I flicked my flies back into the water. WHAM!
“Already?” Mark yelled, back rowing like mad.
“Don’t worry, Mark, it’s a smaller one.” I said, bringing in the fish fast, and letting it go just as fast.
“That rig seems to be the trick.” Mark said, as I slapped my flies back down again.
“What’s going on? Where are the fish?” I asked, jokingly, needing to recast before a fish took. Mark laughed as my flies hit the water again, right near the bank.
“Oh right there, Erik!” Mark said, happy with my cast.
I had my eyes on the flies, when SPLASH!
“Whoa!” I yelled with surprise. Whatever took my fly, took it super aggressively and was putting up a great fight.
“This is a nice fish, Mark!” I yelled while applying the torque to my rod.
“Pull up the anchor, it’s running!” I said, and my reel started screaming. Mark didn’t waste any time hoisting the anchor and following the fish. I was reeling in as fast as I could, and when I had the leader near the rod tip, Mark handed me the net. The fish darted away to make another run, but Mark was already pressing forward on the oars. The extra boost put me right over the fish and my net right under it.
“Gotcha!” I yelled, finally able to get a look at the size of my fish.
“What a nice brown trout.” I said, as I dipped it back in the water.
“Okay, Mark, one more fish.” I said, as I stood back up to cast.
“Sure...” Mark said, wanting to get a chance at this miracle mile of river.
I pitched my flies out, and SMACK!
“OH, NO!” I yelled, “Not another one!”
“Oh my God, seriously?” Mark laughed, as he dropped the anchor.
“Look at this one, Mark. I think he likes you!”
Just upriver a couple of guys in a drift boat were rowing forward to snake our water from us.
“Are they seriously going to cut us off?” Mark asked, as the boat got right in front of us.
“Catch a fish, Mark! Catch a fish in front of them!” I said, forcefully. I back-oared a little harder to get some distance between the other boat. I glanced downstream to see how they were fishing.
“Look at them, Mark. The guy can’t even cast, and the other guy is nymphing... during a salmon fly hatch no less.” I said bitterly. Mark just laughed at my annoyance, and then he did exactly what I wanted him to do.
“YEAH, MARK! THAT’S HOW YOU CATCH A FISH!” I yelled, as loud as I could.
Mark stayed quiet while he brought in his fish, but I kept on.
“I guess you just have to know what you’re doing!” I blurted out.
“It’s nice to have a fish coming to the boat!”
“Oh look, it’s a fighter!”
“It’s definitely a fighter, Mark!” I kept on. Mark was doing his best to hold back his laughter.
“Okay, okay, Erik, we get it, you hate when people cut you off.” Mark said, as he netted his fish.
“What a fantastic day.” I said, “There is no way we could have timed it better.”
“I think this was the best day of fishing I have ever had.” Mark said, as we took out the boat.
“I may have to agree with you, Mark. I have fished some good salmon fly hatches, but nothing like this.” And it was true, we had spent almost eight hours on this river that felt like three, and if there was enough light left in the day we would have done it again.
“I hear the terrestrial fishing can be good on this river.” Mark said, getting in his truck.
“Well, we will have to come back and find out, won’t we?” I asked, as we drove home reminiscing about the day, and planning on returning sometime soon.