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7-13-03 - End of the line for migrating salmonids....like fishing Horlick Dam on the Root, only 20 feet deep!
This was the best picture of the berm that I got this weekend. You're facing east; to the north (left) is the narrow portion that is always kept fully deep. To the right is the main rapids.
Another shot of that crystal clear water and the rainbow-colored riverbed.
Jack put in extra effort to get to this spot and patiently drift the same fish for probably 2 hours.

7-13-03 - Have to say good-bye to Canada...for now.

Waters Fished: St. Mary's Rapids
Fish Caught: 0
Outing Date: 7-13-03
Weather: Sunny
Air Temp: upper 70's
Water Temp: N/A
Water Level: Low
Water Color: Gin Clear
Fish Species: Atlantic Salmon, Chinook (King) Salmon
Pattern Fished: Caddis, Antron Bugs, Hexes, Eggs, Speys, etc...
Pattern Color: You NAME IT!
Fishing Quality: Back to Crap Land.

You'd think I'd be getting used to 4:00 am wakeup calls...but that's 4:00 Canada time (aka. 3:00 AM central standard). This means that well, I'm writing this report at MIDNIGHT right now and it's still early for me ;) 4:00!!?!

Somehow we actually managed to get to the river around 5:45 am...I think...I was a bit too groggy to realize what time it was. I had a lot on my mind...and yet only one thing...catch FISH.

Basically my number one tip picked up from watching John the day prior was to fish sighted fish. None of this wading halfway across river for a near-death experience kinda thing. Walk the berm and look for fish.

Turns out that's what most folks do, and I had seen it a lot over the weekend. The berm basically runs the length of the rapids and seems to be THE mode of transportation. Apparently fall-offs are common when anglers are passing...perhaps they need to widen it another couple feet?

Well, unintentionally we had also picked up on some of John G's honey holes; he was again out with clients so I tried to avoid those spots but DID take note of where they were fishing for when they were done. Vic tried to put me onto "Canadian Hole"; one of the best producing pools, but I must admit here that I'm not 100% sure I made it there; when you're using boulders as landmarks, and there's like 25 boulders in plain sight, it's kinda hard.

Rich fished early but also decided to do some bike riding with Morgan (we had intended to use the bikes on our scouting but never did that due to the rain). Jack had his own agenda...fish the hole at the railroad bridge.

Well, we got up there and fished a few sighted Atlantics...I drifted all sorts of natural-feed flies for the fish but it wasn't interested. Tried something more ballsy (AKA a Whitlock's Hare Sculpin) and probably spooked the fish Xtra good 'cause it disappeared after only a cast or two.

A walk downstream and I ran into John fishing with clients and working hard at it. Shared a smoke, he headed upstream probably to fish the Atlantic I had spooked earlier. I fished the pools on the south side of the berm waiting for THEIR fish to cool down. Something tells me when you basically are fish-swapping it's going to be a tough day.

Well, I went back up later an watched John with his clients again, when they left I walked up and watched Frank repeatedly C&Ding on a holding fish right below him. He was basically out of flies and and this point, low on lead. When the lead was gone he allowed me to try this fish.

Turns out it was a large Chinook. I threw everything at it; caddis, hex, wolley buggers (the hot fly of the day, relatively speaking), and eventually got a single bite on a peach glo bug. I know...a glo bug?! Well, I had tried everything else! Anyway, the Chinook shook my line back and forth once and was off...after that he moved farther away. I didn't think he'd hit the same egg twice, so I switched to MP's Purple Whacker (had the "hot colors" of the day in it) and started driftin. Each cast it looked like he'd move into a lane behind the fly, but he never took it.

Eventually I got tired of fishing the same lone fish and looked around to see Rich, Morgan, and Jack were all gone. Time to go! But when I got to the Bronco, Jack wasn't there! Turns out he was still on the river. It didn't matter though, I must admit I was extremely hot and sweaty...I was done this time around.

St. Mary spanked us hard. Rich was the only one who even though he had a hit all weekend. But it wasn't just us; you can basically kinda watch what's going on around the rapids; between firsthand observation and angler accounts I've been able to figure out that 3 Atlantics, 3 Chinooks and 1 Steelhead were ALL that was landed during the mornings on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday...and there was often 15-20 anglers out each morning! Talk about a tough time! And to top it off, US Customs decided to search us too (OK, but that may have been MY fault..I honestly didn't know we had like a 6 pack of beer with us!). So the trip was a total bust basically, and I'll be back next year to do it again (and NO, I'm not kidding...you figure it out).

  MP 

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