Snake River - 2011

In 2011 Rusty and I both drove out and met on the Salmon River in Idaho. We had done well there in 2010 and the condition on the river seeemed great. there was a little rain but the river looked and fished great. The wildlife was supurb, lots of deer came down to the river to drink while we fished runs. I saw a breeding pair of Golden Eagles, but we caught nothing in two-and-a-half days of fishing.
We did not have as much time to fish as we have the last two years, so we decided to go see what the Snake looked like. I was worried because when I drove over the Snake near Boise, Idaho, it look big and dirty, but when we arrived to Asotin, Washington and the stretch of river upstream of there, I learned that you can't judge the Snake by what you see in Boise. It looked great and the water was cool.
It was 2pm when we arrived. Cloudy with a light to medium rain. We drove up-river to our favorite run. It didn't take long for things to start. On this run, we know the fish usually grab right at the end, just as the body dumps into the tail; and we were suprised by fish sitting up at the top of the run.
I fished through first, the water felt good and cool, a little on the high side of perfect but close. I could see a seem that was out a ways, though I thought I could reach it if I pushed. I was fishing a 13'3" 7wt and a Scandi head, so casting big distances took alot more work than when I was using a 15' and long belly on the same run the year before. I was able to reachout and fish the seem though, and and within 20' of the top of the run I hooked a fish on a #3 Yellow Jacket.
It was a hard fighting fish and a wild one to boot. You can't beat that. I got out of the run and Rusty
fished through. When he was about half way down, I jumped in at the head of the run again to follow him down. I hooked another fish in the same spot. It was another hard fight and I got the leader into the guides, but the fished threw the hook mid-river after a final run, and an epic jump (that I swear was 5'-6' out of the water vertically). It ate a size 6-8 Purple Green-Butt Skunk
That evening Rusty and I fished another of our favorite runs on the Snake. Rusty landed his first Snake river fish on this run and I had gotten our first fish there last year. I followed Rusty down the run. I started at the top of the run. There is an eddy up at the top but the water just out-side of it looks good. So even though we had never even had a grab at the head, I fished it. you never know. And guess what... I got a grab. It came just as my line could swing below the current of the back eddy.
This was another hard fighting fish. Just take a look at it, a good sized fish. I think this is the biggest Steelhead that I have caught on the Snake. It went for the same little Skunk.
We fished the run until dark. Shortly after landing my fish, a family of otters came floating down river and the male chased me out of the river after I teased him by returning his hisses with my own hiss like sound.

Before the day was over, However, Rusty hooked into a good sized fish at the lower end of the run. It was dark and try as we might we could not see the fish even when it was right in front of us. It stayed down as deep as it could.
Finally, we got the fish landed. It was a nice sized wild King Salmon, mean and healthy, and along ways from the ocean.
The next morning was bright and sunny and windy. We didn't touch a fish on our first two runs, so we decided to try a run that had been in the running for being the best two years earlier, but had produced nothing in several try's last year. Its fast waters flow across a wide rocky flat and the heaviest currents in a narrow channel on the far side of the river, this brought fish into a small, bouldery area on the rock bar where the current is bearable to rest in and close enough to cast too. Though depending on the rivers flow rate this spot can be too far out to reach. And I suspect that the fish only sit in this area at certain water levels.
It was bright and sunny. with the sun at my back, and to me that means in the fishes eyes. I was not thinking there was much of a shot. and I wasn't even sure if the run was even fishing that well. Then my line came tight and my tiny little size 8 skunk was sucked up by a ripping fast hatchery hen. Fish can really burn you up on some of the Snakes faster runs and this run is a fast one.