No pool hop
The fishing is a bit different than my normal stream fishing. When I fish a trout stream, I like to be constantly on the move, fishing fresh water with each cast. When I fish the Salmon River, I do just the opposite. I tend to anchor myself in one area and fish it thoroughly. More than likely, I'll be the guy the furthest downstream along the shore, as that will give me the most room to swing a fly without worrying about interfering with anyone downstream from me. Elbow room is important.
Some guys "pool hop", fishing one pool for a short while and then speeding away in their cars to the next pool if the action isn't what they expect. I rarely do that. When I go with friends, we try to get information ahead of time from the local shops and then fish a specific area for a few hours, moving only if we need a change of scenery. Typically we fish one area in the morning and then a different area after a lunch break.
Both my friends and I agree that the best way to learn the river is to pick a few pools that are good fish holders and fish them regularly. With 14 miles of river to fish, it would take years to know it all. We've encountered some pools that have us baffled, but there are a few that we've figured out fairly well. We've even found a couple secret spots that aren't heavily fished. Bouncing around the river all day burns a lot of gas and you spend most of your time in the car instead of in the water. The only time I want to spend in the car is getting to the river and going home. The rest of the day I want to spend on the river fishing.
In certain light conditions, some pools open up so that you can see everything that's happening under the water. This is especially true at some of the pools where there is a bridge crossing. I took advantage of this a few times last year as I laid down my rod and watched the pool while others were fishing. Two things I observed have made a difference in my approach to the river:
- Most people work the same drift over and over again.
- Most people are standing on top of the fish.
So what have I changed?
For one thing, I make a conscious effort to vary my presentations to the fish. I don't want to get into a mechanical rut of making the same cast time and time again. I try to get each cast to drift in a slightly different manner, to cover as much water as I can from my position. Sometimes a few inches *can* make a difference. Even though I can spend considerable time fishing a single pool, I try to change positions within that pool as much as the angling pressure will allow. Some of these pools are quite big and have numerous holding areas, so it pays to try fishing from all sorts of spots along both shores when possible. If you find a good spot and hook a couple fish, move over and give someone else a chance. Set an example and show people what rotating a pool is all about. Also, I'm more prone to step back and fish the edges of the pools more than I was used to. Sometimes that involves staying on shore and casting. Sometimes just getting your boots wet. Just because we have chest waders doesn't mean we need to wade chest deep to catch fish. The fish aren't *always* on the far shore. Fishing to different lies is also critically important during times of high water when the edges are the prime lies and the heart of the pool is often devoid of fish. That's when the angler who is accustomed to fishing near shore has the advantage.
A Schweitzer/Joergensen Publication
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