May 10, 2013
Smelt have been spawning hard in all the major rivers in the Moosehead Lake Region. Despite the lower water flow on the East Outlet there are fish everywhere. I ran it for the first time Wednesday with two customers, Gary & Elizabeth Herbert from Tennessee. In the first half hour they caught 4 beautiful brookies on 4 different nymphs. In the next couple of hours they probably caught 10 or more trout and salmon nymphing. They wanted whatever we were offering as long as it was along an eddy line.
Then we decided to swing streamers with a sinking line. We only needed one fly for the rest of the day, a Red Grey Ghost. The only time we tied on a new fly was when the one we were using was destroyed. It was as good as it gets.
Although we only used one streamer I believe any smelty looking fly would have worked if it were fished right. There was no reason to change a game that was working so well.
More than the streamer we were using there is no question the way Gary was stripping the streamer made all the difference. Fish were hitting short, just nipping the tail of the streamer and not getting hooked. When Gary felt anything he would stop stripping and jig the streamer in place. It only took a few twitches and a fish would aggressively return grabbing the streamer. It worked time after time pool after pool. The other thing that made the difference was getting the fly down. Fish are not looking up yet and if we could see the streamer as it swung cross current it got no looks and we never caught a fish in shallow water. Getting the fly down and close to the bottom in deeper runs was the ticket. Most hit deep but a few chased and make a grab just as the streamer came into view. We found the combination that made the different between a fish now and then to lots of fish in lots of places. It was a magical day we’ll never forget.
Rumor has it the fish are now up to Gilbert’s Pool in the Moose River. Fish that people are taking for an evening meal are fat and packed with smelt. The entire river is ready to erupt and there are going to be tales of big brookies and salmon in the near future.
If you love the smash of a salmon attacking a streamer now is the time. My folks yesterday made the statement I’ve made a thousand times “I thought that fish was going to rip the rod right out of my hand.” How much fun is that!!