Thursday, February 10, 2011

Big Water

Last Sunday with the river falling from a little overnight bump of water I spent the day swinging flies through the lower end of the Sea to Sky River. While the steelhead are few and far between this time of year the conditions had us hopeful and there are undoubtedly a few fish in the system already. This particular river is unique to the lower mainland because it offers one of the few truly big water fishing experiences in the region. The Puget Sound region is blessed with an abundance of medium to large rivers which tumble from their glacial headwaters out into the Puget Sound Lowlands creating some of the finest large river steelhead water on the planet. It is these rivers that have made the Puget Sound on of the epicenters of our steelhead flyfishing traditions. Heading north though the mountains push against the Pacific and the ocean reaches far inland through the steep glacial fjords of the BC Coastline.

No knock against smaller more confined water but large rivers offer a sort of majesty that is unique and breathtaking. Dwarfed along the banks of a massive run an angler is always tempted by the water just beyond reach, always wondering if just a few more feet could make the difference. There are runs that can be fished for hours. Step after step swimming the fly over the large alluvial boulders into the hangdown, where despite the river's massive size there always seems to be a willing fish. Even in the largest of rivers steelhead will and often do sit in unimaginably soft and shallow water. And when low light or slighlty murky water affords them cover the fish seem to prefer to slide into the shallows, along the gradually sloping bottom to lie in the softest part of the run.

Reading break is upon us now and the next week will be nothing but steelhead revelry. Really looking forward to getting back to some of the old haunts, maybe if the stars line up right we'll find a few fish.

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