Thursday, June 20, 2013

Salmon Run

I promised Kate I'd help her pack up her classroom in the afternoon, and I wanted to get in a run and some fishing in the morning. Then, I had an "oh yeah...crap" moment when I realized I have a lot of reading to do for my Shakespeare class. If thou art want an A in thy class, thee better read.

So, I compromised. I'd run in the woods out back and then fish at a brook within said woods. I've eyeballed it quite a few times, noting fish hitting the surface. Brookies? Chubs? One way to find out, and today was a good day to do so.

So, I took my fishing gear, hid it near the stream and then ran a little over five miles. Run went well. The quad is good to go. Still, took it easy to be sure, but I'm certain I'm in the clear. Good news.

After the run, I assembled my 9' 6-weight rod, which is a bit of a bull in a China shop for a stream this small, but manageable  I noticed the fish hitting the top of the water just as I have the past few times I've run past here. I begin a basic forward cast and on the backcast catch the leaves on the tree behind me. Unleash the fly, try again. Same deal. Crap. Okay, change positions. More clear, and cast...

The fly hits the water. It's a small red and yellow nymph that I tied a while back. I immediately get a strike, but miss setting the hook. This repeats again, but a few casts later and stripping the line to give the fly some additional movement in the slow moving water, the hook is set and I real in a little guy.

My first thought is "Oh cool, a brookie! Glad it's not a chub." In case you didn't know, chubs are a type of minnow. Most are pretty small, a few inches though some will get up to around a foot, but they'll strike at almost anything and are not very challenging to catch. Unlike trout, they're not very smart. Plus, they're apparently very bony and not very tasty. Garbage fish.

Then I looked at the fish closer and thought the patterns looked odd. I take a picture and let it go. I thought it kind of looked like a small salmon, but I didn't think it was really likely. This repeats three other times; each time an alleged brookie.

I get home and after some research and consulting, it's confirmed: they were all salmon. Whether landlocked or sea run, I don't know, but I have seen signs on a separate brook that also connects to the Saco River not far from here warning sea run salmon have been spotted there and to let them go immediately if you catch one. Just to be sure, I contacted Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife and left a message. Whether sea run or landlocked, still very thrilled to have caught my first salmon.

On a related note, the Buddhist monks have it all wrong. The path to enlightenment is best achieved through trail running and fly fishing. It's totally Zen. Glad to experience that today.

Ran 5.4 miles @ 10:27/mile pace.
Very hilly.
Four salmon.
Upper 50s to lower 60s, partly cloudy.
New Balance MT110, shorts, long sleeved shirt.

No comments: