Sunday of Labor Day weekend I went up to the club with Tom Bartos to meet Randy Wilson. We checked in at about 3:30. It was a beautiful 75 degree day! The flows we’re at 1000cfs and went down to 550cfs by 5:00pm, where it remained throughout the evening. Tom went up stream from the storage yard to fish and Randy fished the boxcar riffle. I headed down to the bottom of American Bar with my Sage One, 5wt switch rod. I’ve got it set up with a Switch Chucker line, a 10ft clear floating PolyLeader and a 9ft 5x monofilament leader for casting dry flies.
The water was raging at the base of American Bar as it flows into the big pool at the 90 degree turn above the gauging station. I threw a couple of dries but it was difficult to see my fly as it drifted down steam in the sunlight. I headed up stream and started to work American Bar just above the white water. The sun was still pretty bright as I looked down stream but my new polarized sunglasses worked great to see my fly! I worked this area of the river pretty good changing flies often. BWO’s, Stimulators, rubber-legged Stimulators, Tarantulas…all the staple dry flies for the club. As I worked my way upstream, to almost midway up American Bar, the shadow of the mountain was on the river. I put on the biggest Parachute Adams I had, a size 10. This part of the river is one of my favorites. There’s lots of big rocks for fish to hang and the flows create for a perfect drift presentation of your dry fly no matter if the river is running high or low. I have found that when the river is flowing above 600 cfs, the best rod to use is a switch. It simply gives you the ability to work the entire river better than a single handed rod and you do not need to worry about back casting. My two handed casting has improved quite a bit this year because it seems when I’ve gone up to the club, the flows have been mostly high. I was able to cast with ease across the river and a little downstream, about 45 degrees to the other side. I let my fly skate down and across the water. As I watched my fly skate across into the middle of the river, a fish took my fly creating a small splash. I raised my rod and then the fish took my line out very quickly. FishOn! I was able to get the fish on my reel and bring him in a bit before he took my line out for another run. With a few head shakes, I could tell that this guy was big and powerful. I was having a difficult time getting him out of the main part of the river. I put my rod tip down towards the edge of the river and forced him to calmer water. As he got closer I could tell he was a nice fish. Earlier that day, I had put on the back of my vest a magnet set up to hold my net so when I needed to net the fish, I just grab the net with my free hand and scoop the fish. It worked great! I had landed the biggest Brown I’ve ever caught at the club…19 inches!
We headed back to the campground and while Tom and Randy prepared for dinner, I decided break out my single handed Scott A2 4wt and head down the river to try my luck again. I put on the same big Parachute Adams and dabbed a little bug float on the fly. I worked the river as it flows into the Whispering Pines pool. I had a few takes but no hook-ups at first. I stripped my line in and put the fly in the middle of the white water as it enters the pool about 20 feet out. As it drifted onto a soft spot, a fish took my fly and ran out into the middle of the pool. Another hook up with what felt like another big fish! This guy was fast and powerful. I was able to get his nose out of the water and drag him to the net…a nice 17” Rainbow!
It was time to go back up to the campground and have some ice cold beers, eat a great dinner and listen to some of Tom’s many stories while he enjoys his cigar…
Yet, another great day at the “Fish’n Club” I’ll remember for years to come!