Author Topic: Rainy Day Silver  (Read 1322 times)

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Rory E. Glennie

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Rainy Day Silver
« on: April 02, 2012, 11:32:42 AM »
Rainy Day Silver

With a summer full of great fly-fishing behind me a kind of lethargy sets in. As if on auto pilot I continue pasting out the fly line as my mind wanders. Casting back over past experiences I recall lessons learned and promises made to hone productive techniques for next year. Tales other anglers have told of good fishing beaches just up the coast a ways finds me eager with anticipation of future exploration. Then, WHAM!  my knuckles get soundly rapped again, jarring me back to reality. A big, bright-silver salmon leaps skyward, seemingly a hundred yards away. Is it attached to me? “YEAH!” I shout. . . Coho.

Start me up.
For the most part it is those sudden tempests which blow in from the Pacific Ocean which lures Coho homeward in earnest. Those blows customarily start about the third week of September. Often the outer coast of the Island, that part which gets pounded severely by ocean-bred storms, offers a great near-shore fishery for Coho during days prior to the foul weather. Once the big spill drenches the land West coast streams rise quickly. The resulting freshets collect salmon like a magnet does shiny steel filings. Away they go upstream, leaving the bays and beaches virtually barren until next year. It happens that fast. Good timing is critical to finding a bonanza or going bust.

In contrast, the inside passage coastline, or East side of the Island as some call it, is largely in the rain shadow of these drenching Pacific storms. We fly fishers can be thankful the deluge usually holds off until late October, maybe early November on an exceptional year. Fishing a favoured beach and bringing to hand a fine, fat Coho on Thanksgiving Day is an excellent way to pay homage. It is those first few spurts of rain, the vanguard of downpours to come which sets the salmon’s nose a twitchin’. A cruel paradox it may seem, the smell of home waters is so vibrant now they can literally taste the effervescence; surf line springs upwelling with renewed flows, and rivulets running slightly cooler and brighter tempt salmon to the beach without actually affording them much chance of going any further upstream. So, the restless Coho hold off the beach circling in anticipation.

Low tide reconnaissance.
Being creatures of habit and predisposition one can make predictions, or rather assumptions as to what Coho will do. Knowing their routine gives you a decided advantage. The key is to get out at lowest tide, when the greatest beach area is plainly exposed. Look for fresh water springs, seeps, and trickles in places away from any obvious above ground flow. They may be marked only by a persistent shallow puddle surrounded by acres of drying sand and gravel. A tiny rivulet bubbling up fifty yards below the high tide line and running down to meet the tidewater mere feet away is also a good one. Most often these outpourings occur within a hundred yards or so on either side of the main steam flow. Engrave these hot-spots in your mind. Triangulate using landmarks if you must so you can relocate them. Remember them at all costs, for this is your ticket to good early season Coho beach fishing. One caveat to be considered is; these freshwater stopovers may alter over time. Usually though, that water will be found springing to life somewhere nearby . So it is only a matter of scoping out the beach at lowest tide once again.

Applying the knowledge.
Utilizing your new found intelligence is quite straight forward. If you are at one of your chosen spots during the incoming tide simply keep backing up as the water deepens beyond the comfortable wading stage. Obviously a good chop on the water may dictate how far you need to remove yourself. At some point during the rising water Coho will start to show themselves at the upwelling. Keep at it as long as fish are showing or you sense they have moved on. A group of Coho persistently jumping in a localized area is reason enough to follow.
Should you get to the beach after your spot is flooded over position yourself within casting range and make a few exploratory casts to see who’s there. Given nothing draws you away from that site, persevere as the tide turns and water depth lessens over the spring. Again, Coho may exhibit a preference for a certain stage of the tide before hovering about. Experience garnered over time and tide changes will give you the knowledge to distinguish between which subsurface flows are attractive to salmon and which are not. Obviously when you come to expect multiple hook-ups from any particularly juicy spot, over the course of a full tide change, you know then your continuing salmon apprenticeship is worth enduring.
Ghillie -- A wise and discreet waterside companion to genteel fly fishers... that's me.