Winter came too damn early. I was fishing the Salmon this time last year,
think it's over with for 2014.
Middlecalf: This is a layman's version of what happens...At about a water temp of 38 degrees the fish quit migrating and just hang out in the deep holes all winter. Their calorie needs are reduced by the cold water so they just congregate in slow water that requires little to no energy expenditures and just wait for spring. When the water temp increases to around 38 in March they resume their migration to their spawning grounds. The fish that winter around Salmon entered the Columbia in June and July and will spawn between Challis and Galena in April. (dates, times and locations are approximate as each wild fish is an individual and will behave differently than its neighbor; hatchery fish tend to exhibit less individual deveation from the mean than do wild fish).So what do you think, do the fish hunker down under this cover for the winter or do they move back downriver for open water? It seems like summer runners don't really like having a lot of water over them, and this cover might be a bit much.
During my drive home I traveled along the Salmon River from North Fork to Salmon, the river looked back in shape, and I saw several fishermen. Not sure how they're doing though!The river was blown out as of Tuesday. I'm fishing in WY right now and will return to Salmon tomorrow. Could update then, or you could call the Salmon River Fly Box for an update.
Here's one of those dark and snakey fish, we caught on the Salmon River today. 31 inches long, and fought very well. Even though they haven't eaten anything for 7 - 8 months, they do still try to eat swinging flies. And even though they "fight like crap", this one took about 10 - 15 minutes to land.The fish are pretty dark and snakey by this time of year. They haven't eaten anything for 7-8 months and are a month or two from being dead. They've lost 25%-50% of their body weight and don't fight worth a crap. They are a far different fish than they were in October.
I could care less about the hatchery fish but the energy that a wild fish spends during the fight, even when released, could very well be the energy that they need to successfully spawn. I'd leave them be.