It’s nearly impossible to find good numbers of spring chinook without also finding lots of anglers. Salmon attract a lot of attention from all members of the food chain, from the cormorants and cutthroat that suck down fry, fingerlings and smolts, to the seals, sea lions and humans that target adults. While each fish is a gorgeous spectacle in its own right, salmon are analogous to fruit on a tree, and there are lots of eager would-be pickers. So salmon angling, regardless of your methods, requires a willingness to share with others, even while being ridiculed as a “damned snagger.”
Despite those annoyances, fly fishing for these amazing animals is the most rewarding sport I have yet to encounter. It has brought me closer to the rivers and estuaries that I love, and it has helped me to see these systems as a whole, rather than a bunch of varied “spots.” And occasionally the river rewards me with a fish, just to keep the fire burning bright and hot.
Last weekend my Dad and I spent three days chasing kings with our fly rods. Those incredible days taught us volumes about chinook behavior and reminded us that flies can be even more effective that bait or hardware.
Here are some images to inspire you to explore your local estuary…