This spring my brother in law Hal Tweto floated the Selway River with some of his pals, you can check out the post previous post at this link: Selway River Photos. He was lucky enough to get another shot at this July. This time with some he was armed with fishing gear and camera. His report follows.–CD
A few months ago I had the opportunity to see the Selway for the first time with SOAR Northwest River Co; the river was stunning, the wildlife was active and abundant, and the weather was really cooperative for a May run through the Bitterroots. Nevertheless, I couldn’t wait to float the stretch without the drysuit and zero degree bag to keep the chill off, and I looked forward to being on the water when the cutthroats were rising for…well, anything, really.
Our July 17 put-in was a completely mellow experience when compared with the three feet of snow and miles of downed timber our shuttle drivers worked through to get to Paradise in May. After a relatively low peak this season, the river was still running at a perfectly respectable one and a half feet, which was only a half a foot lower than the May run. The river felt much lower, however, and rowing with an eye on the channels was the name of the game; it was full-contact in the sense that even the cleanest runs entailed bumps and a little sticking and dragging. Not bad, though…comparable to runs on the North Umpqua in the later days of summer, maybe. And these new boats from Streamtech www.streamtechboats.com were perfect for this situation: light, maneuverable, tough, accommodating, with a great fishing frame. Put my Aire, now for sale, to shame.
But the fish, you ask, how were the fish? Abundant, although that doesn’t mean we didn’t have to work to find the larger fish. Indiscriminate, although that doesn’t mean certain flies weren’t more interesting to these larger fish. The word was that they would respond to hoppers, generally, and generally this was true, but we also found royal wulffs and the yellow stimulators were tempting, sized around a 12 or so. One dude at the put-in swore that the black fly was the way to go. Again, the issue wasn’t so much about what to offer, because lots of flies worked, but more a matter of bringing out the fish you’d want to bring in. And this we did occasionally enough to make everyone who cared to throw a out some line content that they were doing so. You may not be pulling in the kind of fish that show up in the Bitterroot, or farther downstream in the Clearwater, but with six days in such a beautiful place, it gets pretty hard not to be at least a little content.
Again, I was on this trip with SOAR Northwest River Co, which runs four six-day commercial trips each year from the end of June to the end of July. To book, contact Ari Kotler, guide and owner, at 208-709-8033 or www.northwestriver.com or firstname.lastname@example.org. Or you can try your chances for a private permit using the four rivers lottery system (Middle and Main Salmon, Selway, and Snake). HNT