After work on Thursday jumped into the truck and drove down to Union Town where I met Tom and Mark at Jimbo's ranch. We arrived at about the same time and while Tom and Mark were fixing their dinner I watched a Steelhead video titled something about "Ghosts". The premiss was a bunch of guys travel way up into a river in Canada, helicopter in and then fly fish for Steelhead. They catch huge fish but comment on the way they can be laying there like ghosts, unseen and then boom they are on and so is the fight. It was a good video to set the mood for fishing Friday on the Clearwater. We hit the sack at about 9:30 PM with the alarm set for a 5 AM wake-up call.
We got some sleep and when the alarms sounded rolled out of bed for some coffee and oatmeal. It wasn't long before we were on our way down the Lewiston grade with our sights set for the Clearwater. Mark drove, Tom and I dozed.
We wound our way up river to Chimney Lawn (wink wink, nudge nudge) where we sat for about fifteen minutes waiting for the sun to lighten the paths to the river. Once thing started to be visible we grabbed our gear and attached the water. Tom and Mark were fly fishing with their spay rods and I had a couple spin casting rods set up. I fished with a plainer board and diver off the bank and at the same time I tossed a bobber and Jig set up.
We fished the morning away, Mark getting on good hit and Tom catching a small salmon, but no Stealhead. We ate lunch and then Tom suggested that we cross the river. We packed up and hit the road. A few minutes later we were hiking to their secret hole.
We gathered at the bank, Tom said that the high water had changed the area a bit, but it still looked real good to us. Mark walked up river, Tom took the down river stretch and I waded out at the middle. I had put a yellow jig with pink feathers on hoping that if there were fish in there, they wanted that selection.
I made my first cast and boom I had a fish on the second the jig hit the water. It came out of the water and shook it big head then slammed back down to the bottom and was gone. Wow, I couldn't believe how powerful it was! I reeled in and checked my setup, everything was good. I made my second cast and boom, another monster! This one I was a bit more prepared for and luck was with me because she was hooked. What a fight! She ran several times and made Tom work to get her in the net. The fish was a hatchery hen that weighed in at 11.8 lbs. It was 23 inches long and beautiful. I kept her and will be smoking the meat on Sunday.
The excitement was fantastic, I had a good rush of adrenalin going. That is what Steelheading is all about! I waded back out and made my third cast and again, boom! I had a third fish on! This one was a fighter and it headed right down river. I had good control of the rod, but when I was fussing with the last fish I must have bumped my drag a bit because it wasn't set right. I could feel that there was to much drag and as I reached to lessen it a touch the fish made a move and pulled straight away from me and snapped me off clean. Again a rush and this time a few foul words.
I trudged back up on the bank and sat down to re-rig my gear. Tom and Mark reminded me that I had just hooked three fish one three casts, catching one. Amazing is all I could think. I waded back out and made one of the worst casts ever. I must have been a bit overwhelmed. I reeled in and made another cast and boom, another hit! This one was off as fast as it hit, but that was four fish in five casts.
We fished for the rest of the afternoon but my catching was done. At one point I slipped and filled my waders a bit. I stayed warm the rest of the day, but I think I need some new wading boots.
I wasn't the only one catching fish. Mark and Tom hooked their shared. We had a great four hours of fishing in the channel. The ghosts were there but not hitting. We loaded up and drove back to Union Town where we unloaded and split up for the drive home.