Each guide has a moment each season that means more than other trips. For me, that moment came on a trip in early October with a couple of regular customers who had taken out the previous year. The previous year we had targeted trout and salmon that moved from a lake to a river on their way to the spawning grounds. We failed to land our target species and that had remained in my mind when we talked about another trip this year. Although they had a great time last year, I was even more determined to realize Charlie's dream of getting his first salmon on the go.
Preparing meals for the next days trip
One of my mantras as a guide has always been that you cannot control fishing, but you can control the experience. That's why I always prepare a fresh lunch for my clients and do everything possible to ensure that their experience is top notch. Even with that as a guide, we are hired so that our clients enter their target species and anything less will be considered a failure in our minds. The year before we left in mid-September and the spawning races had not really recovered. We only got a couple of sea bass and a lake chub during our day at the river. That stayed with me and I promised to make sure we made that a past memory.
When the conversation arose this spring about another trip, I encouraged them to come later in the month or even in October to make sure there would be more fish and they would have a better chance of landing their target species. We also scheduled two days so we could make a change if necessary. It was the last day of September when I arrived at my camp to prepare for the next two days and the weather was absolutely beautiful. I knew it would be short-lived since the next two days would be cold, rainy and raw. I enjoyed it immensely while preparing a meat stew for the next day. There is nothing better than cooking outdoors with no one in sight in kilometers.
Charlie with a good salmon
The next day was windy and rainy, but our spirits were high when we entered the river. Again, my Minnkota Terrova drive motor with point locking made the big difference in the way I lead and in these two days it was invaluable. I had lost an anchor in the rocks the previous year and with my drag engine I never had to worry about that possibility again. I put my boat in the pool's tail and we were there for less than 30 minutes before Charlie clung to a fish. When I saw the fish roll I knew it was a salmon and my heart skipped a beat. It was a solid game of hooks and we had no trouble putting the fish in the net. The feelings that went through my head at that moment were pure euphoria. I think he was more excited for Charlie since this was something he had expected and wanted to happen on the fly. Nothing better than achieving your goal as you wanted to.
This fish made a great fight!
However, not everything went according to plan. On the second day, Charlie got caught in a really nice brook trout and when I saw her, I said enthusiastically that it was a good trout. Chris started recording the fight on video because of what I said. I also saw that he was barely hooked, so we had to proceed carefully. When I thought the fish was ready, I tried to catch it and at the last second the fish moved and my net hit its lower jaw and the serpentine occurred to me instead of a fish. According to Chris, my reaction was priceless. I still play the video she sent me and I get a good smile.
The mountains were hidden in the clouds.
These two days were wonderful with Chris and Charlie, since they really enjoyed being in nature while enjoying all the sights and landscapes. It really puts everything in perspective so that good customers spend a couple of days with you in the water. Having Charlie landing a good salmon the way he wanted was enough redemption for me.