Eight of our Chapter members rendezvoused in McCall Idaho at the end of July for 5 days of fishing in the area. A dedicated foursome then went on to Stanley to fish the Salmon River while two others went on to Oregon and Washington.
Contact had been made with guide Ron Howell for two days of fishing. Weather was warm and streams were low in the McCall region and fishing ended up being directed to lakes. Four members in two boats went to Brundage Lake the first day. Fishing comprised casting large flies, mostly Chernoble Ants, to fishy locations. Strikes were numerous and quick and the catch ratio was fairly low. I believe that members caught 3-10 Rainbows, Cutthroats and hybrids during the day. Two more persons went back the second day fishing similarly and caught 3 and 8 fish. Fish were mostly 10-14 inches in length with largest a beautiful 15 inch cutthroat. One angler tried using a smaller Ant and increased his catch ratio. Two anglers fished the Payette River and a small creek the first day with no success. Trout were rising just out of reach in one pool and otherwise was to low and warm. Others sampled float tubing with limited success. On the third day four tried shore fishing at Goose Lake with modest success. The others went exploring to Riggins, the Little Salmon and Rapid River. We all returned the next day to sample Rapid River(small and fast) and the Little Salmon. Rapid River was a modest climb into a steep canyon. Some caught 1-3 fish and some went fish-less. The Little Salmon was an attractive stream in a dry region. It was worked pretty hard with one 15 inch chrome beauty landed. An interesting day in new territory but a loss at fishing.
Another day of Lake fishing was attempted at Granite Lake. It sounded like a classic sierra lake but turned out to be flat and shallow located at the top of a ridge. One nice fish was caught on a first cast with no more to be found. We then returned to Brundage lake for fishing near the launch site where we caught 3-5 fish apiece. Strikes were numerous. One member had tried float tubing which was difficult in the wind. The final day we drove around the mountains to the upper reaches of the South Fork of the Salmon. The area was replete with old wildfires. The road followed the river but was far above it at many locations. We found it to be small at the southern end and growing to the north. We sampled several locations extending up to the road closure. About half the people caught 1-3 fish. Again, it was an interesting experience with limited fishing success.
We pushed on to Stanley for the second week. Navigation proved difficult due to the Pioneer Fire north east of Boise. Our best day of fishing occurred the following day when we tried the Salmon River at the mile 199 Bridge. The best water was taken by others while we rigged up. None the less we caught fish nearby. About 11 AM the others left and we proceeded to catch fish downstream from the bridge. We ended the day with people catching 6-21 fish. Again typically 12-15 inches in size. It was an extraordinary day as we found a couple of days later when we were unable to duplicate it. We fished the region for two more days mostly exploring for better spots. We caught a few fish here and there but nothing appropriate to the fishy water we selected. On the second day we had to go through a road block to return to camp due to another fire a couple of miles down the road.
All in all it was a successful journey with lots of new country to be seen and a few things learned about fishing the region. We usually caught a few fish every day with one outstanding day. Now we have a year to plan next years journey.