This is the classic story of…The one that got away. Reflections of the past.
I got up in the morning to go for breakfast, but the kitchen was closed until 7:00 a.m. so I decided to get my gear on and head out in front of the hotel (Hotel Run). I decided to take the nearest Exit door out to the river. When I hit the bar latch, the door swung open and I saw a dark room with plywood floors, 3 cots with 3 people sleeping in them. One of the guys opened his eyes and said, “Who are you?” which I replied, “I thought this was the exit”. I talked to the guy at the local refreshment facility later on in the day, he said that management said it was a recent remodeled room.
I got to the Thompson on Friday at about 1:00 p.m. and noticed Brian Niska’s (from Whisterflyfishing ) pathfinder at the graveyard run. I quickly raced to the hotel to get checked in, and then hit the river before any of the other guys in our group showed up. The desk clerk said the manager will not be back for at least 2 hours, so off I go to meet up with Brian. When I got there he was already heading for his truck. He had been there 2 days earlier and was thinking of fishing one more day before heading home. He managed to land one and lose one in 2 days fishing.
As we were talking, Fisheries Officer came up to take any info we had. I asked him how was the report in the last couple of days. He said that of 20 fisherman surveyed, 4 fish were landed. I asked Brian if it was worth fishing the graveyard run, and he said that it looked like the Vedder river with about 15-20 guys on it. We decided to fish in front of the hotel since it had no one fishing there. We worked it for a while till we came up on some campers farther down close to the bridge. Then the fishing turned to story telling to drinking beer, till it got dark.
The next day the group I was with, decided to fish the run across from the graveyard run and closer to the bridge. We worked the run for about 4 hours all the way past Murray Creek to the head of the Graveyard. We headed back for our breakfast, which was part of the price of the rooms – being a B&B I guess that was included. After breakfast we decided to work the hotel run again and finish up at the graveyard. I managed to land a 16-in. rainbow, which was real scrappy but no match for my Spey rod. Another guy in our group fished under the bridge and managed to land a nice steelhead of about 15-lb. We worked all the way to the graveyard and it started to rain hard, but just for an hour. Then the sun came out, and we had a beautiful sunset.
On Sunday we all headed for the graveyard run 1/2 hour before sunrise. To our surprise there was already one guy there. We worked it above the guy and followed him down. At 9:30 a.m. we decided to go for breakfast in town, then head for another run. After breakfast, we decided to fish the “Y” run which is the spot the rafters use as a base camp or a launch site and lunch stop. I decided to go with the 2 guides from Alberta and fish the head of the “Y” run. They gave me the first run, which was nice of them. I hooked a big fish after about a dozen casts through the seam that broke the rapids with the calm water closer in. It did one long run and while I was concentrating on getting to shore without falling on the slippery rocks, the fly snapped off.
What a disappointment after almost 3 days of fishing, 1 lost steelhead and 1 landed rainbow. That would have been my first steelhead on a fly ever, and the first on the Thompson River. We worked the rest of the run down to and across from Grease Hole. As we were making our way down to the Grease Hole, while being spaced apart, 80-100 feet or so, 2 guys with bait gear showed up and walked right in. It started to get real ugly, with name calling and threats after explaining good river ethics to them. They said that we should go to where it is flyfishing only, above Martel Island. That run produced 5 fish that day and the guys I was with did not want 2 guys with bait gear to just walk right in the middle of us and cast to the other side. After about 5 minutes of explaining to them why they should work above us, I decide to call it quits for the day and head home. I guess I worked a lot of the river and was rewarded with one take of a life time. This is better than my friend who had been up there 5 weekends in a row without landing a single fish, but hooking one the last hour.
Tight lines, check your hooks & knots