With the Lower Fly Zone opening on Tuesday September 15th, we find ourselves further into "salmon season"-type activities along the Salmon River corridor. Salmon River Steward Liz Wolff spent Tuesday at the Lower Fly, interacting with anglers and learning more about fly fishing. She saw about 45 anglers early in the morning hours, but as the afternoon progressed numbers tapered off. Some anglers landed 4 or 5 fish while those not having much luck seemed to enjoy the sunshine and a day at one of their favorite fishing spots!
Liz learned a lot on Tuesday. For example, she saw first-hand just how crucial it is to take time reviving a fish before releasing it back into the river. When an angler fights a fish on his or her line the fish can become extremely fatigued which can sometimes cause a fish to die after being released. Holding the fish in moving water, so the water can enter the fish's mouth and over the fish's gills, increases the chance that the fish will survive after being released. Properly revived fish may perhaps give other anglers opportunities to challenge the fish in the future.
For myself, Salmon River Steward Greg Greg Chapman, the start of salmon season means a continued adjustment, as I strive to balance my full-time schoolwork with my now part-time job. Seeing the river on the weekends gives me something to look forward to, as it forces me to get back outdoors at a time when many other responsibilities are competing for my time. This past weekend featured some beautiful weather, and it felt great to see so many sections of the river that I have not visited in quite a while.
After a strong Labor Day weekend, less fish were to be had in general along the river. Perhaps because of this, most locations on the river were much quieter than I expected. It's not unusual at these times to speak with anglers who are just as happy to be outdoors and on the river, even if the fishing action is slow. The middle section of the river did experienced a higher volume of anglers though we didn't see anyone land any fish.
I saw some surprising sites along the river this past weekend. Perhaps most unexpected was a new beaver lodge along the shore at Altmar North, with the beginnings of a dam constructed nearby. Although the lodge is relatively far from the several nearby access points, it is in an area that will be heavily traversed as salmon season truly gets underway in the weeks ahead. It should be interesting to see how it survives the crowds.
I also saw an unusual number of baldfaced hornet nests along the north shore of Trestle Pool. Three separate nests were spotted, one being somewhat low to the ground near the old trestle crossing, a popular viewing area for people just arriving at the river. It's probably not a bad idea to keep an eye out for nests such as these along the river; thankfully, baldfaced hornets are not known to be extremely aggressive. However, they will protect their nest if it is disturbed or if people get too close. They are best to be avoided!
As the season gets into full-swing, there is no doubt that more and more people will be coming to the salmon river to try their luck at landing a trophy salmon. Stewards are available to answer any questions you may have about the natural resource; if you see us, say hi!