Snow Belly

Note:  these are entries not contained in the glossary currently under construction that can be viewed on the Caddis fly Blog.

Adjective.  This is an elegant term that helps cut through the bull when two salmon or steelhead anglers are describing a fish that one of them has caught and released recently.  Commonly, these anglers would use terms like chrome, mint bright, or even chrome-on-chrome.  These are all descriptors intended to indicate that the fish they caught were really-really fresh from the ocean.

This is all well and good.  Usually, no independent verification is available to ascertain the veracity of these claims.  Sometimes, exaggeration is a factor in these discussions.

Just this season, I my friend Jimmy used a term I don’t remember ever hearing to classify the ultra-fresh condition of a chinook that we were in the process of releasing.

Snow Belly.


The term is pure, simple, and unambiguous, as far as I’m concerned.

This henfish had a belly that was pure-snow-white.  She was fresh, clean, and perfect. The sea lice she carried had the longest most translucent tails you can imagine.  I cried little tears of joy as I held her – and then released her to the river.

I suppose that others may bastardize this language.  I hope not.  I hope not to hear about salmon that are snow-on-snow bellied, pure-as-the-driven-snow bellied, or blinding snow bellied.

The term is perfect as is.  I thank my friend Jim for sharing this vision with me, and for coaching me into this wonderful fish.  This is a precious memory.


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