Six days fly fishing for kings in the last two weeks. Six days dawn-to-dark on the water. Most were cold, rainy, nasty days fishing high water. Six days chatting with guys back-bounding eggs and Kwikfish. Six days and only a handful of rolling salmon to encourage me.
Six days, one grab – and a too-large leader-loop severed by bead-chain eyes.
And then, on the seventh day, I got this slow, steady pull, on a very long line, in deep water. I set-up and found a good, slow, head shake that erased the emptiness of six lonely, fishless days I had just endured.
I played this fish in deep water. At one point, I felt another salmon entangled in my leader, but it soon came free. I got out of the boat, ready to beach the fish on a gravel bar.
A big male. Not chrome, not bronze, but that in-between grayish hue. The fish slipped upriver under my driftboat, still anchored in the riffle.
Eventually, I pulled him out from under the boat and over to the shore. A good, strong, deep bodied chinook. A few sea lice still clung to the area behind the adipose fin. A fish to bring a smile any day, and especially on the seventh day.
I held him in the river’s flow, and in an instant, he was off, sliding back into the pool, in the company of other salmon.