Wednesday, 26 June 2019

37lb Salmon to Start the Week

Date: 22-25 June

Air Temp: 2C-10C
Water Temp: 9C-8C
Water height: -2cm to +35cm
Number of rods: 15
Number of fish caught: 39
Biggest fish: 37lbs Matt Harris
No 30lbs+: 3
No 20-29lbs: 9
No 8-19lbs: 27
Grilse: 0


The cold weather clung on for the first couple of days with Tuesday being the first warm day at 10C. Winds have been changing from upstream to downstream if not by the day then by the hour. Heavy rain on Saturday night pushed the river up for Monday morning but the clarity has remained good.

Late night view from Yokanga Lodge
Manager’s Comments:

Saturday evening and Sunday put 19 fish in the record book which was a very encouraging start to the week.

Paddy Feakins landed a 15lber in the Pump but his fishing partner, Alistair T, landed a 22lber in Pump and a 22.5lber from Heron Point. Other 20lbers on Sunday were also landed by Robert B at Beach and Colin R-W at Crow’s Nest. Colin followed his 20lber with an 18lber shortly after.

Colin with one of his two
The star fish of the day was landed by well-known fishing photographer Matt Harris. He was nearing the end of the day coming down the Pots and got into what was clearly a large salmon. For those that know the Pots, there are a lot of boulders and a series of white-water sections. The fish dragged him downstream through rocks and fast water but finally in the last bay before the cliff area just upstream of the lodge he landed a huge 37lb cock fish. Matt has visited the Yokanga every year for 18 years and this was his personal best. His previous biggest of 35lbs was also landed on the Yokanga but 18 years ago!

Matt and guide Eduard with the 37lber
Monday dawned with the river up over 35cm but full marks to the team who set off full of hope for the day. It was a day to celebrate for Martin V with both his birthday and a hard fighting 26lber from the left bank of the Hourglass, one of the first we have had so far this season from there.

A Happy Birthday for Martin V

Happy Birthday to you!
Bill B had an 18lber from Lower Norcamp. His brother Robert B hooked a fish in the left draw of Sand Island and which took him down the rapid. The fish was out of the water eight times, once just before they about to net it. It turned out to be a magnificent 31lber. This monster salmon was celebrated at the end of dinner in Yokanga style with a shot of vodka, a well-deserved grey 30lb cap and the now traditional blast of the Queen hit ‘We are the Champions’. Given the regularity with which I have been handing out the caps I have found myself humming it most days on the river!

Young Vova with Robert B's fish
Phil T took a brace of fish for the day. A 19lber and 12lber from Lower Norcamp. It would appear that we are beginning to see some of the main run. Just as I was heading towards bed there was one final highlight to Monday’s activities. One returning fisherman was coming up the hill shortly before midnight and it became clear that there was need for a weighing scale as someone had hooked and landed a large fish by the blue container in Home Pool. It transpired that it was Matt H and this time it was a hard fighting 32lber adding to the tally of 30lbers landed in our Home Pool this season. Speaking to Matt afterwards he described it as one of the best fights he had ever had with a salmon. When he first made contact with the fish it appeared to not know it was hooked and carried on running upstream porpoising as it went! There are no major obstacles in Home Pool if you hook a good fish there so he was able to sit back and enjoy playing it while it gave him a good run for his money.

Ian R got off to the flying start on Tuesday when he hooked and successfully landed a salmon within a few casts when fishing his line out first thing in the morning.

Ian R keeping the insects at bay
Patrick M also had a great day with a 20lber from Lower Norcamp and then finished with a 22lber from Poachers.
Patrick M with one of his 20lbers
Relative to what the season’s weather has been so far, it has warmed considerably over the last day and the forecast is for it to remain that way. The riverbank is beginning to bloom and there are now definite signs of summer. Walking from the lodge to Crow’s Nest I stumbled upon two wagtail nests for example.

Wagtail nest under a rock overhang
While on the subject of wildlife there was a bear sighting on the opposite bank at Beach this week and Alistair and Paddy watched it for an hour while it fed on the new growth. Bill and myself also saw evidence of the bear on the far bank of Crow’s Nest as the photo below shows. It was still warm!

Bears do indeed s**t in the woods
With the unhelpful rise of water most people are fishing a heavier sink tip at the moment. 15 foot of type 3 seems to be a popular choice combined with a tube. The water is now dropping back so we will soon be back to 5-10 foot tips and doubles hopefully. As if ever the case, the fly you have on and have confidence in seems to be the one that works rather than any particular pattern!

Every salmon is a great reward on Yokanga
It is hard to draw conclusions given that we are looking for a needle in a haystack in the high water. Certainly we are not catching huge numbers of fish but the quality remains excellent and when you see how fat these salmon are. Each and every salmon is hard won and so rewarding when you land them.

Henry Mountain