So, off we went up the Selway River to find somewhere I could fish and Katie could relax, swim and explore. The drive up the Selway to a campsite above the Falls turned out to be just the ticket. The fishing was phenomenal, and despite recent fires that came right up to our camp the area is gorgeous.
|Part of the rugged Selway Falls|
Selway Falls is an incredible jumble of giant boulders that looks like it would be stellar to watch at medium to high flows. As it was the low water let us see the incredible rock carved basins (carved by smaller rocks spinning in a water vortex until the carve a hole out of the surrounding rock). Flows were also low enough to let the summer Chinook ascend the falls, so we were treated to seeing them resting in the pools above the falls.
|Look closely, along the shore there are multiple large salmon resting in the eddy above the falls|
Some of these salmon scared me to death as I was fishing the confluence with Meadow creek. Two scared me as they slid back downstream, half their body out of the water, after failing to ascend the riffle into the creek. Both times they noticed me and started splashing right next to my leg as I was wading. They are amazing animals!
They also attract the bald eagles and at least one fell victim to the group of adult and juvenile eagles we saw multiple times during our stay.
|Dead salmon with an eagle pinfeather that was laying nearby. This gives some perspective on just how large the eagles are, the fish was probably well over 20"|
Our camp was perfect, with a grove of cedar trees perfectly spaced to hang two hammocks, and a family of deer that seemed monumentally unconcerned with our presence.
As I said, the fishing was stellar. I brought my tenkara rod as well as my western style rod, but the western rod never made it out of the case. The creek was cold, and the perfect size to wade and fish with a bit less than a rod length of level line and a six foot tippet. Fish were lined up like cordwood in the pools as well as in the cold water at the confluence.
I didn't intend to become a "one fly" angler, but after tying on a couple varieties of flies without much luck I tied on a size 12, green bodied kebari that suddenly made clear just how many fish were in the stream! I used that fly for the rest of the weekend, losing one to a big cutthroat that got away and one to the top of a hawthorn bush.
The Stealth Atom sling pack was awesome. I still need to get used to using it, but the fold down worktable pocket makes it easy to store and tie on flies without losing them. The tippet spools and nipper are really well placed. I'm still befuddled as to why it goes over the right shoulder...it leaves the net on the wrong side of your body, requiring a hand switch while fighting a fish, and also makes your casting shoulder a bit tired if you carry a full water bottle. But, overall, it's a huge improvement over my old vest. The waterproof pocket is a nice touch and it carries everything I need plus a touch more if I really wanted to fill it full.