Salmon River Skunkage

The Salmon River, majestic at over 950 CFS

It’s amazing how upcoming trips accelerate gear acquisition. The Salmon River steelhead trip goes on the calendar. A new two-handed rod appeared (Beulah 12’4″ Platinum Spey) as if conjured up by magic. Pretty soon I was waving that mofo like a sloppy wand, to the pursuit and deception of exactly zero fish, yet grinning like a wizard with a head full of potion.

Despite the hard skunk, after years of pestering him I finally got a chance to fish with Rob Ceccarini, who runs Orvis NYC‘s fishing department. We were up with a group of miscreants he’d curated, staying at the Salmon River Victorian Inn, with owner Bob and renowned guide and spey expert Walt Geryk. We fished around Altmar and Pulaski and through the DSR. Rob brought up a new Helios 2, which I got a chance to cast, and on first impression exceedes the standard its younger version set.

But, to the fishing.

Releases ahead of Sandy had the river at 950+ CFS, and the bite was definitely off. There’s really little you can do at that point but keep your technique tight, enjoy the surroundings and keep cool. Remind yourself the worst day on the water is better than the best day off. And that even the guy who was there two weeks ago and brought a dozen steelhead to hand is on an 0-fer too.

Self delusion? Yes, the worst kind. Truly bad days anywhere hurt. Luckily, I didn’t read Mark at the River is Wild‘s Salmon River struggle until I got back. Shit luck is an understatement.

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