We here at Neil Creek are absolutely gobsmacked about the results of the latest field trip.
Yesterday we went up a dirty river with suspiciously Canadian origins, looking for a clear trib and a boatload of coho. After battling near-zero visibility fog while looking for the right channel to go up, we managed to sneak our way into the mainstem and start on the journey upriver.
Early signs were good. The river was up, which is always a good thing, and the seals were hunting a good mile or so up into the valley. Seals don't do upstream unless there is something to eat, so seeing them on the job reassured us that we were on the right track.
Pulling into the trib, the old uneasy feeling started.
After 3 miles upstream through some hairy turns (nice drivin' T), we gave up looking and pulled over.
Figuring that up might be better considering what we had seen downriver, we hoofed our way a few holes, making halfhearted casts here and there.
Oh, sure, the odd cutt or little resident rainbow, with a few dollies thrown in...but no salmon.
As if some tiny neutron bomb had gone off, leaving this perfect salmon stream sterilized.
After awhile we surrendered, floating back down and half-heartedly flogging at the perfect stream with no life.
The disbelief still clung as we floated down to the confluence. A lonely coho bolted from in front of the boat at one point, but other than that, Lifeless.
As the Fanz said, "just because you get outta town don't mean the fishing is good."
So we made our way downstream, battling a wicked groundfog that obscured some nasty sweepers, Sun directly in the line of the main channel and low on the horizon, and a 20-foot tide change, of which we were on the falling end. We made it out.
We ain't goin back.