We just completed our first week guiding at Rainbow Alley fishing the sockeye fry bust. As the year old smolts migrate down river, and the fry hatchlings emerge from the gravel , the large lake rainbow trout residents move into the alley to ferociously feed.
The fry migrate mostly in the morning and evening so we base our day around hitting the peak fishing hours. That means an early morning fish from 6am-10am and back to camp for a hearty breakfast. After a siesta and some campfire time we have our largest meal of the day around 2pm. Our food theme is southern bbq, and we have the slow cooker, smoker and bbq running around the clock. Day 1 was a pulled pork cooked and smoked over a couple days.
We hit the water by 5pm on the first night and the trout were already extremely active. The second we stopped the engine we saw fish slashing at the surface all throughout the river. the fish like to target boily sections of the river where odd ball currents disorient the fry long enough to make an easy, quick meal.
For technique we like to slowly row through the rising fish casting to the rings and stripping fast and hard to entice a take. The first night was a learning experience as the clients hooked and lost over a dozen trout each. The lesson was that while stripping fry you to need to set the hook with a strip set and try to avoid lifting the rod until the fish is on.
Rainbow Alley trout tend to hit you fry once or twice before actually taking it and if you lift the rod you pull the fly right out of the strike zone. Secondly a rod set puts little power into a stripped fly often barely lipping a fish which means you are prone to losing it on the first jump. We did get a few nice fish to the net but after night 1 it was the fish 1and the fisherman nothing.
The week had its typical non fishing related issues, with a power outage at the cabin, and a leak in the water line, but a couple quick repairs kept us in the game. Dry rub ribs and a homemade cole slaw were on the menu and the cherry wood smoke was a nice scent to get us in the mood.
The fish weren’t on the bite as much this night. Their has to be enough fry migrating that a trout will feed and stay high in the water column ready to feed again. If the fry are spotty the fish will feed and head back to the bottom waiting for another bait ball. This means they arent feeding consistently enough to cast to feeding fish. By the time to sling your fry to them they are back on the bottom. This was the case on this night. The only option is to anchor and blind cast over larger groups of feed fish. It is still effective but not as fun.
Our favorite fry pattern was the clear winner again as it always out performs our experimental flies. The fish love it and it has a great hook up percentage. All in all it was great week full of nice fish, great music and wonderful camp side southern bbq. Two more weeks left of the fry bust so get out there and give it a try or join us on one of our trips. Its a great fishery and a lot of fun for everyone.