Santa’s Little Helper is fashioned from a Christmas theme Atlantic salmon fly pattern I came up with several years past. Though it’s never caught a salmon that I know of I’m certainly sure it could. The gold brooch fly pin copy certainly will not hook a salmon. It surely will fetch some glances and admiring comments when displayed on hat or coat.
I just hope it fetches some Christmas Cheer. Merry Christmas to all!
The winter fish are starting to arrive into the upper river. Over a third of the 247 winter fish count that have returned to the hatchery so far this year just arrived over the past week. With the current paltry 1300 CFS flow and the clearing water condition, hook up success has once more become possible. I’ve been finding mid-day and latter to be the best times. This is most likely on account of the cold mornings. The fish just need the water to warm up a little. The sun has been a bit bright as of late, but if you find the right water with secure conditions, the wary fish will take and sometimes almost like the summer run.
Just the other day a fresh winter fish surprised me while I was daydreaming inhaling a Bead Head G.R. Hare’s Ear nymph nearly at my feet. Time and again the G.R. Hare’s Ear has proved its worth regardless of the season. A great video on tieing this nymph pattern can be found below. I tie mine a little different with my own choices of particular materials. Regardless of what you use to tie the G.R. Hare’s Ear nymph it is a great fly.
The contact came at the end of the swing. I was fishing a Midnight Fire Carpetbagger Nymph with a small bead head Prince Nymph on a tippet tied on to the bend of its hook. I felt solid weight to the rod, and then a little give to what I had hooked. Next came the head shakes of a good fish. I applied pressure and the fish moved out into the strong current. I knew already it was a large fish, but I suspected big, native steelhead. Downstream went the run and I applied even more pressure. Luckily the fish stopped and went to the bottom and sulked. Being in this situation before, I knew what to do. I began to reel and pump, slowly moving my prize up river. Once I got the fish on a short line, it became pretty much a slug-out, albeit one with no jumps and leaps. Who would outlast who? At one point I pulled the stubborn creature close enough to the bank to discern a different look. Instead of the silver and rose flank of a large steelhead, I saw chinook salmon. Weathering a couple more large runs down river I eventually wore on the salmon and I landed him. He had bit on the Carpetbagger Stonefly Nymph. Great thing about this part of the upper Rogue at that time of the year is you can harvest a chinook salmon. I did!