In the spring, you dream of your next trip. You also dream of the trips your friends are one, or are just returned from. In the spring, the reports start streaming in.
Recently, friends have gone to the Bahamas, to Boca for tarpon, and to the Miramichi for Atlantic salmon. I’ve been thinking about this last one a lot, as my close friend Ben Moody went salmon fishing for the first time on the Little Southwest Miramichi. This winter, I tied him some flies, and so I was anxious to find out how he had done. The reports and photos on Keith Wilson’s blog for Wilson Camps had not looked very promising until quite recently, and so I was worried that Ben would have been skunked — and on my flies, no less.
Earlier this week, Ben wrote on the drive back. Here’s what he said:
Just driving back from the Little Southwest Miramichi after four days of fishing. We arrived two days after the ice left the river and just as the water was coming down and clearing nicely… In three and a half days we landed over 80 fish and I missed about 20 more… about half were grilse and half salmon, some very nice sized… Needless to say, we timed it just right and according to my guide I’ll never have fishing that good ever again even if I come for two weeks.
It’s emails like this that remind you of the sheer size of the atlantic salmon run on the Miramichi. The river system — with the branches — remains the most productive atlantic salmon fishery in North America. For anyone who’s fished it, and found success, it a river system whose size leaves a distinct, and wonderful, impression.
The Miramichi is also a testament to the incredible a catch and release program can have on a river. Today’s numbers, though under increasing pressure people argue from the growing striped bass fishery, are a product of the conservation principles so long observed on this powerful river.
In the end, Ben not only did Ben catch fish, but he did so on a fly I tied. I’ve not fished the Miramichi this early in the year, and so most of the flies I tied for him where on hooks more appropriate for early to mid-summer levels, I did tie one Green Spey fly for him on a large hook. He wrote:
One of the most memorable fish of the trip came on the Green Spey. I fished it in a small pool right next to the lodge right before we planned to call it for the day and first cast picked up a big male with a huge kype, about 42 inches. Took me 100 feet into the backing four times. The hardest fighting fish of the trip.
I’m really happy for Ben — and I hope this means he’ll join me for some atlantic salmon fishing, on the Miramichi or elsewhere!
Check out Ben’s photos below. The smile is contagious. And so if the fishing. If you’ve never been up to the Miramichi, I’d highly recommend it!
Note: For more info on the Miramichi, check out the Miramichi Salmon Association (MSA). I’m a brand new US Board Member, so I’m biased, but I think this is a truly great atlantic salmon conservation group!