Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Salmon Fishing

The day awoke clear and cold.  A thick frost glowed with un-warming light on the grass and chimney smoke puffed from glazed roofs in our neighborhood.  As I scrambled to gobble down Katrina’s home-made granola and get out the door to meet my dad for our fishing trip, I noticed large clouds on the horizon and donned another sweater and packed my rain jacket.  The last time we went fishing it rained the whole time, and with the cold temperatures, I was really hoping it wouldn’t do the same today.  

I met Dad at his house and he was already prepared to go.  Fishing rods packed, and boat trailer hitched, we set out northward to Canada to fish Chum Salmon on the Vedder Canal.  The Vedder River used to connect the Fraser River to Sumas Lake until the 1920s when the 15 square mile lake was drained to open up more land for agriculture.  Despite all the alterations to this river system, several fish species manage to survive in its waters.  Two months ago we fished Pinks and later in the winter we might return to fish Steelhead.

We arrived to find the boat launch parking lot completely empty which made us wonder if we were going to find any fish, but we launched anyway and motored down the Vedder to its confluence with the Fraser.  The river was full of bird life including Mergansers, Herring Gulls, Western Grebes, Blue Herons, and Bald Eagles but we didn’t see a single fish jump.  Without much optimism we slowly made our way back up the river and just when we both decided to pack up and try a different river, a large Chum jumped.  Suddenly the fish were everywhere, but it took us about 45 minutes to figure out how to catch them.  We used strike indicators and weighted flies to fish deep in the pools where they were resting.  I hooked into the first fish, but after a couple minutes it broke off on the anchor line while I was reaching for the net.  Then Dad showed me who was boss by catching about 5 fish while I struggled for another bite.  In the end, he landed about 8 and I landed 3; we killed 4.  On the drive home, Mt. Cheam looked glorious with snow dusting the forested slopes.

I filleted the salmon and froze one, put half in the fridge to eat fresh, and will smoke the other 2 ½ tomorrow.  It is gratifying to have another positive calorie day after a string of days hunting only for apartments.
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