Opening weekend on the skagit I had a long honey do list. Sunday afternoon I figured I should at least go look at the river. I mean this was exactly what I had been dreaming about for all these years I should probably go experience it. I drove down the Sauk which was very marginal at best, and was surprised to see cars and people in every access from the mill down. Figured this wouldn’t bode well for the skagit if so many people were fishing a blown out river. I took a right on 20 and headed up river and suddenly the place seemed empty, even the lot at rock port was nearly empty of trailers. I parked and got out at one spot and had a look. Didn’t look how I remembered it so I moved on. Pulled into the next spot which I have driven past but never fished. A classic named run with a lot of history. About 5:26 I waded in and started fishing. At 5:48 I took this picture. Broke my rod tip landing the fish on a branch over head. Drove home in time for dinner. My first April Skagit experience, wearing a t shirt in the warm late afternoon sun. The fish absolutely hammered the fly mid swing and left no mystery as to what was happening. My dog was so excited he was prancing around hopping like a deer the whole time. Internally I think I was too.
Does it count if my favorite fish is a fish my girlfriend caught? BC Stillwater:
But if I had to pick a favorite of mine it would have to be this rainbow I sight fished in Alaska. He started peeling line off my click reel heading down stream for a log jam and it was a battle to stop him. Luckily a friend netted him for me. Such a massive relief when I realized he was in the net. We taped him at 21”
That middle one looks like an Arowana.I raised one in a55 gallon aquarium. Awesome fish. He ate out of my hand. Great jumpers. They are mouth breeders. Natives used to corral th e m in nets. When they jumped,they'd chop their heads off and collect the fry from their mouth to sell to aquariums. Can't buy them anymore. I gave mine to Masseys aquarium on Rainier Ave when he got to be 20".
Mine was definitely my first tiger trout. The oddest part about the experience is where it happened. I've been after tigers for years, and fished several lakes and a few streams with them, and had never got one. I even fished a small private pond that had nothing but tiger trout and struck out. I was after lake run browns this fall when a fish crushed my big articulated streamer. It fought good, but I was slightly disappointed when I got it closer and saw how chrome it was. Not a brown. Just another medium sized rainbow. It wasn't until I had it all the way in the net that I realized it had vermiculation and spots. I had just landed a 22 inch super chrome tiger trout out of the frickin Columbia River!
Without a doubt my favorite fish of the year was my first fly caught albacore. I already posted the story in the saltwater forum so I won't bore folks with details.... But I worked hard for this fish, and it is by far the most incredible fish I've ever caught on the fly. I can't wait to get back out on the blue water again this summer.
Here are my favorites of the year. It’s been a blast learning saltwater over the last few years. Finally starting to pay off.
First fly caught chinook of the beach - caught in August.
My biggest coho ever, caught off the beach in September.
One of many beautiful cutts taken during a quick to MT/ID In September. Crystal clear water, small flies, 4 weight rod. Nothing better to test your patience than watching fish on the bottom slowly come up, inspect and take...
Also, lots of SRC, rezzies and chum in 2018, plus my first trout in AK.
My favorite fish of the year was a rainbow that my wife caught in Slovenia. Her biggest fish before this was probably a 12 inch trout from an alpine lake. She caught this on a 5 wt and expertly handled 4-5 runs:
My favorite fish that I caught was this gorgeous cutthroat from the Yakima: