Headed out early this morning to a section of river I call “Shady River”. It is a new river, only 3 years old. This is the third season I’ve fished it. It was born out of the extremely high water runoff on the Giant Orifice river in 2018. Flows peaked in mid-June that year in excess of 10,000 CFS (3X long-term median). The high flows and a confluence of several seasons of large cottonwoods nestled in the center of the main channels caused a lot of havoc. As the river made a gradual left turn into a narrow channel, the high flows had dislodged the big cottonwoods and jammed them at the top of the old channel. This caused the main current to explode over the outside bend an into a thick stand of cottonwoods undergrown with high grass and shrub. A new river was born and as far I can tell, no water had ever flowed through this cottonwood grove. The flow cut a deep, narrow channel that made a sharp left then right turn through the cottonwood grove to emerge about ¼ mile downstream into a slough that flowed back to the main stem of the river. The new river now takes at least 2/3rd of the flow in this section. Unpassable by boat as the outflow is blocked by several downed trees lying across the channel. A new one fell this year as well.
Although flows in this section of river remain robust because of massive pools and deep holes that act as big instream reservoirs, water temperatures are problematic because of the recent heat wave. The nearest upstream gauge peaked at 75° yesterday and was headed that way today. Overnight the same gauge only got down to 66°. Fishing today was a bit slower than usual but still plenty of fish came to hand. Shady and shadowy spots on the river held the most fish, especially those with good, deep current.
Shady River is a bit challenging to fish because of the tight, steep banks, swift current and proximity of trees and brush streamside. Roll casting was about the only way to get a streamer through productive water. Yet, big fish still came to hand. This buck regurgitated a 6” partially digested sucker. I need a bigger streamer.