Have you ever past up fast water? You’re probably asking, “What do you mean by fast water?” I mean the kind of water that you think couldn’t possibly hold fish, and even if it did how could you fish it. Well, for years I did just that. What a missed opportunity!
I’d spotted what I considered had to be a honey hole. A long stretch of treacherously fast riffle no more than mid-shin deep that ended in an ankle deep rock dam from bank to bank, and dumped into a deep pool tailed with a slow deep run. It had to be fished from the far side because the near bank was very deep cut, and choked in brush. The raging riffle was the only place to cross short of a very lengthy hike. On the first attempt to cross I turned back for fear of being swept away, but my perseverance paid of with a heel to toe shuffle. The crossing was so nerve racking that I doubted my return trip. I fished that deep hole and run without success, but I vowed to return, because I knew that big fish had to be in that hole. The second attempt ended in the same result, and I was beginning to wonder. I’d been catching fish on this river but this spot had me baffled. However, the day did come, but it wasn’t what I’d expected.
I started with my usual approach working upstream toward the pool when I spotted some fish taking along my side of the bank. I picked up some nice fish in the 15 to 16 inch range, along the bank, while heading up to the rock dam, and stopped when I reached water that looked too fast and shallow to fish. As I stood there looking at the rock dam stretching across the river, in its raging, not much more than ankle deep water, I spotted what appeared to be the backs of fish. At first I thought it was nothing more than the turbulent water playing tricks on me, but the more I watched the more I swore I was seeing fish. It was pretty obvious that the only way to confirm what I thought I was seeing was to cast right into the rocks, and so I did. I kid you not; I stood in one spot casting right into the rocks and lost count of the number of fish caught, some on consecutive casts and many pushing the 20 inch mark. I have since fished this with others, and all were in disbelief.
Narrow, less than 40 feet across for most of its quarter mile stretch, and well over your head, is this raging torrent of main channel. Oh, this river offers everything in its side channels, pools, runs, riffles, slack and back waters, and on weekends its shoulder to shoulder. But enter the raging torrent and nary is a fisherman seen. Yes I too, past on this water time and time again, intimidated by its seemingly impossible to fish facade. That is until I gave it a try, and its secrets were revealed; big fish and seclusion from the crowd consistently.