It was zero degrees, my feet were numb beyond recognition, steam clouds billowed from my mouth with every exhaling breath and yet I could not help but embrace the shit-spitting grin I had on my face. I stopped my casting for a brief minute to take in the awe-inspiring beauty of the Sawtooth mountains surrounding me. My good friend Brad and I were taking turns fighting monstrous sea-run trout in the tiny upper confluence of the Salmon River. These fish had traveled nearly 900 miles past 8 dams to procreate in one of the most breath-taking landscapes I’ve ever come across to provide us with enough memories to last a lifetime. Between the two of us we pulled in a good ten fish ranging from 28 – 36inches both hatchery raised and native. While this was only my second year steelhead fishing, I know that this day will be one for the history books.
No matter whether I’m living in Ketchum, ID or clear across the country, I can guaruntee that I will be paying a yearly homage to Stanley to throw my fly line at those amazing fish. That of course is all dependent on their survival rate back to these coveted waters. Check out this PBS video for some insight on how the dams on the Columbia river watershed have depleted a run that was once epic in proportion to the numbers that run today.