If you’ve heard much about the Dean River, you’ve heard that its anadromous fish are hot, strong and aggressive. If you’ve heard much about Dean River Chinooks, you’ve heard that they’re just pretty much insane.
The reality is that more than half of your encounters with Dean River Chinooks are not going to end with a picture of you holding that fish. These fish are so big and strong and full of piss and vinegar that we as fly anglers are clearly over-matched. Those of us that love it wouldn’t have it any other way.
Today we present the top 5 encounters that you may just have with a Dean Chinook.
- ‘The Cracker’. You’re swinging through a run, minding your own business. You feel something similar to a nuclear explosion on the end of your fly line, but said fly line was impeded by a velcro wrist strap, or a button, or a hanging pinky nail. Doink! You’re crackered off. Thanks for playing.
- ‘The Rock Shock’. You hook a big chinook in fast water above a bend in the river. The fish is instantly (OK, not instantly – maybe it took a couple three seconds) two runs below you. You look up to see your fly line dragging across the rocks on the bar below you, as the fish heads back for the saltwater it just left. This is not so good on your fly line or your landing ratio. Doink! Bye bye Mr. Kingsley.
- ‘The Fountain’. You’re wading real deep, working hard for the sweet swing. In fact you’re deep enough that while your fly is swinging, your reel is partially submerged. Something resembling a chrome-tinted sea lion grabs your fly and heads downriver so fast that your reel turns into a fountain as it churns water a few feet in the air. You’re soaked, you know who’s boss, and you feel like this fight did not start out in your favor.
- ‘The Lose Cruise’. Things seem to be going pretty well. You hooked the fish in reasonably paced water. Things were fairly well under control. You knew it was big so you got on the radio. The boat got there in time, you climbed aboard, and you started putting the wood to ’em. 4 bends downriver and 20 minutes later, the fly pulls out. Wah wah wah. At least you burned some calories.
- ‘Redemption’. Things seem to be going pretty well. You hooked the fish in reasonably paced water. Things were fairly well under control. You knew it was big so you got on the radio. The boat got there in time, you climbed aboard, and you started putting the wood to ’em. 4 bends downriver and 20 minutes later, you pull hard, and…the fish rolls over…the guide sweeps the net…and in goes Chromezilla. Holy crap! Sometimes the good guys do win.