We’re lucky enough to fish with a ton of born dredgers in our camps each season — excellent sticks from NorCal, Oregon, Washington, B.C. and beyond — who know how to get a fly deep and keep it there. What tends to blow their minds, however, is that our fish aren’t always as deep as the Chinook they’re used to chasing.
Once you’ve mined the gravel with 16 feet of T-17 and have yet to connect with one of the five bazillion rolling kings in front of you, try leaving your comfort zone and going lighter. Seriously. Loop on a 7-foot MOW tip and an unweighted fly for your next pass. Or fish a larger-profiled, more buoyant fly like a Stinger Prawn or a Spot-On Prawn. Given our salt-fresh Dean and Kanektok fish still adjusting to the freshwater, they’re not always hugging the bottom. Searching the entire water column can pay big dividends for any angler willing to make the investment.