HUNDREDS of salmon and lake trout went over the spillway and into the Swift, most noticed where the hundreds that went into the Y Pool. That started the BEST Winter season that this river has had in recent memory.
It's New years Day on 2012. I'm there at 7:30 am and I'm not the first but I'm at the end of the Y Pool at waist depth casting a tiny smelt pattern 3/4 quarters downstream and mending the line to swim this pattern. I know what Landlocked Salmon do. They're like their ATLANTIC cousins (genetically the same fish) and they will rise through the water column if it's what they want. This salmon rose to that tiny streamer when it was only 6 inches below the surface. It measured 26 inches!!! Salmon will do that and it reminded me of New Brunswick Atlantic Salmon fishing. Even more so when I began to get them with soft hackles with the same approach. (Note to Lenny: My 12 and 10 soft hackles worked here. Your bigger soft hackles will work for Steelies)
It was a wild Winter. I saw one angler who had never been to the Swift before mumbling that he he had caught a 24 inch salmon on a # 14 soft hackle. He didn't know about the overflow and thought he was only fishing for trout. We calmed him down and said there's more like that so keep fishing.
My soft hackles and inch long streamers took salmon and so did a 30 inch monster that grabbed a #30 larva pattern (yes - I saw it.!!!). Some scraped the bottom and others fished like me. We all caught salmon. One kid was screaming that he caught a 2 foot long brown. I said "that's a salmon" and I think he felt better. I guided a guy who landed the fish pictured above using the streamer swing. Way to go.
Within 6 months these fish were gone.
High flows will not guarantee salmon. If that were the case the Summer of 1999 would have done it with it's 500+ flows. But it was Summer and the salmon will not be moving out of there cool comfort zone. Maybe we will see it another year.
Update - Still catching trout on the Swift. Dress warm and fish tiny flies. The more fish you catch the warmer you will feel.!!!