The Kokanee had moved from the riffles to deeper pools by the time we were making it back. They seemed to frequent the sporadic assortment of white rocks on the stream bed. As the majority of the Dream Stream is weeds, silt, and darker rocks it made sighting the fish pretty simple, really. Dave sight-casted to one who took his Orange Stimulator on the first cast. It turned out to be the only Koke we landed all day. I thought it was odd that drowning a Stimi with a splitshot a few inches in front of it would trigger a strike, evidently it did. The Koke was dropping eggs like crazy. It was interesting that they looked almost identical in color, shape, and clarity to the eggs dropped by the Rainbows at Delaney a couple weeks back.
We continued up stream and ran into a huge elk likely dieing in the field just south of the river. Pretty impressive animal, but it looked like he too was diseased or had been shot and wandered to this spot. He repeatedly stood up and laid down, but that was about it. One of the gentlemen who pointed the elk out to us mentioned that we would contact the DOW about the wounded elk.
Side note: Tons of hunters around today, far more than I have ever heard out there.
After speaking a couple friendly local guys we ran into it sounds like the Browns have returned to Elevenmile and the Kokanee run just isn't what is was a couple years back, though better than last year. When I fished for them in 2007 flows were around 150cfs, which may or may not effect the salmon run? Sounds like we missed prime time by a couple weeks tops, flows were 73 cfs which are a little low. I have heard rumors that the gill lice really affected the Elevenmile Kokes so it was good to see at least a few in the river.
We didn't really fish for the trout in the river due to the ridiculous amount of people on the water so we decided to try the our luck at Spinney. Our lot had grown to at least 15 vehicles and there were now a good dozen people fishing the hole under the bridge! We saw a guy fighting a fish and stuck around because the way he was acting as though it was sure to be a trophy. Turned out to be a 6" whopper and we promptly left. Headed over to Spinney by the dam.
I have fished Spinney more times than I can count but never this late in the year so we were pretty blind. Tried by the Dam and South Ramp with little luck so we decided to move over to the main ramp as we had seen some risers on the way in. Started out slow there, too, but all of a sudden we started landing fish after fish all of which were 12" carbon copies of each other. It took us a few minutes to realize this sudden pick-up in action was perhaps directly due to the fact a large DOW truck from the hatchery was unloading into the lake, lol. After a pretty slow day it was pretty entertaining to catch eager fish cast after cast after cast, even if they were stockers. I had been told that the often caught Spinney Bows that have stubs as fins and are clearly beaten up were due to run ins with the Pike. This is clearly not the case because these stockers bear the same damage. Dave and I figured this was probably due to living in the concrete channels (or whatever they are called) at the hatchery. I found this interesting. I contacted the Park to get more information on the truck and this is the response I received:
"That truck was the last of several trucks that just stocked 45,000 - twelve inch - Hofer X Harrison Rainbow Trout. These are 3 year old fish from the Rifle Fish Hatchery. We have found that this cross (Hofer X Harrison) grow longer that previous strains stocked. "
I am quite excited to see how big these Hofer/Harrison bows can get! The current fish are fatties but only grow to average about 20" though I have caught fish up to 22.5" and heard of bows landed in the 24" range. If the little guys are any indication of the new strain's potential, they have a voracious appetite and will grow quickly under the ice this winter. Hopefully the Pike's metabolism has slowed and this new arsenal of Bows can dominate Spinney in the coming years.