Good fishing on the Thompson River

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We’ve all heard the three keys to business success are location, location, location.

Well, I’m surely no expert in the world of business, but I would venture to say three keys to fishing success are timing, timing, timing.

You are most likely not to catch fish on your driveway, so location obviously does play a role in fishing. (With this year’s potential runoff, who knows what will happen?)

For weeks I’ve heard friends say, “I wonder if the salmonflies are out on the Thompson,” and, “I wonder if any fish have moved up into the Thompson from the Clark Fork.”

Last Friday it was time for me to personally check out the Thompson River, which is open until the third Saturday in May for trout fishing downstream from the confluence of the Little Thompson.

First surprise was the lack of anglers. I only saw two.

The eastside road had been closed due to a washout, but it was opened within an hour of when I arrived.

Second surprise was the scope of last year’s Copper King fire. Facing east there were places where the fire burned from the road all the way to the tops of the mountains, and most certainly beyond!

If your timing in spring is such that you find yourself in a “last year’s forest fire,” you find morel mushrooms. I did.

The Thompson was high, off-color and running very fast. After several stops, I fished a run along a grassy bank with a golden stone nymph and San Juan Worm dropper.

Bam!

First fish was a 16-inch rainbow, followed by a 14-inch brown trout. After landing a couple of whitefish, I walked about 30 yards to my truck to eat lunch and rest that water a bit.

I was parked facing upstream and I waved when two trucks heading downstream passed me.

In my rearview mirror I couldn’t believe it when both trucks parked and two guys got out of the second truck and walked almost to where I’d been fishing.

Long story short, the guide apologized for stopping and sending his clients to my hotspot. He said he didn’t see me sitting in my truck.

They packed up right away. Then I returned and caught three more browns and two more whities.

All day I saw I one salmonfly and three golden stoneflies in the air. None on bushes.

Jerry Smalley’s Fishful Thinking column appears weekly in the Hungry Horse News.

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