Yesterday marked my second trip to the Elk River this year for Chinook salmon. The river was low and clear, its characteristic green coloration. The Mule and his buddy Dan and I drifted the run from the Elk River Hatchery to the pullout before the 101 bridge and it took forever. At least, that’s how it felt after playing bumper boats all day with dozens of guides, bouncing and hauling over exposed gravel bars and watching a few other people catch fish.
The Mule lamented that we hadn’t tried The Sixes River — a little more water, cloudier — the salmon would be less wary. But the Mule was on a scouting mission for an Elk River vacation and couldn’t deviate from the plan. I don’t think we’d have had much more fun on the Sixes. There were a lot more boats on the Sixes and we were practically combat fishing as it was. The thin layer of civility on the river was tenuous at best — you could see everybody just gritting their teeth, trying not to scream “EAT SHIT” at every other person they saw. So we’d have probably ended up in a fight to the death on the Sixes.
Highlight of the day: About ¾ of the way through the drift, we hung up on a gravel bar. Instead of getting out and being swept away into the hole below the bar, Dan and I started synchronized humping on the front of the Mule’s boat, eventually breaking us loose of the bar and sending us downstream. Where a group of dudes happened to be watching the whole thing and told us the boat was probably pregnant now.