July fishing is progressing nicely and there are more pink salmon around than there have been the last few years. The chum are nosing in to freshwater and that means the Dolly Varden are moving in as well. All are good indications that the salmon runs will keep building and there will be plenty to keep anglers busy until the coho arrive in August.
Starting off with pinks, there are quite a few in saltwater and they are beginning to push into freshwater locations as well. Echo Cove has pinks in it but the abundance out by the sand spit is definitely greater than up by the boat ramp. They aren't showing themselves a ton, so look for slight rolls to indicate there is a school of fish around. Pinks also are in Tee Harbor and Lena Cove. Once again, if you see a roller it means there are more fish in the area. Drop your fly near the roll, start stripping it slowly and you'll be tight to a fish in short order.
Cowee Creek has pinks all the way up to the bridge. With the weather drying out, Cowee's water level should drop down a bit and become easier to fish. Larger profile patterns like Starlite Leeches in Pink and Alaskabou's in Kandy Kane are helpful so that the pinks can see your fly more easily. Try to slow the fly down so the current isn't ripping it right along. A few strategic line mends followed by a slow, erratic retrieve are good for enticing a grab.
Finally, Dolly Varden are moving back in with the salmon. Cowee Creek has good numbers of Dollies. You can stick with fishing a bright minnow pattern (you'll catch plenty of Dollies while fishing a Humpy Hooker!) so long as you retrieve it more rapidly. Or you can break out the beads and get after them. We have a good stock of beads on hand as well as SE Starter Kits built and ready to fish.
The weather looks to be improving this weekend. Grab your gear and spend a few hours on the water. See you out there!
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