Weatherby’s Featured in Outdoor Life in 1965
It was the Fourth of July, the traditional time for fireworks, and, as though by arrangement, the water in the vicinity of my trolled streamers suddenly exploded. My fly rod bucked, and some 70 feet behind the canoe a gleaming landlocked salmon made like a rocket. My friend Pete and I, 400 miles from our homes in Pittsford, Vermont, yelled in unison as the hook-stung salmon went through a lightning fast series of acrobatics, but our guide, Kenny Wheaton, stayed as cool as a cucumber. He glanced upward to determine the angle of my wire-type fly line and gunned the motor to bring the 20 ft. square-sterned canoe you broadside to the fish. Then he switched off the motor, picked up a paddle, and skillfully held the canoe in position while I went through the anxious give and take of gradually bringing in salmon alongside.
Despite all his wild leaps, the fish still had plenty of zip, and when the net came out he went into a dazzling tail walk. Fortunately, I was ready for his last ditch flurry and turned him loose against the drag of the real. One last sizzling run drained his energy, and moments later Kenny had him thrashing in the net. In the next few days this exciting drama was repeated time after time, and the remarkable thing about it was that according to the books, it shouldn’t have happened at all.
Landlocked salmon come to the surface as soon ice goes out, but they remain there only as long as the water on top stays cold. By mid June, rising surface temperatures drive them into the depths. This is an inexorable fact of life all landlocked salmon fishermen recognize and grudgingly accept. It was for that reason, as Pete and I drove to Manes grand Lake Stream region on July 3, salmon fishing was the father’s from our minds. The previous year we’d finished the area for such warm water species as smallmouth bass, Pickrell, and white perch. We had visions of 3 pound smallmouth’s clobbering our fly rod poppers. We talked bass and more bass as the miles rolled under us, and the fact that grand Lake is probably the hottest landlocked salmon water in the country at present seemed unworthy of comment.
Since I’ve been chasing these silvery bastards, there always seems to be a story that makes it around the Camps each year of one that was caught on top when the water was in the high 60’s low 70’s. It’s happened twice to me since 1989, once was this year, water temp 67 degrees, my wife nailed one 4.4lbs 23 inches, 6″s under the water in the prop wash on an Apgar Secret tandem streamer. FYI: the only place you can get that Fly is from me, or maybe you could get Dale Tobey or Paul Laney to give one up!
Trophies often come out of sync. I broke a 50 year old lake record in WI this year. 8#4oz largemouth bass, 23 inches long…mid morning on a top water crawdad color shad rap rapala after a week of catching almost nothing. Changed up the pattern, bucked all logic but kept fishing…ultimately got the trophy. It even made the local Woods and Waters TV show.