Weirdest trip I've ever taken to the Russian, at least during the first run. I was there on the 13th and we did really well. There were lots of people then, but it's to be expected this time of year. I expected much of the same tonight, as the run is still going strong.
My friend Criss and I biked up to the falls and then walked downstream the requisite 600 yards. This is only the 2nd time during salmon season that I have ever come upon that initial hole when nobody was there fishing. I thought it seemed strange, but went ahead and readied my 8 wt. and tied on a fly. The glare off the water was really bad and I lost my polarized glasses last week, so we flogged the water blindly for a few before moving downstream towards my preferred holes. On the way I noticed a strange absense of two things - people and fish. Only a few days ago it was difficult to find room to cast at times, with at least 15 people in the initial hole and a pretty steady stream of them as one moved along. The fish were much the same. This time around? Nothing. Of either. Seriously. The parking lots were packed, but apparently everyone was down at the Sanctuary. Actually, that was my hope, as I have had some of my best days on the Russian all alone upstream when the masses are fighting each other at the confluence. (I'll never for the life of me understand why people do that when such serene conditions are available upstream, but to each their own.)
Anyhow, we fished for 3 or 4 hours and I saw a grand total of 3 salmon. Two were scarred up really badly and sitting almost motionless under some alders on the far side of the river, so I didn't bother them, and the other moved through lightning-fast and bolted as soon as I made my first cast to it. The rainbows were plentiful and putting on quite a show taking flies out of mid-air, but the salmon and people were strangely absent. (We saw 3 other fishermen all night.) In my past experience the opening of the Sanctuary has caused masses of fish to start moving upstream, but I guess this time they're just stubbornly sitting at the confluence and getting caught by the truckload. Weird.