Fly fishing for trout from the SUP at Swift Reservoir

In mid-August, I enjoyed my first SUP fishing trip in nearly a year. The opportunity came up when MAC Executive Chef Philippe asked me to join him at his cabin near Swift Reservoir (check out the video here)

Nice trout caught on the SUP. Click here for the video.
Swift is always good for fly fishing, especially where the Lewis River drops into the reservoir. Of course having been stocked with 500,000 trout in late April helps.

On this trip, since I was only going for a night and Philippe already had his boat in the water, I didn't want to take the trailer and the kayaks and I didn't want to put the Hobie Pro Angler on top of the Escape.

As I was contemplating my need for a kayak, I decided I should get the SUP out again. It had spent many months traveling unused on the kayak trailer and it was time to put it back on the water. It was also easy to put it on top of the Escape.

I loaded up and headed out shortly before noon and arrived at Swift within a couple hours. Soon Philippe and I were on the water fishing. He had been out for the past couple days and warned me fishing had been slow. After trolling duel fly rigs through a couple places on the reservoir without any success, we decided to try the mouth of the Lewis and maybe motor upriver.

On the way, we hooked up on a small trout on the shallow flats about 200 yards from the mouth. Unfortunately, it decided to let go before we could get it to the boat. At least we had hooked up.

We worked our way up the mouth and into the Lewis switching to a single fly once we were across the river boundary. The water was noticeably cooler and clearer. We motored up about half a mile and dropped anchor in one of Philippe's favorite spots. After an hour without a strike, we back trolled downriver. Soon, Philippe hooked and landed a nice 14 inch trout.

We dropped anchor and for the next couple hours were catching fish by casting near the shore and slowly retrieving brown and black woolly buggers. We soon had a couple limits and the main course for the evening's dinner. As we headed back to the cabin, I decided that the next day I would try fishing from the SUP in the same area. It would mean launching upriver, but the current was fairly slow and the idea of paddling the SUP downriver was enticing.

After breakfast, and with the temperature rising, I had Philippe's wife, Susan, drop me off at the first bridge above the mouth of the Lewis. I had left the Escape at the marina where I intended to take out.

The trip would be only a couple miles at most. I put the SUP in the river, put my fly rod through the cords near the bow and stepped aboard. The water was clear and cold and the current perfect for paddling downriver at a leisurely pace. When I arrived at the first hole, I sat down and tried a few casts. The wind was blowing upriver and the downstream current and upstream wind kept me from going downriver too fast. It did, however, tend to push me to the shoreline with the steepest bank and the best fishing spots so I used the paddle periodically to stay near the middle of the river.

After 30 minutes and no fish, I headed downriver. Standing up on the SUP from a sitting position was a little challenging but I managed to get to my feet without falling. I paddled down to the area Philippe and I limited out the day before. I sat down again and cast my fly a foot from the bank. Strip, strip, bang! I landed a nice trout. Then another and another. I spent the next hour catching, releasing and losing, several trout using the same brown and black woolly buggers we used the day before.

By 2 p.m., the wind was starting to pick up and I could see whitecaps on the reservoir. It was time to head to the dock. I tucked my rod back into the cord on the top of the SUP, carefully stood up and headed into the reservoir. The going was slow as my body turned into a sail and pushed me in opposite direction of the marina. I quickly realized why I preferred the kayak.

An hour later, I approached the dock and was met by Philippe. "I was worried," he said. I told him I appreciated his concern and I was fine, although a little tired. He helped me pull the SUP onto the dock and we started towards shore. "Did you catch any fish?" he asked. "Yes," I said and filled him in on the details.

We said goodbye and I loaded the SUP on top of the Escape. The SUP was certainly fun, but I am not getting rid of my kayaks.

Go Farther. Catch More.

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