Cutties, Browns, and Salmon

As many club members may remember fondly, the late Warren Zevon used to sing about “Lawyers, Guns, and Money.” Today, I will write about my recent experience with cutties, browns, and salmon.

In September, I found myself in Boise, Idaho on a Sunday afternoon with nothing on the calendar until Tuesday afternoon. So, I did the only natural thing. I got up at dark thirty and drove 331 miles each way to fish the lower branch of the Snake River with a guide from the Lodge at Palisades Creek (

Our float started off fairly promising when I rolled a large cutthroat trout. I shook it off and resumed fishing. We were using a hopper dropper combo. The hopper was a “Peacock” hopper, and the dropper was a “Duracell” nymph. We enjoyed gorgeous scenery and weather and caught about twenty cutties and brown trout before the day ended. Most notably, we were able to land cutties and browns that measured 16, 18, 20, and 21 inches, respectively. It was incredible to see them rise to the surface to take the hopper and I enjoyed some spirited battles. Needless to say, it was a bucket list day for me.

In early October, Andy Mekelburg and I headed north to Pulaski, New York to fish the private waters of the Douglaston Salmon Run ( of the Salmon River. As we have done for several years now, we used a guide on the first day and then fished a second day on our own. We were blessed with an absolutely gorgeous day followed by a typical North Country fall day. On our guided day, we each caught our limit, and each had one break off. As many of you know, if the salmon is able to run far enough upstream, the odds are with him …. not you.  Additionally, our guided day could not have begun any better, because it started with my landing a brown trout that was twenty-nine inches long, seventeen and three quarters inches in girth, and weighed about 11.4 pounds.

While hope springs eternal, I do believe the odds are not in my favor to catch a better brown trout in my lifetime. But I guess if you fish enough, you just never know.

By Mike Holland