|Bull Run River|
|spinner caught post-spawn|
In Oregon in 2008 I made a few forays out to the lower Sandy River at the delta in late October fishing black marabou jigs and wading in the same quicksand that terrified Lewis and Clark in that area. I love the look of that Delta but it did not end up being very fishy for me. It has no good trout water in that low stretch. It is big, wide and sandy and thus hard to fish. But I did have a ton of fun riding my bike out there in the dark and did catch my first Steelhead smolt casting a micro spinner to it right under the big Highway 84 bridge.
"Everything pulls hard." Quote to me ca. 1995 from Klee a Bahamian fisherman
Flash forward exactly 1 month:
|Sandy River near spawning sites|
I have made a serious attempt to start a regular "fishing practice". Our shop is not open on Mondays so I have been trying to take every Monday and go fish somewhere close to home. 6 weeks in a row ... and it is making me very happy.
|tiny tackle shop at Troutdale|
In early October I headed out the the Sandy River for a day of chasing fall Salmon in the fresh water. Still too shy financially to get a fly rod bigger than my 5 wt. I was armed with my selection of french blade spinners. I decided to stop and fish a nice looking rocky spot on the lower river as I knew the upper river would be crowded with more people. I got a good wadeable stretch all to myself. At this point in the season most people seem to be fishing the big holes generally with something on a bobber. I was casting a big #5 all gold Blue Fox. I was thrilled out of my mind to hook a big post-spawn native female Chinook in a seam next to a crazy long slot rapid. The fish tore into the heavy chop current and made 2 nice long runs. This fish was much easier to stop than the fish still in the saltwater. I love these Blue Fox spinners with the slow rotation on the blade that you can feel with the braided line and cork handle. I got her back in the water and she swam of with surprising energy.
Successful Session with Spinners in the Clackamas River
|inside tiny tackle shop|
|a young Clackamas Steelhead|
I Regress onto Bait Boat:
|Dave fighting Chinook|
|Chrome Tidewater Chinook|
In Early November I had the super lucky privilege of getting out on a boat in Tillamook Bay near Garibaldi, OR. My freind Dave Barmon of Fiddlehead Landscapes had an extra spot on Pete Wilson of Pete Wilson Stoneworks 20'+ Boat. Pete was nice enough to have somebody along he had not met. It was a good education for me. I like most types of fishing and had never done this type of trolling before. It was that spinning a plug cut herring on 4 conventional 30 lb. test rods behind the boat - with spreader bars and a 5 oz. weight!! kooky! (BTW NO Snook or Tarpon would EVER hit a live bait that is literally spinning. If you rig a live shrimp so that it spins in Florida - forget about it - nothing is touching that weirdness) We trolled an area called the Ghost Hole with many other boats. This would also be my first experience "combat" fishing - with a high concentration of boats. But we hooked 3 big Chinook and landed 2 it was really fun. Though I did really miss getting to feel the fish hit. Trolling not so much about fishing skills but very much about life skills - organizing your life to have a boat. So very different from fly fishing at 7700'. So I think I am getting a very well rounded Oregon fishing education.
I have cried three times this fall:
|moody Garibaldi Harbor|
The second time I cried this fall was when I got a new 9 wt. fly rod and reel in the mail from my dad. It came in the mail while I was at work. I had asked to borrow his old 9 wt. for winter Steelhead season and the assjack actually sent me a new rod and reel.
Then I cried again when I was driving to the river early in the morning realizing how many people were breaking up or struggling with relationships.
|Bridge Lips portion|
Naomi ran the ENTIRE 30 mile Wildwood Trail on Monday. Of which I ran the last 18 with her... !! She had been wanting to run this since we moved here. And then I also got a Wednesday off work. I had the choice to go to the fly shop and rig my new fly reel or fish… and I chose fishing for the day. Last month - I had run in two Portland Water Bureau guys at Dodge Park doing a gravel survey of that area regarding suitability for Coho and Chinook spawning. I asked them if there were Suckers in that part of the river.
They said they do see Bridgelip Suckers. I hit three parks with access along the Clackamas. I landed 3 Bridgelip Suckers and jumped one Trout. Bridgelips are a
Some Fish Stuff of Interest:
This was apparently a record year for returning Fall Chinook to the Columbia. This is good. The Coho run I am not sure about… we had heavy rain that came early in the fall and then a dry October which likely set things back.
Also something that came up in the past few weeks is odd catches of species in odd places: A Mahi Mahi off Ilwaco, Washington! I am most interested in the few recent documented Striped Bass in the Columbia River. One really large female of 71 lbs. ! There is an erie and cool photo of a Striped Bass passing through the fish ladder at Bonneville Dam back in June. I will be looking for big ones in June someday - just under a giant school of Shad.
On November 8 was the premiere of WAYPOINTS a really good fly fishing documentary by Confluence Films. The trailers of all their films are worth watching. I went with my friend Matt Reed who I think liked it. He might be afraid of Saltwater fish though.
"This is my fishing rod. There are others like it but this one is mine." quote
|sparky Clackamas Steelhead|