Monday, April 14, 2014

Have We Met in This Swamp Before?

Howdy -

Some big changes with me.  I started a new job. I now have weekends off. 

It comes the time of year when I let the kayak live on top of the truck.  

It is not new that I am inexorably and magnetically drawn to water.
(Life would be better if I could get the song from true detective out of my head)

Here are a few new areas from the this month.

A gnarly death by sogginess. Mt. Hood in the distance - overlooks a  shallow and strange Bybee Lake.

  Reeds and tubers emerge. Otter Beavers Turtle Frog !! By late summer this area will be dry.

Bullshit trees in the way of my morning commute. Smith Bybee Lakes at high water.

Carp surges for deeper water and puts a bend in a saltwater flyrod.

Grace. ...and just a glimmer of the goldfish genes here.

Gliding over sun-warmed gravel bar. (Orvis carp fly)

Bronzed and rippling. Slab side of a noble Carp before release.

  Remember back when tans were healthy? Or when we used to stake out coke drops out here?

Mirror Carp. Selectively bred Ornamental for fewer scales....Escaped into wild.

We shall get back to this Steelhead stuff later perhaps.

Out Where the Buses Don't Run 

      Poking around the wild areas close to Portland I encountered the world's most widely distributed freshwater fish - the Carp. Fascinating in their adaptability and versatility to inhabit waters we have thrashed.  Native to Asia, they were brought to the US in 1831. (Australia now has them as well.) "Malign me. Make fun of my pollution, mud and muck  tolerance" they say.  They live in water that is too fertile - Eutrophic. Carp live in the hell we make. They are us and we are them. You pull one out of the water and they will ask straight to your face: 
 "Who is the more invasiver ?"

     A select cult of deranged Portland flyrodders pursue them by sightfishing.   Sightfishing works like this: You spot an individual fish, then cast directly to it and try to get it to eat your stupid fake thing by moving your stupid fake thing just right - which sometimes means not moving it at all. Rejections are numerous, awesome and humbling. No talent ass clown with wrong fly.

     Right now in April, the water is just barely warming up enough to see them begin to actively feed really shallow before moving back to slightly deeper water for the heat of summer.
I decided I should try this "carp on fly". I started drifting all the nooks of the Smith Bybee Wetland area. An area that is so weed choked and oxygen starved by mid-summer that only Carp survive.Though i did see evidence that some of the birds were catching Yellow Bullheads.

     Turns out.... wild Carp are a great gamefish.  They see well. They hear everything. They are skeptical as all get out. Every time an eagle flys over and throws a shadow they all jet in a puff of mud smoke. The crunch of a Dorito can alert them to your presence. Please do not think that they think you are a tree. See how they forage at the base of that flooded tree?  Yeah...They wont ever do that near your feet. No mater how long you are in the water.

     You get to be in some cool, weird, vast, quiet, sunny, tree-lined, Georgia flower smelling, areas where nobody hardly ever goes.  For instance - I actually saw quite a few frogs out there of 2 different kinds. Tundra Geese !
I even saw turtles. Briding in Carp zones is top notch also.

    I go to Carp now.

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