Saturday, October 17, 2009

Mist on the River

The autumnal equinox was most assuredly upon me as I journeyed to the northern coast yesterday for a day of pursuing coastal cutthroat trout on a fly.
The leaves of the coastal corridor were well into their autumn regalia of reds and oranges as I drove along in the constant rain.
As I arrived at my first destination I saw that there was a fine mist rising from the river. The river isn't at it's full autumn flow but with the turning leaves and the mist the scene was surreal and beautiful and the eager cutthroat trout just added to the beauty of the scene.
I fished at several different likely cutthroat hangouts on 4 rivers and they all had this mist rising from them. I absent mindedly left my camera at home so the photograph in this posting was borrowed from the internet so you can get an idea of how this looked.
In the last several years of my angling life I have avoided as much interaction with fall salmon bank fishermen as possible. While there are many who fish with respect and ethics there are some that do not and I make sure to give them a wide berth on the river.These are the ones that make the most noise and throw away the most garbage along the river bank so while these "sportsmen" may be in the minority their presence is profoundly felt by all that are in the area. The salmon runs this year have not materialized on the upper portions of these coastal rivers yet and so I had my choice of places to cast my fly without the company of these unwashed masses.
There was a small hatch of stone flies and blue winged olives going on that the trout were mildly interested in and instead they were likely snacking on emerging October caddis which would provide a more filling meal.
There were a few lonely coho salmon rolling in the slower water and one near death chinook that put on an aerial display that would have been the envy of any steelhead as he neared his unavoidable demise after completely his mission of procreation.
I used to love the fall as it, at least to me, was a season filled with so much and such little time to do it all. The sounds of migrating waterfowl and changing leaves always got me excited. The return of the fall chinook was near and that meant fresh meat and fresh bait for the freezer.
These days though I am almost melancholy when autumn arrives. It means that the cold of winter is near and it means that the winter of my years grow nearer also. I think about what the next year will be bring and how this old broke down fly fisherman will fare. I prefer to fish alone more and more in this autumn of my own life because I am not as patient anymore with the quirks of other anglers and do not want to force my own quirks and foibles on anyone else. I like it this way and am seldom lonely on a river as I have the shore birds and swaying firs to keep me company. I will make at least one or two more coastal trips for my beloved cutthroat trout and one or two more trips east of the mountains for the steelhead of the Deschutes.
While the change of season makes me somewhat sad it also is still an enjoyable time to be alive here in the beautiful and awe inspiring Pacific northwest.


  1. This is lovely! I was online looking for ideas of where to take my daughter for coho on a fly -- I'm in PDX and Eagle Creek apparently doesn't have enough flow yet -- and stumbled across your site. Beautiful. Still don't know whether/where I'll go today, but I'll bookmark you for some nice writing and thoughts. Thank you.

  2. Hey Shane. Just got back from the Deschutes and the river is full of Steelhead. I didn't catch any, due to lack of experience, but the amount of hits I got tells you a lot. I too, found out that fishing alone is my preferred choice. Good luck when you get over there.


  3. Indeed, fall is a season of change. Glad you got some room to avoid the salmon goons and find some peace and tranquility on the river.