Monday, May 24, 2010

Opening Day!

Imagine my surprise when I found out that the coastal trout season opened on Saturday! A full week sooner than I originally thought. So tomorrow I officially open my 2010 pursuit of coastal cutthroat trout, my favorite fish on a fly.
I am going to put some effort into keeping a journal of my trout fishing. I want to record each and every trip, fish hooked and landed, fly used etc. I want to, hopefully, show ODFW that their harvest is folly...I doubt I will succeed though.
Anyway which rod do I take? I would like to take one of my bamboo rods like maybe the Dickerson 8013 taper 5 weight or perhaps the modified Thomas and Thomas taper 4 weight but if the weather is damp I prefer to not take them out in the really wet weather. I'll settle on the Winston LT in 5 weight with my Ross Evolution and a WFF4 Scientific Angler Sharkskin line. Tippet will be a safe 5X but there are a few steelhead around so maybe 4X would be better you think?
I've taken care of all my morning toiletries the night before so I can just roll out of bed, brush my teeth, clean Moira's box and go.
Ah the anticipation of opening day. I'll be fishing the north coast in all my usual spots. I'll probably hit the Kilchis first and hopefully no one throwing bait will be in my Legend water where my biggest trout have come from over the years. My biggest is the wonderful pencil and acrylic portrait that adorns the banner of this blog. That's my T&T bamboo and Peerless reel in the picture.
I have a circuit that I fish when I am after cutts so after the Kilchis I will head over to the Trask and then south to the Nestucca leaving the Wilson until last.
Yep that is four rivers I fish and sometimes I include the Nehalem. I know the water will be higher on that river so I'll save it for later in the season since there will be no salmon fishing going on and I will have it to myself.
The early season cutthroat fishing is kind of fickle and I am never sure what my success will be. Some years have been good and some years, like last year, have been very slow....I'll just have to see what is in store for me. When the river levels get low and the water warms up I take a month or two break until fall when the best fishing is.
So it's west on Highway 6  I go as I travel along the Wilson river highway past Jones Creek and what I call the "Shrine to Logging" Might see an elk or two along the way and that is always a treat or maybe a bald eagle.
Despite my rantings and bitching about ODFW and the current state of our anadromous fisheries this day is what I look forward too all winter long. Through the cold and gloom of December and January it's the cutthroat trout that give me something to look forward to.
Here is to the 2010 season and the fish I encounter. Fly fishing is the adventure that keeps me young...ish. I feel my absolute best out on the river, it's like a tonic that even the bad days are good! Good luck to all of you in your fly fishing pursuits this year.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Cutthroat Trout

I love to fly fish for these wonderful trout on a early summer day before the water gets too warm for them. the northern. Perhaps it's the wild abandon that they come to a fly. Either way they are my favorites.
I am pretty defensive about them when they get mistreated and cannot understand why someone would stoop to using bait for them and kill them. It is legal to do so but in my opinion it's very unsportsmanlike. Their excuse is always the old "Well you C&R them don't you? and doesn't that cause mortality?" Sometimes if you are not careful it will....I am careful and will not take them out of the water or use a net before I release them. I guarantee you though using a sand shrimp for bait while fishing for this aggressive species will definitely cause a much higher mortality rate!
Set your ego aside and do what is right for these trout.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

You Can Teach An Old Dog New Tricks

I had the distinct honor of floating down a north coast river this week with none other than Skagit /Spey casting expert Mike McCune and it was an awesome day. Nope we didn't run into any willing steelhead but that was totally secondary to what made the trip so "awesome"
For the entire day I had personal casting instruction from Mike. Could you put a value on something like that? Mike was extremely patient and helpful as I know he must have been at least a little frustrated with my foibles and crappy casting habits and I ended the day a much better caster than when I started.
For those of you that are not familiar with Mike McCune and desire to become a better two handed rod caster and steelhead fisherman you should get Rio's 3 DVD set "Modern Spey Casting" or Ed Ward's Skagit Master" DVD.
Mike, along with Ed Ward and Scott O'Donnell, have turned the fly fishing world and specifically the spey world on it's ear with their innovations in spey casting better known as Skagit casting.
These three friends revolutionized the sport like no others. They also operate Speywater Guide Service on legendary rivers like the Grand Ronde, Skagit and the Nehalem.
Anyway my day on the river with Mike proved, once again,that you can indeed have a spectacular day fly fishing without catching any fish.
The weather was great and of course the company was legendary...thanks Mike!

Sunday, May 09, 2010

Hatcheries Stand in the Way of Wild Salmonid Recovery

This white paper, done by Bill Bakke of Native Fish Society, is a long read but an important one. If you are concerned about wild salmon, steelhead and trout then please take the time to read it.
It is said that one hatchery salmonid planted in a river with a native population will displace one wild salmonid smolt. With the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife investing heavily in programs like the steelhead broodstock where hatchery smolt steelhead are released high into the upper stretches of a watershed it is small wonder that these wild populations are dwindling at an alarming rate.
Enlightened fish biologist know this to be true.


Thursday, May 06, 2010

Moon's "O" Tick Story

I want to share this story by my friend Moon. Some of you probably know Moon from the Westfly website and know what he is capable of.
Moon is a great guy and a good story teller and I just had to include this here.
Please note that I deliberately did not include a picture as you readers really need to use your imagination on this one...enjoy!

I've been known to enjoy the camp “O” experience….. For me – it’s a place to wrap up a summer of camp fishing with a canyon unlike anything I’m used to. I have no idea if what I’m getting ready to say is true or not – but it sounded true when the guy told me this. I was just standing and looking up at the sculptured heights of the canyon there, and all the different colors that bounce around as the sun hits it with its last light of the day….. It is absolutely stunning.
Anyhow – this guy walks up and we start talking, and I told him how much I appreciated the sight I was witnessing. He asked where I was from and I told him. He then went on to explain that this canyon, though eroded by water over time – was and is sculpted by the wind. (like I said – I don’t know if this is true, but it sounded true)….Then he turned and walked right through my camp to get to the water.
Now this isn’t such a big deal I guess – except I don’t want strangers walking through my camp. And because of this, I had gone to the trouble of planning around this happening. So I placed my camp where anyone could access the water by a trail just a few feet outside my camp. As a matter of fact, the trail leading from my camp – re-connected to the above mentioned trail before hitting the water. There are a lot of people who use this river and you have to share, but like I said – I had already thought of this and therefore - no reason to walk through my camp like that.
And he did this for two straight days in a row – but he never fished the water. He would just look and leave always coming straight through my camp. On the third evening, I stopped him in my camp and asked him why he was accessing the water through my camp – instead of using the trail just outside of my camp. And he said, “because I can” you’re not a local….. I thought about this – and thought about this, and finally decided he was a big Richard Cranium and if he came back through tomorrow – we’d just have a little talk.
Anyway my lovely wife was coming into camp that night. So I quit fishing early that day to do a camp clean up and get ready for momma. I had gotten done with camp chores and had just finished taking my shower when I heard him (the camp stalker) pull up. It just sort of peeved me off, and I kinda lost it.
(STOP READING NOW) – if you don’t want to read about a “FAT NAKED GUY”….
So I’m standing there in my shower tent naked looking out at this guy when I decided – he didn’t need to be in my camp, and especially with the women folk that were coming in that evening….So I went out to meet him….. Except, well – I think it kinda freak him out a bit cuz I never, ever saw him or his car again.
Anyway – instead of getting dressed, I just walk out the shower and headed right for him. Of course I had my marble sack in my hand and had stretched it up to my chin (or at least it felt that way). So this guy looks up and sees a big fat naked guy not only walking straight for him, but this big fat naked guy has his family jewel’s sack stretched out like an old hide tacked to the shed drying wall. And I said, hey bro, since were such good friends – would you mind looking at this and telling me if it’s a tick (as I pointed with my other hand at the nether regions of my self) …… Well, he never did let me get close enough so he could look and I never saw him again…..

That’s my “O” tick story….