Monday, October 31, 2011

The End of the Season

I wasn't even going to fish the last day of the coastal trout season when I got up this morning. I concluded that it had been a good late season for me and my fly rod and the last day wouldn't matter.
I ended up going anyway, leaving two hours later than I usually leave. As I made my way down Highway 6 all the signs of fall were there. The garishly colored fall maple leaves pirouetted down on the road as they fell from the trees like a sad ballet dancer. The fir and hemlock trees stood tall, like giant sentinels standing vigilant above the lush Pacific Northwest rain forest.Yes indeed fall has fell!
I visited my usual haunts with little success now that the bait anglers had descended upon nearly every one of my favorite trout runs. With an array of salmon eggs, sand shrimp and God know what other bait concoctions polluting the water of my trout hangouts there was little chnace that a willing trout could be dissuaded into anything artificial.
The earliest arriving Chinook and coho salmon rolled in the slower water of the Wilson river as they neared their destiny of procreation and then death. Their once chrome bright vestiges had given way mottled browns, greys and even the white of a leprous like fungus.
This was Halloween and the sidewalks of Tillamook was filled with pint-sized ninjas, princesses, goblins and ghouls plying for the sugary handouts the local merchants were supplying. It slowed my progress to one last trout hole on the upper Trask but I didn't mind watching the children do what I had done some fifty years prior and that was to score some candy.
Dusk was quickly drawing closed the curtain of the 2011 season as I made it to the upper Trask to fish one final hole. I made my way through the ever damp ferns and moss to the river and was rewarded with one last bright coastal cutthroat trout on the very first cast.Further attempts to catch one last bit of magic of the dying season proved fruitless and so I decided it was time to go home.
As I travelled eastward along the lumbering evergreens along Highway 6 toward my home I was kind of sad that the season was done. Seven months seems like a very long way off and who knows what will take happens in my life during those seven months. A long,wet and cold winter lay ahead of me and winters are getting to be more of a struggle the older I get. Yes I will take out my Spey rods and pursue the ever fleeting winter steelhead on a swung fly but the lazy days of summer and fall are gone like the baseball season that had just ended. I will revel in my triumphs of the season just past and second guess myself at the failure of poor knots and too many lost fish.  Oh there will be a time in the dark of winter when I take my bamboo fly rod out and give it another coat of wax as I dream of the warm days of spring yet to come.
Have a good winter everyone

Friday, October 21, 2011

Egg Whores Part II

Just about the time I think the whole salmon roe frenzy in Tillamook county cannot possibly get more ridiculous I read stuff like this post below that appeared on a popular internet website.

"I was able to get into a few hens on a coastal river to up my egg supply. They ended up being more on the dusky side and are not table fair. Anybody need them for crab bait or fertilizer?"

Is this guy for real? Sadly yes he is and unfortunately typical of the mind set of many salmon anglers. This practice is called "hen hunting" and is a contributing factor to the dwindling populations of wild Chinook salmon in the Tillamook watershed and has long been practiced by salmon fishermen and also professional bait guides throughout the region.
I find it more than disgusting and not only for the practice itself but the fact that others think what this asshole is doing is okay.
Fishing the upper stretches of these coastal rivers for salmon, especially in low water conditions like we have now, you are guaranteed dark fish that should be left to spawn.Like I've said this "hen hunters" are no better than gill netters.
I hope that an effort can be mounted to prevent crap like this from happening,

Thursday, October 20, 2011

It Just Doesn't Get Any Better

My affection for coastal cutthroat trout is well documented on this blog and they are my favorite fish to pursue on a fly rod.I unabashedly declare my love for these mysterious coastal trout. To say the last three weeks of this season have been nothing short of phenomenal would be a lie. Big trout and lots of them! I fish almost entirely alone on my coastal rivers because the low water has keep the fall salmon in tidewater. Not many fly fishers actually pursue them thinking that they are not worth the effort for some reason. Hey keep thinking that and stay over on the other side of the Cascades if you cannot appreciate a fish so unique and enjoyable as the cutthroat trout. Yes they are an aggressive salmonid who will take a fly with gusto. The coastal rivers do not have the abundance of food for trout that rivers like the Deschutes does. Cutthroat trout are predators in a way the is unlike rainbows and anything that looks like food they will strike and strike hard. I have had strikes so savage from cutthroat trout at times that my rod is almost jerked from my hand.
The last couple of years I have been discouraged at the lack of trout on the north coast. Could some of it be over harvest? I think in certain areas like the lower Kilchis that is absolutely the reason for their dwindling numbers. Easy access and bait has spelled the doom of those fish. Any area that has easy access is going to be over fished and the important age class of those trout are killed off. Simple really. Kill the bigger spawning adults in a certain area and viola! No more fish. Areas where the bait slinging public cannot easily access the trout there fare much better. I,fortunately, have access to one of those areas.
With the end of the season looming I will be spending some quality time with oncorhynchus guys that have not experienced the joy of these trout are poorer for it.

Friday, October 07, 2011

What Goes Around Comes Around?

I am not a religious person. I am cautiously skeptical about all religion buth ave to admit that Jesus had some pretty cool things to say.
I might believe in Karma but only in it's simplest form. I do or do not have success while fly fishing because of a good deed I did in the past or get skunked because I stole a pack of baseball cards from WT Grants in 1962? I don't know about all of that but I do think there is something to the old saying "What goes around comes around"
I did a couple of good deeds this week and the very next day was rewarded with an epic day of cutthroat trout fishing. Coincidence? Maybe or maybe not.
So if any of you wants to buy me a new Bob Clay bamboo Spey rod with a Bogdan reel then consider the rewards you will reap while fly fishing! If you don't then I hope all the eyes on your fly hooks are filled with glue.