Wednesday, October 6, 2010

October in Oregon

For the second year in a row I made it up to southern Oregon for a church convention. This year, unlike the last, fall didn't arrive early. Las year it even snowed one day, while this year it was about 80 or more and sunny everyday. The contrast didn't stop there. Last year tried to fish a few pieces of water here and there sporadically, but didn't catch a fish. This year I was able to spend some solid time after the convention and focus on some trout water that was basically an organic soup of aquatic life.

The first time we made it out to the water we almost ended up back in CA, lost on an old logging road. We gained our bearings and found some water and a few fish.
They started out like this on the lower piece of the river, the pheasant tail was the ticket.
This guy put up a healthy fight and I was glad to see a fish with a bit more size. In all we worked this piece for 45 minutes and caught maybe six fish between two of us, John on spinners, all of mine on pheasant tail.
I think this is a mahogony dun, they were hatching off the lake almost every day.

Our first full day afterward we decided to fish a section of the river that was rumored to be good, and it was, definitely the most delicious piece of organic soup of aquatic life I have ever tasted, seen, heard, smelt, or felt.
The place was treacherous, yet glorious.
Wading, at first, was not on the agenda due to the fast current and the murky water. That didn't last long. I had fallen in and contused my shins in no time. Wading was not fun. Dirty, stinky, like walking in the dark, almost. The rocks were huge, small, unpredictable, and everywhere. They had moss growing all over them, and some other aquatic plant. The reads and grasses were 4 feet tall, the banks ridiculously overgrown.
I lost tons of flies.
I lost giant trout.
But from the jaws of defeat we snatched plenty of victories and we ended up catching some serious fish.

The average fish was easily sixteen inches, with a couple pushing twenty inches. They were brutes. Their diet consisted of, no doubt, everything from insects, to baitfish, to six inch crayfish.

Danielle, with a nice fattie

Al's first fish on the fly. This fatso was probably twenty inches, didn't measure him, but he was as long as my forearm and that is 19 ...unbelievable that this was his first fish on the fly, he can only go down from here. (although it was on a streamer...)
There were some big rapids, nice seems.
A slightly below average sized trout, but not too bad to look at.

After we had our fill of fishing this amazing river we ate our packed sandwiches and had some coldbeers and went to look at some other area streams.
They looked good, but only produced one more fish.

This crystal river comes right out of the ground just a few hundred yards upstream from here.

This was a real nice piece of water, meandering back and forth real gentle. But, we missed the hopper activity, it seems.

Al, the trout wrangler.
The last day up there was not to be wasted; I had a flight back to CA at 5 so figured it was a good call to make the most of the morning on my new favorite organic soup of aquatic life.
At the last minute, the most interesting Steve in the world decided to join me for some fish slaying.
It was epic.
Two and a half hours of epic.
Dizzying really. Not sure how many fish I lost or caught, it was non stop action, almost equal parts triumph and heartbreak.
Just little porkers, everywhere.

I lost even more big fish this time, and it stung a bit, but really not sure what I would or could do differently. They broke me off going under rocks or right out into the main channel or straight down stream, especially hard to deal with considering the overgrown banks complete with giant boulders which needed to be climbed or rock hopped.

The october caddis and stoneflies in black and brown were working just fine.

...but next time I might need to bring some orange crayfish patterns in about size 0...

This freak hit the october caddis, absolutely thrilling, completely unexpected considering the hatch hadn't started (it was only about 1 pm)


The most interesting Steve in the world caught and released who knows how many fish like this...using mepps spinners.

Sunrise over the lake.

October in southern Oregon?

I highly recommend it.