I happened across this app for iPhone and it has worked great for me. It shows flow levels for all the rivers that I was interested in here in the NW. You can find all this info for free on the internet but I enjoy the quick access that this app offers. I think it was worth it’s $7 price tag. If you want river levels for free check out the “River Levels” sidebar over on the sidebar. www.fishheadapp.com
The rain was moving in but the river was still dropping so off we headed to the N. Fork of the Nehalem to battle it out with all the other bait chuckers below the hatchery. To my surprise there were not all that many people. Only four cars in the upper lot. We worked the section just below the handicap dock to the bend and saw several Steelhead that were moving around but none that were interested in my fly. In fact they weren’t interested in the large pink jig I put on either. The guy next to me caught a nice fish on a similar pink jig right in front of my feet.
We drove to the other side of the river and hiked down about a half mile but saw no fish (or really good water). The river was rising quick with the rain and so we called it a day. I consoled myself on the way home by eating a bag of Goldfish. So I actually caught dozens of fish that day!
I had a shot break the other day between some work downtown and a meeting so I thought I would run over to a fishing supply store to pick up some new Maxima for my spey rod and 9 wt for steelhead. Since the GI Joes next to my house closed I have not had good access to bait fishing supplies so I went over to Fisherman’s Marine & Outdoor since it was close. It was like the fishing section at a Cabelas on overdrive. They had a forty foot long aisle that was just bobbers. Hooks as big as my forearm for catching what I don’t know—sea monsters, whales? I thought that fly shops had way to many choices but this was just goofy. And, yes, I found my Maxima near what looked like pickled squids.
Alex and I went out to the North Fork of the Nehalem on Sunday for a quick three hour check-up on the river. The water had been dropping and when we saw the amount of trucks parked at the hatchery we figured we had made a good guess on the right day to be there. We went into the beautiful part of the river above the hatchery. The water was the right shade and dropping and you could spot several steelhead. I went to check one of the shallow spots where I had seen fish before and saw beauty of a steelie. One cast and the fish slipped into the quick current right next to where I saw him. Alex came over and spotted him under all the whitewater and we both fished to him for awhile with no luck. We moved farther up the river and tried a few other good sections. There were some guys below the bridge throwing hardware at two steelhead with no luck either. When we headed back down the river I thought I would check my shallow spot one more time just for the hell of it. As I slowly made my way up the rapids towards the shallow pool that the steelhead was in I paid no attention to the other smaller pools all around me. And just as I was one pool away from the one the fish is usually in I looked down as I was making a step and almost put my foot down on a beautiful large steelhead. I saw it and it saw me and we were both startled by each other and then he was gone. I just sat down on a rock for a few minuets. After all my time fly fishing you think I would realize that you can’t expect a fish to be where you think it should be. While, that and you should just be open to anything. That is what makes our hobby/passion so fun.
I am not one to be discouraged by the fact that a river is almost at flood stage. Nope. If I can get my family in the car and have a lazy day searching for fish along the Wilson then I am game. I did find a fish, a monster ten incher! There was also a really nice solid pull that made my heart skip a beat, but went nowhere. I know there are large fish in the river, I saw then just a few weeks ago. I just have to wait for the water level to fall. Hey, sure beats sitting around the house.
By Guest Blogger Alex
“The charm of fishing is that it is the pursuit of what is elusive but attainable, a perpetual series of occasions for hope” Lord Tweedsmuir
“Trout fishing with a fly consists of manipulating an infinite variety of unknown variables. That’s probably what brings us to worship at this altar. Don’t pay any attention to anyone who tells you when is the best time to fish, friend. The best time to fish is when you’re fishing.” Stephen “Salty” Saltzman
“Well, this love of fly fishing takes me places I otherwise wouldn’t go” Nick Lyons
Over Christmas we went to Colorado to spend the holidays with my parents and to get a little free childcare for our daughter. The weather in Colorado was chilly, but nice. I spent a day fishing with my younger brother and dad on the South Platte near Deckers (SW of Denver). The name of the game was tiny midges. Both my brother and I got into a few small fish (probably because they had just stocked thousands of them a week or so before), but the larger fish, although visible, were not biting.
After a few days in Colorado we drove eight hours east to NE Kansas to take our one year old to meet her great-grandmothers and to attend a funeral for a close family member. As often happens in that part of the US, some freak weather was bearing down on us, so instead of hanging out until Christmas day we decided to try and high-tail it back west. We left just before the really bad part of the storm hit the east side of Kansas and we made it to my aunts house in Beverly, Kansas. As my brother and I went into “town” to pick up some Cokes for the Rum we had brought, I saw the sign below and found it a little humorous considering it is a town of maybe 150 and this is the only store/bar/gas pump in town.
After a night’s sleep in Beverly, we continued on our way west and ran back into the storm. Blizzard-like snow and fifty mile an hour winds that buffeted us the entire way back since the wind was coming straight south and we were going straight west (if you have never been in the Midwest you can not truly appreciate how straight a road can be). We made it back and took a day to relax and blow the snow off my parents road. Then we hooked up with my dad’s fishing buddy and headed to the Arkansas river in Canon City, figuring that it was lower in elevation then the South Platte, and so might have a bit more activity. Boy was I wrong. The South Platte was free of ice and flowing beautifully when we were there and the Arkansas was—well, it looked like this:
There was ice and slush flowing in the river which made for tricky casting, so I walked along the four-inch thick ice on the side of the river to try and find some holes to fish. The fish would dart out from under the ice that I was walking on and then I would lose site of where they went because of the slush/ice flowing in the river. I found a doll for my daughter frozen in the ice and brought it home, but my wife won’t let me give it to her. Wonder why? It’s not all that freaky,is it? =)
I started tying flies at the start of 2009 and by Christmas was feeling like I had gotten pretty good so I figured I would whip some up for my dad for Christmas. I ended up tying him:
8 – Craven’s Poison Tung
24 – Brassies (beadhead and mercury versions)
16 – Quick Descent Trico Spinner (they have quick descent dubbing on the thorax to get right into the film)
12 – Amy’s Ant size 6 and 8 in olive (there the big ones on the left)
and a few RS2 thrown in for good measure.
I hope he enjoys them and catches lots of fish. Now I have to start busting out some flies for myself—March is just around the corner and I have to be ready come spring.