March 31st is quickly approaching and the awesome coastal rivers will be closing so its time to get out there (the mainstream of the Trask and the Wilson up to the South Fork are open the entire year). Even with the higher flows the rivers are super fun.
We got a late start on the morning as I took the round about way of driving all the way to the coast and than driving East back up the river (what, no I wasn’t lost. It was the scenic route). Many, many sunflower seeds of driving later we found a gorgeous run with some great slow water behind a nice riffle. Around ten minutes later I got into the gorgeous fish above and he put did lots of fun jumps:
A few casts later and Alex was able to hook into another fish in the same seam. The fish decided to test the strength of the loop knot on the top of Alex’s leader and with a violent leap and shake found his freedom. Of course we worked that seam for another 30 minuets, but nothing. We explored up and down the river and made lots of marks in the GPS for next time. I am going to be so screwed if I ever lose that GPS as it has dozens and dozens of good fishing and mushroom spots in it that I have found over the years.
Also I am tying Chubby Chernobyl’s for the impending stonefly hatch on the Deschutes. Last year we nailed it (see here) and I hope to do the same this year. The Chubby Chernobyl really performed for me and I would definitely recommend you have a few in your box if you are going to head out for the hatch.
I had a really good end to February. First I got a new job with a company I had worked with before. It’s awesome because they are really good people and I hated my previous job. Then I got a call from my dad saying that he couldn’t make it on a fishing trip on the Clearwater in Idaho and did I want to take his place. Are you kidding me? Free guided fishing trip?? SWEET!!
I took a small prop plane over to Spokane and hooked up with my dads fishing buddy. We headed over to Kamiah which is right on the Clearwater river and made ourselves comfy at a great little lodge called Lewis-Clark Resort. The food that they serve at the restaurant comes in true country portions. The chicken-fried-steak we had the first night was hanging of the edges of the large plate and was covered in what seemed like a gallon of delicious white gravy. I licked the plate clean.
We headed out the next day and met our guide (my dad and his friend had fished with him before) and got out on the river. After he showed some pointers on spey casting out of a stationary drift boat we got to work. My drifts were pathetic but I had never tried casting from this angle and I spent most of the first day just figuring out what to do. But then my line went tight and it went tight with a vengeance.
This was no little summer steelhead this was a big mama! With that first fish I got the boost I needed and got to work trying my hardest to go through runs in a grid pattern to make sure I worked all the lines. A few more grabs and one fish on that through the hook. I got better with the casting and getting perfect mends into the line
Day two was my A+ day. Four fish landed out of five takes. The largest was 14-15 pounds and they were all males with gorgeosus red sides.
This one decided he really didn’t want to come see me and fought for so long I had to sit down afterwards for 10 minuets to give my arms a break (and to enjoy the pure pleasure of dancing with a fish like that on your line):
Heres my dads buddy with one of his fish:
And just because I like videos (it was hatchery which is why he asks if I want to keep it):
The Clearwater is a beautiful river and the fish fight really hard in the heavy current of such a large river. I would like to go back some day and explore its higher reaches from foot with some trusty intruders in hand.