By Guest Blogger Alex

I was looking at the latest post and was reminded of a memorable solo fishing trip on the Salmonberry last summer.
Hiked four hours in and four hours out, camped in perfect solitude and caught lots of fish. It was magical…

Miles of railroad engulfed by forest.

Crystal clear water.

Lots of fish (all released).

Trail with a view.

A gentle reminder that the railroad is very old and rusty. Landslides and rusty bridges make the Salmonberry experience a little hazardous and a little extra exciting.


Salmonberry bridge

Edit 05/18/10 – I called Tilamook County DOT and they said the bridge project has been placed on hold.

ODOT is building a new bridge over the Salmonberry River! That is great news as some of my favorite cutthroat spots on the Nehalem is down below the confluence of the Salmonberry. Currently it takes forever to drive the huge loop all the way around to the coast then back up to the spot. I just hope that the construction is done in a way that minimizes damage to steelhead in the river.

The bridge washed out in December 2007 when the river was crested over 24 feet. This is what it did to the bridge (I took this photo Oct. 2008):

A map of the bridge is here.

Trout season is slowing


Trout season is starting to slow. In all fairness it is November first so it is time, right. Soon I will have to hunker down and get started on my winter fly tying extravaganza to get my boxes replenished for spring. I try to go after steelhead and salmon in the winter but I just can’t muster as much excitement for them as I do for trout. I am sure most of it is that I understand trout more and that I like catching more then one fish every 1,000 casts.

I went to the McKenzie on October 31 and had a fun day with my wife and daughter. It is really great to take my wife along as she likes to take photos so I come back with more then just me holding the fish out and trying to take a fast photo so I can get it back in the water (see almost all photos in my other posts). She took this one of me tying on a new fly:

Speaking of flies, the fish were SUPER picky. I saw larger mayflies on the water and the fish were hitting them hard but I could not figure out what the fish wanted to see. I tried all the usual suspects with no luck. So I waded out to the top of my waders and waited for one of the mayflies to float near me and grabbed it off the water. It looked like a BWO but darker so I matched as close to the size as I could but unfortunately I didn’t have the right darkness of fly but, hey, that is why I carry a black sharpie in my vest. I got the parachute BWO nice and dark and threw it out and found this nice 15″:

I love the color of wild McKenzie trout. The last fish of the day was  on a #12 BH flashback pheasant tail and as soon as the fish starts to move in the water you can just tell they are not wild by there lack of fighting and there colors. Compare this hatchery fish (that I took home to eat) to the wild above:

BTW: has a great list of what you can do to help out wild fish in the McKenzie. Check it out here.

After the day of fishing we swung by Ike’s and I got my favorite Trout Special pizza (mushrooms and sausage) and my wife got broasted chicken. If you find yourself on McKenzie Highway near Vida, OR I recommend both, especially after a day fishing. As we sat there eating all the power went out suddenly and the eerie glow of the battery powered jack o’ lanterns near by illuminated our table. We packed up in the dark and headed towards home just to find the highway closed five miles down from a car that had hit a power pole and brought the lines down on the road. The emergency workers told us it would be hours before the road was open but seeing as we were low on gas we got in the queue and waited our turn after 15 to 30 minuets of waiting we were on our way. The delay from the accident put us back home after 11 so we missed all the trick or treaters. To bad we weren’t giving out candy this year or we would have had a nice stash.

To close, one more great photo from my wife (thanks for the camera mom and dad):