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: Oregonflyfishingblog.com 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):
I had a great three day weekend this past weekend. Since the wife and kid are out of town I headed out on Friday afternoon with my fishing buddy Alex to see if we could find some fresh salmon moving up with the rain. We headed over to the North Fork of the Nehalem near the hatchery and fished about about a mile or so down river but found nothing. When we got back near the hatchery we saw some dark salmon moving up over the riffles and a few bait fisherman who were not having any luck so we decided to move on. We headed an hour north to Big Creek where we found lots of way to far salmon running around. My friend got a rock of all things stuck in his tire and he had a huge leak so we put on a spare and headed back to my house to regroup.
The next morning we headed down to the McKenzie and what a day. After explaining the in and outs of my favorite section of river to a fellow fly fisherman I headed on down and threw on my go to parachute adams and nothing happened. No fish. Ok, ok I can figure this one out. I looked around and saw no mayflies yet. Alright, how about a stimulator?
Alright! After an hour or so of fish eating the same stimulator it lost all ability to float. As I was switching flies I noticed it had gotten a bit later in the day then I thought it had and I looked up river and saw the larger fish rising in the riffles. I headed up to them and put on my parachute adams and was rewarded with this beauty:
I know, three photos of the same fish is a bit excessive but it was a really pretty fish.
After that beauty we caught a few more but the day was slowing. I like the light glistening of the fish in this photo.
We headed south to the Willamette that afternoon and the next morning we went below Dexter dam and did some spey casting for Steelhead. While, Alex did spey casting for Steelhead and I did an interesting blend of single and souble hand casting as I had forgotten my spey reel. Alex snapped this great photo of me:
We found no steelhead so we opted to head up river and find some fun trout. We stopped up above the Black Canyon campground at a place that looked promising. We walked down to the river and I started working my way up river trying out my Ice Dub Prince / Mercury Pheasant Tail combo that had worked so well on the McKenzie. I was fishing a beautiful deep side pool and as I let my nymph swing it stopped. It seemed like such an abrupt stop that I figured it was a rock so I gave a little yank. Then the rock started to move out of the pool towards the whitewater which was moving super fast. I fought the fish for five minuets and getting him out of the twenty foot or so seep pool was really fun. My first large fish on the Willamette. I will definitely have to go back soon and see if he has friends in the pool:
On the way back through Eugene we stopped at the Caddis Fly Shop and I picked up a new #2 Microbarb Saddle in brown to replace the one that I have stripped of every usable feather. Now to get down to business and tie some lovely dry flies. Hmmm, which to do first?