Alex and I headed out to one of our favorite spots and found the fishing super slow. We persisted for a few hours trying every little section of water but the normally abundant fish could not be enticed to the surface—for that matter the nymphing was dead too. One of the few fish I found was happy to make a quick getaway:
(No that is not a swimming pool, the water is that clear. And yes it is freezing cold.)
We decided to check out some of the water we had never seen so we headed up to Smith Reservoir on the Upper McKenzie. It was beautiful (see photo above) and the water was crystal clear but there is no real drive in access around the lake so it seems more like a boat lake to me. Which is ok with me I just didn’t happen to bring my pontoon. You could see lots of trout cruising near shore and they would mess with the flies but we couldn’t get any hooked.
We worked the creek below the dam and found lots of small brookies (I think they were brook) willing to take some dry flies. The largest was about 8 inches but after such a slow morning they put a smile on our face and so we fished the creek all the way to it’s end. Here’s Alex working one of the many little pools:
On the way back we hit up our favorite spot and fished for 30 more minutes or so. Alex got a nice fish to take a Parachute Adams (my favorite fly) and we decided that was a good end to the day so we went in search of food and beers.
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 to fill out some of the basics in my fly boxes in a hurry so I placed an order with Big Y Fly Company. While I really like to support small fly shops I just cringe at the thought of the basic Adams and BWO’s being $1.95 a piece. Big Y has many of the basic patterns at about $.57 a piece, And hey the company is located in Oregon (I’m sure the flies are tied somewhere else but that is typical these days). Tying your own flies is definitely cheaper once you pony up to get started (or use a friends gear who stopped tying, thanks Alex) but sometime you just don’t want to sit around making 36 of the same BWO pattern. Also we don’t have a fly shop in Portland that is very good so the only time I get flies is in Eugene (Caddis Fly Shop) or when I head to the Maupin (Deschutes Angler).
So here they are (remember I am just filling holes):
8 Bead Head Copper John, Green, 14
12 BH Flashback Hare’s Ear, 14
12 Adams, 10
32 BWO, 12, 14, and 16
4 Spinner Adams, 14
4 Epoxy Brass, 12
That should tide me over for awhile. While, that and I tied about 40 Elk Hair Caddis in the last two weeks. Sigh… I need more fly boxes.
If you end up using a strike indicator my favorite for ease of casting and mednding is the Thingamabobber in the small or medium size depending on your setup. The guys down south from me in Eugene (Here is their blog) did a great video on how they set their line up for maximum depth when nymphing, check it out.
BTW-The guys that make the Thingamabobber also make the “Butt” fly. Just thought you might want to know that for some strange reason.