Well, with steelie fishing pretty slow in the low, clear flows of California rivers, Reilly and I headed north this week for Oregon to see how things are looking in that neck of the woods.
Well, let’s just say conditions were pretty much the same…no rain in 2 weeks, freezing nights and below-average fish returns. The rivers were trickles and fresh fish hadn’t moved in to any of the systems in a looong time.
Still, it was a chance to get outta Dodge and see some new water — and hang with ol pal Nick Amato, editor of Salmon Trout Steelheader Magazine. Luckily, Reilly’s got a place on the Oregon coast, so we had a place to crash…
As I said earlier, most Oregon streams were so slow that even Nick, a crusty veteran of decades of Oregon steelhead fishing, seemed surprised by the lack of water.
We hopped around to several drainages and found the same thing everywhere…more rocks than H20:
Our first day, we spent more time wandering the aisles of the local tackle shops, but finally managed to get wadered up and on the water by 3 p.m. Under sunny skies, the fish were pretty hunkered down in the vodka-like pools and very much on the skittish side. Slinging bobbers and jigs resulted in a couple near misses and I landed the only fish of the day on a Mad River Manufacturing Worm Jig under a float, a small but very jumpy hatchery hen:
On Day 2, we opted for a larger river system rumored to have a better than average shot at a 20+ pounder in it, which took us through some remote back roads…
…and across one rickety old bridge:
While the scenery, weather and camaraderie were excellent, we didn’t have a single bobber-down…though a fish in the 20-pound class rolled at my feet. Had to have been a late coho…at least that’s what I told myself!
Anyway, the next day we got a little more serious about fishing and got on the water…um…around noon. Hey, there’s no sense killing yourself when the water temps are in the high 30’s! The weather was again beautiful and the scenery was worth the the trip…
No big surprise…fresh fish weren’t exactly pouring into any of the rivers, but we found some biters on Wednesday.
Here’s Reilly with a fish working…
We fished floats exclusively, mostly with worms, roe and jigs:
We probably had close to a dozen bobber downs and maybe landed 9 or 10 fish, most of which were downers. But hey, any day you can get out on the water, B.S. with the boys and get a few grabs, it’s all good in my book.