Showing posts from October, 2013

Columbia River double

       The Columbia River is truly one of the great rivers of the world. Running through two countries, three states and draining a huge portion of the western United States, it refuses to be fully tamed. The fisheries of this river have been nearly decimated and only recently have they shown significant life. This year more than a million Chinook, or "king" salmon returned to their home waters. And this is only one of the salmonids that return to spawn, die and continue a cycle of life that is nearly as old as the land itself.         As a boy growing up in Heppner, a small town in Eastern Oregon, my brother and I would spend our summers fishing for trout in Willow Creek, the small stream that ran through the tiny farming and ranching town. On a typical hot summer day, we were fishing near the confluence of Willow and Rea Creek. We could nearly have jumped across either creek but the confluence was deeper and wider than any other area on the stream and one of our favorite

Glimpsing the water unicorn after 10,000 casts.

      My buddy Jim made me go to the Deschutes River for a weekend in mid October. Okay, so he didn't need to twist my arm much, but I almost didn't go due to a tedious project at work and a near miss on buying a house. Fortunately everything fell into place and Jim wasn't taking no for an answer. Jim with a beautiful Deschutes River hatchery steelhead.       We left Friday afternoon and set up camp in time to get a couple hours on the river. The sun was bright and the temperature was perfect for a long sleeve shirt and fleece pullover. I brought the 5 weight switch, 7 weight spey and the 5 weight single handed rod expecting to spend most of my time with the switch. I was also excited to fish my 1930s Pflueger 1496 reel with the round line guard.        I stepped into the water in the middle of a great run, threw a short cast and started working the water. With each cast, I worked out to the sweet water and was tossing 70 feet before I started the steelhead shuffle

In search of the mythical steelhead and getting hit in the rear

       After a great start to the summer, the second half was a series of trials involving an accident, insurance, a mysterious sound and searching for the mythical steelhead.        The excitement of the John Day River rafting trip crashed into a two month ordeal starting literally with a young woman crashing into rear of my Escape in early July. The woman did not want to involve the insurance company - something I would never advise now. Ultimately Progressive was involved and after three months I ended up with a new differential but instead of the insurance company paying for it, I paid the $3,000 (BTW - Progressive is a good insurance company if your the insured. I, unfortunately, was the victim).        The Courtesy Ford Dealership Service Center lived up to their name during the ordeal. Only a few weeks earlier to getting hit, Courtesy did a service check and green-lighted the Escape including the differential which they checked and changed the fluid. After the young woman hi