Monday, August 07, 2006

Moving to Eugene, Oregon

It's day two, on the heels of a 7-day saga from Boston to Eugene, OR -- and I've hit the ground running. Since leaving Boston I've signed up for the local Oregon chapters of Ducks Unlimited and Trout Unlimited, bought my hunting licenses for the year, bought a watercraft and caught my first wild Oregon trout unassisted.
From MattStansberry

The first DU banquet is coming up -- it's August 19 in Eugene. The first TU event isn't as clear, the TU site is hard to navigate so I'm going to have to get back to you on that one. There is a Willamette/McKenzie chapter though, so I've got a home.
From MattStansberry

When I bought my hunting licenses yesterday, the girl ringing me out said she'd never seen such a high license charge before. I had to buy non-resident tags since I haven't been here six months yet. A general license, a deer tag, upland bird, migratory bird and federal stamp -- totaling $400.
From MattStansberry

I headed out to the Middle Fork of the Willamette River this afternoon around 1pm, pulled off just east of the Shady Dell campground and put my boat in. The water was warm enough to wet-wade, so tried the bank with a Parachute Adams before shoving off into the river. No fish in close, I slid into my kayak for the first time. I was in about 8 inches of water, but had plenty of clearance. I moved downstream a lot faster than I thought I would, couldn't seem to keep it straight. I'm using a canoe paddle and not a kayak paddle.

I noticed a lot of nymph activity, but nothing coming off the water. There were a lot of big rock-cased caddis nymphs and even bigger stonefly nymph cases all over the rocks. I also saw some deer sign on the second pull out.

There were some different birds in the area: an osprey, something that might have been a grouse, a vulture. I'm going to need some binoculars and a field guide so I don't shoot something endangered this fall.

The water was moving suprisingly fast, but there were productive pockets. I was looking for a certain flow, that fishy spot between the banks and the current. And I worked my way down about a mile to a bend below a riffle. I'd switched over from a dry to a prince nymph with a soft-hackle trailer. That's when I started picking up fish. I caught a couple small rainbows on the soft hackle. Nothing on the prince.

A little later I switched over to a coachman stimulator dry, just to see what happened, and I got a couple rises at it, but didn't hook up. Such a weird fly. Eventually I brought my boat around to the road side of the bank, deflated it and stuffed it in my bag. The walk back to the car with the pack over my shoulders wasn't bad. But the trucks were coming a lot closer than I'd have wanted them too. Nice blackberries on the way back.

Review of the boat: It's a 97" Sevylor Rio. It has three chambers, one on the bottom and one on each side. It's very sturdy in the water, you could cast, shoot or do almost anything while rolling down the river and not worry about falling out. On the downside, it's pretty tough to control. In fast water, you can generally get where you need to go, but don't count on accuracy or boat control.

Review of my wading shoes: So, I've been an advocate of Crocs as an all purpose outdoors shoe for a some time, at the risk of ridicule from my friends. I've always said they are a great general summer shoe, perfect for surf fishing and wet wading. But I'm giving up on that. Crocs suck for fishing. Bottom line. I'm buying wading shoes next chance I get. I slipped off of every rock, twisted my ankle every five seconds and got more sand between my toes than you could imagine. Forget Crocs.

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