Thursday, August 10, 2006

Mazama's sporting goods; stranded on the McKenzie

Lots happening the past few days. We’ll start with Wed.

Wed night I made it out to Mazama’s Sporting Goods in Valley River Center and picked up some Leupold binoculars and some information. The binocs were pretty slick, there was a nice view of the Coburg hills, several miles off, that made for a cool place to test the view from the shop.

The guys at Mazama’s were great. They had a couple local hunters in there hanging out, one was a local legend from what I understand. He told me a story about shooting a cougar at arms length that was trying to get at his dog, just last year.
From MattStansberry

The guys at the Caddis Fly highly recommended Mazama’s, but said they might be standoffish. And I could see that the guy that runs the place probably doesn’t have a lot of patience for morons. But luckily he hadn’t figured me for one, so we got on great.

In fact, they sent me right down to the Bureau of Land Management to pick up a map and then they marked it up for me. I’ve got more hunting spots than I can even cover this year now.

The main thing I took away from that day was that if I can find deer now, they’ll likely be right back where I found them when it’s hunting season. So I’m headed out scouting tonight. I’m also going to site in my .22.

Yesterday was sweet. Headed out on the McKenzie, following the path I took with Jeff (guide from Caddis Fly) and my brother when we camped here in April. Katie dropped me off around 3:30 at Hayden Bridge. I rowed out and immediately stopped just on the other side of the ramp at a spit of gravel I’d fished the first time. The water was a bit lower, but not too far down that it changed everything. I had a couple taps but didn’t hook up. Unfortunately, in my rush to catch fish, I forgot to stow my phone and completely drowned it. My only method to call Katie (who I was supposed to call when/where I needed picked up), and I don’t know her new Oregon phone number.
From MattStansberry

I didn’t let that daunt me though. I fished the area for about 25 minutes and moved on to a bend in the river that was a real honey hole last trip. The spot was recognizable, but significantly lower as well. A sharp bend in the river and a place where another waterway dumped into the McKenzie. It formed some weird eddies and a big hole, just on the protected side of the bend. I was fishing my nymph-partridge system and picked up two small cutthroats, one small one on the partridge and a bigger fish on the nymph.

Just about then a couple guys rafted by and told me that I was about two and a half hours from where I’d planned to pull out, Armitage. So with no phone, and hours away from where I needed to be, I moved on, but not before I dumped my digital camera in the drink trying to take a picture of one of the trout. Two for two with the electronics.

Despite the anxiety I was feeling about the lack of a phone and long-haul, it was one of the more pleasant river floats I’ve ever been on. I saw a blacktail deer fawn, half a dozen osprey (I can’t see how there are any trout left with that many around), a red-tailed hawk (guessing) and a bunch of college chicks in bikinis on a raft. Sadly, I left the binoculars at home.

I closed the distance to Armitage in under two hours. Borrowed a phone and made a series of calls until I reached Katie. She came and picked me up, and then I busted ass to get to the Trout Unlimited meeting I was supposed to attend.

Irony: Man misses trout club meeting because he’s stranded while chasing trout.

I did make it to the meeting, though a half hour late. I caught Mike Beagle, TU’s Oregon Field Coordinator, who was giving a presentation on the Copper-Salmon project on Oregon’s Elk River, in the southwestern portion of the state. He also turned the meeting on to a couple other outdoors groups that band together to support issues that TU cares about, like the Backcountry Hunters and Anglers and the Oregon Hunters Association. Both of which I’ll likely join.

A guy isolated on the West Coast needs hobbies. I’ll stop at four clubs. I promise.

Lastly, I met Al Avey, president of the McKenzie/Willamette chapter of TU. They have some really cool projects going on, including fish/water assessments with the state and a project to improve habitat on the upper region of the Middle Fork of the Willamette for Bull Trout. Al and I may be working on a Web site for the chapter this week. Stay tuned.

That’s it for now though. It’s time to go scout for deer and shoot these guns. Good riddance Boston.

PS: Thursday is still the new Friday.

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