Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Fern Ridge car break in; Skunked on the Siuslaw

So Sunday I went to REI, I bought a Garmin GPS unit and USGS topo mapping software of Oregon. I had it about 45 minutes before someone broke out my back window and stole it, along with a bunch of long underwear, socks and two backpacks (one of which had all of my steelhead flies in it).

I was parked at the Fern Ridge Wildlife area, literally a stone's throw from the highway. Katie and I walked out into the marsh to check out some birds with our binoculars. We were out there maybe 45 minutes total. On the way back, a couple told us that our gray civic had the back window smashed out.
From MattStansberry

We ran back to the car to find that they'd stolen the two packs, but had left Katie's purse (I can't believe it), the fly rod and a case of wine in the trunk. Must have been in a hurry. I probably lost about $500 on the deal. And in case you're wondering, my insurance agency, LeDoux Insurance Agency here in Eugene, didn't cover any of it.

My deductible was $500, but they don't cover any of the items in the car. Also, unlike other policies I've had, there isn't a separate deductible for glass, so there had to be $500 worth of glass damage. Which there wasn't. Just to note, I could have had a $100 deductible instead of a $500 deductible, for a mere $12, but no one at LeDoux mentioned that when I got my policy. Also, no one told me that my claim was worthless when I reported it to SafeCo on Sunday night, so even though I didn't get a cent from the insurance policy, there is a mark on my insurance credit for filing the claim. So needless to say, when I need to re-up my policy in six months a few hard questions are going to need answering.

But this blog isn't about insurance. It’s about the Oregon Outdoors. But I'm going to stay on this subject for another minute because I'm pissed off. Why aren't people doing a better job patrolling these areas? From what I've gathered, Eugene is rampant with property crime, but nothing gets done. A large transient population and major meth problem translate into theft for Eugene area outdoorsmen. You know what Lane County Sheriff's Dept did when I called? They mailed me a form to fill out. I feel like the Dude from the Big Lebowski when his car gets stolen. I'm not going to hold out for the tape deck. Or the Creedence.

In a slightly less frustrating experience I went chasing sea-run brook trout yesterday. The Eugene Register Guard said there were fish in the system, so I thought I'd try my hand. Unfortunately, I had no idea how far away the piece of river I wanted to fish was. It took almost an hour to get to a spot I'd never even seen, one I picked out on my recently replaced Topo map of Oregon. When I got to this boat launch on Rte. 36, I pretty much had to turn back around and drive immediately home because I promised Katie I'd go to the Lane Co. Fair that night. I did find the place crawling with baitfish, but it didn't look like it would hold any sea-run trout. I might be looking in the wrong place, or I might be chasing Bigfoot here. Sea-run Cutthroat Trout sounds a little too squirrelly a fish to have much consistent success with.

On the upside: I checked out the other fly shop in town, Home Waters Fly Fishing. I talked to the guy that was running the place for what seemed like a long time about the rampant crime. Nice place, but I'm sold on the Caddis Fly still.

I also checked out two new really productive spots: Dexter Lake Dam and the North Fork of the Middle Fork of the Willamette. Dexter Lake dam has salmon and steelhead trying to get up it right now. It's crawling with fish and fishermen, but I could get to some really prime spots with the kayak. Plus, it's the first place that's legitimately a half hour away. Unlike most of my other spots, which I say are a half hour away but are more like an hour.

The North Fork of the Middle Fork of the Willamette is definitely an hour away, but is one of the most beautiful places I've ever fished, just second to the Umpqua. Definitely a place to explore further. Didn't get to catch anything there, but did see a lot of rising fish.

Also, I'm tying better, now that I'm stuck replacing all of my steelhead flies. Nice wooly buggers and egg patters. Going out tonight to try my luck at the Dexter Lake Dam.

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