Friday, I made it out to Salt Creek for the first time since May when it was blown out. It’s a little tributary off the Middle Fork of the Willamette River, just east of Oakridge. The drive is really long. I never noticed. I keep thinking it’s short, but it’s close to an hour outside of Eugene.
The other thing I seem to be misjudging is my ability to catch fish. I mean, I am catching wild trout on every trip [Skinner Butte notwithstanding], but I’ve missed so many fish it’s embarrassing. In fact, I’ve missed/lost so many tiny trout that I’m nervous to imagine what’s going to happen if I catch a real fish.
Salt Creek was nice, full of tiny fish -- still had their adipose fins. I think they were “cutt-bows” a hybrid between native cutthroats and stocked rainbows. But I’m not sure if that’s the case. All of the little fish I caught looked exactly the same, like a generic silvery trout, sort of had spots like a cutt, but still had the feathery band that could mean it was a bow. But some had cuts and some didn’t. So I couldn’t tell you what they were.
When I parked at the pull off, there wasn’t a path heading down to the water. In fact, the place was overrun with those goddamn blackberries. But, hell. I drove an hour. So I stomped through the prickers in my crocs. Didn’t buy new wading shoes yet. Dumb move.
On the list:
Also went to the Caddis Fly yesterday and learned how to tie egg patterns. Got the lowdown on where to catch some steelhead. Moving to catch something bigger than my hand. The guys say you gotta be there before 4am. Not into that. But maybe. I also heard that it’s important to fish higher on the McKenzie.
Saturday we made a run to the coast. Went to Bandon, but wasn’t impressed. It was freaking cold for sure. People crabbing, but we didn’t get into it because it was too cold. We decided to head inland. I’d originally headed for the coast because I was into trying for some sea-run cutthroats -- the Eugene Register Guard said they’re in the Siuslaw River. The river looked a little tough to fish though, shallow, wide silty.
Instead, we made our way up the Umpqua. It’s the most beautiful river I’ve ever seen. Katie and I pulled off the road on 138 and pitched a big purple wooly bugger sucking on a pink egg. That was pretty beat. I’m still not sold on the big nasty fly technique for West Coast fishing. But the river was gorgeous, big water roiling into giant pools. No fish.
We moved upstream after about 30 mins, and I switched over to a small, black wooly bugger. And I don’t think I’m ever going to switch back. It’s a great fly. In fact, 3 casts after switching up I pulled my first fish out of the Umpqua, a respectable redband trout.
Maybe early steelhead tomorrow. On another note, I should probably take a notebook with me on the stream. I can’t catch all the details here sitting in the house, hours or days later.