Also worth noting, I'm not going to be buying any Fern Ridge fee pheasant hunt tags next year unless I have a dog. I mean, I totally agree that the hunt should be a challenge, but I'm getting my ass kicked. I've spent HOURS AND HOURS walking around and haven't seen a bird on the Fern Ridge property since they stocked for the youth hunt. I've seen them in hunters pockets (walking out with their dogs) and I've seen them off the refuge. But I haven't killed one yet -- and I could be wasting time hunting grouse and scouting deer instead.
Speaking of deer, the opening day came and went. Deer actually came up to us in the middle of the night before the season opened and taunted us while we stood around our illegal campfire up on the Taylor Burn. (we found out it was illegal the next morning upon further inspection of the signage).
The next morning we also hiked back to Moolack Lake where I caught the biggest Oregon cutthroat trout of my life, and then watched Bill Laroux hook one just like it. They were sweet. I have some pics, depsite the fact that I dunked my camera while trying to take a picture of Bill's fish.
The fish in these high lakes are feeding on a flying ant or termite looking thing, cinammon colored and fat. Clear wings. Keep that in mind when I'm tying for these lakes for next year. Maybe we'll do one more trip this year.