Holy crap, the weather sucks. It's been a long wet spring and there is no end in the 7-day forecast. Typically I like April and May, just sandals, shorts, t-shirts and catching up on things I'd let go to long during the season. But I think we've had like 2 nice days here in that time. Enough of my weather smack, who really cares anyways, right. I have been wearing sandals for the past month, just 'cause though.
Longing for a weekend away on the river, despite a marginal forecast and high winter-like flows, I sped off.
- Feathers, stick and line winder.
When I made it to the river, it was nearing dark. Being May, I didn't rush to the water to get a run in before dark, hell, I rarely ever do that anyway. Opted for a few cold beers and well over 10 hours of sleep, it was awesome. Fished about 5 pieces of water the next morning. A good friend saw my car and clambered to the river, to see how many steelhead I'd caught, ha. It had been a good 8 months or so since I had seen him last. I reeled in and called it quits for fishing that day.
It was nice to feel the power of the river again and she smelled amazing in her spring green. I got no bites this day, not even a trout, I thought for sure I'd get a nice trout or two.
Steaks & beans for dinner and another night of 10 hours of glorious sleep.
Brewed coffee in my palm and the truck defrosted, Bo and I drove down river 'till a run begged to be fished. Again it just felt really good to be standing in the rushing current and swinging a fly and fishing it well. There is something to be said about the satisfaction of fishing a run well. You know what I'm talking about.
I have an idiosyncrasy when I fish, most of us do and no, 'one more cast' doesn't count it's over used and played. So when I fish through a run thoroughly and am working a long line. I reel in half of my running line and stop, strip the rest in and make another cast and swing. Does it work?, it hasn't yet and my clients can attest to that, as I put them through it as well. I knew one day it'd work.
With Bo sleeping, in the sand bed he'd made, I finished the run and did my thing. As the fly made it's turn to swing, it hesitated, knowing there is a bedrock reef there, I gave the rod tip a quick 'pop' to lift it off the reef, the reef 'popped' back. The reel, out-goingly clicked a few times. The line slackened, confirming my suspicions of the reef. A nanosecond later the reef peeled off well over 150 yards of running line and baking, this ain't no reef. Gathering myself and tight to nothing but backing, the fight began. This fish had no give, I couldn't turn him. I saw him a hundred feet out and thought it was a chinook, cool I thought, but not what I was after. With the head of my line gaining ground, he surfaced again, this ain't no chinook. After an epic battle, and yes 'epic' is over used and played, but it fits here, I brought him to hand.
After a few quick shots and a tape, I picked him up and faced him up-stream, I did not tape his girth, never cared to much for it. Looking down on his back, he was thick. Facing back upstream, with a firm grasp on the wrist of his tail, he shook from my grasp, literally, my arm waved back and forth until I released. Nose headed upstream, this guy powered against the current, far upstream, of me and a very happy black-lab, out of sight. I think he was more annoyed with our brief encounter than anything.
I've done as much I know to do to help preserve these fish. This fish alone, nailed a railroad spike into the foundation, as to why for me.
Thumbing through the vast ocean of what is the internet. And reading that, "Steelhead have enough friends", makes me sick. You may get a swift upper cut to the chops, if I hear that face to face.
If that was true, we wouldn't have the problems we are seeing now.
Over this past winter I heard a phrase that has stuck with me, " to study depletion is to perpetuate depletion" Think about it.
These fish can be saved, their survival is in our hands.
On the 26th of May, the commission of Medford voted to pass the 7.6 miles and 50' buffer zones, of the small but invaluable tributaries of Bear Creek to the city comp-plan. A meeting date has not been set for the Medford Council meeting, that would write it, in the city code. Good things are happening on the Rogue, let's keep it rolling.
If we give the fish a little, they'll take a lot.
Apologies for the small rant at the end of this post, why I need to stay away from internet chat rooms.
Hope all is well with you and yours,
Rich & Bo