Thursday, October 04, 2007



Yep, it is most definately time. The weather has turned, the water has cooled and the rain has come. For a carp fisherman, these are all generally considered bad things, but here in Oregon these things also indicate the arrival of my second favorite target...coho salmon! This year I decided to keep a few fish for the table and play the role of hunter/gatherer. What better way to start off the search than to meet up with the godfather of coho himself, PTS and a loyal carping buddy David. The three of us fished yesterday in the cool weather and at times the sun baked down (for mere moments, granted) and at other times the rain pounded us so hard we had to hang our heads to avoid being blinded by the sheer volume of liquid in the air. Let me tell you, catching fish, hooking fish...all of that pailed in comparison to the sheer joy of the pounding rain. If you waded out deep enough during the deluge, it was raining in both directions. The constant barrage had a visible and immediate impact on the river, which clouded up in an instant. You could see it happen as leaves began floating by and the tops of your boots and rocks quickly dissapeared. Fortunately, the coho saw it happen too and following the first heavy blast of rain, they started moving. Fish began rolling in the rapids below us and in no time people were hooked up all over the river. I was slot fishing the pockets. I learned to fish this way on the small streams of Minnesota and Montana and the techniques and tricks translate themselves well from the freestone brook trout streams and limestone creeks filled with beautiful brown trout. In some pocket, drifts are short and sweet, lots of lead is required to get that fly down the moment it hits the water and a 4 or 5 second drift is an eternity. I fished well yesterday; the 6th sense was working, my mind seemed clearer than my rain blurred vision but nary a strike went by without the proper response and subsequent rush of a throbbing salmon in fast water. Carping hadn't dulled my nymphing skills, but the river was something I just wasn't prepared for. I could hook them, but they tore me up in that current and messy knot of boulders and seams. I chased fish up and down the river, banged my shins, fell in the water and ran into tree branches, but none of that helped me bring more fish to shore. At the end of the afternoon not one, but both of my simms wading boots were split at the soles from frantic scrambling over the rocks. I walked the trail to the car wearing $100 flip flops that flung mud up my back with each sucking step. What a glorious day of fishing.


All three of us hooked into fish, and David's intro into the only fish that can even make me consider skipping a carp trip went well. He didn't put one on the bank, but he hooked up twice and as he said on the walk out..."I felt the power." That pretty well covered David's day. The godfather, he got into fish, but Phil always does. He planted himself in the river like he was rooted in place and each fish that found itself attached to his 14 ft spey rod was winched up to be admired, and in two cases brought home. PTS uses that big rod and hauls the fish to him, no silly single handed rods and slippery pursuits through the boulders and rapids for Phil. Me, I like the chase and don't mind losing those fish. I can raise the white flag when I know I'm beat, but the Montanan in me is ready for more moments after calling it a day. I'll give a nod to the fish, but that one battle doesn't end the war. So with that in mind...this report is to be continued...

3 comments:

the reel John Montana said...

If I didn't have to finish the house project, which should have been done by the contractor MONTHS ago, I would be there....no spey rod but heavy leader....I don't chase them anymore than Phil does!!

Flytimes said...

Looks like you gave them carp hell all season, you deserve a little ghetto fishing.

JM said...

Superb work, John !!

I love this blog.