Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Justin just left this morning after 4 days of fishing various locations in OR. Frankly, there is just too much to tell at this point. Fishing with a good friend is pretty much the pinnacle as far as I am concerned, and then when you top that off with beautiful scenery, big trout, wily carp and the splashing of waves against a drift boat you are really into something special. We had a fantastic journey through some of my favorite waters in OR.

Friday we spent the day fishing the water I love around Maupin. We nymphed most of the day and the highlight came at about 230 in the afternoon. Justin was stationed in a spot that always seems to hold one nice fish, but instead of one he hooked 3 fish in the 17-19 inch range. He brought all three to hand, with the third fish popping off as I grabbed the leader to land it. I was thrilled to see Justin hook those big redsides, and while the rest of the day was outstanding, that 10-20 minute stretch will go down as one of my favorite fishing memories. We closed the day down near Rattlesnake canyon, watching the water get darker and darker as the sun sank behind the walls...all the while hooking trout and whitefish almost at will. At that point in a great day, everything seems to come easier.

Day two found us fishing my all time favorite carp haunt. I had been telling Justin stories of this water for quite some time, and it didn't dissapoint. We were able to stand up on the high bank, looking down on cruising carp and throwing our flies into their paths with hopeful hearts. On many occasions those fish would ever so slowly move to the fly and without any fanfare and barely a heartbeat's pause the fly would dissappear. Justin was enthralled with the visuals, but not so much that he couldn't close the deal! In all we hooked around 20 carp. With the high water we only had about 10 feet of room between the bank and the heavy weedline, so any fish that could pass that 10 foot barrier was gone. We went down to 2X tippet, and figured any fish big enough to break off 2X or make it to the weeds deserved to get away. Out of 20 some fish hooked, all but 7 were up for that challenge. Still a great day of carping, with many memorable movies to play in our heads down the road.

On the third day we stuck closer to Portland. We took my daughter Elia out and hit some of my local carp spots. Elia loves Justin, and today after he left I asked Elia (all of 17 months) who Justin's friends were. I was hoping for a response of Emily (Justin's wife) or James (Justing 21 month old son) but instead Elia proudly proclaimed "YaYa!" while patting her chest. The local spots were tough, but we still managed to hook some fish, and I landed a beautiful 9lb Mirror Carp. We topped the evening off with pizza and game 5 of the NBA playoffs. Not much fishing, but still a solid day!

For our final day in OR we arranged to drift Warm Springs to Trout Creek with friend and guide Chris O'donnell. Chris did a great job of showing us some great little spots that most of us would normally walk by. We threw big salmon flies all day and despite it being the tail end of that hatch, we sure brought up a lot of fish! Justin caught his biggest ever trout on a dry fly, and I had a blast peperring casts up under trees and into tiny slots. We spent a good portion of the day trying to put holes in our waders by crawling around on our hands and knees while searching for ways to present our flies to the most difficult to reach trout. It was a stunning close to the weekend to sit quietly listening to the water as we floated down the river, with the only other noise being the occasional splash of a big trout sucking down yet another salmonfly. A big thanks to Chris for a memorable day for us both.

Each year when Justin and I get together to fish we talk about how we won't top the last trip we made, and yet each year we do. Most of the time it is the little moments that make our fishing trips so great...pointing out a huge salmonfly on the water and laughing when at that exact moment the fly is demolished by a fish...fighting over who pays for coffee in the morning...standing in the river together watching the water go by and the sun go down, neither of us in a hurry to cast...or smiling as Elia brings Justin a book for him to read to her. It just seems that these small moments get better each year; and now with James and Elia growing, I hope we can keep finding time to make these trips, and to bring our children together to see and enjoy some of the moments that make each of us who we are. Thanks again for a great trip J.

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