Friday, July 25, 2014

Back To The Bay

With our fishing itch not scratched from our last trip, we hit the bay in the hopes of some action.  Fishing was slow and Chul only managed two dinks.  I managed to complete the Salt Water Bay Slam, a Calico, Sand, and Spotted Bay Bass.  Albeit the calico and sand bass were dinks.  In fact the sand bass was the smallest I've ever caught.  I suppose that is some sort of accomplishment.  The Spotties though were legit both were a pound and half.  Years ago those were the norm, now they seem, harder and harder to find.
Never seen a Chinook this low and close to the beach in this area.  I wonder what the boys of Pendleton were doing here.
My second spotted bay bass.  Both about 1.5 pounders although this was slightly smaller.
The first fish of the day.  A dink calico.
The smallest sand bass I've ever caught.  It's about the size of our local trout.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Last Day-No Chance For A Lunker

Having not attached our rain flies on our tents, we awoke to a few droplets of water hitting us in the face.  Throughout the weekend we had evening clouds but none ever produced any threat of real rain.  On this morning though that had changed and thunderstorms echoed in the canyon.  We broke down our camp and packed the truck.  The rain started the come down with more consistency so we headed to a nearby restaurant for breakfast to wait out the rain.  On one of the first trips Chul took with Tuck here, Chul had awaken in the middle of the night and saw a big black bear sniffing Tuck while he slept in his hammock.  Luckily Tuck was not harmed nor did he even know he was just about to be bear food until the following morning.  So I guess a little rain isn't so bad and it could have been worse.
Coming to the conclusion that the bigger fish were not holding in the typical water, we had strategized the night before on how to approach these fish.    It was time to test our theory.  After about what seemed like eternity to get our food, we finally finished our meal.  By the time we left the restaurant the rain was still falling but now the wind had picked up.  It was really howling now, evidenced by this picture above (look at the bush at the lower right hand corner).
After attempting to fish our nymph rigs it became clear as day that fishing in such conditions would be futile.  So scrapped our plan and headed out of this canyon. 
It was our intention to head home but we decided to check out a nearby lake on the way out.  The storm had passed this area so at least it would be calm.  Throwing streamers from the banks, we tried to lure a fish out but none were taking.  After about the second cast I was already over it.  Fishing stillwater from the banks is hardly my ideal of fun.  So we headed out and checked out some tourist attractions before deciding to check out a small creek.
Neither of us had fished this water so we could at least scratch it from our list.  It was small water similar to our local waters so we weren't expecting much in terms of size.
The fish were small but vibrant and at least willing to take a dry.  Armed with my Sage XP 5 weight I was completely overgunned.  I flung many fish out of the water while setting the hook.  I wished I had my 1 weight.  After several dinks I saw up head in a small pool an aggressive rise, I approached and made a relatively long cast and the fish took.  It was decent (for this water) brown.
Chul managed a dink brookie, and after that I tried my best to get one myself but only rainbows wished to take my fly.  After little more than an hour or so we called the trip quits to head home slightly disappointed and let down.  Though we caught several fish, our expectations were greater with thoughts of 18 inchers and we still didn't have of itch really scratched but I suppose that is fishing.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Day Two- Not Quite What We Were Expecting

After waking and having breakfast we headed down to the river along our campsite.  We started with dries and it was not long before fish started to take my Never Sink Trude.  Chul had noticed that the water had dropped at least two feet from the last time he fished here three weeks ago.
Chul brought a stomach pump to see what the fish were eating and he found out that the fish were consuming just about everything.  Most flies were tan to olive colored from sizes 18 to 14 for the mayflies and larger stones were size 10 to 8.  After a couple hours of dry fly fishing catching fish similar to teh previous day's, we decided to move further downstream to nymph the bigger fish.
Water downstream is faster, larger and more treacherous so I took each step carefully.  We started at a big hole we were confident that held fish.  None were willing to take my golden stone nor my two buck chuck fly dropper.  Chul fishing at the end of the run managed one before moving further downstream.  As I moved to him I saw a covey of mountain quail brood.  It's nice to see the quail breeding despite the drought conditions.
It took me a couple hours before I could get a fish to take one of my nymphs after I switched to a filo fly.  The fish took the filo fly in both original tie and Kern emerger style, a Kern emerger hare's ear, and a Stalcup biot mayfly nymph.

At about 1pm we headed back to camp for lunch and a little siesta.  The morning session was disappointing as none of the fish with any size showed.  Typical holding areas that I like to fish held none or at least none were willing to take my fly.  Chul suggested I fish more of the faster water as that was where he was taking his fish on a bird's nest.
With no big fish making an appearance down river, we moved upstream to a tributary for some dry fly fishing.  Once we made it to the water though the BOA wire on my Simm's boots came apart.  So we made it back to the truck and I borrowed Chul's boot.  He was fishing with river shoes and had brought his Simm's as a back up.  I'm not having too much luck with boots lately.  We choose then to leave the tributary and returned to the main river.  To get there though we crossed a fern field that showed evidence of a big bear.  We first found a large pile of scat.  Later we found his bedding as a large area of ferns were matted down.
As we moved into the fern field we saw more evidence of this big bear.  Rotting logs were torn apart and there were several raspberry bushes.  Since the ferns were  about waist high we wisely decided to no longer take this route as we did not want to surprise a napping bear.  We got out of this field and took the long way around in a more open area.
This particular area was a shallow area perfect for dry fly fishing.  The Never Sink continued to produce fish.
Trout still were unimpressive, at least for this river, and most were at best in the nine inch range.  They were nicely colored though but I couldn't still feel disappointed despite the numbers were were catching.
Chul moved to his favorite area that had a long section of a deeper faster run.  I left him there moving downstream as he re-rigged to Czech nymph.  I moved down until I ran into another fishermen so I moved back to Chul.  As I approached him I saw he hooked up on a rather nice fish only to see it break off.  When I finally reached him he said it was a 15 incher and how the hell did it break his 5X tippet.  Later we were trying to analyze how the fluorocarbon failed.  The only thing we could come up with was that since he keeps his vest in his garage the heat must have compromised the line.  I moved upstream and fished a hole right in front of a fallen log.  After a few dinks I managed my best fish of the trip.  According to Chul this fish would have been considered disappointing on any of his previous trips.  Not sure what has happened to this river.
Making our way back to the truck we checked out a nearby waterfall and fished some of the pools.  I managed a few dinks and Chul manged a nice 12 incher that had swallowed a hook deep and had about 20 pound mono sticking out of it.
By this time we began to get ready for the evening hatch.  We checked another area down river that has produced in the past.  Again the hatch did not occur until just before the sun went down.  At this section the fish were rising more consistently.  I managed several on a parachute PMD. 
It was getting to dark to safely fish and we headed back to camp.  I prepared steaks for us in a Japanese style with grated daikon, chives, fried garlic, and soy, served with Japanese potato salad.  Drizzle had us concerned that we might get pissed on during the night.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Day One- Finally Made It Here

Despite multiple invites to this river throughout the years, I have never been able to make a visit.  It was not from a lack of interest though, as all the reports I heard back were always filled with nice fat trout.  So we were hoping for some of the same.  The World Cup put a kibosh on a planned fishing trip for me in late June.  If I'm relegated to every four years I simply refused to miss all the games so Chul went ahead without me.  After hearing his stellar report, we planned a trip right after the tournament was over hoping the water was fishing the same.  At that time the water was slightly higher than optimal, so three weeks should be just about perfect, at least that was the theory.
My First Fish From This River, Hardly The Lunker I was Hoping For.
On Friday Chul picked me up in the morning to make the long journey north.  Several side trips made the journey much longer but we finally made our destination in the late afternoon.  After setting up camp, we headed upstream to some holes known for great dry fly action leaving us a few hours of light.  On the first pocket, it failed to produce any rises.  Odd as it had always produced fish.
Moving on we hit a long run that after a few casts started to produce rising fish but none of any significant size.   According to Chul, in the past dinks were uncommon and fish were normally in the 14 inch range with several chances at fish in the 18 plus range.  Catching a 12 incher was considered a letdown.  We managed several 8-10 inch fish before we left to another portion of the river that is known for a hot Pale Evening Dun hatch just before sundown.  We arrive hoping to see trout boiling but we saw none, nor did we see any PEDs hatch.  It was not until 8:15pm did a hatch occur.  We only managed a handful of fish to rise, none of any considerable size, before it was too dark to wade safely through the river.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Wind, Dinks, And A Broken Rod At NPH

The World Cup is now winding down so my free time can now be indulging  my outdoor pursuits.  Conditions were ideal on paper with a strong tide, and warm water.  What we didn't anticipate was the heavy wind that made casting and controlling the pram less than ideal.  Chul reported mackerel hitting at the bait barge last weekend.  Fish generally don't get too big in this bay, in fact its been over ten years the last time I seen any fish of any specie over two pounds so I decided to rig my favorite 5 weight rod.

With the pitiful yet tenacious little trolling motor struggling to fight against the tide, it took what seemed like eternity to reach the barge.  After the long journey the wind made it next to impossible to cast at any distance.  After a few drifts, I managed the first fish of the day, a small mackerel.  And on next fish I managed was a stronger fish and as I fought it, my rod suddenly snapped.  I managed to bring it hand only to notice that I foul hooked this mackerel.  I switched to my spare rod a seven weight.

As we struggled to fish in the wind I managed another fish while Chul was fighting his first of the afternoon.  This mackerel was larger than the two previous but on a seven weight it was hardly was entertaining.  Fed up with trying to battle the crappy conditions we opted to held in the bay where we could use the multimillion waterfront homes as a shield against the howling wind.  I only manged two more fish, a pair of dink sand bass before we called it quits.  What a waste of perfect conditions.  Had it not been for the damn wind, this could have been one of  those epic 50 fish days.

Looks like I'll have to send in my five weight rod again for repair for what seems like the hundredth time.