Since it’s been so hot in the valley I’ve been heading up highway 58 to get to the cooler waters of the middle fork around Oakridge. Unfortunately the demands of my life require that I go during the middle of the day, so it’s blazing out. Not exactly ideal fishing conditions, though it is way better than fishing near Eugene where the water temps are way up. I had good luck about two weeks ago despite this by finding a stretch of water with lots of tree cover and some depth. After catching nothing on the dry or the dropper through this stretch, I thought I’d try a heavier bottom fly. I put on a size 16 red wire copper john and added a bit of tippet so that it could get near the bottom. I immediately started to pick up fish. After exhausting that hole, I moved upstream to the sunnier section you see, above. I had one grab in that section, but that was it, so i decided to head back home. On the way downstream to the car, as I was stumbling through that same section where I had caught fish, I saw a glint in the water. I reached in and pulled out a nice, heavy duty pair of line nippers. Not the style I’m used to using, but I figured I would find a use for them, if only to clip wire when I’m tying flies.
Fast forward a week. My buddy Stew and I decided to head up to one of the Cascade lakes to see if we could pick up some brook trout. We didn’t want to arrive in the dead heat of the day, so we stopped at this same stretch of river to fish it a little bit before continuing on. Like the week before, we found action under the shade of the trees. We fished for about 30 or 40 minutes, then headed back to the car. As we’re driving away, I realize I do not have my smartphone in my wader chest pocket. I knew I had it when we arrived at the spot. Yikes. Cue scrambling around the passenger compartment, the back of the car, and even the boat. I then remembered stumbling at one point, my chest coming parallel to the water as I grabbed a tree root to steady myself. Adding to my growing dread was the knowledge that I have a terrible habit of not zipping my wader pocket. That must have been it, I realized. We called it, and it went straight to voice message, and I knew it was over. I had had full battery.
Was that a fair trade, river gods? A pair of line nippers for a $500 phone? I can only imagine I’m paying some other karmic debt. Either that or the river gods don’t really differentiate between shiny things. You take one, they take one. My family tells me that I shouldn’t take my phone on the river anymore. But then I couldn’t take photos, like this one, of the fish I caught yesterday on a black copper john in a deep hole of a tailwater I frequent (with my “new” used phone):