The Spring Transition

Salmonfly hitching a ride on my boat.

I was able to escape the family and work four or five times during the last month to fish. Not nearly as much as I’d like, but that’s the way it goes sometimes. I drifted the McKenzie a couple of times, fished the middle fork of the Willamette and a couple of the other tailwaters. Spring has definitely sprung, and there are plenty of bugs around, with fish occasionally taking them on the surface.  As the days warm that should only increase. Yesterday I drifted a section of the McKenzie in town with Stew and we caught a bunch of cutthroat who rose to size 12 caddis patterns (best success with the Butch Caddis.. I’m really appreciating how hard it is to sink this fly even after fishing it for an hour).

Despite warmer weather and bugs starting to make a show, April isn’t my favorite time to fish.  Fly fishing heresy? Perhaps.  I know that most fly fishermen anticipate the end of the cold, dark months with excitement.  Maybe I feel this way because fishing becomes a little harder as trout have a more varied diet to choose from and therefore won’t go for whatever I throw at them.  I find that I really need to transition my strategies, and I realize I’m not the fly fishing genius I thought I was. Maybe it’s also because the dams dial down their flow which stops washing through all the big hatchery fish into the rivers.  Since I always return wild fish to the river, and I won’t keep the 8 inch stocked fish that ODFW has just dumped into local waters by the thousands, I have nothing to bring my mother-in-law at the end of the day.

Speaking of which, I was on my way down highway 58, passing Dexter reservoir, when I noticed an ODFW truck on the covered bridge that crosses the lake. I knew what they were about to do so I stopped to film it:

The guy managing this operation hollered at me that the fish hadn’t been fed in a couple of days preceding the stocking.  Of course I had to throw my line in.  I immediately caught a trout and… decided this would be no fun. I might as well have held a basket underneath the stream of trout shooting out of the truck.  Fishing has got to be a lot harder.  It’s got to involve some level of skill.  And it’s got to require that I’m wading in or floating on a river for a couple of hours.  Otherwise it’s just catching, and who wants to do that?