By Josh Linn
Photos by Corey Koff, Nick Wheeler and Josh Linn
We were on separate outings, but on Sunday morning I saw Nick, along with Rob and Erin Perkin at the boat launch. We had a quick talk and I told Nick I had heard there were some people camping where he wanted to fish. Apparently, he didn’t believe me because he hiked straight out to the spot. It's always better to see for yourself, and he was sorely surprised when he saw that there actually was a boat camped in there. He was sure that because there weren’t any cars in the parking lot that he was going to have his pick of spots. In a daze Nick came up with a new plan. They moved on to his second choice of runs and again, there were anglers in that piece of water. It was a little confusing considering there wasn’t a single car in the parking lot. By the end of the day they had found some good water and Nick and his companions did end up landing a couple of fish. Really his nugget was; "Be flexible and always have a backup plan or expect the unexpected....
I came back with a different lesson in mind. I floated on both of my days off. It was cold and and awesome! I love the fall I like the crisp cold days. The beauty of the hills with their fall colors reds, greens, and yellows is breath taking. The weather had changed as promised. There was snow a little further to the NE and it was raining extremely hard to the West. We were in a little pocket that was cold and cloudy between the two fronts. Daylight savings had moved our start time up an hour earlier, to a 4:30 a.m. wake up call. We were on the water shortly after sunrise, and ready to fish. Our last couple of outings had been really good and we had high expectations. Immediately upon stepping into the water we could feel that the water temperatures had dropped. We could feel the chilly water through our waders. I was dressed how I would typically dress for winter steelheading but you tend to forget that the fall has its own unique cold. Its dry and cold with icy biting winds. In the winter it’s typically rainy so it’s almost always in the 40’s. I’m longing for that weather and it’s coming soon enough.
We fished a ton of prime water on our float. Runs that we have caught fish in in the past, but this time it seemed like no one was home. Had the fish pushed through? Was it so cold that they were deeper in the tanky water? Or were they just glued to the bottom unwilling to eat? Without being able to communicate with the fish it’s hard to know exactly what was going on. What I do know was that we weren’t moving any fish.
Typically when I’m fishing or guiding I am always resolute in checking my leader for wind knots if I make a bad cast or to check my hook if I hang up on the bottom. Eric had made a quick visual survey to see that he still had the fly but didn’t check the hook and that’s what I probably would have done too. So my lesson or though is don’t get complacent with your tackle. Inspect. Inspect. Inspect. If you have something happen, a bad cast, or tick the bottom, or something else check your gear to make sure it’s all in perfect working order.
Nick and I have been finding fish lately, and all of them have come on the same basic tackle setup. We have both been using lighter rods, I don’t really think it matters too much as long as you can cast it and fight a fish quickly with it. Seemingly the key to our success has been a 2.5’ Floating x7.5’ sinking t-11 MOW tip and a fly that is about 1-1.5” long. We have been fishing mostly Klamath intruders. This sink tip seems to get this smaller lighter fly down to the right depth and still swing into the soft water where fish seem to be holding.
I got a report via Satellite from Joel on the upper John Day. It’s been pretty cold, but his group has gotten into a few fish. Fish were taken on Purple Muddlers, Silveynators and Klamath Intruders.
Rob and the Water Time Outfitters gang are on their last camp trip of the season and they are still hitting good numbers of fish between Warm Springs and Maupin.
I talked with Jake from G Loomis. They were on the Deschutes and ran up from the mouth in a jet boat and they did quite well.
Seems like the Deschutes really got a late start but is fishing good right now. The secret is to cover as much water as possible.
A couple of different friends of ours were out on the Klickitat and they both said it was extremely cold and sadly no fish.
If you are planning on heading east prepare for cold weather and the possibility of snow.