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My Road is Closed, I'm Going Fishing

Joel La Follette - Thursday, January 19, 2017

My phone beeped on Sunday with a text from my old friend, WaterDog. Due to unfortunate circumstances he had an open seat on Monday for trip on the coast with Water Time Outfitter’s Todd Rettmann. With warm rain forecast to rinse away our record snowfall and send rivers up and out, this seemed like a good chance to get on the water before the storm. I slipped past the “Road Closed” sign on my hill and met Jim somewhere off HWY 26 at o’dark thirty.

River conditions were very low and clear on the North Fork Nehalem, with water temps just a few clicks above solid. At that height swinging water is fairly limited, so I focused on photography. WaterDog did his best to convince a Steelhead to grab dead drifted offerings, but we ended the day without making contact. If you’ve not done this drift you should, as it is very beautiful with stunning waterfalls and rock formations in the upper section.

We beat the rain storm home, but it finally spooled up on Tuesday and started to melt away our Snowman collection. This sent the coastal rivers skyrocketing as well as most streams here in the valley. The one exception is the Sandy River which seems to be ignoring common perceptions of what should be happening with the rapid snow melt off Mt. Hood. The Sandy peaked at 6000 CFS yesterday and is currently dropping. Unless I'm missing something, that should be the trend through the weekend, offering up a cure for cabin fever.

The rest of our favorite Steelhead streams may take a bit longer to come back around, but should be very fishable by midweek. There will be opportunities for the optimistic by Monday. Smaller watersheds could fish by Sunday. Check levels and tie good knots; there will be some fresh hot fish to tangle with.

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