A couple of weeks back, I was guiding a single angler on a section of the lower McKenzie that I hadn’t run since the previous high water event. The day before had been relatively slow: the river had been high and rising and the weather had been miserable, but by the following morning things were looking up. The day was warm, the sun came out, the river was quite high but dropping and a nice color. The fishing wasn’t outstanding early on, but in the first few spots, we managed to get a couple of respectable rainbows. Little did I know what lay in wait just around the corner.
I came around a small island, through some fast water and dropped into the top of the next pool. We started to nymph the inside edge of the current, starting in the faster water at the top and getting some long drifts down into the pool below. As we fished the pool, the bobber went down on several occasions and a my guest brought a couple of nice, medium-sized rainbows to the boat. Normally this would lift my spirits, but something just didn’t feel right. The sun was shining. The fish were biting, but the little hairs on the back of my neck were standing up. We were being watched. Quickly, I scanned both banks and didn’t notice anything. We drifted down through the pool, focused on the drift. As we prepared to move downstream to the next spot, I glanced over my shoulder and there it was.
At first I wasn’t sure if I should try to document my find or just get out of there as quickly as I could. Its gaze was fixed on us. Chucky’s stance was a little askew, but he stared directly out at the pool, watching us as we fished. Hands down, this was the spookiest piece of flood debris I had ever encountered on any river. Ever.
Yesterday my friend Kyle and I were faced with a dilemma: we wanted to fish the stretch of the lower river that would bring us past Chucky’s lair. We liked our chances for the fishing. The river was in great shape, and cloudy skies held the prospect for a good march brown hatch, but as we approached the ramp, all I could think about was that awful little doll. My apprehension was not entirely unwarranted. As a much younger person I had watched Child’s Play, Child’s Play 2, and Child’s Play 3. For those of you who haven’t seen these classics, I will save you the time. The take home message is: demonically possessed dolls are not to be messed with. Later, the films Bride of Chucky and Seed of Chucky emphasized the homicidal zeal of not only Chucky, but also of any other evil doll that might be related to him by either blood or marriage.
With these ideas swirling around in my head, we left the ramp. Were we tempting fate? Only time would tell. The fish gods smiled on us. In the first hole, Kyle hooked and landed a big, dark, male rainbow that looked like he had just finished spawning.
Later, we passed Chucky’s hole without incident, and we were rewarded with good fishing throughout the afternoon. Later, we found a kingfisher that had mistaken a rooster tail dangling from an alder branch for some sort of flying fish. Kyle cut him down from the branch, removed the treble hook from the back of his head, and sent him on his way. I was worried the bird would be exhausted, but he flew off, seemingly unscathed. Chucky had spared us from his wrath, and we managed to enhance our river karma by saving the kingfisher. Maybe the doll was not as malevolent as I had feared.
Your task is this: find Chucky. Chris has agreed to reward the first angler to bring photographic proof of his or her Chucky encounter to the fly shop with a dozen free flies! It’s a win/win! Explore the lower McKenzie and get some free stuff! He is somewhere between Leaburg Dam and the confluence with the Willamette, limbs akimbo in the blackberries, waiting. Get a picture, but if I were you, I wouldn’t touch him…EN