Despite the climbing temperature, the Middle Fork Willamette remained stable on Saturday as I floated from the Guard rail launch in Oakridge to Black canyon. The river level has since risen sharply and has probably adversely affected the fishing and definitely has made floating les enjoyable. Levels are still very high for productive bank fishing in the Oakridge area.
The day started with a few ten inch natives eating both #8 Possie Buggers and #10 Prince nymphs nothing spectacular. The heat of the day ground the bite to a halt. Finally in a promising looking spot I hooked three decent fish on the Possie Bugger. Since nothing had eaten the Prince, I fully committed. One rod saw two Possie Buggers fished under a Thingamabobber. The other was rigged with two Possie Buggers and a couple of split shot so I could swing the Buggers deeply.
I hooked one large trout that I proceeded to lose just beneath me. In my experience, the most dangerous point in a fight with a fish is just when you are getting it under control and it moves directly below you in the current. It is easy to fall into the trap of pulling the fish directly towards you through the current or to stalemate for a moment in that position. A trout is often able to cause momentary slack in the line by thrashing and that slack is sometimes all the fish needs for the hook to pull free. To keep this dreaded and all too common long distance release from happening it is best to apply side pressure—this helps the hook hold. Anyway, I caught a few more decent trout in that hole but the big boys were done playing.
For the rest of the float, the Possie set-ups hooked fish consistently but nothing oversized. Finally, near the take-out this nice trout slammed one of the flies and I was able to bring it too hand:
I got hammered by another nice trout on a swung Possie but it didn’t hold. How that happens is a mystery. I finished up with a few smaller trout. A respectable day of fishing.–KM