Middle Fork Willamette Report: Fish Gods Dispense Mercy

Father’s Day, 2009

Fresh off my skunking on the Metolius  I decided to wipe that day off the books by floating the Middle Fork Willamette from Oakridge to Black Canyon.  Expectations already running high were stoked even higher when I missed a good bite right away.  A couple minutes later I hooked a heavy fish that ended up fighting like a boot.  You know what that means:

MIddle Fork Willamette Whitefish

Oh well.  I caught a hatchery fish that must have migrated down from Salt Creek and broke a Green Caddis dry off in the snout of a nice fish.  Ugh.  The fishing slowed.  In desperation, I put on a stonefly nymph which was eaten right away by a decent trout:

Middle Fork Willamette Rainbow Trout

Then the fishing really slooowed.  The intermittant cloud cover became a blanket and the temperature had dropped by about ten degrees.  Bug activity nearly ceased and along with it the fish activity.

After a fishless hour or two my mind was wandering.  Just as I had given up and allowed myself to ruefully wonder at the capriciousness of the Fish Gods . . .

‘you know it is Father’s Day and I’ve worked hard at parenting this year . . . plus I’ve done a lot for Trout Unlimited . . . you’d think the Fish Gods would have mercy . . .’

… My rod slammed down and this nice trout had eaten a #16 light wet Cahill:

Middle Fork Willamette Rainbow Trout

Bug activity picked back up.  There were PEDs on the water and I caught several more trout none more notable than this fish that viciously attacked my Cahill like a Great White destroying a seal:

Middle Fork Willamette Rainbow Trout

It was awesome and left me trembling.  Trout ate the green caddis, lashed out at some tan elk hair caddis and grabbed the Possie bugger but the fly of the day was definitely the light cahill.  PMDs and PEDs are only going to get more important as the summer comes on strong.

Every time the sun was on the water there were tons of bugs:  big green caddis, tan caddis, pale duns and I got the feeling I was sitting on a bomb.  I suspect the next consistently nice day we get, the river is really going to fish.–KM

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