I am NOT a stalker. Really.
This seems an appropriate opening assertion for this article, given the fact that I just recently opened the Caddis Fly Blog to find that my most trusted and share everything friends RR and MS had just returned from a venture to one of MY favorite Oregon Cascade mountain streams. FINE! Fellows, I was prowling these waters from the banks and underwater 35 years ago. So maybe you should at least let me know that you are going; just returned; might go; and yes, that you are going to blather about it for the Blogosphere.
Anyway, plans, if one could refer to this wild urge to head into the mountains any sort of plan, were made already. I knew I was going back to a place dear to my heart. I had a couple of Echo fly rods and Airflo Fly lines to put to the versatility test, but little else was even close to organized. No forethought about this trip. Just knew that I had to go, had to diversify from my recent tendency to go SALMON fishing ALL THE TIME. So into the truck I threw my basic survival gear, some fishing tackle, two cameras, and little else.
My arrival time precluded any evening fishing, and I slept fitfully in the back of my 4-Runner. The camp host eyed my skeptically, and wished me luck. Someone caught a 16-incher last week, she said. She noted that she didn’t fly fish herself, but wished me well.
I was up at my usual 4:30 AM the next morning, with no place to fish, no computer, and …… So I drove into Oakridge to see how the town had changed over the years since I had been a “regular” there. The Dairy Queen has a spankin’ new sign, the A & W does not. The lady at the Coffee Kiosk greeted me, her first customer that morning. We visited awhile, with no one else in line, and me knowing it was too early to fish yet. Things have changed around her, she said. This is the town where loggers buy mountain bikes and mountain bikers buy chain saws. Reminded me of the most excellent Brad Paisley song “Welcome to the Future.”
Well, being an expert on this river, and all that, I KNEW with certainty , that there would be ZERO trout to be caught at 8 AM in August, certainly not in the lower river, just upstream from Westfir. But I had time aplenty and so just for old time sake, I hauled two fly rods and cameras down to the river to begin playing.
So much for my “expert status. Within minutes, maybe on the second or third cast, a fine wild cutthroat trout nipped one of my nymphs fished almost Czech style on my Echo Shadow fly rod. This wonderful surprise set the tone for the entire day. I revisited old favorite places, found the river was both the same and completely different than it was in the mid 1970s.
This ground level photo shows the offending obstacle that rendered my first face-plant of the day. I note here that there were several similar face-plants, and that I managed to curse on my way to the forest floor on each descent.
I found several places to keep my key safe and sound after locking my truck, this on the roof near the driver’s side door.
I found willing wild fish all day long, in EVERY pool and run I fished.
The river is a true freestone Oregon Cascade stream. It is populated with wild, native coastal cutthroat, rainbow, whitefish, and who knows, maybe a bull trout of so. The latter species was once common, but is now rare. Spring Chinook once made their way up here, and the USFS and ODFW are exploring the possibility of bringing Springers back here. Good Luck folks.
Dry flies were about equally effective in the shadowed reaches of the river, and yes, RR and MS, the big deep pools did indeed hold more of the jumbo size rainbow.
II – Oregon Cascade Trout tackle
III – Oregon Cascade trout flies
IV – Oregon Cascade trout tactics
V – Why trout…. why?