Tuesday, July 10, 2012

It's fun every once in a while

In order to escape the heat wave Portland was experiencing this weekend, and honestly to scratch an itch that has been festering with all my recent travel I just had to get into the mountains. Where to go?? Well, in my recent research the weekend before I stumbled upon tales of a small mountain stream that sounded promising. It's above a damn and is a small tributary to the damned river. That means no salmon, no steelhead, or the likes that suppress resident trouts such that they seem to be ghosts; you know they have to be there, you see indirect evidence, but you never actually see (catch) them. And for this reason I got pretty excited about the potential to get back to basics and catch some silly stupid and small trouts.

Perhaps I should clarify. Yes, I've been fishing my whole life, and have been pretty avidly pursuing that dream for the past 10 years or so. Yes I've caught some large fish, and the total number of fish I've caught in my life must number somewhere in the few thousands. Yet for some reason I still sense tingling giddy sensations when I think about going out and catching a boatload of stupid 6-10 inch fish. It's not the sort of thing I would enjoy doing every day, but a few times a year I'm not sure anything else could beat it.

With that in mind I happily headed out to the Collawash river, a tributary to the Clackamas, a tributary to the Willamette (pronounced Will-AM-eht), a tributary to the great Columbia that flows into the greater Pacific. Sort of like the sea begat the Columbia begat the Willamette begat....and so on as the book of Genesis would tell you. Anyways, the Collawash was exactly what I was Jonesin' for. I started from the bridge at the end of the paved road because it had been a mile or so since I passed the last parked car and it looked like some fun pocket water. The first 50 yards of river took me nearly an hour to fish. Not because I was working it meticulously to find every last fish. Let's keep it real; that's not how I fish. It took me that long because I pulled at least 20 fish out of it. Some of those fish were literally pulled out with a gentle hookset with the 4wt. Those fish went flying back over my head, some of them flying off the hook at the end hopefully with their lips and jaws still in tact but who knows.

I have to admit it was fun. But I also have to admit there were only (oddly) three discrete sizes of fish. Three inches, six inches, and about 8-9 inches. Of the largest class (and I'm forced to use the word "largest" very liberally here) there were only two or three all day, and evidence of one is below. Of the other ridiculously small classes of fish, there were countless numbers. If I had to make a random guess I would say 50ish. After catching the first 20 or so I started trying to change things up to see if there were larger fish hiding somewhere. I threw nymphs for a while. I fished a couple versions of dry-dropper. I fished a double-dry and got a double bite on it, alas the bottom fish popped off instantly. Toward the end of the day I even loaded a ton of weight on and plunged the depths of a couple deeper holes in search of a great white whale, except not white and not a whale. No luck on a whale, but man was it a fun day anyway.


  1. It's fun catching those little ones. They seem to come in mass.


  2. Tim, In my mind you just described a perfect day on the water. Besides, I've got a good imagination. I just picture that those 6" fish are going to look like in a few years.

  3. Mark: it was fun; at least for a while

    Howard: those 6" fish will magically morph into...wait...more 6" fish. I promise.