Friday, January 20, 2012


This post is only indirectly related to fishing so I apologize.  But that's because I can't go fishing yet, which I wrote about last weekend.

On Wednesday I gathered up the important documentation and headed to the DMV.  Even though I've been driving for 15 years now and have never been in an accident and never even had a speeding ticket, the great state of Oregon found it necessary to test my knowledge.  I sat down in front of a little computer touch-screen at the DMV and started a brief quiz on my extensive knowledge.  It was 35 questions and I could get as many as 7 wrong.  How hard could it be??  Driving tests are usually pretty much a test of common sense.  As long as you don't over think it you're fine.

This one is not.  Now before I get to far, no, I didn't fail the driving test.  But I didn't pass by much.  I don't recall the exact number, but I think I ended up getting 6 wrong and there may very well have been a couple others that I had to guess on.  What I was amazed about, though, was how difficult some of the questions were!  Let me give you a quick quiz.  I can remember a few of the hard ones, so here we go:

1) A horseback rider on the side of a rural road has their arm raised.  What does this mean?
a. Proceed with caution, there are more riders up the road
b. Rider does not have horse under control
c. Horse is under control, proceed
d. Another answer I can't remember

2) In a typical car driving at night, at what speed are you essentially "driving blind?"
a. 45
b. 50
c. 55
d. 60

3) At what blood alcohol level is your ability to drive impaired?
a. 0.05
b. 0.08
c. 0.1
d. any

Even now I don't know/remember the answer to the horse question, but I think it's b.  I over-thought question 2, but I was stunned that they had the nerve to put the answers so close together!  Is driving 55 really any different than driving 60?  No, it's not.  Which should have told me 60 is the answer, but I put 55 because that's the top limit of most state highways.  Wrong!  It's 60.  Question 3 is a little easier but I was surprised that they seem to be actively trying to trick people.  The wording of the question almost suggests "legally impaired," but it doesn't say legally.  I had to think for a minute or two what they even wanted.  The answer is either "any" or the legal limit of 0.08.  In the end I chose "any" and got it right but was a little irked that they do seem to be actively trying to trick people.

What was worse was the motorcycle test.  I haven't ridden in a few years and it's been longer since I actually studied up on that stuff so it's no surprise that I failed the test.  The quiz was 25 questions and you could miss 5.  I made it to question 21, only missing 2 so I thought I was golden, then I proceeded to miss 4 of the last 5.  I don't remember most of the questions, but the ones I got wrong were about lane positioning, and a few ridiculous questions about what the biggest dangers to motorcycles are, which are totally subjective.  You just have to read the booklet to find out what Oregon thinks the answers are.

I passed the M endorsement test the next day only missing 1, and now have my temporary OR license.  Now I can go ahead and get my in state fishing license/tag, which is a couple weeks overdue!  By the time I get back in town I'll be ready to go chase some steelhead around.  And hopefully by then the rivers will be back to normal status, as they are massively flooded right now.

Sunday, January 15, 2012


Here I sit, inside, on an optimal steelhead fishing weekend in Oregon in January. Why in the world am I not out making the most of it?  I had intended to get out last weekend.  And when packing up my stuff Friday evening I came to the realization that it is now 2012.  What does that mean?  It means my 2011 fishing license and tag are no longer valid.  As a famous politician once said, Oops.

Getting a new license and tag should be as easy as going online and printing them out (although I don't think you can print out tags).  But I actually need to get my Oregon driver's license to get an in state fishing license.  I put off doing this all of last year because I was worried that getting a new license would invalidate last years CO and OR licenses.  In summary, I guess I was just delinquent and totally forgot I would need a new fishing license.

So, here I sit in limbo during optimal steelheading time in Oregon.  Don't worry too much about me, though.  I'm going to remedy the driver's license thing this week and then get the new fishing license and tag just in time to go away on work travel for two weeks.  I just hope the fish are still around when I get back.

At least it's just Purgatorio and not Inferno.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Thank you Santa

Christmas is my favorite time of year.  Santa Claus was such a great human being and I love celebrating his birthday.  And there's nothing better than going out to Target or Best Buy and wishing and hoping, then going home and adding all those goodies to your wish list.  Then of course you get to open up all the shiny packages on Christmas morning to play with the formed and extruded pieces of plastic inside for a few hours before getting bored of them.  The only downside is that I also have to buy stuff for other people.  

This year Santa did me particularly well.  I have been rocking the same pair of cheap-o wading boots for a while now.  I've actually been trying to figure out exactly how long.  I bought them when I was living in Colorado so they're at least 2 years old and they saw at least one season there.  So my current boots are at a bare minimum 3 seasons old, and I think they're probably 4 seasons...of 40+ days each.  That gives my cheap-o Chota wading boots a very high rating in my book as far as durability goes; perhaps a gear review is in the future...

The boots are now in very poor condition and are actually much worse than they look in this picture.  The last few times I've had them out I've been worried they wouldn't survive the day.  Seriously.  The laces are about to snap in multiple places, and the seams in a couple places are totally gone.

But back to the point:  the new boots Santa bought for me are big upgrade but there's a history with me and this brand.  The wading boots I had before the Chota's were a pair of Korkers.  I thought the idea of removable soles was genius for two reasons.  One is because the felt fell off my first pair of wading boots before the boots themselves wore out.  If I could have just replaced the sole (which I guess I could have had done) it would have been nice to not toss out.  The other reason is being able to swap a hiking sole for a felt sole for a studded sole, etc.

My gear review for those Korkers is:  they totally sucked.  The felt only covered 70% of the bottom surface.  You may think that's not a big deal, but when I get out on the water and my foot starts to slip I instinctively try to dig in with the edge of my foot...where the felt doesn't exist, so it just makes things worse.  After suffering through those boots for a couple years and not really getting a great lifespan out of them I said "never again!"

Until now apparently.  Once I saw that Korkers had revised their sole design to actually cover the entire bottom of the boots like any other wading boot I have decided to give them a second chance.  I'm very optimistic about the performance of gripping the river bottom and the material they're made of looks much more durable, so I hope for the best.

Maybe a much more positive review for this pair is coming in the distant future.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

End of year recap

So the year is coming to a close and now is the time to look back and evaluate my performance for the year.  Or maybe just look back and happily reminisce.  There will be links to some of the main fishing stories/reports for the past year below.  Grab a brew or a nice hot cup of cocoa and sit down and take a journey with me....again.

This year I made it out on the water 53 days.  Of course I didn't count those outings after work where I walked around some carp ponds for an hour or two unsuccessfully.  That's up a decent tick from last year's 40 days.  One new thing I wanted to keep track of this year was a guesstimate of how many fish I caught.  So, each time I went out I wrote my best guess for the final catch in my journal.  The running tally sits at 359.  Not bad!  I wasn't sure what sort of average I would get to, but around 7 fish per outing is actually more than I would have expected, especially with being in a new place and doing some steelheading and salmon fishing where you're lucky if you actually catch something.

I had a number of good trips too.  The Bighorn river annual trip (and here) happened again and was a raging success despite the exponential growth in numbers.  I hit up the Frying Pan River for my first time with some reasonable success.  The Colorado River trip was a bit of a flop but still fun.  And the dream stream was a good but challenging trip.  My backpacking trip was awesome too and is included in the goals overview below.  You should read that one again.

I did an excellent job with my goals for the year, if I do say so myself.  In fact I did quite a bit better than I anticipated.  People have been flocking to this blog and my followers list has ballooned from 9 all the way up to 24!  Pretty soon I'll have to start selling ad space to make millions of dollars.  Goals number two and five fell late in the summer via a very nice steelhead.  I did manage to find a number of sea run cutts in the Fall to scratch goal four.   Goal six was sort of crossed off, but the streamers I have tied are pretty simple and I'd like to make some fancier ones, so I'll probably leave that goal on the list to improve upon for next year.  The long weekend backpacking trip in the Wallowa mountains was a ton of fun and very successful.  Goals eight and nine took a bit of a dog leg left when I moved from Eugene to Portland.  I had actually compiled a list of places around Eugene that I wanted to hit, and tried a good number of them out.  And after moving to Portland I did the same and tried most of them out.

  • Salmon Creek 
  • Umpqua 
  • Row river
  • Mackenzie mid river
  • Layng creek
  • Fall Creek
  • Blue River 
  • Kirk Pond 
  • Delta Ponds 

  • Deschuttes
  • Mollala 
  • Nehalem 
  • Clackamas
  • Metolius
  • Nestucca 
  • Wilson 
  • Sandy 
  • Eagle creek
The two lists cross off goals eight and nine even though I didn't actually focus on them.  That's pretty easy to do when you move from one pretty new place to a totally new place though, so only minor props for me.

The two main failures for the year were my inability to catch a salmon, and that lack of planning for a trip to Alaska.  The Alaska trip won't be next year, unfortunately.  Instead there will be a couple smaller fishing trips, and I'm mainly hoping to substitute a hunting trip in Colorado that I was considering doing this year but didn't.  As for the salmon, it's tough to catch salmon on the fly, and it's even tougher when you don't really try.  And I really didn't.

All in all I am quite happy with last year.  I'm only left hoping next year is even better!

Have a happy new year everybody.