Fishing the Wood River

Trip Start Aug 01, 2010
Trip End Sep 01, 2010

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Flag of United States  , Oregon
Tuesday, August 10, 2010

I have not been at all diligent about my blog – but I do not feel guilty.  We have been busy; and having fun takes lots of time and energy.  Last time, I wrote an entry we were in the Crater Lake area and I was anticipating 2 days of fly fishing. Well, I did it – sort of.

My son and DIL sent me one of those made-to-look-old metal signs for my birthday (photo) which prominently displays “Casting Flies/Telling Lies”.  Well I’m not going to do that – but you can decide.

I fished on the Wood River – an absolutely lovely spring fed stream which meanders through the landscape.  It is maybe 20 yards wide in most places.  The water is cold (about 50 degrees),clear and without pollutants.  It is the kind of river that wild fish love and in which they grow to be very large.   Large in this case is 22 to 28 inches; rainbows (75%) and brown trout.  There are of course more than a few in the population which run smaller – about which more later.  :-))

Large rainbow trout are spectacular fighters when hooked.   While brown trout, large ones, run deep and with the power of a tractor away from the fisherman, rainbows are very showy.  They jump, dive – and are more likely than not to run at the fisherman – which presents major problems.  Successfully landing a fish is highly dependent upon keeping the line tight thereby keeping the fly in the trout’s mouth.  What we on the rod end of the game call “fighting” the fish, the fish themselves call trying to “spit the *@%! fly" out.

You will have by now noticed that I have written 4 paragraphs w/o talking about “the catch” – or showing pictures of it.  It's a good point.  But just a bit more setting up is needed.

Trout fishermen are nutty about “matching the hatch” – which is essentially a lot of hullabaloo about fishing with the right fly pattern to imitate the “natural” insects active on the water.  Favorite patterns  for fishing in the hot afternoons of summer are various grasshopper imitations.   Although I had some grasshopper flies, after inspecting what I had, my guide determined that they would not be effective on the Wood – but not to worry, he had plenty of those which would be.  His favorite is the chernobyl hopper, photo attached.  Very clever and realistic imitation, don’t you think?

Now, the fishing tail. .  . er tale .  . . er .  .  . story.  Whatever.  I fished using my guide’s flies, A true sportsman, he: the barbs had been filed off of all of the hooks: those little barbs meant to help keep the fly in a jumping, running, diving fish's mouth.

In truth, I did catch and land quite a number of fish.  I didn’t count.  The largest were in the 18” range.  The smallest about 5”.  I didn’t photograph them.  I was after bigger game.

Over the two days that I fished, I managed to hook 4 or 5 large fish.  One was a brown and
his tractor was stronger than my 6 pound breaking strength leader.  Fisherman who are cool about these things call this an LDR (“long distance release”).  I also hooked several large rainbows.  How large they were is kinda unknown.  I landed none of them.  Lots of LDR’s.  As an experience, each of these was really heart pounding and tragic.  A five minute fight, the
fish dancing on the water on its tail, diving into the depths of a pool, running at the boat and OOOPs! Fish off!  Slack line, no barb on the hook.  Bye bye.

After such days on the water, the experienced fly fisherman becomes philosophical:  

----- I would have put the fish right back in the water anyway; this way, I didn't endanger his health by exhausting him.

---- Does a guide have a greater responsibility to his client than the fish?  If I went back with my own chernobyl hoppers, would I be less of a sportsman were I to leave the barbs alone?  

----Would I hire the same guide?

Questions for the ages.  Bottom line, no pictures.

PS:  On balance, I had a wonderful time.

Gotta go.  We are on the coast and we have lighthouses to photograph.  They don't fight.


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Gerry Ogier on

I don't believe a word of it! Sounds like you should consider making a movie. It just hit me; a great title would be "A River Runs Through It". I took my grand son fishing on the Roaring Fork River and he caught his first Rainbow. We'll have to compare storeis when we talk next. Have a great trip.
Gerry....Heading for Sturgis tomorrow.

William Connett on

Delighted to hear that you are having fun. I am curious though why you are using a six lb. tippet to catch a six pound fish in heavy water. Perhaps a new strategy?
I am also curious how much fishing stuff you can cram into your grand palanquin. Perhaps some twenty books of flies, grubs, spinners, etc, and you end up with the chernobyl bug? Ah well, so much for tradition.

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