Well, I know that all steelheaders get the opportunity to get beatdown by steelhead fishing. Hell, it's part of our quest. Days on end fishing hard and no fish to show for it. Well, I just got the beat down, and it really hurt.
Dam counts on the Columbia have been huge, reports on Larimer's were promising, and Charlie and I had what appeared to be the ultimate plan. We were hitting the Deschutes from September 3 - 10, we were starting the trip by hiking into Kloan and staying for several days. Most fishing reports showed that fish were heaviest in the lower river, and Charlie and I were geared to fish both the twighlight and Midday programs.
We nearly killed our selves hiking into kloan only to discover that the place was packed, Justin Timberlake doesn't crowds like this. Charlie and I got the last campsite, then we hit the river. I hooked a fish within an hour or two, it came off, and that was it for grabs on the Deschutes. We spent two more days in Kloan, then we checked out the upper river, which was deserted, and the mouth which was way crowded, and we took a short jaunt over to the Klickitat. The klickitat was in perfect shape but, fihing reports were down right depressing, I spoke with two guys who had been fishing the Klick for the last 15 years and they had just fish for 5 days and gotten one grab.
Charlie did get a small steelhead on the Deschutes durinmg midday, but his fire was not quenched by it. We had the canyon to our selves, allowing to fish an evening solo on pipeline, guides across the way and no touched shit.
So Charlie and I headed for the Umpqua after much debate. Upon reaching the Umpqua we both agreed we should have gone sooner. The Umpqua is amazing. It was my second time their and Charlies first. I had gotten a very large steelhead on the Umpqua in 2004, but the technique was not the one I would have chosen to mark such a big fish on such a magic river.
This time fishing was as tough as the wading. I got a 17" Sea Run Cutt on a dry at the Station and got a solid pull on the Bidge Abudtments run at RM28. We fished and hung out with a great group of guys and their wives. Rob Allen and his wife Rene, rob rolls the blanks at Burkheimer. John and Ilene from SoCal, they have fished every where. and Brad Burden and his wife, Brad ties incredible flies, check just about any steelhead fly book (shewey's or Helvie's books specifically) we had breakfast with this group twice at the Steamboat Inn. There company and encouragement kept us fairly upbeat through the beatdown and constant Umpqua river dunks.
On our last night of the trip Charlie and I headed back to portland and on to visit Nate at the Burkheimer rod shop. I met Nate while fishing the Sandy last spring. Nate showed us the shop, which is good cause I always like seeing it again and Charlie sells BUrkheimers at Tightlines fly shop and seeing the Burkheimer facilty helps a person truly apreciate how great these rods are.
After our tour we, Charlie, Nate and I hit a Pub in Portland and talked steelhead till 10:30 and I was the party pooper who called it, in order to get to the hotel and pack our bags. Thanks Nate.