I had to stay local with my fishing this weekend so I decided my best bet was the Willamette. The McKenzie has failed me several times this year while the Willy has been plain stupid at times.
Simon "Bernie" Bernatz showed up at my house at 5:50am. We hit Dutch Bros. for a coffee and were quickly off to the river. A client of mine was to meet us at 6:30 and I was hoping we'd have enough water for everyone to cover and still be happy. As we showed up another car had already beat us there. Turns out it wasn't a fisherman, but somebody who knew there were elk in the area. More on that later.
My client showed up right on time, we exchanged hello's, rigged up, and I sent Simon on his way to the Cherry hole downstream. I wanted to fish with my client and knew the spot we were in was going to be our best shot. I let him start where he wanted and I started up above him.
About 15 minutes in my fly swung to a subtle halt in a seam that I thought would just be perfect for a steelhead to by lying in. Not being used to such light takes I let the loop go and lifted the rod anyway. Weight on the end of the line and a tail flip downstream confirmed my suspicion. It turned out to be a good size buck. After a short fight I had him on the beach. Nice way to start the morning! My client, 30 yards away, never glanced up and sure as heck didn't notice that I actually caught a fish. Oh well, he was busy bombing out 100 ft of line on his old 15 foot Sage two hander.
I stepped back in the run and fished downstream for a bit when a couple of loud shots rang off at a relatively short distance. Hmmmm I thought, kind of a random spot to be hunting. I think I'll stay in the river today instead of on the trail. About a half hour later, another loud shot. After a bit I could finally see Simon making his way back up river. He gets to me and says "you'll never believe what I saw down there." Apparently a herd of cow elk crossed the river just below him. Pretty rare to see but not as rare as the Black Bear that crossed just after that. I've never seen elk down here let alone a bear, so it was pretty exciting news. Just as he was finishing up the story my reel sung like a child who wasn't getting attention. Yep, another steelhead. After a nice little fight, I tailed the Hen and got a quick Hero shot.
Not a bad morning here in the south Willamette Valley.............
This nice fish fell victim to Morejohn's Bantam.