Monday, November 30, 2009

The John Day

With no duck game during the weekend, Simon and I had made plans to finally fish the John Day for those late summer steelhead that the river gets. We had read a few articles and seen the numbers that over 20,000 wild fish make it back to the John Day on an average year. Needless to say those kind of numbers got us excited.

After completing our respective "due diligence" Thanksgiving song and dances, we set out on Saturday morning in search of the mysterious grey ghosts. We were detoured slightly when my GPS took us into some old farm roads and into the middle of nowhere. After 45 minutes of muddin', we back tracked and found Rock Creek, our original destination.

We put together our spey rods and our single handers as well. We headed upstream and fished long and hard until around 2:30. I finally had my first action. After my "pick your pocket" swung through a deep pool the fly came under tension. I assumed my type 6 tip was hung up, but as I lifted, my line shot out and a fish flashed on the surface. Just as I yelled down to Simon I lost the fish.

We had been told the fish would be in deep slow water.'s hard to find deep water when the river is running at a shade under 400cfs. We got our workout as each plausible run was at least 1/4 away from each other. Simon and I rewarded ourselves for a hard days work back at our dive Motel in Arlington with nothing but the best: Local Pizza and cold Coors Light!

On Sunday, we hiked downstream and found a lot more fruitful looking runs. And I do say "looking". We didn't touch anything for the first few hours until it happened. The slow grab took place, I lifted my rod, and yes, a steelhead was on the other end! I snapped a quick photo and released the wild fish back into the river. I was sure there was more where that came from. Wrong again! We didn't touch another fish for the rest of the day. Simon and I in search of good water, trekked a good 4 miles down river. In an effort to save face, we made a decision to hoof it back to the car and drive home that night. The highlight of the trip ended up being the Asian Zing and Honey BBQ wings Simon and I put down at Buffalo Wild Wings while watching Dennis Dixon make his first NFL start.

To be honest, I was very pissed off at the John Day, but I know she can do better. I'll try again next year.

My one fish of the trip. A nice wild hen of about 26".

Beautiful scenery all weeked. Temps in the mid 40's on Sunday!

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