Monday, March 14, 2011

I get skunked and still love it

If you can't repeat the post's title, then winter steelheading with a swinging fly just ain't for you. I'm serious. Most of my fishing days in the winter come on the weekends. I strategize all week, bargain with my wife, and always maintain high hopes. I'm cautious with those hopes because I know what's coming next: High wind warnings, heavy rain, suspect river clarity, and probably a skunking. If you fish for winters with the fly then you know, there is a lot more to it than results.

If it were all about catching fish, I'd sidedrift, or plunk, or plug, or nymph. Those techniques are great and can all be fun, but there is something unexplained about swinging a fly. I don't know what it is, but I get excited just peeling line off my Hardy Salmon 2 as I start into the run. As the angler, you are doing so much more than just fishing. You've watched the levels all week, poured hours of your life into the flies you use, cast multiple lines to dial one in, spent hundreds of dollars on equipment and gas money. And its all worth it.

This last weekend, Casey and I nervously watched levels go down and bounce right back up. We made the call, the drive, and did a bunch of hiking and exploring. Well, the exploring was a bust.......scratch those rivers off the list. It was time to drive back to Portland to re-group. We decided to check on our options over some food and brew. We first tried HUB(, but it was super crowded and had a cast of characters straight of our "Portlandia". The second choice hit the spot. There was still a wait, but Apizza Scholls is the real deal ( New York style pie and a couple of Ninkasi Spring Reign's really hit the spot after a long hard day. Plans were made for the following day and virog was renewed.

We opted for a float. We swung flies to sweet runs all day long. No grabs, no fish, nothing. And then it, not a fish.....the nastiest wind storm I've seen since a similar whitecap incident on the Yellowstone River. The river was a white squall. I crouched low in my seat and Casey rowed us out of there before local timber blocked off any escape routes. The shuttle back to my car revealed downed trees and limbs everywhere.

Another weekend in the books, and it was a skunking. I don't really care, I still love it.


  1. Good stuff. Most of my fishing buds can't handle a skunking. A solid grab on an ice cold day makes it all worth while.

  2. Yep, no doubt AO. People thinks we're crazy...and maybe we are?