Summer greetings to everyone! Although the pandemic has caused many of us to cancel vacation travel, I hope that you have been able to get outside and enjoy the relative safety of nature.
Thanks to those of you who responded to the recent club survey about the annual picnic and monthly meetings. About 60% of respondents said they would not attend the club picnic at the casting ponds this year, and about 70% said they would not attend dinner meeting at the University Club. Based on the survey results, we have cancelled the annual picnic and will continue to suspend our monthly dinner meetings until it is safe to meet indoors.
While the pandemic continues to disrupt our usual routines, I am grateful that fly fishing is one of the ultimate social distancing activities. Our club trip to Laurance Lake on July 18 was a big success with nine intrepid FCO members hitting the water in search of rainbow, cutthroat, and bull trout. Unsurprisingly, Ross and Teri Beatty caught many fish including some bull trout. Stripping woolly buggers seemed to be the ticket, particularly in the shallower end of the lake. A late afternoon hatch of callibaetis tempted me to break out my floating line and I managed to get some surface takers using an emerger pattern. Thanks to Teri for organizing the trip!
Out of the Lake and into the Pan(handle)
One of the advantages of being self-employed is that you can say yes to spur of the moment fishing invitations, so the day after Laurance Lake, I left town to meet up with my brother-in-law and his 17 year old nephew for a road trip to the Idaho panhandle for a few days of fishing and primitive camping. My nephew had scouted out some good looking water in the Clearwater National Forest, so after a long day of travel including about 50 miles of unpaved roads, we found ourselves at Kelly Creek, which is a tributary of the Clearwater River and an excellent fly fishing stream. West slope cutthroat trout are the main attraction along with bull trout. I caught lots of 9”-11” cutts and with 2-3 per day in the 15”-plus range. No bull trout were harmed, much less seen by me, but my nephew reported that he got one.
Kelly Creek has some very good fishing and is stunningly beautiful. I brought a 6 weight rigged with an intermediate sinking line to fish streamers and a 5 weight with a floating line for dry flies and am glad I had both. The water is cold and clear, with fast white water, slow pools, and pocket water interspersed between. Much of the daytime fishing involved swinging and stripping buggers while the evening offered some magical dry fly action with fish rising all around and eagerly taking a parachute ant or other terrestrial.
My brother-in-law and cousin planned to fish Idaho for about 5 days then head into the Bitterroot Range of Montana in search of planted grayling. I would have loved to have joined them but the weight of unfulfilled work responsibilities was too much to ignore so I packed up the truck and drove the nearly 500 miles back to Portland with a new appreciation for Idaho’s scenic beauty and fishing opportunities.
Later this month, Rick Pay and I have a daytrip for steelhead on the Deschutes but that is the last of my planned trips. I hope that the rest of you are able to get out and fish before the summer turns to fall.