President’s Message – May 2020


I hope you all are staying safe, healthy, and at least somewhat sane now that we are in the second month of Covid-19 stay at home restrictions.  The Hillas family is managing to survive the quarantine but we all will be happy to get out of the house.


Fishless So Far

Needless to say, my 2020 fishing season is not what I expected.  My last outing– a fishless pursuit of coastal steelhead on the Nehalem River – was almost two months ago and several trips have been cancelled due to the pandemic.  My next scheduled trip is less than a month away and the guide is optimistic that it will proceed as planned.  Rick Pay and I, and possibly some other anglers, will be beading back to Grindstone Lakes in early June for a pay to play expedition in search of large rainbows from our float tubes and pontoon boats.  This year’s trip is about six weeks earlier in the year than previous Grindstone adventures, so we’re hoping that fewer weeds on the lake bottoms and more dry fly opportunities will outweigh the potential for late spring thunderstorms and mud.  We’ll be practicing social and angling distancing and taking all precautions including recommended dosages of brown liquor Covid-19 repellents.

My next river trip is likely a return to the Grand Ronde River in eastern Oregon for native rainbows assuming the water levels drop down to fishable conditions.  If there’s too much water, we’ll likely end up on the Deschutes looking for fat native redsides or the John Day for some leisurely smallmouth bass action on the fly.  At this point, I’d be thrilled to catch anything.


FCO’s Virtual April Meeting

Although we didn’t have our normal April dinner club meeting, new Program Director Mike Radakovich provided us with a virtual presentation mid-month featuring Jim Cox of Western Rivers Conservancy. I was able to catch most of it and enjoyed learning more about recent WRC acquisitions that will result in more public access to anglers and increased protection and habitat for the fish in those waters.


What’s On Tap for the Near Future?

One of the topics on everyone’s mind lately is how the pandemic will shape our future.  It seems likely that we won’t be able to resume all of our former habits and routines when it comes to social gatherings, at least not right away.  The business world is adapting to remote workplace environments and virtual meetings, and many of us have navigated new technologies to stay in touch with friends and family through Zoom and other video conferencing platforms.  I suspect the same can be said for our club.  While I am excited to get back to our monthly dinner meetings (and crossing my fingers that it will happen in June) I am intrigued by the idea of adding more virtual opportunities for club members to share information and educate each other.  For example, I could envision a Zoom fly tying roundtable, or a how-to seminar on building leaders for euro nymphing and other applications.  If you have ideas for a presentation you’d like to see, or if you’d like to volunteer to lead one, please let me or Mike Radakovich know.

In the meantime, we will ride this out until the quarantine restrictions are lifted. For those of us who still can’t get on the water, here’s another beautiful Todd Moen film to watch from the comfort (and confines) of home.  This month we move from the salmon fly hatch on the Deschutes to spring creek fishing for large trout sipping PMDs in Montana.  Enjoy and stay safe.

Best regards,

President Hillas Taking a Break at Grindstone Lakes in 2019