October is here and with it comes the cooler temperatures and welcome rains of fall. I am actually enjoying the need to pull the blankets up at night and reacquaint myself with long sleeves and fleece.
I owe an apology to all who tried to log in to our September Zoom meeting. Program director Mike Radakovich was out of town for a fishing trip in Idaho and (unwisely) entrusted me to host the online meeting. Technical difficulties, which may or may not have included incompetence of the substitute host, prevented me from being able to get into Mike’s Zoom account to open the meeting on time. For those of you left in limbo last month, I am sorry for the inconvenience! Nick Wheeler has graciously agreed to defer his presentation on fishing Oregon’s endless season to a later date.
Fortunately, we have Mike back at the helm this month for our October 12 Zoom presentation featuring Josh Linn from Royal Treatment. Josh will tell us how to untangle our Euro leaders, which is a topic that appears to be tailormade for yours truly. I hope you can join us for an informative and fun presentation. Watch for an email with a link to sign up.
Autumn and the pleasant change in weather from summer’s heat and drought has turned my attention back to fishing. Given the steelhead closure on the Deschutes, my focus has been limited to trout so far, although I am hearing encouraging reports about coho salmon on the Clackamas. Last month I took a day trip to fish the north arm of Timothy Lake. While not especially productive in numbers, it was a fun day with a few trout caught on balanced leeches and a plan to return next spring when the water is less weedy. I joined some friends who were midway through a three-day camping trip, and they reported fair to good fishing the previous day. Rick Pay, who fished the third day with them, had success too. Sounds like another case of “should been here yesterday…”
My first trip in October was on the upper McKenzie thanks to Paul Franklin, who kindly invited me to join him for a guided float trip with Clay Holloway, who is one half of Holloway Bros. from Eugene. I had fished with Clay during the salmonfly hatch earlier this year and was looking forward to another trip with him. Unfortunately for us, he called Thursday evening to report that he was sick with a fever and needed to get a Covid test Friday, the day we were scheduled to fish. Fortunately for us, Clay’s Covid test ended up negative and he was able to arrange for us to fish with a great substitute guide, Justin Helm.
We met Justin at Finn Rock around 8:30 a.m. and drove upstream to the put in several miles above Blue River. It was my first time on the upper McKenzie, and I loved every minute. It is an absolutely gorgeous river, and its beauty was showcased by a beautiful fall day. We took turns fishing from the front of the drift boat. Justin rigged a dry/dropper set up on a 9’ four-weight rod. The dry was a large tan chubby with a white wing which sometimes found a willing trout. The droppers were a variety of jig style nymphs about five feet down. Fishing was slow but relatively steady, with most eats on the dropper in the morning. As the sun warmed the air, we saw some gray drakes, October caddis, and smaller mayflies in the air, which encouraged us to break out a dry fly rig. We both found a number of nice fish on a purple haze and continued to get fish subsurface when we returned to the dry/dropper rig. We brought at least 30 fish to the boat, so I consider that a pretty good day. Maybe if I’m lucky Paul will invite me back for another trip.
Rick Pay and I have a trout (formerly steelhead) trip scheduled with Brian Silvey on the Deschutes, so I will be bringing a trout Spey rod, a Euro rod, and a dry fly rod in hopes of a trifecta. I hope you all are getting a chance to enjoy the glorious fall weather and find some fish too.