Out for Trout

Jackson in the boat.
Conditions this weekend did not look good for steelheading so we decided to go to a river close to home and walk the bank for some trout we hoped would be eager to move. We had some crazy weather on our way out which involved a complete white-out of sideways blowing snow, sleet, and cloudless blue skies with a shining sun all within a 20 minute drive. It was as though we witnessed the literal turning of the seasons from winter to spring right in front of our eyes. The livestock in the pastures we passed had steam coming off of them from the sudden change in temperature.

There was still snow on the bank as we approached our first stop on the river. It was a beautiful day with the sun trying to come through every few minutes, but never really succeeding completely. Jackson, our four-legged fishing partner was going nuts in the snow, sprinting in circles and rolling over himself. If you have a good dog you know you'll always have one partner to head out with you regardless of the conditions. Nothing beats a fishing dog, you know?

The flow for this river was slightly high and fast, which was the case pretty much everywhere, and the water was a chilly 42 degrees. We were still hoping for some trout willing to move around and take a nymph or muster some energy to come to the surface for a small dry. The results were mixed. There were actually a couple weak strikes on top with a small blue-wing emerger and two hook-ups on a hare's ear nymph. Nothing to hand, but it was a good day to be on the water when most people were bundled up in their houses watching television. You can stick me in a freezing river with no shot at catching anything before you put me on the couch to watch the tube.

I want to be the one doing, not watching.

Our trip ended several miles down river with the winter wind and sleet hitting us from all angles. It was a nice time to break down the rods and hop in the car for some good music and the smell of a wet dog that has put in a solid day's work.

Winter steelhead season is all but wrapped up by now, but summer run fish have already started making their way up their home streams. Oregon has received a lot of rain and snow this year, so water conditions should make for a full and long summer season. I can check off a winter steelhead from my list, so now it's time to go for a summer run. The Sandy, Deschutes and Rogue are just the popular names of dozens of quality rivers to fish here. If you don't live here or have never tried your luck in Oregon, I encourage you to come out and give it a shot.

Wet Boots Are a Way of Life.