The Gorge: Part 2

In the "Drift Tank"

After the beat down I took on the Deschutes it was time to switch it up. I had planned on fishing the Deschutes from sunup to sundown but I realized the wind and hordes of anglers were not going to make this a pleasant day. Instead, my friend Matt and I got in our cars and crossed the Columbia River into Washington State. Matt lives in a small town on the Washington side of the Columbia and fishes the local rivers there. We hopped in his drift boat, which was more of an armored vehicle and we crashed our way down the river.

There was only one other boat on the water and one guy on the bank sitting on his couch watching his line in the water. Yes, he was sitting on a full-sized couch on the bank of the river. When I was swinging through the run above him, he hopped in his small pontoon boat and rowed out to the middle of the river to unhook his rig. He rowed back to the bank, cast out to the middle, set his rod in its holder and plopped back on the couch. And yes, he had a mullet.

 I had two rods rigged up so I could throw my sink-tips and leech patterns on one rod and wake dry flies and fish wet flies on the floating line. The water was a little chalky from some of the glacial run-off only leaving about two feet of visibility. None the less my flies showed up well in the water while swinging through the runs. We got in a four and a half mile float and fished a lot of great water. However, as steelheading often goes there were no fish to be had on this day.

I have been in quite the slump this summer. I have gotten several good tugs, but have yet to really lay into a fish and get him hooked up. The main river I have been fishing almost exclusively near Portland has had a poor summer run of fish and the fishing has been off for a lot of people which makes me feel slightly better knowing that I’m not the only one getting skunked on a regular basis. The D on the other hand has been on fire. People are landing fish on a regular basis, just not me.

So after fishing from sunrise to sunset and no fish to show for it, I hopped in my car and drove 70 or so miles back to Portland and went to sleep, exhausted. Summer is winding down and the fall fish are making their way into the systems. Across Oregon, September is known as one of the best months of the year to fish for steelhead. I hope I can get into one before winter rolls around, because then it’s back to the cold, wet, lonely beat down. With steelheading sometimes you have to smell the skunk before you can taste victory. 

Wet Boots Are a Way of Life.