Friday, July 3, 2009

Fishing in Reverse

There are second chances in life and fishing trips
This trip started when I left Petaluma 3 p.m. June 23rd. First stop would be 'The Washout' in Chico where it was reported some Shad were holding. I arrived at 7p.m. usually Shad Happy Hour. I fished until dark with out a bump. As I was leaving on River Road I passed a bunch of cars parked at a spot just up river. Where there are cars there are fishermen and fish. I had missed 'the spot' by about 300 yds.
Next stop, Sims campground on the Upper Sacramento. I arrived at about midnight and went to sleep planning to fish the morning hatch. The morning came and went but the hatch did not materialize.
I had two days before my rendezvous with Bill and Chris on the Deschutes. Ash Camp on the McCloud seemed the most logical next stop. But before leaving the area, with the aim of finding out why I had been skunked, I stopped at the Ted Fay Fly Shop . Steve informed me the river was fishing well; late afternoons and evenings. Dollar short day late.
I arrived at Ash Camp at about noon. A French film crew was making a documentary about the Nestle Company's plans to bottle the water from the area. Apparently, the French feel the same way about Nestle as many of us feel about Chevron. By 3p.m. I was ready to fish the McCloud.
I choose the second exit from camp on the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT). I arrived at 'Dead Guy's' hole by about 4 p.m. Right away I saw a big Golden Stone flutter past and noticed some fish rising against the rock wall on the river's opposite side.
For the next five hours I fished my way up river to the first trail. I had great success on drys. When I left the water it was late. A new moon was but a mere sliver and the forest exceedingly dark. The trail to PCT is not well defined. At numerous points I believed I was lost. I imagined myself building a lean-to, Survivor Man style, and waiting out the night. Ignoring panicky thoughts and following my intuition I picked my way through the trees and I found my way to the PCT. The campground was empty save one tent near Hawkins Creek. I was thankful to have the remote human company after a lonely hike back.
In the morning I met my neighbor (Troy). He was hiking the Pacific Crest Trail to Ashland. He told me of some interesting bear encounters he had. Also, that the French camera woman's purse and passport had been stolen while she was in camp the previous day - Sac Le Bleu !! sounds like an inside job to me. By evening I had reached La Pine campground just south of Bend. It was too late to fish the Fall River but the hot shower in camp felt good.
The following morning in Bend as I was visiting my show of artwork, checking my email and enjoying a triple latte at the Wall St. Starbucks Chris called. He was on his way from Eugene. That afternoon we met Bill on the Lower Deschutes at Beavertail.
We may have had the best camping spot on the Lower Deschutes but good fishing required a long hike or more driving. We did find good spots and caught a variety of fish. We all caught 'Redsides', the resident trout, I caught a Half Pounder and Chris and Bill hooked big steelhead.
During a side trip, I encountered a testament to man's ability to alter the environment in positive ways. Along the Route 97 there is a dead juniper tree. Passing travelers have thrown shoes and sneakers tried together by their laces on the branches. Move over Green Peace.
On my way back I stopped at Conant on the Upper Sac. This time it was evening and indeed there was fine hatch of PEDs so the fishing was good. The next day I had some business in Chico to attend and then managed to get on the Lower Sac by 3p.m. Of course I fished the area where I had seen all the cars parked on the way up and Fish On! End of story.