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June 10, 2011 / flogginwater

Small Creekin’ and Carp Fishing

Yesterday was a fun day. My wife & kiddo had doctors appointments early in the AM, and we were blessed with nice weather afterward, so we decided to try heading to a park to enjoy the day. I had a couple rods along, one for bait fishing (carping) and my fly rod.

First park we hit up was Cook Park, in Tigard OR. This is a nice all around park – big playground for children, sports fields, and it sits along the banks of the Tualatin River, so it’s got a boat ramp, a dock (which you can fish off of) and some bank access to the river. This has normally been a go-to producer for carp for me – and has some decent bass and perch fishing from time to time.

There were no carp, or any fish, to be had here. We did have an encounter with a couple of very…sketchy…guys. I first saw these two when I went back to the car to get my fly rod. These guys popped out of the thick brush near the parking area – a place with no trail. (Red flag!) They stood in the shadows, smoking, and eying me up like a piece of meat. (Reg flag 2!) They moved off to this little covered pavillion, still watching me and my jeep. I took my time gathering my fly rod and gear. They then continued to move around to the side, but stayed in the shadows. Creepy.

I made sure the Jeep was locked up and headed back toward the wife & kiddo, keeping an eye on the two goobers. They stayed in the shadows until we were ready to leave – then as my wife & I approached our car, these two guys starting making a bee-line for us, not runnning, but walking a bit faster than normal. I moved between my wife (who was pushing the stroller with James) and them, and took a moment to stretch and readjust my shirt, which just happened to ride up, exposing my waist. I guess these guys saw something in the reflection off my jeep’s windows that caused them to re-think whatever it was they were thinking, because they made a rapid course correction and got into a car and left, but kept looking back at us the whole time. Guess I must be funny looking or something, or the black growth on my hip is too disturbing for some types of folks.

We loaded up into the jeep, stopped by Dairy Queen for an ice cream cone, and headed to another park, with a small lake and a stream that runs past it. The lake, as I feared, was already choked with algae and weeds. I wanted to carp, but the weeds would’ve just kept grabbing my bait rig. OK, pitched a jig into the open pockets for some bass. Nada. Nerts to that, I rigged up the fly rod and hit the stream – hoping for some trout.

Now, the Parks people who run this park have pissed me off. They removed a couple trees next to the bridge over the creek, and ruined the run where the spillway from the lake’s dam is. That overhanging brush kept the stream shaded and cool even in the hottest weather. Now the stream is exposed and the water gets the full effect from the sun. No trout living there anymore. So I headed below the bridge and fished the deeper, slower water. No trout were at home, but I was landing panfish on just about every cast. Seems a large group of bluegill, pumpkinseed, and red ear sunfish have washed out of the pond. I was both excited and disappointed to see them – they’d be great in the pond, they’ve got no place in this trout stream, especially since this stream is host to a small run of steelhead. Red ear sunfish really are pretty, and this was the first one I’ve caught from either this stream, or this pond. At one point, I even caught two fish at once on my dry & dropper rig, which made me smile.

This is a tiny stream, only maybe 12-14 feet wide through most of it’s course, so standing in the middle of the stream, with an 8 foot rod, I could reach bank to bank (and then some), so I was fishing almost tenkara style, with most of the leader outside the tip top, but no fly line (I was fishing a 10′ leader on an 8′ rod) just using a flip cast into the head of the deeper, slower pool). I doubt the Tenkara USA folks would make such a short rod to fish little, brush covered streams like this. Even their shortest rod would be a hindrance on this stream. A short cane pole would’ve worked well though – I never needed more than about 7 or 8 feet of line outside the rod guides. I probably landed 40 fish out of that pool, most 4″ or less, but there were some surprising hand-sized fish in there too. My double hookup was a pair of fish around 6 inches.

Overall it was a fun day, I lost some hooks carping in the river, couldn’t get a bass to bite in the lake, but the pannies pulled it out and blew the skunk off. This trip really made me yearn for another short, 2 weight flyrod again…

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