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July 31, 2011 / flogginwater

Hot Week

It’s been warm here in the Portland metro area for a couple weeks. Had a few genuinely hot days – Wednesday was one (although this is the first July in 20 years that we have not had a 90+ degree day in Portland proper – it’s been over 90 degrees at my home a few times, but I don’t live in Portland, so I guess that doesn’t count.) I thought it was going to be a nice cool, overcast day – since that’s what it was like when I got up. I wore shorts, since my typical long fishing pants were nasty dirty (forgot to wash them after the last use). No problemo, right?

Mother Nature is a cruel, cruel woman who likes making us mere mortals pay for such fool hardy decisions. I wound up with a horrid sunburn on my knees and inner calves. Really bad. Couldn’t walk without pain until Saturday. That’s why I don’t normally wear shorts.

I was going to go fishing with my wife – our first alone-alone trip since James was born. It wasn’t to be, either, as our baby sitter fell through last minute. I wound up fishing with my nephew Tyler, instead. We took the canoe to the lake – figuring on hitting some great panfish action. It seems Mother Nature wasn’t going to let that be either. In the week since I’d last been to the lake, the water level was down 18 inches, the weeds exploded (literally growing a few feet in a week), the god damned wake boats had kicked up so many large wakes and eroded the exposed mud banks that the normally crystal clear water was down to about 12″ visibility around the lake edges, and the panfish were off their beds. Tyler picked up 1 fish on his fly rod right off the bat, I got one shortly there after, and then the bite died, for hours. After paddling around and finding everywhere fruitless, we hit one last cove, looking for bass. Ty had a couple good hook ups on a crank bait. I hooked and lost a nice one myself. We decided to take the canoe out, and salvage the last fishable hour or so we had by fishing one of the lake’s feeder creeks for some trout.

Ty had never fished these waters before – where as I make it a point to fish them a lot during the open season (or I have, in seasons past). The creek was unseasonably low – which I don’t get. We’ve had more rainfall than normal this summer, with generally cooler weather. The creek was down to a more fall-like flow than I’ve seen for years.

The water WAS ice cold though – which felt great on my sun burn. I managed to take 3 trout, Ty was shut out.

My first good strike came from the run pictured below:

He hit once, i missed him, and I couldn’t buy another strike from him after that, so we pressed on.

Coming to the next run, I told Ty where the fish would be. I made a single cast, and landed a pretty little 5 inch long Cutthroat. I did not have the presence of mind to get a picture of that fish, or any of the fish that day. Hell, we were out for 8 hours, and I never pulled it out until we started fishing the creek.

I told Ty to try the run, since there’s usually more than one fish in that little spot. Ty got nada. I mentioned to him that I’ve tried mostly unsuccessfully to get a cast up into the dark, shaded area because of the brush all around. On the way back down, I managed to fanagle a single half-assed pendulum cast with a Royal Coachman in there, and got a 4″ cuttie. I’m sure his big brother is in there too, hugging closer to cover. Proved my point though.

We pushed up a couple more pools, without anymore hits. I did fall in the stream though – we hadn’t really planned on stream fishing, so I left the waders and felts at home. Anyone out there who honestly believes that banning felt soles is a good idea, needs to be forced to wade a couple miles on a free stone stream in hiking boots. While wearing a lead vest. Felt saves lives, and would’ve saved my ass from getting bruised!

All in all, it was still a fun trip, albeit disappointing. I’m pretty much done with the lake until fall comes I think. There’s other, better fishing lakes to try, and I have not done nearly enough stream fishing this year.

Top it off, I just broke down and ordered a Cabela’s Three Forks 8 weight rod, since they’re doing a 50% off sale on them right now. Double duty rod for salmon/steelhead and big bass bugs. If I break it on a big fish – I won’t cry, since the rod only cost $29.99 right now. If it’s anything like the Three Forks 3 weight I had, or my Wind River 4 weight – I’m sure I’ll love it. It will also give me a properly sturdy rod to swing those steelhead flies I tied up with, so yay for that!

One last thought – I picked up a hundred and fifty feet of paracord the other day, with a scheme in my mind of building a new rear seat for my canoe. I can’t take the low-slung factory seat anymore – and really don’t want spend $100 for a pair of swivel seats & bases yet. I’m going to try making a woven seat that fits level with the gunnels, which will raise my seated position about 6 inches – which *might* be easier on my back. I’m hoping.

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