July 31st, 2006

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Blueberries and Cutthroat
By Joe Martin, Salem, Oregon

My fishing buddy Clyde and I had each driven by this stretch of Oregon stream on a number of different occasions. It's right on the way to some "trophy" trout streams, and there is some great steelhead fishing farther downstream. There's also a reservoir along the way that's pretty well known and draws crowds of fishermen on the weekends. But this particular part of the river has remained more or less untouched. With it being so close, Clyde and I figured it would be worth investigating, so we loaded up his truck with our gear and headed to the river for the weekend with hopes of catching some fish. Clyde and I each found a fellow fishing buddy and 'boo' nut meeting up here on FAOL.

In the first couple of hours of fishing on our first day there, I caught over a dozen healthy cutthroat trout, ranging in size from little 6" dinks up to about 12". Certainly not "record" sized fish, but without a doubt the most amazingly beautiful fish I have ever caught. There wasn't any real "hatch" as far as I could see, but that didn't really seem to matter to these hungry little fish. They were taking PMD's, Humpys, Stimulators, EHC's, Griffiths Gnats- just about anything that looked buggy and had a bit of flash to it. I even managed to pull three fish from the same pool on a Royal Wulff (which by now was starting to look a bit ragged).

After Clyde found me (I tend to get "lost" up/downstream, especially when the fish keep biting), we drove up a little farther to another good-looking stretch of river. We made our way upstream, and came across some tasty wild blueberries, as well as some salmonberries (though these were kind of bitter). After scrambling over some rocks and deadfall, and pulling out a few more cutts from some pools along the way, we found a beautiful waterfall with a nice deep pool below it.

We each fished to one side of the pool and proceeded to catch fish after fish after fish, each one prettier that the last. They took our flies so eagerly that I can't imagine these fish had ever seen a fly before that day. Some would attack with such gusto leaping up in the air, you'd swear you'd hooked into a nice 12" fish, only to reel in your line and find that a little 6" dink had taken your size 10 hopper. Between the two of us that day, Clyde and I had probably caught about 40-50 fish, all nice fat wild cutthroat.

On our way back to camp, we stopped in at another pool where Clyde caught what we think must have been a retarded rainbow. He hooked it three times before he managed to land it and release it. Then he hooked and landed the same fish three MORE TIMES! Now, it's possible it was three different fish, but they all looked the same, and he took them all in the exact same spot! He also managed to land a nice sized (14") cutt-bow hybrid out of the same pool, on the same fly (Royal Wulff, I believe).

This trip turned out to be one of the best fishing trips I've ever been on. I'm not going to reveal the location, so don't ask, but it really isn't that hard to find. Next time you head out to that great trout or steelhead stream, just don't forget to explore those stretches along the way - you never know what you might be missing out on. ~ Joe Martin


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