Posted on November 22, 2016


My fishing bucket list is long, and gets longer every October. Therefore while I cannot often go, when my buddies call, I usually have a few suggestions. A few weeks ago, my buddy Mauro called and I wasn’t able to go. The first rains had flooded the mainstem, but I knew of a small trib that the steelhead, silvers,  and searuns would push up into on the first floods. I suggested it to him and gave him a technique to fish it. He was doing quite well, too, until a local informed him of a short closure in the regs by throwing sticks and rocks at him. Nostradamus is more clear than any fishing regulations I’ve ever seen.


Nevertheless, last week when the same conditions prevailed and the closure was over, Mauro called, and asked if I could take the day off, but I couldn’t (for once I had a good excuse, I was in Bellingham, reading Mertrout at a Writers on the Fly event). While Mauro’s list of places to go may not be quite as long as mine, his timing is perfect. Religiously, if I phone-guide him, he will later regal me with stories of numerous takes, copious takes, or both, plus the one that got away. With pictures. So it was no surprise that he went back, did some scouting and caught some fish.


Once, I fished this river quite a bit actually, but hadn’t for a while, despite the fact that when I worked downtown I followed most of its length home every single day and always intended to really delve its secrets. Even though I always had my gear in my car, it seemed that every day I was too angrytiredfrustratedbusystupid to ever simply pull the car over and check it out, even though every day I would say to myself “that spot, and that spot, and under that bridge…” both contemplating and ignoring my salvation.


His recipe of  “I went where you said and killed it” (with pictures) is compelling. So when he called Sunday and I hadn’t done a damn thing on my to-do list that hadn’t been getting to-done in a long time, I said, “Screw it, lets go.” The flows had doubled in the river overnight, so we scouted a few spots and then finally picked one we could wade in the waning afternoon light.  He graciously put me on to the money water, and I could feel it, the way you feel it, when the day is bright and cool and you know the fish will be kind. I said, “I’ll catch my first fish when I wade to that tree.” But I was wrong.  I caught my first fish 10′ upstream of it, and had landed two more by the the time I reached the tree. Basically, it was every cast kind of fishing, resident ‘bows (or perhaps steelhead smolts) and cutts. You knew they were small because they had that bump-bump-bump no bite mentality, until you figure out just how to hook them, but then you decide shaking the small ones off is not that much fun after all, so are content to know they are there, a nest egg for future angling, and only land the ones that hook themselves.

I brought 15 to hand, the largest only 12″,  but just having Mauro remind me that there is good fishing, 20 minutes from my house, with lots of water yet to explore – well that made the whole day worthwhile.  The flows dropped by half again, and I’m thinking maybe I’ll take that day off after all.