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Welcome to the fifth installment of Bob's Journal. This year's stay is going to roughly four weeks in length as we got into camp a little late a need to return home a little earlier than normal. As always, the journal exists to provide a little entertainment for the readers and a camp history book for those of us who make the trip every year.


  • Saturday, September 7, 2002 ... In an alarmingly more common trend, we arrived into camp a few days later yet than we hoped. Some late Alaska work pushed back our departure a few days and we're saddened that it will be a shorter trip as we're planning a departure around the 4th or 5th of October being I have to work on the 10th. We rolled in mid-day yesterday after a rough drive in ... no major mechanical problems or such, just a lousy road that slowed progress considerably.Unloading in Cabin 7

The water is in excellent shape, although it was pretty high and dirty earlier in the week. We're hoping to begin fishing tomorrow ... figures that the clouds and showers are returning as we're prepping our gear. I'll put in the camp gauge tonight sometime. Not sure if I'll use my old one or the even older one given to me by the camp owner who found an old official gauge in his basement that I could substitute ... problem is, it reads in meters and we figure that will confuse us all :)

Camp is fairly empty when it comes to the regular crowd ... but some the usual later arrival folks that we normally don't mingle much with are already here and a few folks in that we haven't seen stay here before. Jim R, Art & Sue are here. Jim S. is as well, but Nancy is staying back home and won't arrive until the 16th or so and will only stay a week. Lots of the regular gang are also passing up this year's trip for a variety of reasons ... so it's going to be a pretty tight group most of season.

Lots of eating going to take place as well as Hawk has us fixed up with copious quantities of Hormel products (no spam, thank you:) that will provide plenty of meals for our stay ... many thanks Hawk, we appreciate it!Racked and ready to go!

Tying, a quick "Hi" to some of the valley locals, and an investigation of dish problems plaguing all those with Dish Network are on tap for the remainder of the day. Hopefully some good fishing coming up and I'm sure some of the funny, quirky stuff that makes this trip so special to us!


  • Sunday, September 8, 2002 ... Our first day on the water today!!!!!!! I installed our old gauge last night and started with a reading of six inches being the water is somewhat on the low side. It had dropped about a half inch overnight, but the weather was far different today than the sun we've seen the past couple of days. Plenty of rain last night, and shots of it off and on today with a good dose of wind mixed in as well.

It turned out to be a short day for most as the weather and an off-bite drove most of us back for early naps. Corey and I headed upriver this morning and walked in Yoda and Mickey's with the rains having softened the field some.

Corey's first of the trip!Sporadic action today ... I managed to hook three coho and a couple of dollies in two full passes of each hole. Corey was a little more successful, having hooked a nice fish in Yoda and two others in Mickey's. Well, let's call it one-and-a-half ... one that she lost as she worked it into the shallows was no more than 4 pounds. The other that she did bring to hand was about ten pounds or so.

Despite the water being low and fairly clear, every fish she touched came on a Popsicle ... a far cry from the smaller, darker offerings that I used most of the day.

Camp haircuts from Sue!!A big pouty lip for me tonight, but my day will come:) We're seeing a slight rise in the river tonight, not sure how much rise we'll see overnight, but we could use a little more water (or it could drop some more and make Cable Crossing perfect ... some sort of change, lousy level for our fave spots right now).

Still fighting with the dish ... we have about 10 stations working around now and the best of that group is probably the Soap Channel :( We miss the M's

  • Monday, September 9, 2002 ... Lots more lousy weather today:( Got a little later start as we all had wanted to see what was going on with the river before we got Art scores!going. Art & Sue headed up to Mickey's a little earlier than Corey and I, but the hadn't touched anything by the time we got there around 8 or so. Despite looking decent this morning, about the time we hit the water, the rain started up again. Art and I both managed to hook fish our next pass through the drift ... Art's came in close off a 300, I hit mine along the far bank soaking a 400. Unfortunately for me, only Art got his to shore ... looks like I might never get one of these slimy critters!

Jim S. and his pal, also a Jim, we'll call him New Jim started their day in the Yoda. About 11 or so, the gals took a walk down to see how they were fairing ... not even a sniff to this point for them. The gals called us on the radio and Art and I decided we might decide a change of scenery might change our luck some. The gals big Hmmm, what does this look like??catch of the day turned out to be a rock they found on the bar ... I don't think there needs to be much explanation as to what it resembles :)

It was only when we walked onto the bar at the Yoda that we realized how fast the river was rising, it had come up a couple of inches ... and looked to be coming fairly fast as we watched the top of a rock disappear as we sucked down a few liquid refreshments.

I had been hoping to try the 200 in here today on the new rod that TH had built for me, but alas the water called for a 300 so it stayed shore side for the day.

The 300 fished well, finding bottom every so often ... but either there weren't many fish around, or they had little interest in our patterns. With six of us fishing the drift off and on, only Art and I managed to put the hooks into fish ... in both cases they exited a little prematurely.

The girls headed back early in the Durango and Art and I were on our own for the rest of day as we left the two Jims in search of more fruitful water.

Mickey's now had a pair of anglers in there so we opted for another option: taking the Rubber Ducky across Killing Creek to see how it would produce for us this year.

Art stated up high, myself about mid-pool. Both fishing 400's ... I found it a little too much in the lower half and switched back to a 300 with one of my fave bunny leeches. Second cast after switching and making a nicer, clean drift, I was into a fish. The fish however didn't offer much resistance and it became clear that this was a Coho and not a steelie ... a roll and a pink flash confirmed my suspicions.

As I neared the tailout, the skies began to clear ... but the rain came with a wicked replacement ... a nasty wind that even tore a large section of a tree on the far bank away. The gale made flycasting tough ... so we opted to make a quick pass with gear before we headed home.

We traded our spots in the hole; Art starting mid-pool while I began at the head. The conehead finally was going to get its first shot at a Zipperlip steelhead :) We worked the hole for roughly 20 minutes before any action came our way. A small fish grabbed hold of Art's corky and hoochie combo and cart-wheeled down the hole. After letting her go, Art called up to me and mentioned that it was five minute to five ... we were going to be late for Happy Hour. Damn, I couldn't pass up my favorite pocket in the tail!

I ran down the bank and promised Art I would only make three casts. The first two proved to me that the wind and drifting situation low in the hole was nearly Bob finally lands one, somehow, someway :)impossible. I yelled to Art, "Okay, one more" and flung the conehead to the far bank. I felt bottom once and then the wind took over :( I fed a little line, hoping I was on bottom. No bouncy-bouncy on the rod tip to let me know if I was or not. A hen of about 14 pounds that came shooting out of the water along the brush told me that I was pretty close though:) Gotta love suicidal fish to brighten an otherwise pretty gloomy day!

A check of our gauge tonight has the river just shy of 10 inches with about 5 feet of vis. We probably won't see much of a rise tonight, but during the day tomorrow, we should see another bump. Looks like Yoda or the Pea Garden will become a regular part of our repertoire the next few days!

  • Tuesday, September 10, 2002 ... Not much happening today. We awoke to find the water level at 12 inches. As it normally takes some time for the water to reach us in the lower river (as we saw yesterday with the previous day's rain), most of us figured that we'd see a pretty significant rise and opted for a day off.Pink and white Bob's blob

Today did mark the first day we haven't seen a bear through the course of the day ... all good streaks have to end sometime :(

As it turned out, the water peaked at 12 inches and stayed steady most of the day before dropping a little this evening. The few reports we heard though were pretty slow so it turned out to be a good day to watch a bunch of Action Channel movies, tying up a mess of flies, and some serious napping :)

We'll be back at it tomorrow though. We hope the fisheys will be ready, we will!

  • Wednesday, September 11, 2002 ... The one year Anniversary of the WTC attack. We all sported red, white, and blue clothes today in our small gesture to remember the events of last year.

While we were ready this morning, the fish were not. Overall, the fishing was quite poor today with only three fish taken on the fly between the three Jims, Art, Corey, and myself. New Jim picked one up first past in Mickey's, while Corey did the same in Yoda. Art hit the only fish this afternoon with a respectable buck Big cutts too!from the heart of Yoda.

Corey and I did take our first look at Trouble today ... it looked quite good, but no takers in respect to steelhead. I did manage the largest cuttie I've ever seen in the river though, a brightly colored fish that ate a conehead as we worked our way down to Trouble.

It appears the our suspicions of Yoda filling in and not fishing as well may be true. Very little action in the meat of the hole. Although Corey banged three fish in the very top end in a pretty short time. Art and I both also pulled one out of the same area on gear as we killed time waiting for the main drift to get an opening. A poor showing for the hole despite very good water Corey gets 'em on the fly, as well as gear too!conditions ... about 11 inch height and five feet of vis.

The water dropped rapidly this afternoon there today, but we haven't seen much change at Camp yet ... not sure if the water drop hasn't made it here yet or if the feeder creeks between the two areas are pumping out enough water to keep things higher here.

We're looking at a possible change of scenery tomorrow, we'll see how much things drop tonight and figure out a game plan in the morning :)

  • Thursday, September 12, 2002 ... A change of scenery for part of the day anyhow ...

With plans for pairs to scatter today, Corey and I went back to Yoda, Sue and Art started at Killing Creek, the two Jims went to Yoda, Jim and Jake ventured further downstream to Cable Crossing.

The water had dropped overnight to roughly nine inches this morning and there was a marked difference in water level on the bar as we walked in. No more 400's here, a little reprieve as the 300 tapped Bob finally gets one on the bug rod :)bottom every so often for Corey and I.

I picked up a fish about fifty feet through the drift ... a great grab but an unusually lackluster fighter, oh well ... sometimes you need an easy one to break a streak of lost fish, especially on the bug rod.

Corey had one of those off days I've mentioned over the years where nothing seems to go your way in respect to timing, hang-ups and the like, and she spent much of the morning chatting with Sue and enjoying the sunshine after Sue & Art made their way up to Okay ... this rockhound thing is getting out of hand!Yoda after a couple of dry passes in Killing Creek. Art and I both managed to hook another fish on our last pass of the morning ... but in both cases, equipment failure (i.e. broken line) separated us from our quarry. At least Art got to play his for a few minutes, my separation occurred just moments into the fish's first run :(

We checked on the Jim's at Mickey's while we were headed out ... just a break-off as well for New Jim. Pretty bleak action in the middle river!

Corey and I decided to head down to Cable Crossing to see for ourselves how things looked. While we weren't able to drive into the hole as we could several years back, a big thanks to the person who cleared some of the brush on the way in as it made the walk much easier not dealing with rodtips hung in the brush all the time.

Four out six days we've seen bears :)The water was still quite high in here, but Jim and Jake and said there was some action earlier on ... but they hadn't had anything in a bit. I ran through the very bottom of the hole with a 400 and a heavy fly and connected with a fish about three casts later ... one good boil and it started upstream at me; bad news with barbless hooks, I never caught up to it :(

After a prolonged BS session with J&J and the money collector for the private land we were now on, I plopped back in the water and it didn't take but another half-dozen casts and my reel was singing again :)

A little more success at the end of the tale this time around, a nice buck of about 15 pounds that proved just as stubborn at the end as he was at the first.

Weather forecasts look good, so we plan on being back in the morning. Nothing like Friday the 13th on tap to get into some better action!

  • Friday, September 13, 2002 ... Our first full day in Cable Crossing today :), and Friday the 13th didn't turn out to be unlucky for me.

Going to make it a short entry tonight as I have lots to do in respect to gear upkeep and hopefully a fairly early night to bed so we can get up and get into CC early in the morning with the week-end upon us.

Perhaps the best action the trip so far today for those of us who fished hard ... I went 5 for 5, 2 for 2 on gear and 3 for 3 on the fly which I had fished most of the day. Art started slow this morning but did fairly well this afternoon and I think he ended up 3 for 6.

Sue got one on gear up top, Corey hooked a couple on the fly but nothing came to shore for her ... oh well, maybe the 14th will change her luck.

River is still dropping but clouds are on their way :(

  • Saturday, September 14, 2002 ... Well, the rains started up overnight. We awoke several times to the pounding of massive drops on the roof of Cabin 7.

The water level was still holding at around 6 inches this morning and our gameplan was to head to Cable Crossing. The rain did discourage a number of folks in camp though and some went back to bed in search of drier weather in their dreams.

Corey starts us off with this gorgeous hen.We left camp early in anticipation of some competition on the week-end. It was a good thing we had! As we got to the bottom of the muddy hill from Hell, we saw lights at the top of the hill. Perhaps it was Jim R. or Jake coming in?? Our answer came about 30 seconds later when the following car was right on our tail. No way would anyone that we know have come down the road so quick ... I'm surprised if there was much left of the suspension of whatever they were driving.

As we pulled into the parking area, I saw that it was the newer model, but thrashed, green Blazer that I had seen in the parking lot the evening before as we walked out. The two young fellas had a clamp-on Regal vise attached to the tailgate of the Blazer as Art and I walked by and were tying flies in the parking area.

No knowing where they planned to go, Corey and I hopped out of the rig and started grabbing our gear as fast as we could. They hopped out seconds later as I already had a couple of rods out and their smiles faded as they saw we were already wadered up ... "Guess it pays to put your waders on before!", one of them said. We smiled and said "Yep, good luck fellas", as we grabbed the last of our gear and headed off for first water:)

We made the short walk into the tail section of Cable Crossing and hurried to get into the water before they made it down here. As it turned out, they never did ... not sure if they opted to head to Girly Creek as a second option or if that is where they were headed initially, but no matter ... we ended up with the drift to ourselves for as long as we wanted it.

The early action was good, with both Corey and I hooking fish on each of our first passes through the drift. The 300's were working well and a black Bob's Blob and out black & purple bunny leech accounted for the takes for us. I got both of my fish, Corey only her first.My first of the day.

The rains continued and some of the squalls that came through were pretty serious ... even resembling Forks-type rain. You know, the kind that hit the water and then splashes the bottom of your chin because it hits the water so hard:)

By the time I had landed my second fish, we could see from the stick that we had put into the water's edge earlier was quickly disappearing. The water was coming!

Our third pass wasn't as fruitful, and we talked it over and decided that if we didn't hook a fish our next pass, we were going to switch to gear, make one quick run through and then head back to camp to escape the rain.

No takers on the next pass and no sooner were we ready to switch, along came a raft with a tribal guide and four fellas with spinning rods. They parked in the top end of the hole and started tossing ... the funniest part of the whole thing was that the guide walked down in front of the clients and started fishing the drift IN FRONT of them!!! I wonder how that would go over if I tried it this winter back home??? Not :)Who says you need fancy flies??

We waited a few minutes to see if they were going to work down the drift. It soon became apparent that they weren't, so I grabbed a gear rod and started fling a conehead where we started our fly runs. It took only a few cast for me to hook into a far fish that was laying on the far bank, essentially out of fly rod reach. A couple of nice runs and a couple of jumps and he spit my gear back at me ... oh well!

Without touching a fish, the raft group loaded all but one customer back into the overloaded craft and floated down to the one remaining guest that was now fishing below us and had his spoon wedged in the rocks pretty solidly. We got another good chuckle as the guide maneuvered the raft towards him, and then rammed him, nearly knocking him into the water and attempting to impale him with rods sticking out of the boat.

The scene got funnier as the guide grabbed the rod and attempted to free to spoon by putting the hardest set of yanks on the rod he could. I thought for sure that the rod was going to blow up in his face, but it held. The line finally didn't though and they were off downstream in a flash.

We finished our pass through the lower end of the drift and I ended up rolling one more fish ... but that was it. We called it a day about noon and headed back to camp for a dry nap and them several more hours of fighting with the dish ... still no luck with the main satellite.

With the water rising and coloring a fair amount, tomorrow will be an off day, time for a sleep-in, some more tying, and perhaps another battle in the Great Battle of Satellite 119!

  • Sunday, Monday & Tuesday, September 15-17, 2002 ... Not much to report from the river or camp over the week-end. River was really too high and muddy for much fishing although a few people tried. We opted for a few days to sleep (this IS our vacation!) and tie some more. I also fought the last prolonged battle with satellite 119, and lost :( It's gonna be more Soap Channel and movies like "Cyber Vengeance" for the next few weeks.

Lots more for the box!We headed into one of the big cities today ... one carload of guys doing their thing, and another carload of gals doing their thing. We had a meeting at Safeway to make fun of one another trying to shop for everyone left in camp ... but other than that, we each went our own way. Guys went to flyshops (one twice, and two others), a bar for lunch, Safeway, the lumber store, and the golf course for a bucket of balls (my back is still doing well enough to swing some!). The gals went shopping, went shopping, went shopping, and ate some lunch, and went shopping ... well you get the picture :)

Camp went from empty to overflowing tonight ... lots of folks all rolling in at the same time: Greg and Roger came in late last night (they had good gear reports for Killing Creek this afternoon); Michael (our next door neighbor) came in this afternoon; Barry, Angie, and Linda and some of their guests also rolled in this afternoon; other new arrivals include Fred and Mary Ellen and a few new folks to camp. Nancy replaced New Jim in Cabin One last night as one flew in and the other flew out. Lots of greetings going around this evening. We're hoping the dry, but cloudy weather will hold and the river will get back into prime shape for us :) We'll let you know!

  • Wednesday, September 18 ... Well, we had about 2 hours of good water today. The rain started up overnight and we awoke to an ugly morning with lots of wind and plenty of rain. The river was looking much better though with a height of 17 inches and about four feet of visibility.

Art and I headed up to Yoda and made the walk in ... we knew driving in was out of the question with the current rain we had going.

The last picture ever from my old digicam :(Much of the bar that was exposed the last day we fished here was under water, but we were able to fish the 400's fairly well and Art and I both hit fish our first pass through. We worked it slowly, letting the flies soak straight downstream for as long as possible before stripping in. Art hooked a couple of fish: the first coming unbuttoned as it neared the shallows; the second broke him off as he maneuvered it into shallow water and the fish ended up making a beeline for some logs that normally were on dry ground but were now in easy homing position for fish brought into shore in that vicinity.

I didn't get quite so far in my battle, a grab of the black / purple bunny leech, some head shakes followed by a large swirl on top and mine was gone. Little did we know that that was going to be the last action of the day.

The weather was getting worse on our second pass through ... the wind made casting difficult and Art and I both decided we were a little underdressed for the colder wet weather we had going this morning. The temperature change was obvious as brief letups in the rain allowed us to see snow quite some distance down the slopes of the neighboring mountains.

Late morning was upon us and a call on the radio let us know that Corey was on her way in. She's been nursing a bad back and decided a few hours fishing would be enough for her.

Upon her arrival, I tried to change our luck by downing a magic muffin and we swapped our flyrods for a trio of pink plastic offerings. We worked through the drift from top to bottom. Short cast, medium cast, long cast ... a couple of steps. Despite our best efforts, we couldn't manage a single taker. The rising water that had now left the stick we had placed upon our arrival well into the river now, and visibility was decreasing quickly. A short pow-wow and we decided we'd had enough ... nap time before the camp party number one tonight.

We jammed about 20 people into Cabin One for lots of good eats and some warmth ... there may be plenty of that coming up looking out the window tonight: lots more rain coming down. Looks like shopping day again tomorrow ... my faithful digicam may have had one too many raindrops in just the wrong place today, I'm pretty sure that it's dead.  Thus, not many pix for a few days :( A lot of fishey pictures it has taken, it will be sad if we finally have to part ways!

River is currently at 21 inches and rising ...

  • Thursday & Friday, September 19 and 20 ... Well, the big storm did a number. We awoke on Thursday morning to find the river officially off the gauge. A best guess would put it somewhere around 40 or 42 inches.

A visitor above cabin 7A drive into the other "big city" actually showed that we got off fairly easy in our drainage. While we had seen some debris, many rivers were choked with trees and carrying an unfathomable amount of sediment in their waters.

Our trip turned out to be successful one: a replacement for the now dead digicam was found, we opted for another Sony as the old one had actually done us quite well. We chose the Mavica CD400 that has about 100 times the features our old one did.

Getting better!!I spent much of today playing with many of the new features. I'm pretty fired up as I think it will make for some pretty neat stuff on the site in the future.

Weather was nice today, but forecasts are calling for some more rain. The river is at 24 inches late tonight, so I think we're gonna try a shot at things in the morning ... it may not be the best of conditions, but we got to get our licks in while we can!

  • Saturday, September 21 ... We fished today, sorta :) We set our alarm early this morning but were slow to get up. The rains started in again overnight, but stayed light so we decided to give things a try for a few hours despite poor conditions. The river at camp was 22 inches with about 2/3 that amount of visibility. Greg and Roger headed off to Killing Creek early, so we opted to try the Upper Pea Garden ourselves.

Mike with probably one a few fish from the river today.The water level was workable, but visibility was maybe a foot at best. Michael was fishing from the shore side while Corey and I rowed out to the Island to try swinging things into the seam at the bottom of the Island. Michael ended up getting a fish just a few minutes after we got there. A smallish buck of 9-10 pounds ... it would have been a fine attachment to either of our lines.

We made our first pass through with flies, staying in close and letting our big, bushy patterns soak in the seam below us. Despite our efforts, we found no willing takers in the seam for us. But we did get a little more entertainment from Michael's side of the river as he did a pirouette and a nice splashdown in the river for us ... BRRRR, I'll bet things were a tad on the chilly side for him. My suspicions proved correct as he walked upstream and said his waders were sloshing quite well and he was headed back to camp.

We followed our fly pass with a gear pass: a big silver spoon on my part and a multi-colored worm for Fishgal. Again, we worked these down into the soft seam at the end of the Island, but could find no takers on the gear as well. I really wished I had a big fat shrimp tail hanging off one of Hoh River special rags ... might have upped our odds a little :)

Normally one of the region's cleanest rivers, it's ugly right now!We packed it in around lunchtime and headed back for a lazy afternoon on the cabin after we stopped in town for the two ingredients we'd forgotten for my Kung Pao chicken that we have on the menu tonight. On the way in, we got a look at the Hohlip and saw it was even worse than the Zipperlip. Word tonight has it the upper end of one of the river's tributaries had over 11 inches of rain in two days and had turned one of the lakes feeding the river to pure mud ... it may be shot for weeks. A bummer as we're supposed to join Dylan and Nate over there for a day or two of fishing next week sometime.

The river is holding its own this afternoon, but the rain is coming down fairly hard and the forecast is not very good ... looks like it might be golf time :)

  • Sunday, September 22 ... The river is rising, and rising, and rising :( The top of the rebar holding the "Bob-o-Meter" disappeared about 1 this afternoon and by tonight, Oh-oh, Bob's gonna be in trouble :)our guess is that the river height is somewhere around 50 inches or so, approaching the highest that I've ever seen it.

I spent much of the afternoon helping Jim pull up his logs that are in place to try to divert some of the flow away from bank that has been disappearing a little each year in front of the cabins. One was waterlogged and had sunk, not cutting the flow at all. I don't know if we accomplished much, but it was a good opportunity to break camp rules and drive past his new "Keep Off" sign :)

Sue's astounded by ??????????????Big Happy Hour this afternoon, as everybody was in camp to start with, and lots of people are planning on heading out as it is going to be some time before we're fishing again.

Peter's Party tomorrow night, so we're getting the clams ready for the big feast!

The rains have mellowed, but the river probably still has a ways to go before it drops :(

  • Monday, September 23 ... The river is rising, and rising, and rising, again!! Lots of checks on the river Logs going by camp :(overnight ... we watched the bobs of flashlight lenses go past our window much of the night. Our logs are holding for now, which is good thing as my car is attached to one of them :) (it's really not in danger of going anywhere since it's in a back eddy anyhow).

Jim and Nancy left out this morning and Art and Sue are discussing doing the same ... Art's gonna have to don boots though to retrieve his dish on the flood plain because it is now a few inches deep at the footing of his stand.

Clams ready to go!A big highlight of the morning was watching a big log pull free from the logjam on the island in front of camp, it's been there for some time and it happened to pull free just as a group of us were doing our now regular-occurring river stare-down :)

As of 10 PM tonight, the river finally crested and has begun falling in the past few hours while we were all away at Peter's Perfect Party. We had about 25 folks gathered tonight about 20 miles upstream at Moose Jaw Ranch for more good eats and a final farewell to our traditional gathering point as the ranch is just about sold to a new group of owners :(

Corey slaved away much of the day preparing a load of 75 razor clams and a couple of pounds of beer-battered ling cod that we put away over the summer for this very occasion.

Our friendly bear :)We were treated to the appearance of a curious black bear just before dinner that allowed us to get some nice shots of him before Peter gave him a shoo away with a shotgun blast. I also had the pleasure of finding out just how tame some of the squirrels are there ... up my back, over my hat, down my pants, a loop around the stairs and then a hop into my lap with a look of "Feed Me".

Jack and Doris' arrival yesterday meant we got to hear many tales of camp history dating back over 50 years. Many of the stories are ones we've heard before, but each year there are new ones that Jack remembers and recants in a style that any current members of camp will be hard-pressed to match in years to come!A little pre-functioning in the sun!

Part of the party has spilled over into camp tonight as the skies have finally cleared and a number of people have gathered outside Cabin 6 for laughs into the night.

I don't imagine that there will be too many early risers tomorrow, and sleep should be a little easier tonight knowing that the river is finally falling ... now if we can speed it up a little, perhaps in my dreams tonight!

  • Tuesday, September 24 ... A gorgeous day for It lives!waiting! As expected, lots of people just getting up as we went out to check the river this morning about 9 AM. We're happy to report that the Bob-o-Meter made it through the high water. It wasn't until this evening that we saw that the actual yardstick itself made it through ... but the water has finally dropped enough to give us a good reading on the level: we'll call it 37 inches tonight.

The sun finally shines down upon us :)With the clearing skies, we were able to see what caused much of our river problems: most, if not all the mountain snow that we had built up is no longer there. The rains were warm enough to bring it all down.

Another day for tying a few flies and doing chores ... you know the kind that you have to do, but always seem to put off ... like organizing my tool chest that had the sockets all kicked out of their holding spots from the drive down and finally replacing the laces in my wading boots. Everybody's doing what they can to fight cabin fever.

Fireside chatsWith Fred in camp, and clear skies tonight, we're having just the second campfire of the season. My emails are done, so I'm getting ready to head over and swap a few tales by the fire. We're hoping that one more day of wait and we might have some more current stories to tell!

  • Wednesday, September 25 ... Not much happening again today. Corey and I slept in until nearly 10 this morning and then worked on our still-massive stash of food by wolfing down a pretty large pile of French Toast and about a half-pig worth of Hawk's bacon.

The river is still quite dirty, but we're actually able to see a few inches rather than millimeters as it has been. Greg working over the island at the lakeWe got a good laugh this morning as we checked the gauge as Stan and Angie tried to cross the far channel across from camp after they took a raft to the island ... the current first pulled him down and in a good old-fashioned chain reaction, down went Angie too. A bow and a curtsy from Angie was greeted by a round of applause from those checking the gauge this morning.

Wood toss!Our afternoon task took as up past our trout fishing lake today where we got to see some of our neighbors fishing away. Our mission was not fish, but rather a mess of firewood to replenish the campfire supply. We found our mission to be rather easily accomplished with only one casualty ... a grouse that showed exactly why they are considered to be so dumb by flying into Art's truck rather than away from it as we passed it. Din-Din for Greg!

The river is roughly 29 inches tonight ... we may try to do some fishing tomorrow, but we're not getting our hopes up. The forecast for no rain has let us down though as it began raining lightly a few hours ago ... we're keeping everything crossed that it doesn't get any heavier!

  • Thursday, September 26 ... The rain did get harder, but fortunately, it didn't last very long. The gauge read 26 inches this morning with 12-14 inches of visibility at camp.

Corey opted to stay in camp with the gals due to the marginal water, but Art and I decided to give things a whirl. We headed upstream to Killing Creek and took the Rubber Ducky across to the far side.

The first fish after a long wait!The water was still raging pretty hard, but we decided to give the flyrods a chance anyhow, hoping that there might be a fish laying in close with the water still colored ... a little less than at camp, but still only about 18 inches of visibility here.

We found no takers on our first pass with bugs :( I grabbed a gear rod and headed towards the upper part of the hole while Art made a second pass through the tailout. I had one grab of my spoon on the upper seam but never had the hooks into it ... can't say for sure what it might have been: a Dolly, steelhead? We'll never know.

As I neared the point where we began our pass with the flyrods, Art was finishing up and rigging up his gear rod as well. As a "reward" for his patience, I suggested that he hop in front of me with the gear. He did, and he caught a fish right above the break ...

It wasn't much of fish, about 6 or 7 pounds and not much of a fighter, but it sure beat a poke in the eye we've all been getting at camp!

I never touched a fish in my pass, but I continued downstream of the tail into the next run a short distance down; the inside seam looked pretty good. A couple of casts and I was into a fish ... I never did see it, but it felt plenty hefty as it marched upstream and then abruptly popped off when it was about 20 degrees upstream of my position.

Yuck, the jam only got worse!We took a short break for lunch and a walk down to see how much the jam had grown in the wake of the high water ... we found lots of new logs in place, but the high water may have made our portage route a little easier to navigate. We'll find out tomorrow as we plan on floating down through this stretch.

We repeated our pass after lunch. Art never found a willing biter; I didn't find one until I got to within a couple of feet of where I hooked the fish earlier in the day. One of the rocks I was sliding over all of a sudden started to shake its head. That lasted all of about 2 seconds before it was gone ... operator error on my behalf:( The fish was down there saying "Gotcha!"

Clear skies tonight, but some rain is forecast ... here's another fishey prayer asking for minimal precip so that we can get the river back to somewhat normal flows!

  • Friday, September 27 ... Short report tonight, we had a long day and I'm ready to relax for the evening.

Art starts us off right!The "Three Musketeers" (Bob, Corey, and Art) headed up to Fortymile this morning and floated to camp. Lots of effort for only three fish between us ... one for Art about the second cast of the day and one each for Art and I fishing under the trees on the high bank of Yoda. No pix of either of these as it was like fishing on a cliff and no one was bringing a camera anywhere!

Water level was roughly 22 inches this morning, about 21 tonight. Visibility was about three feet up top, and about two at camp.

Water level was very high for most of the holes, even some of the better high water spots in the upper end of the drift.We see sign, but we've never, ever, seen the deer that leave it.

Slow reports across the board ... the vast majority of groups were lucky to have a fish between them :(

Not as many around as we'd hoped on the heels of the high water ... fishing is much tougher than we should be seeing even with the marginal conditions we're all happy to have at this point.

  • Saturday & Sunday, September 28-29 ... Holy Cow, what happened???

The skies must have opened up somewhere, 'cuz we awoke to a river on a very hard rise! It did rain quite a bit Friday night, but we certainly didn't expect to see things come up so quick.

The river was at 23 inches when we got up, and was over 32 inches at mid-day.

We chose not to go fishing seeing the start of the rise and the leaves that began falling into the river in earnest as the wind picked up on the back side of the front.

Our gallery on the first tee at the camp golf course.A few folks did, and most were back within a couple of hours complaining of either muddy water or leaves, depending upon how far upstream they were.

The Amigos left camp at 5:20 to beat Greg & Scott into Killing Creek, a lot of good it did them as it turned to mud :)

John and Stan got the only fish of the day that we know of amongst camp ... a nice buck just after sun up in the camp hole. We watched them taking pictures of it as we went out to check the water this morning.

Notice the anglers on the muddy river behind, we think our activity choice was better!The remainder of the past two days was spent playing golf ... first a whirl around the camp course yesterday and then a journey to play a "real" course today. We also picked up Art at the airport as he made a quick hop home for his 50th High School Class Reunion.

There was also a late bonfire last night, I don't think I made it back to the cabin until one or so. Got to swap stories with a group of folks from Prince Rupert, B.C. and hear Stan's tales of "teaching" the "Queen of Spey" ... we roared in laughter lat into the night at hearing some new tales about "Fish Bitch".

The river peaked around 42 inches or so at midnight last night, it has been dropping all day and we're now at 29 inches. If it stays dry, we'll be back on the water Tuesday!

  • Monday, September 30 ... A waiting day for us, but there were a few fish caught today, so perhaps we should have gone fishing today instead of doing such important tasks as minor packing of the boat, making lead cinches, and reorganizing my entire fly-tying and hook boxes :( Especially in light of the fact that the sun came out this afternoon and it was gorgeous!

I didn't do all of these at once :)John and Stan both got a fish out of the Camp Hole and we heard that Angie (the nice one) hit two fish at the base of Hole 3 on the camp course.

Our big highlight of the day was tonight's endless search for a restaurant in town that was actually open to have a good-bye dinner with Art and Sue (they are leaving in the morning). Four places later, we finally got dinner ... I thought we were all gonna start gnawing on one another's arms before we got there as we all basically fasted today in preparation of our our big "night out".

Would it surprise you any if we told you we are planning on fishing in the morning and the clouds are rolling in again? I didn't think so. We spent lots of our drive to dinner and our mealtime lamenting how we should have fished harder earlier in the month when the water was good. Who would have known??

If this one turns out to be a gully-washer, we're outta here! We'll try to drag the weather home as we heard today the Hoh is lowest it has been in the last 45 years!

River is at 23 1/2 inches with about the same vis ... yep, it's time to rain again!

  • Tuesday, October 1 ... The rain held off until today for us, but it did show up. Clear and cold much of the night with some Northern Lights for us through the ground fog.

The river didn't drop a lot overnight, it was at 22 inches this morning, but the visibility improved some for us.

Corey and I chose to fish the Camp Hole for a change of pace and I managed to pull one fish out, Corey hooked one but lost it. She's convinced that the Fish Gods are mad at her. We had made two passes with the flyrods but found no takes in close. We hooked both fish on gear, mine certainly out of fly swinging range, but Corey's was in quite tight.

From the looks of the hole, it might even fish better on the fly with a tad more water to force fish in, or with quite a bit less to allow a fly to get down in the trough.

Greg and Scott each got  a fish out of Killing Creek this morning ... then had a better afternoon landing three there after they came home for lunch.

With a cold rain falling this morning, we came back across to camp about 12:30 for lunch and a warm-up, but we made it a whole afternoon warm-up as both of us were pretty chilled for some reason.

Stan and John got into some fish below Killing Creek and got to hear a sad tale of a monster that broke John off on Stan's wading boot as he tried to tail the fish for him. We offered Stan a place to sleep tonight as we don't think John is talking to him right now:)

The river is stable tonight at about 20 inches, we might try Yoda in the morning if it doesn't come up on us. The rain wasn't long-lived and was cold, so perhaps it won't hurt us too bas. We'd just like a couple of good days of water before we go!

  • Wednesday, October 2 ... We just seem to continue to not be able to buy a break. No fish for either of us today.

The river looked good when we left camp in the dark for our long walk into Yoda. Level was 19 inches and good color. When we arrived at our lunch log, we saw that something was wrong. Instead of being lower than when we passed through here on our float the other day, the water looked to be the same level. The river was rising :( We made one pass with flies, trying to work the inside seam best we could. Although, it didn't fish too badly at that point, we found no takers.

As we sat down to finish off the rest of our morning coffee, we could see the water was up about two inches according to the stick I'd put at the water's edge. Knowing that the flow in here was already marginal and things were going the wrong way, we opted to switch to gear and see if we could pull a fish out of the soft pocket on the far bank where we had gotten a couple of fish a few days back. Lots of lead, long casts, and lots of freespooling failed to give us even a definite tug.

We opted to head for a drift with better water downstream as we saw our vis was on the slide as well. A brief stop at camp to change Corey's leaky new waders and we were off the find an uninhabited piece of water. A tough search it was at this point as many folks seemed to be flocking to the higher water spots.

We spent more time driving than we did fishing, but it was fun to cruise around and see some of our old haunts that we haven't fished much in recent years.

River was up 8 inches when we headed off to dinner tonight with Scott and Greg. Clear skies again tonight and the river seems to have stabilized. We're going to have to make a call in the morning whether or not we want to hang around or pack up and head out as we're about out of time anyhow. Many of the camp regulars are heading out ... it's starting to get kind of empty. I think a lot of people are just frustrated with the poor conditions and less-than-stellar fishing. Perhaps the worst thing about the whole deal is that for almost three weeks now, just when the water is a day away from getting to where we think things will fish well, along comes another rise :(

Will we have another chance to fish? We'll know more tomorrow!

  • Thursday, October 3 ... We're still here, but getting awfully anxious to leave as the forecasts for the region do not look good.

The river was fishable today, although still very high at 24 inches this morning, so we opted to spend the day packing with the plan of fishing tomorrow and then perhaps heading out tomorrow night.

We saw one fish hooked in the Camp Hole this evening, but after we heard a little of that premature confidence, the fish came unbuttoned in the shallows.

We're hoping for a slight drop by morning so we can try Yoda, if it's still too high, we'll stay around camp to fish.

Supposed to have good Northern Lights tonight (judging from the forecast), so we're hoping to get our first good display.

We gotta find Fishgal one more fish ... between the water and bad Ju-Ju, she's in dire need of a piscatorial pull!

  • Friday, October 4 ... We've now got a case of the "Cantleavitis". Corey got back at them a little today as she landed  a couple of nice steelhead and a pair of Coho as well.

We started the day at Yoda, hoping that the 19 1/2 inches we had at camp might mean okay water there for the fly. We could work the inside a little, but still had no chance to effectively work the middle and far side. So, after a quick pass with the fly, we switched to gear and Corey promptly picked one up in the soft V-shaped pocket on the far side.

After beating it death, we decided to head up to Mickey's, only to find a few guys just starting their way down the hole ... we were surprised to see the old farts (they hate being referred to as such :) had actually walked all the way in.

Instead of heading back to Yoda, we chose to walk out the field way and stop at the head of Killing Creek to try the soft seam that Carson loves to pop Coho in. It paid off as I nabbed a steelie and Corey hit a pair of Coho in just a short time of fishing it.

It was getting close to noon; we needed to say "Goodbye" to Dorothy sometime today, we headed up to the house for a hot cup of coffee and lots of baked goodies.

It was tough to get ourselves psyched to go back out in the cold again ... we were even thinking about a nap! But, we hung in there and headed down to Fireside Hole ... a spot I know some fish were being taken but something I hadn't fished in a while. It's not much of a single-handed rod spot, but we made do and made a quick pass with the fly despite the fact that we know Jake had left the hole just moments before we got there. No luck there, so we switched to gear and started working further out into the river ... a good decision as I got a pair of fish, a small hen of 7-8 pounds, the other a teener, Corey working her worm managed a girl of 10-11 pounds.

We came back to camp with expectations of leaving as the raindrops began falling our last few minutes of fishing ... but we can see the snow level is low and the rain is no more than a drizzle, so the steelie's call must be answered to try "just one more day"!

  • Saturday, October 5 ... We're proud to say that we only let the steelies coax us into staying one more day. Our last day in camp today!

Corey and I headed up to Yoda with the water at 17 inches, a little high yet for decent flyfishing, but since it's long been our fave spot, we just couldn't pass up at least starting our last day in it.

We began the day trying the 400's with a weighted fly ... once in blue moon you felt as if you were close to bottom, but the inside current just wasn't slow enough yet to where we felt good about our presentation ... by the time you messed around enough to get the fly down, you were swung into the shallows, it just wasn't working!

With a light rain starting to fall, we decided to skip a second pass with the fly as we wanted to get back early to head out ... plus it was quite cool and I knew Corey just didn't have her heart into it today (she was plenty chilly).

She sat down after just a portion of the way through the hole w/o any takes. No sooner had she sat down, I hooked a decent buck that tore things up for a few moments anyhow ... they're still laying on the far side!

I hooked another fish, this time a nice hen a few casts later. This battle was short-lived though as on her second jump, she spit my spoon about 20 feet back my way.

Hmm, things might be pretty good on gear in here today I thought to myself. So, I continued on while Corey watched. It wasn't too much longer, and another fish grabbed the conehead I offered to any fish laying on the far side ... a mediocre fish at best (we're getting a little picky now aren't we?), but one that I decided was enough: Corey was cold, it was now pouring, and I could end on a fish. Time to go home :(

We headed back to camp and finished what little packing we had left to do and were on the road in the matter of a couple of hours.

It was hardly the best season we've seen here ... and I sure some of those folks staying really late might see the best fishing of the year ... but work does call and we'll have another chance next year. We'll even get to do it in the camp's Penthouse: we get Cabin 1 next year!






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