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.
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.
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!
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!
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.
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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!
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.
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!
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
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
... 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 :)
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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 :(
September 14, 2002 ... Well, the rains started up overnight. We
awoke several times to the pounding of massive drops on the roof of Cabin
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.
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
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
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
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
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 &
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.
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
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
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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
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 :)
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,
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 :)
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
... 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.
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.
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!
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
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
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
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.
With 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
The river is still quite dirty, but we're actually
able to see a few inches rather than millimeters as it has been.
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
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
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
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
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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
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!
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!
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!
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
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
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!
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
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"!
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
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
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
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