Not much happening this time of year unless you are a winter steelhead fisherman, or unless you head for warmer climes. The day you all read this I will be on a flight to Honolulu, with a week in Christmas Island ahead of me. Rest assured, the most I can do to make you all miserable is give you a detailed, day by day account. So I will.
In the meantime, before leaving, I can report that although the McKenzie was low (2.1) and clear, and reasonably warm (38 degrees), the fishing in late January was LOUSY. Cliff and I were out twice and saw very little activity (one rise), few bugs (one March Brown, a few Baetis, a few red spinners (??), and one black winter stonefly) and had VERY slow fishing. We found only one reasonable pod of whitefish, which seemed to be spawning. Bill Laing and his son (the guide) also fished that sunday and they only took one trout, on a dry fly. You have to throw weighted nymphs around as much as I have this time of year to develop the frustration I have to find out just WHERE THE HELL DO THE TROUT
The most exciting thing all day was coming back to the Armitage landing in the sled to find a car stalled down the bottom of the boat ramp at the water line. Seems this bright guy had battery trouble so he tried jump starting the car by rolling down the launching ramp. That was even more stupid than it sounds, since the ramp was a sheet of unfrozen frost from the previous night, so bad we had launched in the morning across the river under the I-5 bridge His wheels never caught enough friction to turn over the engine , but he did just manage to skid to a stop before entering the water. As I wondered at the total stupidity of it all, I did unhook my boat battery and give him a jump start, not even sure he could back back up the ramp. He let the engine die again just as I was re-hooking the battery to my boat, so I left him there and went across the river to pull out under the bridge again. Bill Laing similarly avoided rescuing him. I did check two days later and the car was gone, hopefully downriver, which is what he deserved in the first place.
Dave Carlson was passing through town and asked me if I wanted to go down to the N. Umpqua and fish for steelhead. He said it was very poor, only 400 winter fish over the dam, but you never know. Not having hit my head sharply against a stone wall for several months, I agreed to go. It's always better to not be catching big fish because it's so difficult in the winter than not catching small fish.
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