The McKenzie River
The McKenzie river has an important place in the modern world of flyfishing, as the testing and evolutionary ground for river skiffs that became the now internationally known and used McKenzie River boats, and for tutoring and inspiring the McKenzie Flyfishers who conceived of and initiated the meetings and conclave that became the International Federation of Fly Fishers (FFF), which gives a McKenzie Cup award each year to the club that has engaged in the biggest and best conservation project.
As a river, the McKenzie is a gem, starting as a huge spring somewhere in the bottom of Clear Lake at the crest of the Cascades which drains an enormous snowmelt aquifer residing under the lava flows from The Sisters (North, South, and Middle). For it's first 20 miles it is a large, rushing, high gradient river, crystal clear and relatively sterile, but which can be run by the brave at the right spring level, and a few large rainbow can be caught. The more typical boating runs start at McKenzie Bridge and continue 50 miles downstream to Hendricks Wayside on the east side of Springfield. From there to the confluence with the Willamette, the river is slightly more urbanized, but still with a general buffer of Cottonwoods. From Hayden Bridge to the confluence the regulations are catch and release, artificial lure/fly only. Some think the fishing just gets better the further down the river, in spite of the urban setting. The native coastal cutthroat are generally smaller (although a 26" monster was caught two years ago) and more available, the rainbows larger. The McKenzie also now often hosts large steelhead runs and the mixture of wild card steelhead in a primarily trout fishery leads to interesting predicaments. Nearly every regular McKenzie trout fisherman has hooked steelhead on their trout gear. My best is an 8 pound fish on a 3 weight rod.
The idea of taking pictures of the McKenzie really never occured to me until one day I was preparing for a club presentation in Seattle and I wanted to make the point that a river COULD be heavily used in a judicious fashion and STILL be a municipal water source, rather than totally control and close rivers and watersheds as is the common case in Washington. So, on a hot
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