Club News For September

The August Club Picnic

 

The Picnic was held again this year at Picnic Point Park and was enjoyed by all with a tasty box dinner supplied by Celebrations Catering. It was a perfect summer evening for this annual event.

 

President Sauer started off the meeting with fishing reports. Over the last couple of months a number of our members had some great trips. Eric Sauer had an outstanding 4-day trip drifting the Umpqua River in Oregon for smallmouth bass. Eric and his fishing partners caught many bass in the 1 to 2 lb. range and a few bigger they also saw a large school of shad but no luck with the shad. Ask Eric about his drift boat experience on the river. Ken Martin spent a month in Eastern Oregon, the Bend area, fishing many of the lakes and rivers with good success. Ken also had some great dry fly fishing in the St. Joe River in Idaho. Dick Hedges had a wonderful trip to Montana this summer fishing a number of the rivers. Dick said the Madison River was really coming back well and he managed to catch fish to 25" inches in that river. Closer to home VP Mike Bunney has had some good trout fishing at Fish Lake, near Lake Wenatchee. Mike said,"that fishing was good very early in the morning or late in the evenings". Fish were from 14" to 18" inches and some were taken on dry flies too. Other members who had been out on the local waters were David Claude, Joe Conner, Don Corwin, Dan Holman, Barry Hutton, Bill McDonald, Norm Primc and Mike Truax. The most current report was that of David Reynolds who caught a very nice Pink salmon right after the meeting at the park beach. Dave released the fish, which he said was about 24" inches & chrome bright.

President Sauer reminded everyone it was time for nominations of officers for 2005. Eric said ," its time other members to step up and get involved with the Club". Treasurer Norm Primc is asking for members to help out with the Annual Christmas Auction and for all members to try and get donations for the auction. All the fly tiers in the Club can donate a dozen or two flies. This is always a very popular item. Norm would like to have all items donated turned into him by the 1st of November or before.

 

Congratulations to Steve Murray and all the guys who helped out with the Fly-Fishing class for the Edmonds Park & Recreation Dept. Steve done outstanding job with both the fly tying and fly fishing classes these last few years.

Hope to see everyone at the September 10th meeting at the South County Senior Center and I know we will have a great program to kick off the fall season.

 

FLY DRAWING

Bring in a personally tied fly. To the September meeting Include the recipe on a 3šx5š card. You will receive a raffle ticket. The winning ticket takes home all the flies submitted

 

September Guest Speaker

Our speaker this next meeting is Doug from Swede's Fly Shop.  Doug will be bringing along several Spey rods from his store and hopefully give us a demo on the techniques of using a Spey rod.

 

September Outing

Dan Reynolds will be hosting a day outing for salmon fishing down the Skykomish River the last weekend in September. There will be more details at the meeting in September. The weather should be good!

Text Box: Olympic Fly Fishers of Edmonds

Volume 4 Issue 9

September 2004

Text Box: The Tightline

Club Meetings :

2nd Wednesday of every month @

South County Senior Center

220 Railroad Ave.

Edmonds, WA

Social Hour 6:00PM

Dinner 7:00 PM

 

 

Club Board Meetings :

4th Wednesday of every month @

 

Alfi‚s

196th Avenue

Lynwood, WA

Dinner 7:00 PM

How I spent my summer vacation by Eric Sauer

This is the time of year when we‚ve all ventured out on our annual fishing expeditions. In that vein I want to tell you about my trip down the main stem of the Umpquah River in late June. You‚d never abide listening to this tale at a meeting so, rather than shove it down your throats, I‚ll give it to you in writing, to read or ignore as you will.

 

My friend and long time fishing companion, Doug, recently moved from Snohomish to Eugene, Oregon. In an attempt to gain local fishing knowledge he had connived an invitation to float and fish the Umpquah river for several days with a group of timber men from Sutherlin. All had grown up along the river. His invitation contained a catch∑he needed a boat. So, with my best interest at heart, he invited me (and my boat) to come along.

Our target species was smallmouth bass with a chance for some shad as well. Having never fly fished for smallmouth before I consulted my library for guidance. I tied up a large box of flies guaranteed to catch every bass in the river. I also tied up two dozen leaders and revised list after list of fishing gear and camp equipment until I supposed I had the optimum combination of comfort and compactness.

 

I arrived in Eugene several days early to catch up and to relive old times with Doug. He took me to his fly fishing club meeting where I got the latest fishing report on the Umpquah. We went to a fly shop where, always a sucker, I walked out with $100 in flies, $50 in tying materials, and a lot of local knowledge. And, of course, I bought my fishing license.

 

On day three we loaded up and drove south to Sutherlin where we met the rest of our party. It consisted of eight fishermen (including us) and four drift boats. We bought ice, gassed the rig, and bought all the last minute snacks we would undoubtedly need to keep our strength up. We took off in a big caravan followed by the wife of one of the guys who would ferry us back from the takeout to the launch site after we dropped the rigs off.

 

We launched at a privately owned but publicly accessible site about twenty miles north (as the crow flies) of the community of Umpquah. What a launch site! Picture this. Drop the boat off the trailer at the top of a hill 60 feet above river level and about the 80 feet from it. With a big group effort, push it over the lip of the hill and slide it down. Be sure to build up enough momentum to get the boat at least partially across the sand beach at the river‚s side. Then, with a little grunting, a little cussing, and a lot of laughing, push the boat the rest of the way to the water. Boat extraction was even more fascinating. At the top of the hill a large block & tackle was attached to a high tree limb. A long wire cable was pulled down to and hooked to the boat. With the cable passing through the block & tackle the opposite end was hooked to the vehicle tow hitch. The car pulled the cable until the boat reached the top of the hill. The boat trailer was reattached to the tow vehicle and the boat loaded onto it.

 

Launching all four boats, including a very heavy fiberglass 18 footer (all already loaded with everything needed for the trip), took several hours. As we began drifting downstream it all seemed worthwhile. The scenery was beautiful, the water transparent, the weather cloudless and warm. And fish. Man were there fish. We began catching fish the minute we wet our lines. Doug, having no pride whatsoever, turned immediately to the spinning rod and a diving plug. Although a fly fisherman, the others were not and Doug‚s philosophy was to do as the Romans do. I, on the other hand, began by fishing heavily weighted flies on an 8 weight rod. Definitely overkill for this water and these fish. By the second day I had settled on a medium action 5 weight and un-weighted streamer patterns.

 

My most successful fly was a „Waterman‚s Silver Outcast,š a pattern I had found in John Shewey‚s book, „Northwest Fly Fishing, Trout and Beyond.š Although only partially as successful as the gear guys, I still caught around 100 fish a day. I must admit that, when the wind was very strong, I borrowed a spinning rod from Doug and joined the gear guys (I guess I don‚t have much pride either!). The vast majority of the fish we caught were the red eyes, smallish fish in the one pound category. Every day we caught some in the three pound range.

 

These fish were full of fight and frequently gave us steelhead like acrobatic displays. Although not originally native to the river the other guys made it clear that every one of these fish should be released unharmed. I made sure that they were.

The winning tactic for catching these fish with fly or gear was to cast across the submerged ledge rock and retrieve it back. The bass seemed to wait in the deeper water at the edges of the rock and ambush our offerings as they left the „safetyš of the ledges.

Each night (three of them) we camped out along the river. We‚d pull to shore around 7-8 PM. Once the tent was erected, the beds laid out, and dinner eaten, we‚d fish until all light was gone. Then shoot the breeze around the camp fire. This was one area where local knowledge was essential. There were very few places suitable for a camp and, if you missed one you could have found yourself continuing down river in the dark to find another.

 

Now a word about navigating the river. Although the flows through the pools were moderate many of the tail outs were rapid, long, and difficult. This river was loaded with ledge rock throughout and I had to maintain a constant vigil for it. Easier said than done when you want to fish also. More than once we were surprised by a harsh bump or, worse yet, had to move back upstream to extricate ourselves from some ledge rock channel with no downstream outlet. Doug, being a willing partner, often took over the oars to allow me to fish without worrying about wrecking the boat. He wanted to fish too so we still had those problems. Ah well∑it‚s all part of the charm of a river trip.

 

On our second day we were moving down river and had fallen into the rear. We had gone through a long pool with fine success and had moved back to the top of it several times to drift it again. Far ahead of us I saw the other boats approaching the tail out. I began moving downstream to follow. However, just as I was getting into the faster, shallower water a school of shad which seemed to number in the hundreds moved through and I couldn‚t resist. I dropped anchor to attempt to catch some. They moved through quickly and we did not score on them. I noticed at that time that the other boats were already in the pool below us and I hadn‚t seen which way they had passed through the tail out. The river was bisected by a ridge of rock down the center dividing it into two channels. The water was very swift but the river was straight.

I chose the right (and wrong) channel. We occasionally bumped bottom and were almost out when my boat came to a very sudden stop. We had run aground on some submerged rocks and, it seemed, dynamite wouldn‚t move us off it. We tried spinning the boat with the oars. We tried rocking the boat. We tried shifting most of the weight to the stern and rocking∑.oops, bad move! Oddly, the bow remained hung up and the stern swung 45 degrees to the current, then hung up again. Water began pouring over the gunwale and filled the boat in seconds. Dry bags and fifty treble clad plugs from Doug‚s open Plano box began floating around us. Miraculously, most remained in the boat. At that time we decided it would be a good idea to put on the life vests we should have been wearing already. Now what to do? On our right the water was too deep and swift to get out. On our left the rocks made things a bit shallower but the speed of the current was still swift and all we could have done was stand in the middle of the river. So, we stayed with the boat.

 

After ten minutes or so we managed to get the attention of one of our party who rowed back upstream to at least stand on shore and offer moral support. Having the foresight to bring rope for just such an occasion, I opened the front seat compartment to get it. Stuff started floating out of it and it filled with water as well. Oh well, what's another 100 gallons? I fastened the rope to the front eye of the boat and Doug was able to throw the rope to our friend on shore. Two more of our party finally saw our plight and returned to help. One remained on shore to hold the rope in case my boat could be floated free. The other two tried to pull themselves to my boat hand over hand along the rope. Each was washed down stream in the stiff current to the pool below. After several tries each they both made it to the boat and pulled themselves around to the upstream side. They were able to stand on the same rocks the boat was hung on. They tried pushing the boat off but, with all the water in the boat, it was impossible. They were able to raise the upstream gunwale a little bit and slow the water pouring into the boat to a trickle. This took a lot of effort on their parts and there was always the danger of slipping and being pinned below the boat by the current. I emptied a five gallon water cooler and bailed the boat with it while Doug used a smaller hand bailer that I had brought along. We eventually bailed almost all the water out (except the water in the seat compartment) and the guys holding the gunwale up were able to keep any water from coming in as long as they continued holding it up. They still could not move the boat off the rocks. One of the other guys was able to row his boat up stream against the current but in the eddy created by mine. We off loaded the heaviest camp equipment and both Doug and I and all went to shore. There, with six guys on the rope and the two guys pushing mid river we were able to get the boat off the rocks. The two guys mid river took a dive and swam out in the pool below. We finished completely bailing out the boat and wrung the water out of everything that needed it. Then resumed the trip. I received a deserved scolding for not paying attention and going down the shallower channel. I did not repeat that mistake.

 

There were three rapids more severe than any I had rowed before. The first of these I rowed through without problem. Doug, on the other hand, was a nervous wreck after my earlier mishap. Kinda hurt my feelings! The next morning we came to a rapid that I had to scope out on foot. The river narrowed to about 30 feet in width. I would have to enter hard to the right, pass between two rocks little more than the boat‚s width apart and drop about four feet. Then I would need to miraculously, in the next twenty feet, jump twelve feet to the left, pass through another narrow passage and drop another four or five feet. After that I‚d just need to dodge a few mid stream rocks. Well, I had no nerve for that and, it seemed, neither did any of the other guys. We let the boats down on ropes. Later, we came to an unbelievable (to me) rapid about a half mile long through mostly sheer rock walls. Again we scoped it out on foot. The most experienced of our group decided to run it in his glass boat. His passenger decided not to join him. We all stood up on a rock wall where we could see the whole show and watched. He did a masterful job and left me in awe. When I grow up I want to row like that. The rest of us rowed, pushed, and pulled our way through some shallow rock gardens on a side channel and shoved the boats over a rock lip into the lower 100 yards of the rapid. Although fast and swirly, it was at least straight.

 

We took out on private property of an acquaintance of one of our party on the fourth day. This was about five miles south of Elkton. I was bushed and burnt but very satisfied. I highly recommend a similar trip for those so inclined. There are some, though few, places where you can access the river on foot. We found bass in every part of the river. If you wish to float it, go with someone who knows the river and be prepared to sweat and grunt around the rapids, or, hire one of the local guides headquartered in Elkton. See you all in September!

 

 

 

Olympic Fly Fishers of Edmonds

P.O. Box 148

Edmonds, WA 98020

E-mail: olympicflyfish@olympicflyfish.com